Tales from Evanotia: Episode 1-The Mirror IC

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Re: Tales from Evanotia: Episode 1-The Mirror IC

Post by Artorius on Mon Jul 18, 2011 1:01 am

The knight was blinding quick and nearly invisible with his darkened armor. However, Alester was doing an excellent job of keeping the White Knight busy. The White Knight went about causing havoc among the party; he continued to issue non-lethal, yet painful cuts to nearly all members of the group. Yet, strangely enough, Lawrence Dabu was nowhere to be found. Briek looked desperately for the golden armored knight, but could not see him. He deflected one lethal attack, and sparks went flying, momentarily revealing the White Knight, allowing him to deflect yet another blow. However, the White Knight seemingly teleported behind Briek and scoring each of his calves, brought him to his knees. As Briek prepared for the end, with a feeling of utter disappointment as opposed to despair, a light literally penetrated the darkness to save him.

A familiar, hearty laugh was apparent as the shadows swiftly retreated in the presence of flame. Lawrence wielded both a torch and a sword as the White Knight continued maneuvering to remain in shadow.

“I don’t think so!” yelled Lawrence as he threw his torch as a projectile at the White Knight.

Blinded by the flames, the White Knight batted the torch away with his off hand. As he saw a sword coming in his direction, he thought he had dodged it. To his dismay, a long-sword had penetrated his side. He was bleeding heavily.

“Damn you,” the knight breathed as he coughed up some blood.

His sword dropped to the marble street with a metallic clang. As the flames subsided, the knight disappeared. It seemed he would recuperate, and prepare for another assault on the party. Briek struggled to get to his feet, but did so nonetheless. Lawrence patted his friend on the back quite roughly; Briek was noticeably displeased.

“You all must leave at once, however, while you’re here, you should make the most out of it. Let us visit the Lake of Tears my friends, I promise you, you all will be the better for it!”

Lawrence Dabu led the party to the center of the city, to the beautifully deep blue of the lake. He had each party member partake of the clean, pure tasting waters of the Lake of Tears. Within a matter of minutes, each party member found their wounds healed. Lawrence then entrusted each party member with a single vial of the miraculous healing water.

“For times of dire need only, my friends,” remarked Lawrence.

Briek nodded as he accepted the gift. It went without saying that Lawrence would stay in Angsbad. The party left the city near midnight, heading south, towards Tallon. At their front was many acres of forest, and the endless secrets it hid.

--------------------------
Morning (next day), Northern Wilderness (The Prophet's City)

The freezing cold temperatures and extreme gusts of the north were of no consequence in the Prophet's City. The Essence Crystal created a dome of protection from the extreme elements. Within the protective dome, only the greenest grass and purest waters resided. Built upon this beautiful land were buildings of steel, incorporating technology beyond reckoning. Giant pumps and purifiers ensured clean drinking water for all, fire was no longer needed, as every house was lighted by Essence, and heated by the miraculous resource as well. In the light of the rising sun, the silver city would blind all who looked upon its illustrious architecture.

In the middle of this advanced city, was a spire that rose up from the ground- a great monument that stretched skyward thirty stories. It housed the Prophet and his personal guard. Also upon each floor was a chapel, dedicated to the Prophet's God- Zarach. And from the thirtieth floor of the spire, on which the Prophet's private quarters were placed, protruded a lavish balcony on which the Prophet was to give his address. Using the powers of Essence, the Prophet augmented his voice.

"My children! Zarach looks on us with pride! His crystal gives us strength, his words guide us! He has given unto me, infinite wisdom! I have seen the past! I have seen the future! Follow me into this, our shattered future, and you will emerge untouched in Zarach's endless benevolence!"

The crowd of hundreds cheered him, the Prophet was the center of life in the city. Prayer and faith were daily rituals, and the Essence Crystal was revered as a gift from the Gods. The Prophet had seen legitimate visions of the future, visions of a shattered world. It was only a matter of time before the vision came true.
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Re: Tales from Evanotia: Episode 1-The Mirror IC

Post by Ruu on Tue Jul 19, 2011 11:26 pm

Alexander looked quietly at the endless rows of trees in front of them, shivering slight as he drew his enchanted cloak more tightly around his body. The water from the miraculous lake had healed his wounds, and even the blazing fire in his leg had vanished to a dull ache. What hurt the most was the feeling of shame, deep in the pit of stomach. Alester's words still haunted him, bringing tears to his eyes, tears he would hastily try to wipe away.

You COWARD...This hopelessness you bring upon us...you can have it all to yourself kid...a man is worth nothing if he fails when he's most needed...

Had Alester misinterpreted his act as a hopeless one? Alexander had meant it merely to serve as a distraction. He had hoped that if the Knight had lowered his guard for just a moment, Alexander could have gathered some of the essence of Light into the place, giving the others a chance. The young Prince certainly hadn't meant to go with the Knight, though he would have gone if no other alternative had presented itself. Besides, if everyone had died, what purpose would that have served? Better for him to be captured and in hope of rescue that all of his friends dead. Somehow, he doubted Alester would see it that way. Besides, Alexander had given up rather quickly. Caeus would have been shamed. And yet...were these really his friends? People who threw him out windows and punched him? But they had fought tooth and nail to keep him from the White Knights. Truly Alexander did not know exactly what the enigmatic group had in store for him. Caeus had mentioned something about being a puppet for the regent, but something more sinister, something deadly spurred their dark purpose, he was sure of it...

Moments later, Alexander gently tapped Alester's shoulder, eyes glittering with unshed tears.

