“In another place, in another life, another child of man blazes your path...”
An unknown knight, traveled from afar...seeking answers and what was lost. This warrior has traveled long, to face this beast, this dragon. But there were others before. Yes. A vast army formed to slay this dragon known as the Wyrm, the ultimate incarnation of evil. But against such fearsome resistance, the army was crushed. The people’s hopes fell upon a chosen one, and with those who followed this gifted soul...
Now this warrior stands amongst bodies and ash. It has been a long and grueling journey to the Tainted Mountain. He comes for what was taken from him. To fulfill his destiny, a choice bestowed to him from the dragon. This knight bears the name Savan. This knight is the Arisen.
Savan stood near the side of a cliff. His brown eyes scanned the layout before him. Charred remains of humans lay waste to the plain their burnt husks left in grim positions, they were trying to flee. Savan had just found the rest of the Duke’s army.
Savan’s vision is shifted when the luminous light of a lantern is lit near him. The lantern brings welcoming illumination to the darkened environment. The bearer of the lantern is another man, well; in truth the form before him is not a man. No. This form before him is one of the mysterious creatures that hold the looks of Man, but don’t have the “spirit, the drive” of Man. They are a soulless group of creatures that only have one purpose; to serve and aid the Arisen, these men are called Pawns. Man or not, the one “pawn” before him is Savan’s most trusted companion Salde, his Main Pawn. Salde looks to the sky, it is dark and unwelcoming his eyes narrow, as he looks to the cave beyond then faces his master.
“How dark it’s gotten. Have you a light source Master?”
Savan nods and brings out his own lantern to alight it as well. Two small flames alone in the domain of darkness. With a nod Salde descends into the unknowing darkness, leading the way. Salde looks behind his shoulder at his master.
“The dragons roost is just beyond. We should hurry...”
The two venture forth into the darkness. They walked in silence as the darkness began to lighten. Savan looked ahead to see the grey light of the exit of the cave. Salde looked at his master. “We near our journey’s end Master. The final seation of our long struggle...”
Just as they left out of the cave they glanced to see a fellow soldier fighting goblins. A survivor. One who can give them assistance? Savan began to sprint towards the soldier. A massive shadow consumed what little light there was to the area. Savan noticed it and looked up his eyes widen in horror. Before him was the very thing they sought out for so long...the dragon. Salde also noticed the beast stood beside his master, ready to defend him if it even cost his life.
"Its showed itself Master!”
It stood there, watching the Arisen that it has created. Then the red eyes of the dragon glanced the puny soldier. A grin came to its face as it took in a deep pull of ashen air and released a towering inferno onto the helpless soldier. Savan and Salde were utterly helpless as they watched the solder engulfed by the flames. Their support was lost. Savan unsheathed his sword with barred his teeth as he faced the dragon again. The dragon lowered its head and outstretched its wings. A low bellow was emanated from the throat of the beast.
The dragon’s wings flapped towards the ground elevating the beast into the sky as it left its voice still carried down the mountain.
“Forge in my fire the next link in the endless chain...”
Savan cursed as the dragon took flight leaving deeper into the mountain his chest burning with the familiar sensation when the dragon is close leaving a faint glow emanating from his chest. The bond the Arisen and dragon share. There was only one option...take chase. Further they ventured. Savan came across a familiar shape, a riftstone. It illuminates itself with ancient writing of a language long forgotten but at the same time brought a nostalgic feeling to the Arisen. With a light touch of the stone, the sky is enveloped in a dark swirling vortex. As quickly as it appeared, the vortex vanishes again leaving two forms behind.
Before Savan, are two more “pawns” that have come to aid him two women, a strider named Quince and a mage named Morganna raise their right hand. A small mark on their palm illuminates and brings a warming feeling to Savan’s chest, the mark of the pawns. With two new members, they continue into a temple imbedded in the mountain. All is quiet until Quince suddenly shouts.
“There Master, Snow Harpies!”
The sinister laughing of what sounds of women is heard. Upon glance however, shows that the laughing is deceptively bore by numerous winged monsters half beast, half female. Savan readies his sword again as he braces the harpies attack. The beasts circle the four and an eerie song is heard as the harpies surround the Arisen. Savan stumbles his vision becoming blurry, suddenly weak Savan succumbs to the ground as he feels himself being forcefully lulled to sleep. A firm hand jolts him from his grogginess as Salde is by his side.
“Are you unharmed Master? Pray, you must beware the harpies song!”
Savan nods and with renewed strength he enters battle. The beasts proved too high for Savan as they flew higher avoiding his swords slashes. Morganna is by his side as her staff alights with red. “Fire works well!” Morganna creates a red orb that she leads to Savan’s sword and shield. Savan looks at his weapons and they bear a red glow, as a harpy flies towards Savan it is met with the bite of Savan’s sword. The Snow Harpy suddenly bursts to flames as the enchantment of Morganna’s Fire Boon spell is added to the wound left by Savan. Quince quickly draws her bow and helps cripple the winged beasts, Savan and Salde finish off the grounded harpies with the help of Morganna’s magic and shortly later the harpies are dispatched.
The sound of a heavy gate opening is heard across the hall. To Savan’s surprise, it is three fellow soldiers that rush out trying to catch their breaths. It seems there are still some survivors. Savan hurries over the solders. What looks like a weary sigh comes from one soldier as he rushes back into the gate beckoning towards Savan.
“Arisen! This way ser!”