"S-Sir...I'm sorry, " he said in a voice softer than the breeze blowing through the fields, "What I did...was inexcusable. I should not have just given up myself. I thought if I did that none of you would be hurt. Or I thought perhaps it would give us just enough time for someone to come up with a plan. But I was wrong. My actions were cowardly and shameful, and for that I apologize. I am not well versed...in the arte of true combat. My...guardian disappeared before I ever was involved in a real battle. But I do thank you...all of you for protecting me even when I could not help myself."
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Re: Tales from Evanotia: Episode 1-The Mirror IC

Post by Torturous Flame on Tue Jul 26, 2011 12:41 pm

Mariel had happily stowed the vial of water from the Lake of Tears in one of her pockets. The lake water had mostly returned her strength to her. As others drank the water and were healed she had slipped away to fetch her and Clytie's packs and bid a hasty farewell to the witches who housed them. They had seemed glad that Mariel was on her way, something she was used to from coven witches.

Even though most of her strength was back, Mariel still looked worn. Her brown eyes appeared dull and she lacked her usual spring in her step. Harming others did a number on all witches, even if it was in defense of someone who needed protection. She looked over at Alex's distressed face and sighed a bit. She walked over and gently put an arm around him, part of her cloak laid crossed his shoulders. She smiled at both of them, though the dullness in her eyes remained.

"Listen to me, both of ye'. Cowards run away and do nothin' to aid others. They take what they can an' run when the goin gets tough. Alex here ain't a coward. We witches say that a Witchmother aint nothin without her coven, a good Witchmother sacrifices herself for the coven, for she is replaceable and the coven is not." She said softly to them.

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Re: Tales from Evanotia: Episode 1-The Mirror IC

Post by Mojave Wanderer on Wed Jul 27, 2011 12:29 pm

This is the life I chose, Dyala thought as she held on to the necklace that she had obtained in the cities so many years ago. The forests had not been very safe recently. There had been lots of movement and many recent attacks on nearby tribes that lived in these forests. She knew some of these attacks were connected with one source, but the world had become a more dangerous place. Luckily she was used to the dangers of the forest but she always feared for others. Not all that entered these woods had escaped alive.

Dyala could hear some movement from the path not to far away. She looked through the thick plants to see a small group of travelers. The group was moving quickly, seeming determined to reach whatever destination it was that they searched for in good time. She was a bit afraid to approach a group this large so she waited and followed for some amount of time. They may have noticed something there but she was sure that none had seen her yet. The group was approaching dangerous territory, she would either have to let them go or stop them. She didn’t have it in her to just let them die. She stepped out in a small open space above the group and yelled “Stop! What is your business in these woods? State it now and turn around for the road ahead is unsafe. You do not want to disturb what lurks ahead.”

Dyala could tell that her sudden appearance had made this group wary of her, but she did not lie. She hoped they would listen, or atleast not take of running or attack her like most other groups. If they were to continue, surely a few would die.
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Re: Tales from Evanotia: Episode 1-The Mirror IC

Post by striDer on Wed Jul 27, 2011 3:54 pm

Looking at his companions, Alester couldn't help but let out a huffed chuckled as he removed his shirt and mail to wash his wounds in the lake.

-That must be nice: finding comfort in thinking someone's replaceable.-

After Alester removed his chain mail, both Mariel and Alex would pose their eyes on his heavily toned body and discover the multiple scars which spread along his torso and back. Some of them even seemed to have been more painful than the wound on his shoulder.

-Soldiers fight wars for their leaders and for those who they strive to protect.- he continued, cupping his hands together to take some of the water -A good soldier knows there's always a chance he or she might not come back from battle, thus making them expendable.- lifting his gaze, Alester looked straight into Mariel's eyes - "Replaceable", as you so kindly put it, young miss. But what happens when the aforementioned soldier is someone else's brother, someone's friend, someone's father...someone's lover.-

As he pronounced those last words, Mariel would notice a deep yearning in Alester's eyes before he turned away to look at his shoulder.

-All I'm saying is, though your Witchmother may be replaceable, the person she is will never be. So don't go around thinking such heroic sacrifices are not a terrible loss for this world. Always fight to ensure that both your Witchmother and the coven come back all right.-

After washing his injuries, Alester got dressed again and walked past Alexander, ruffling the young man's hair as he did.

-And you, we can't have you trampling into such perilous adventures without proper versing in the "arte of true combat"; you'll get us both killed. From now on, I'll take care of your training.-

Treading back to Briek and the others, Alester left Mariel and Alex alone to their thoughts.

...

Later after midnight, once the group had departed, Alester made sure to stand close to Alex at all times. He was not about to leave the young prince unprotected, specially when such dangerous foes were after them. However, just as they were about to go into the woods, the appearance of a strange woman interrupted what seemed to be an uneventful start to their journey.

“Stop! What is your business in these woods? State it now and turn around for the road ahead is unsafe. You do not want to disturb what lurks ahead.”
-And just "what" is it that lurks ahead, if you don't mind us asking, miss?- Alester inquired as he stepped in front of Alex, always considering the possibility that the lady's warning might just be part of an elaborate trap, such as a bandit raid.
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Re: Tales from Evanotia: Episode 1-The Mirror IC

Post by Rusty Wings on Wed Jul 27, 2011 5:14 pm

Clytie walked in silence with the group, gazing around at her new companions with awe, wondering how it was that her situation continued to get more curious by the second. She had listened to the conversation passed between the others with the same quiet curiosity she now traveled with, and she mulled over the little fragments of information this listening had revealed to her; the immense weight on the boy Alexander's shoulders, the customs and beliefs of Mariel's kind, what seemed to be dark memories lurking behind Alester's eyes. How was it that she, so plain and so fearful, had ended up among such dynamic, powerful people? And, more importantly, why?

She stuck by the old wanderer, Briek, who seemed to be the unappointed leader of their little troupe, still walking in ponderous silence. Then a figure appeared before them so suddenly that Clytie let out a little gasp and took a step toward hiding behind Briek before she forced herself not to. No. No more hiding. If you're going to travel this path, you're going to have to learn to be brave. You're going to have to fight. She composed her features into an impassive mask and tried to look at the one who barred their path through the debilitating haze of fear. The woman was slight and fierce and didn't seem to mean them any harm; she was warning them against some danger. While that was awfully kind of her, Clytie was learning fast not to trust so easily, and she was glad when Alester questioned her and moved to guard Alex. Thinking along the same lines as the assassin, Clytie felt the hilt of one of her throwing knives, steeling herself for combat, in case that was what it came to.
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Re: Tales from Evanotia: Episode 1-The Mirror IC

Post by Artorius on Fri Jul 29, 2011 7:57 pm

Briek was very much thinking along the same lines as Alester. Surely, this was some sort of trap.

"Yes! Speak now, woman!" urged the warrior.

As he said so, he drew the sword he had taken from the White Knight. It was of excellent make, black steel as they called it. It would not bend, crack, or break unless under extreme heat. Briek nodded at Alester, as if telling him to draw his weapon as well. The forest was a dangerous place

“They aren’t the same,” replied Dyala to both Alester and Briek. "Something has changed them. They have been attacking the local villages, murdering anyone who isn’t lucky enough to get away. They kill anything that isn't their kind and they have been in that area ahead for a long time. If you move ahead upon this road you will surely die."

"Who isn't the same? Stop speaking in riddles, woman."

"I do not speak riddles, they kill anything. They have not changed their forms for a long while. They have gone insane, worse than the wild animals that roam these forests."

The woman revealed a long scar running down her leg. "I tried to heal one many days back and when I turned, it grabbed by leg leaving this scar. I had my bow nearby so I grabbed it and shot an arrow into its head. I know where the body is, I can show you"

Briek warily accepted the offer, opting to follow the frail woman deeper into the forest. The hairs on the back of the wanderer’s neck rose, it felt that every step they took was being watched. Every twig snap, scurrying rodent, or falling leaf set Briek on edge. Finally, the party reached a forest clearing. Against a thick tree stump was slouched the body of a beast. The beast’s head rested below its shoulders, embedded in its skull was an arrow, lodged right at the crown of its head. It was strange, how the massive beast was felled by a single bolt. Dyala looked at the party’s leader with an “I told you so,” type of look. Briek simply wrote it off, he didn’t have time for her games. Yet, she had made her point, for now at least, she was trustworthy.

“Follow me,” she ordered

The forest guardian was careful; she avoided the inevitable werewolf pack. At this point in the journey, the party couldn’t afford another tough fight, stealth was their greatest ally.
The party continued through one of Tallon’s forests, it was thankfully an uneventful journey. However as night approached, Briek could see smoke in the distance. The inhabitants of Tallon did not use roads, for they could not bring themselves to do the required clearing of space. The tribal inhabitants of Tallon were so in tune with nature that it was rumored that for every tree that was defiled or wasted, a Tallonite could feel its pain. As such, the Tallonites were never wasteful, and always considerate of nature. Yet, as the party journeyed closer to the Enolan border, they would notice the difference in attitude toward nature. The forest became thinner and the land seemed to scream in agony. The wildlife of Tallon was abundant. Deer, hogs, and much more pranced about the greenest land in Evanotia. While the party continued on they would notice rabbits and squirrels scurrying out of the way of their feet.

Soon enough, the three companions drew close to the black smoke which Briek had spotted earlier. Briek grew anxious, he was ready to stop and rest, and whether he had to sleep in a native’s tent or one of their log huts didn’t matter to him. He already assumed they had warmth, courtesy of the fire smoke, he only guessed at what food would be available. In his anxiousness, Briek ran on ahead of the party.

“My god…”

Briek’s mouth hung open in amazement. He had arrived at one of the forest sanctuaries. In countless Evanotian tales, they had been rumored to be beautiful, full of life, and feel genuinely magical. Yet, what beauty could Briek derive from a scorched settlement. In place of the once beautiful sanctuary was an Enolan flag planted in the ground. It was deceptively beautiful- a hunter green outline bordered a solid black flag, and in the center was a dove spreading its wings against a golden sun. Betraying its sinister purpose, the flag was surrounded by severed heads. The appearance of the Tallonites was unmistakable: lightly tanned, creamy coco colored skin, hazel colored irises, and long black, rough hair. The Enolan border was pushing northwards.
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Re: Tales from Evanotia: Episode 1-The Mirror IC

Post by Torturous Flame on Sat Jul 30, 2011 12:43 am

Mariel had drawn her staff and clicked the blades out. She had dropped to the back of the group to make sure no one snuck up behind them. Because of this she was the last to see the ruined settlement. She was a Tallonite herself, though her native village was farther south, in the desert/plains part of the small country. So seeing the flag twisted her gut into knots.

"Oh my Goddess..." The witch whispered.

Her fingers flew crossed her body to form a pentagram (similar to someone making the sign of the cross). The poor woman looked like she was about to get sick. She stood silently and stared at the bodies for a few minutes before her personality kicked in. Though as she began to fret, tears were still in her eyes.

"How long have these been here?!" Mariel demanded. "Those heads need to be matched with their bodies and buried properly."

The witch's hands still shook as she removed some vials, containing bay leaves and crumbled ceder wood, as well as candles.