Savan and the others make quick haste to follow. Catching up the solder named Ser Palotti continues. “The Wyrm awaits beyond, ser. I should be proud to guide you. We’d hidden away here...for fear of the beasts all around...”
Palotti sighs heavily. “Our army is routed...Tis plain truth ser. Beyond that grand gate, the dragon makes its roost.” Savan nods. “Thank you, I would be most grateful. It is courageous that you have tried to keep your fellow swordsmen alive. But do not think all is lost for true fear, is fear itself.”
As they run through the small corridor a deep rumbling was slightly sounded Savan and his pawns stop in their tracks, the soldiers unhearing of the sound continue blindly. Palotti turns confused at the Arisen’s abrupt stop. “This way ser!” and turns back towards the gate. In the corner of his eyes Savan sees a massive silhouette in the shadows. The form has three sets of eyes that take aim towards unknowingly Palotti. Savan looks back at the soldiers hand stretching out.
"Palotti no! Stop!”
Palotti hears Savan’s warning, turns only to stumble to the ground his eyes widen in fear at the form before him. A massive lion stands before him. Half of its body still surrounded by shadow but two more sets of eyes pierce through the darkness. It slowly walks towards him and with it the shadows reveal...a goat and massive serpent...all joined to the lion. Before Palotti...was an abomination the beast was a chimera.
Savan shouted at the man but the man was far too gone, stricken frozen in fear gave a quick shriek before the beast pounced the man. He screamed as the beast tore him apart. Savan and the others rush forth to face this new foe. The chimera turns to the group of new prey. Salde holds up his shield and begins to bash it with his sword. The chimera stopped and turned towards Salde it attention brought to him. Salde looks at Savan as he continued bashing his shield.
“I will distract it, while you attack!"
Savan quickly jumps on the beast clinging towards its hind legs. He looks up to the sound of rattling. The serpent joined to the chimera by the tail, hisses its furry as it releases a toxic mist onto one of the soldiers. The man stumbles blindly in the cloud coughing, gasping for breath as he falls to the ground mouth foaming; the man is dead. Savan curses as he begins to strike at the snake. Arrows imbedding themselves to the snakes hide shows Quince helping the Arisen. The chimera bellows with rage as it tries to buck off Savan while also trying to attack the pawns around. Savan holds on for life and with a final forceful slash, the snake’s body was severed from the beast. Savan faces his pawns. “The snake is done!” Feeling his stamina depleting, Savan releases his grip to the chimera and rolls out of the way. The chimera now deprived of one of its body, stumbles around frazzled and falls to the ground. Salde sounds off.
"It has fallen, strike now!”
The rest begin an assault over the beast. Just as it quickly fell, the chimera rises again this time the lion sounds its return with a treacherous roar that shakes everyone to the bone knocking all back. Everyone quickly regains their footing to see the goat attached by the back summon forth a purple elimination around the goat. Morganna quickly warns “Beware of the goats magic Master!” The goat bleats, as suddenly there are strikes of lightning hitting towards the group. All scramble to avoid the coming attack and Savan turns to a cry as he witness the final lone soldier be struck and killed. Even with all of Palotti’s efforts...all of his men have still fallen. With rage Savan faces Morganna.
“Seal the beasts magic now!”
Morganna quickly summons a white light that covers the chimera, the goat and lion begin to cry but as they are covered more by light their cries fall silent. With the goat useless Savan leads the charge again. Quince points up at the goat. “Now go, the goat is weak to physical attacks!” Savan and Salde jump to the now silent goat and begin striking its head all while Quince and Morganna sway the lion’s attention. With a furry of slashes, the goat announces a pained bleat before its head slumps limply to the sides. Now there only remains the lion. Feeling its other half die, the lion roars fiercely and begins to rampage through the hall blindly swapping at any who stand before it. The onslaught forces everyone to fall back.
Salde and Savan are struck by the lion’s claws and fall to the ground. Savan clutches his sides as a grave wound is brought to awareness by blood. Morganna quickly steps to Savan summoning a green aura around Savan and Salde. A soothing feeling is felt in both of their bodies, their wounds closing as Morganna finishes casting her Anodyne spell healing them completely. Morganna then faces the lion.
“The lion is weak to magic!”
Morganna summons forth a ball of fire from an Ingle spell that strikes the lions face, igniting the beast. Now in flames, the lion runs and falls in a pained roar. Salde sounds the attack “It has fallen again, now is our chance!” all attacked the lion. The chimera rose once again but with quick strikes towards the neck and a sudden strike of lightning from Morganna the chimera gave a pained roar as it finally stumbled towards the ground and falls roaring for a final time before falling still.
Savan panted heavily wiping sweat from his forehead. He looked around to see the fallen soldiers. The last of his allies sent from the Duke, now gone. A faint glow appeared from Savan’s chest once again as the loud boom of the dragon was announced.
“Now, choose, Flee, or step forth...”
The large door of the grand gate began to slowly open before them as the voice continued.
“Take hold of what lies beyond. Claim mastery o’er the eternal ring!”
Savan faces the door before him. He gives a quick glace to Salde, who stands loyally by his master’s side. Finally, after a long journey their goal lied just beyond these doors. Without second thought, Savan, Salde, Quince and Morganna step into the gates. Suddenly, the world around seems to darken and fade...
“And countless lifetimes come to pass...”
“Le plasir délicieux et toujors nouveau d’une occupation inutile.”
-Henri de Régnier-
“The delightful and ever-novel pleasure of a useless occupation.”
-Henri de Régnier-