"The unnatural death needs to be purified from the ground." She said. "We should stay nearbye tonight. I have my tent and there should be a second...it should be enough room for all of you. The forest should provide sufficient food, I imagine everything in the village has gone bad. "
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Re: Tales from Evanotia: Episode 1-The Mirror IC

Post by striDer on Sat Jul 30, 2011 12:38 pm

Alester felt his heart sink as soon as he contemplated the ravaged settlement, though he would hide his emotions from the rest. Only Alex would know how he felt, as their bond transmitted more than physical pain.
Offering a prayer, the assassin knew Mariel was right about the burials. However, he doubted Enolan soldiers would be so merciful to leave the Tallonites' bodies undefiled, probably piling them somewhere to make a pyre. Enolans were perfectly aware of Tallonian culture and would do anything in their power to shame their enemies, also instilling fear in those who remained alive.
Treading towards the Enolan flag, Alester found it horribly difficult to recognize some of his friends among the severed heads. This only fueled his desire for revenge.

-"Ek' dahl t'lah vos. Haldros m' enohtat t'lehi eht k'ohmei..." (Forgive me, friends. May Haldros watch over you in the next life...)- he pronounced in the Tallonite's language, which only Mariel would understand. Then, with a rage-filled bellow, Alester pulled the flag from the ground and tossed it into a nearby fire.

-I swear...- said the assassin, speaking to no one in particular as he watched the sun in the Enolan insignia come alive to burn the dove -I will not rest 'til the edge of my sword rests in Grand Regent Skoll's mangled corpse!-

Thereafter, Alester walked past his companions to take a seat at the base of a tree, where he remained silent, just watching the flames consume it all.
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Re: Tales from Evanotia: Episode 1-The Mirror IC

Post by Ruu on Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:48 pm

Alexander had listened to Mariel's words gratefully. She was such a cheerful woman and her words brought him some comfort. Though he still was not sure if he had acted honorably. He had learned much from his mentor, but being sheltered from the world for so long, he had actually learned quite little of the social aspect of life. He was by no means reclusive, but he wasn't always sure how to act in certain situations. He noticed too that Mariel seemed weary. He worried for her, but he didn't realize how exhausted the light in his own eyes was as well.

He turned back to Alester as the man spoke, his eyes widening at the sight of the scars that lined his body. The assassin must have been through so much. He had seen combat and horrors that Alexander couldn't understand...yet....For this journey was doing much and would continue to do much to change the young boy. He agreed with the older man's words, knowing he would never want anyone to sacrifice themselves for him. He realized what a hypocrite he would sound like if he tried to waive the notion for himself. If he didn't wish others to sacrifice themselves, why should he try to do the same? Then again...these people were so important. His life was nothing comparatively. He was an heir without a claim to the throne at the moment. Who could possibly care for his life except for Caeus...and now even his mentor was gone. But he also began to realize that these...his new found friends...They cared for him now...If he died, perhaps it would create a hole in their hearts. But still...they weren't sure of Skoll's intentions, right? The Knight hadn't been about to kill him. He could have easily done the deed if that was his purpose. But he hadn't...Then what did they want him for? Alexander shuddered, not wanting to think about it.

When Alester returned and ruffled his hair, promising to help him learn the arte of true combat, Alex felt much better, his boyish grin returning.

"I promise I'll train really hard," he said enthusiastically, "I want to be even just a little bit as good as you are at fighting. I...I couldn't even defend myself."

Later as they walked, Alex's spirits continued to rise. His new friends weren't angry at him. There hadn't been anymore punches or being thrown from the window. They were going to succeed in their adventure! He just knew it! He looked quietly around the small group, already so dear to him. Mariel with her compassion and refreshing outlook on life, much like a mother. Briek, battle-hardened mercenary, with a knack for leadership, like a caring father or older brother. Alester, those secrets behind his eyes, the bond between them, almost brotherly in a way. Young Clytie, two years his junior, quite and shy. Though he hadn't quite got to know her as much as he would like, he felt as if she could be like a younger sister. Was this what it felt like to have a family? The thought excited and awed him at the same time...

While he was still musing, a strange woman appeared, words of warning on her lips. Alex hesitated as Alester stepped in front of him, waiting quietly, patiently. Alex followed Alester closely when they began to move, shivering at the thought of werewolves. Great beasts, Caeus had told him stories of even Draconians becoming wary when approaching a pack. He prayed they would not run into the ferocious creatures. And yet...there was more to worry about than feral werewolves. As they walked, Alexander's connection to natural Essence began to increase, though not in a good way. He felt sick to his stomach, as if the entire land were groaning with pain, screaming at some monstrous atrocity. His breathing became heavy and he began to see spots. What was the matter with him? They couldn't afford this distraction, especially because it would put both himself and Alester out of commission. When the young Prince thought he couldn't go on any longer, they stumbled upon the clearing. The smoke hadn't boded well, and the sick feeling portended of a great disaster.

The shocking loss of life in what should have been a place of unmatched beauty nearly knocked the wind from Alex. He could only sink to the ground as the others expressed their grief. The heads were terrible...but the knowledge that his own countrymen...the very Regent acting in his father's name..were committing such terrible atrocities. Alex felt Alester's heart sink, a great display of emotion for the usually stoic assassin.

"H-how...how could they do this?" he breathed, "No...how could...how could he be such a monster to order this? This...this is outrageous! When...when I return to the throne he will receive justice, I swear it!"

He turned to the shaking witch, his eyes filled with regret and sadness...

"Y-yes...they do deserve a proper burial. Please...can I help? I have some skill in Essence and my mentor taught me the sacred rites for the repose of the poor souls."

His glance then fell back to Alester, sitting at the base of the tree. He wanted to go over to comfort the man, but he had no words for comfort himself...It would probably be best to allow Alester to be alone for a little while. After all...Alex couldn't shut out his own emotions, much as he wanted to spare Alester the extra pain...
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Re: Tales from Evanotia: Episode 1-The Mirror IC

Post by Rusty Wings on Sat Jul 30, 2011 9:20 pm

"Mother Sky!" Clytie yelped, immediately turning her back on the carnage, her hands flying to cover her mouth and nose as her eyes filled with tears. She had been following the others closely, but she fell back at the horrible smell of death, a smell her recent adventures were making sickeningly familiar. She was overwhelmed by grief and hopelessness. Her family, the citizens of Fossa, probably Marik, and now these poor Tallonites... suddenly death was everywhere she turned. How was she supposed to stay strong in the face of all this?

She closed her eyes and took a steadying breath, forcing herself to calm down. She whispered a quick prayer for the dead ("Father Tide gather your children. Mother Sky give them rest.") before she turned around, hastily wiping her eyes. "I'll help, too," she croaked. As little as she relished the thought of going any closer to the grotesque sight, she wanted to make sure these people got the rites they deserved. She moved forward to stand solemnly next to Alexander and waited for any instruction as to how she could help.
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Re: Tales from Evanotia: Episode 1-The Mirror IC

Post by Mojave Wanderer on Sat Jul 30, 2011 11:39 pm

“The life must be cycled!” Dyala yelled as she moved towards the pile of bodies. She pulled her arms out in front of her and closed her eyes. She began to motion the essence into her own body, then allowing it to move to nearby life. The plants around seemed to move closer as they began to absorb what essence remained in the bodies. It saddened Dyala to see all this life now gone, but she knew that it was better for all of life to receive this essence that would not be used.

Dyala could feel the essence flow into her as her weariness disappeared and she felt her strength return after that long journey through the forest. It was the way of her people to absorb the essence of the living or recently deceased, and release that essence back to the life. The bodies remained in their place, seemingly unchanged after this long process had completed. Dyala couldn’t tell how much time had passed, it felt like minutes but it could’ve been hours. She turned back towards her companions, not knowing if they would have approved of this behavior. She knew many other cultures had never accepted her Nazerian ways, but she hoped maybe for once this would be different. She hoped that maybe someone would understand why she did what she did, and would someday accept her for it.
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Re: Tales from Evanotia: Episode 1-The Mirror IC

Post by Artorius on Mon Aug 01, 2011 1:24 am

After Dyala had cycled what was left of the essence in the Tallonite corpses, Briek, with the help of Mariel, went about gathering the severed heads. As best as the pair could, they matched the heads with the charred Tallonite corpses, it was almost some pathetic attempt at a peacetime burial as each body was placed in a separate grave and marked by a twig with fabric on it. It was the best the group could do. Shortly thereafter, the party helped to set up Mariel’s tents. The white canvas of the tents helped to insulate them well, keeping in the heat and saving them from the harsh winter cold. Before the party rested, Briek conversed with Alester; Alester would take the first watch and Briek the second. And so it was that the rag tag bunch fell into a quick sleep.

-----------------------------------------------------------
The hours passed by like minutes and soon enough nightfall came. Under this cloak of night, the party would seek entry into Enola. The party quickly packed up, and then on foot, continued southward. They quickly reached a border town, in which a traveling mercantile caravan had stopped. Briek took no hesitation before approaching what seemed to be the leader of the caravan.

“Excuse me, sir.”

The man was strange; he probably came from across the sea. He sported a handle-bar mustache, a receding hairline, and wore strange clothes as well. He wore a purple jumpsuit and a turtle-shell for a hat. The rest of the caravan was similarly strange dressed.

“Oh, why hello there, good boy! Good day, or rather night to you! We have exotic wares of all types- armor, weapons, jewelry for those pretty women over there!”

Briek’s face remained stoic; he wasn’t there to buy anything. After a few seconds passed by, the smile on the merchant’s face faded.

“I do say, what ever is the matter, boy?”

“I’m not here to purchase anything; I’d just like to accompany you southwards, if that is indeed your path. I can offer the protection of my party for coin,” offered Briek.

The merchant seemed a little offended at Briek’s statement, and puzzled as well.

“Good sir, this path is the safest trading route this side of the Great Continent.”

Briek groaned- this wasn’t going to be easy. He leaned towards the merchant to be within whispering distance.

“Look here, merchant,” Briek laid his hand on his sword. “Do you see this?” asked Briek as he unsheathed the long-sword.

The sword was that which he had retrieved after the party had injured the White Knight. It was of excellent make, an enchanted long-sword crafted of black steel, and it had probably been forged in the hot furnaces of Fester. The wanderer presented it to the merchant.

“I’ll give you this if you allow us to travel with your caravan southwards towards Enola.”

The caravan leader looked astonished, the weapon was worth more than a trip to Enola.

“Why do you want to come with us so badly? Are you outlaws?” asked the strange merchant.

Briek shook his head, “No, we simply wish to avoid the public eye. You see my friend over there,” Briek pointed to Clytie.

The merchant nodded.

“She is the most renowned female bard on the entire continent. Her fans would give anything to touch her. So you see, going into such big cities as those in Enola pose great risks to her safety and privacy,” explained Briek.

The merchant continued to nod his head; it seemed he was buying the story. He didn’t even ask for any further explanation.

“I’ll tell you what, friend! For a celebrity of her standing, the trip’s free! The name is Bob by the way! But you can call me Bobby,” cheerily said the merchant.

“I don’t think that will be necessary,” said Briek as he walked away.

On his way to deliver the good news to his comrades, Briek stealthily pilfered a lute from one of the caravan’s carts and placed it under his cloak. Upon reaching the party Briek told them of their good fortune.

“…but you have to carry this at all times, Clytie,” said Briek as he handed her a lute. “You might want to come up with some rhymes too… you’re supposed to be a bard.”

With that statement, Briek hopped into one of the horse drawn wagons and drew his hood; he was tired because he had taken the second watch. The un-appointed leader of the party fell fast asleep; he knew the journey to Alexander’s ancestor’s tombs would be a lengthy one.

-----------------------------------------------------------
It wouldn’t be long before the caravan stopped in a neighboring city. One after the other they continued to pass through the various cities and districts throughout the huge Enolian territory. However, upon evening after two days, they finally arrived in Dandill, the birthplace of Alexander’s ancestors. It wasn’t quite as grand as one would imagine, but few knew of the rise of the Drakenguard bloodline. Long ago, a blacksmith’s son had staged a rebellion against the tyrant of Enola, a bloodline that had come from across the great sea. In time, the rebellion succeeded, and the blacksmith’s son, the first Drakenguard king, was named to the throne. The Drakenguard kings never forgot their humble roots, and as such, their crypt was located in the Dandill’s public cemetery.

The city of Dandill is what some would consider a slum. Most of the houses were made of red brick with straw or wooden roofs. In most cases, the houses were missing a brick or two, and in its place was stuffed linen cloth. The shops all seemed to have low quality wares at exuberant prices. Lastly, the residents of Dandill were clothed in bland brown leggings, white wool tunics, and brown leather shoes. Occasionally, a citizen would have a hat, gloves, and scarf, and some women wore dresses instead of leggings. However, the cold weather discouraged most from wearing anything less than that.

Briek stepped out of the horse drawn wagon and onto the muddy road. Dandill was certainly in a state of decay, perhaps a microcosm for the larger state of Enola itself. When the party finally gathered in the town centre, Briek spoke to them.

“Alex’s family crypt is located in the public cemetery, other than that I can’t direct us at all. I suggest we split up to find the crypt. Dyala can come with me. Alester and Mariel, you two go by the eastward road. Alex and Clytie, you take the westward road. We’ll meet back here in a couple hours. Report what you find, and do stay out of trouble, we don’t need any attention drawn to us.”
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Re: Tales from Evanotia: Episode 1-The Mirror IC

Post by Rusty Wings on Mon Aug 01, 2011 6:09 pm

The burial and honoring of the dead Tallonites was depressing, exhausting work, and Clytie was bone tired when it was over. Once the tents were up and Clytie was sheltered in the warmth of one of them she fell asleep the moment she laid her head down and slept, well, like the dead.

---

Once night fell she was shaken back into wakefulness; they were going to pack and set off under cover of darkness. Clytie rubbed her eyes, yawned, then set about packing, and soon the party was off again, trudging southward in the frigid night. When they reached the border town and Briek approached the leader of a mercantile caravan Clytie looked on curiously, trying to figure out what he was talking to the man about, wondering if maybe he was buying something. Then he returned and explained the situation, tacking onto the end that Clytie was, apparently, a bard. She smiled at that, her first genuine smile since she'd first stumbled upon these men, and took the lute graciously.

"I'll do my best," she promised Briek, excited to have a job to do, even just a small one like this. She wanted desperately to prove to this group that she wasn't just so much extra baggage; she wanted to be useful, to belong somewhere. If the first step toward proving that was pretending to be a bard, then so be it. She could play a few simple chords on the lute and could sing passing well. She would make it work.

She hopped into the back of one of the wagons and was immediately surrounded by merchants begging to hear a rhyme or two. She laughed charmingly, as if she got this all the time, while her mind raced to think of what she would sing. She settled for a lullaby her mother used to sing her, hoping it was at least a regional thing and that none of these people had heard of it. It turned out to be a smash hit and she blushed and laughed at the overwhelming response, but when they clamored for another she refused sweetly on the grounds of being tired from a long journey. They were more than understanding and left her pretty well alone after that. She smirked to herself and allowed herself to take a little nap as a reward. She thought this leg of the journey would be a fun one.

---

Two days later they arrived in Dandill, birthplace of the Drakenguards. You wouldn't think it, though, looking at the place. Clytie had heard the glamorous rags to riches tale of the Drakenguards' ascension to power; everyone had. She supposed she'd just expected the city to be doing a bit better, with a line of kings to its claim and all.

She hopped off of the carriage she'd chosen, smiling and blowing kisses at the accommodating merchants before joining the rest of their troupe in the town center to figure out what their next step would be.

“Alex’s family crypt is located in the public cemetery," Briek said once they were all assembled. "Other than that I can’t direct us at all. I suggest we split up to find the crypt. Dyala can come with me. Alester and Mariel, you two go by the eastward road. Alex and Clytie, you take the westward road. We’ll meet back here in a couple hours. Report what you find, and do stay out of trouble, we don’t need any attention drawn to us.”

Clytie nodded solemnly, then turned to Alex, smiling shyly and pushing a strand of her hair behind one ear. "Ready when you are," she said.
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Re: Tales from Evanotia: Episode 1-The Mirror IC

Post by Ruu on Mon Aug 01, 2011 7:31 pm

Alexander allowed his Essence to flow, cleansing the area as he did so, trying to immerse himself in the wild, free nature of the spiritual forces. When they were finished, he sunk into an exhausted slumber.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As they trudged onward, Alex somehow could not find the joy he had felt only a day earlier. The sight of the dead bodies had sobered his carefree spirit, and grief at the actions of his countrymen overwhelmed him. How could they be so cruel? Was this where the Regent was taking the country? Caeus had always said the Regent had been a bad egg, but this went far beyond what Alex could imagine. He had seen death a few times now...but it still never ceased to shock him. Would part of his training be to become used to the sight of death? No...no one should ever become accustomed to such wanton destruction. Death was natural, yes, but not the kind inflicted on or by others.

His thoughts were startled as Briek began a conversation with a merchant, a conversation that ended with Clytie having to play the part of a famous minstrel and the entire party receiving a free ride, and a clever disguise. No one would suspect them entering Enola with a merchant.

For two days they traveled through various cities, and Alexander always kept out a watchful eye for the Knights. If they were ambushed here in Enolan territory...But those dire thoughts did not come true and soon they arrived in Dandill. Alexander's heart soared as they entered the lowly village. Caeus had told him stories of Dandill, where the great Drakengards had arisen from seemingly nothing. Alexander could not but help feeling a sense of pride at his ancestors accomplishments, and a wish to make them proud and to be worthy of the blood flowing through his veins. Home...this felt like Home, almost as much as the Forest Sanctuary. Essence could flow freely in this tiny hamlet, unsullied by the touch of reckless humans, and Alexander could feel the power inside him double in strength, He felt as if he was connected to the entire earth, almost as if his body was an extension of it. He felt powerful, and the effect was dizzying and almost terrifying. He reached to touch his father's sword, resting in its scabbard at his side, the sword that was said to contain the very essence of sunlight. Only one of the Drakengard line could draw it, and its power was said to increase tenfold in the light of the morning sun. For now, however, there was no need for swords. Alex nodded when Briek split them up, intending for them to find his family's crypt. It would be a bit...frightening to be honest, but it would also be awe-inspiring to visit the place of his departed ancestors. Perhaps they would have answers...Shaking away his thoughts, he smiled his boyish grin as Clytie spoke.

"I'm ready as well, my lady. I am glad to have you as a companion," he said, bowing his head slightly.


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Re: Tales from Evanotia: Episode 1-The Mirror IC

Post by Torturous Flame on Wed Aug 03, 2011 10:10 am

Mariel did not sleep a wink that night. As her companions fell asleep she performed a quite Wiccan vigil service for the dead. AS she said the last prayer she lit enough candles for each dead Tallonite and stayed awake. She thought of her family, a few days travel south of here, and prayed that they were safe. The Flowering Cactus Coven had not had very good luck during this war thus far. When her companions rose the next morning, she helped them pack up and followed them to the next town.

~~~~~~

Mariel finally got a good nights rest once Briek got them passage with the caravan, though it took a bit of convincing. The people on the caravan realized she was a witch when they saw her necklace, so naturally they asked her questions and wanted her to tend to their ill. Mariel smiled and spent her first day brewing potions and doing simple healing spells. She then spoke to the couple who usually did the healing, about certain plants and some healing methods. After all this she finally was able to get some sleep.

The next morning she sat on the side of the wagon and watched the world go by. To her amusement she noticed that Clytie was enjoying her role as a bard. Mariel's stomach began to curdle as she thought ahead, of the battles that she knew would come. She knew she would have to harm more people as this adventure progressed. The thought made her stomach hurt, even now.

"All for the greater good though...right?"

Mariel commented to her Goddess. She did not really expect an answer, but it never hurt to ask. She soon turned her thoughts to Alexander. Briek had never out right said what exactly they were aiding them with, not to her anyway. But the boy, he was something special. Witches always said that the Goddess communicated through intuition, and hers was telling her that Alexander was important and needed to be protected. Then again she was hardly stupid. She had seen the crest around Alexander's neck, she realized who he must be.

"Things have gotten quite interesting, though it would be nice if I could protect without getting nauseas?" Mariel said to no one.

Nothing happened, she hadn't expected the Goddess to answer that prayer anyway.

~~~

THey arrived in the city, she noticed the slight change in Alexander. His Essence aura was dancing and sparkling, this made her smile. She too could feel the ancient magic of this place, it's wielders had done both terrible and marvelous things with it. She followed them into the graveyard. She heard her instructions to accompany Alester and nodded. She watched Alexander and Clytie's exchange amused her. She looked over at Alester.

"Let's begin then" Mariel said with a smile.
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Re: Tales from Evanotia: Episode 1-The Mirror IC

Post by Artorius on Sat Aug 06, 2011 5:14 am

Briek and Dyala wandered through Dandill, never saying much to each other. Briek did not care much for the company of others, unless they were someone he saw as important. Dyala was expendable to him. Pushing that thought aside, Briek was doing his best to find the crypt. He had talked to locals and listened in on bar conversations and the like, to no avail. He silently hoped that the rest of the party was doing better. As he continued southwards, he had just about reached the city’s limit before he saw the hind quarters of a small donkey trotting behind a small cottage. Feeding his curiosity, Briek motioned for Dyala to follow him towards the cottage.

As the two circled around the humble abode, they would notice a chubby woman clothed in rags atop the simple steed. The old hag had an eye patch as well as her fair share of wrinkles. Her glory days were long gone. She shifted on her donkey before eyeing the pair with her single optic organ.

“What be it, that ye need?” asked the hag.

“Information,” Briek said matter-of-factly.

“That be hard to come by these days,” shot back the old woman.

Briek groaned, he was short on patience these days.

“Do you know the whereabouts of the Drakenguard family crypt?” asked Briek.

The old woman dismounted and looked up to the pair; she must have been shorter than five feet!

“Come, I’ll serve some tea while you receive your information,” explained the woman.

Dyala walked forward seemingly far too eager to join the woman for tea. Briek lightly pressed his hand on Dyala’s shoulder, holding her back.

“No, I’m quite comfortable receiving it here, thank you,” communicated Briek.

The old woman turned around, noticeably irritated.

“I must insist,” she replied.

Briek noted her hostile tone. He wasn’t sure he wanted to drink her tea, but he needed to know where the crypt was. Cautiously, he accepted the woman’s invitation. As Dyala and Briek entered the woman’s hut, they’d notice it was indeed as small as it looked. There was only a single room in which was placed a brick fireplace, a straw bed covered in white linens and a thick fur blanket, several shelves, an oak table, and a flimsy book case. The little old woman hobbled over to the fireplace and retrieved a small kettle from the mantle.

“Sit, sit,” she urged.

Briek and Dyala each sat in rather small wooden chairs at the oak table, leaving two others vacant. As they did so, the woman filled the tea pot with water from a bucket which sat near the entrance to her home.

“The name’s Eyre, in case ye was wonderin’,” spoke the woman.

“I wasn’t,” harshly replied Briek.

The old woman just laughed as she placed the kettle above the flame. She sat to join the two adventurers as the water was heating up. The wooden floorboards creaked as she sat down. Likewise, her bones crackled almost in unison with the floorboards. It was as if she was one with her home.

“Ye know it’s not wise to go around asking where to find such an important crypt. People might git the wrong idea about ye.”

“Thanks for the advice now-“

Briek was soon interrupted by the screaming of the tea kettle. Eyre promptly got to her feet and wobbled over to the fire place where she scooped up the tea kettle and brought it over to the table. She served all three of them before placing the hot kettle on the table top.

“Drink up, its quality tea, I assure you,” reassured Eyre as she took a sip.

Briek completely ignored the little old woman as he continued to question her.

“Look, where is the damned crypt, that’s all I’d like to know,” burst Briek.

Eyre didn’t look the least bit pleased at his outburst and slammed her small tin cup on the table. Steaming hot tea escaped onto the surface as she yelled at Briek.

“DRINK YOUR TEA! It’s good for ye…”

Briek looked surprised; he was a little spooked at this point. Dyala simply sat there, monitoring the situation carefully. Briek raised the tin cup to his lips and simply let the hot tea touch them. He just wanted it to appear as though he had taken a sip. He carefully wiped his lips before quietly awaiting Eyre’s reaction.

“Ye should learn to be more careful, there is a boy with you, yes?” inquired Eyre.

Briek tried to remain as calm as possible, though it was likely there was some shock painted in his gaze.

“No, I can’t say there is,” replied Briek.

“There’s no need to lie to me. I already know he’s ‘ere. There are others as well. They are following him. You really shouldn’t have left him all alone, with that poor little girl.”

Briek knocked over the table, and the seemingly harmless old woman. She lay on her back like a tortoise on his shell. Briek swiftly drew his sword and placed it at her neck. She only laughed as the swordsman threatened to take her life.

“Tell me what’s going on! NOW!”

“Its too late… Briek. They already ‘ave ‘im. Besides, you can’t fight it much longer. The aroma is too powerful.”

“What are you talking about, hag!?”

“You’ll see.”

Eyre managed a sinister grin as Briek’s senses were beginning to fail him- his vision was becoming narrower, and his muscles began to cramp, it seemed as if Eyre was talking from some distant place as he fell to the hut’s floor. Briek’s sword would let loose a metallic clang as it met the wooden floor. Dyala would do the same. Eyre chuckled as she rolled over and rose to her feet. It wouldn’t be long until her compatriots had gathered the boy, Alexander.
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Re: Tales from Evanotia: Episode 1-The Mirror IC

Post by striDer on Mon Aug 08, 2011 1:15 am

As they made their way through the city, Alester would stop every now and then to ask people about the local cemeteries. However, the task of finding the crypt would prove to be quite excruciating, as there were at least a dozen graveyards spread across Dandill, if not many more.
Alester would keep to himself most of the time, not too keen in speaking to Mariel about anything. Though, we would glance sometimes at her to make sure she was all right.
Mariel seemed perfectly content, just walking along. She paused once in a while to examine a plant. She seemed completely indifferent to his actions. Finally she paused. "He's special, that little Alex isn't he? His essence runs ancient"

Looking at her through the corner of his eye, Alester remained silent for a moment before answering.

-Why are you so interested? You just met him less than a week ago and you already treat him like a little brother. Either you're really good-willed or...-

He stopped at those last words. Obviously, the assassin was someone who'd learned not to trust anyone too easily.

"I am called as a witch, a priestess of the Mother, to love all. I am interested because dark times loom ahead, every time I bring harm to another living creature I break my oath. I wish to be sure I am not doing it, pointlessly." Mariel looked over to him as she said this, her eyes were burning with rage at the suggestion that she was lying to them. However, Alester's own gaze remained cold, unfazed by the young witch's anger. To him, all of them except for Briek were just a bunch of kids, far too young to know the true evils of the world.

-No one's making you come with us, little miss. You may leave whenever you want if our way of doing things displeases you.-

Her own steely glare matched Alester's cold one. "Violence, though terrible, is sometimes needed. If the boy is who I think he is, you will need me when the battles come. Please do not call me 'little miss' as if I was a child, I understand this world more than many." Though her anger showed in her brown eyes, her voice remained modulated and calm.

After listening to her, the assassin halted his march and glared at Mariel intently. Oddly enough, not even a minute went by before his expression softened up again.

-Just...don't get yourself killed.-

Treading forward again, Alester walked past her, and just like at the lake, Mariel would notice the same deep grief in his eyes.

"I don't plan on it" Mariel said softly. She walked faster to keep up with him "You never answered me."

Looking at her again, the assassin was about to answer when something behind Mariel caught his eye. At first he seemed confused, lost even, but after a few seconds, Alester's expression turned to concern as the voice of a man with an accent reached them from a few feet away.

-Eric, izzat you?-

Once Mariel turned around, she would see a peculiar-looking fellow not much older than herself. His platinum blond hair was slicked back in a smooth way, revealing his handsome features; an eyepatch over his right eye and a shit-eating grin on his face. What was more concerning, however, was the Enolan uniform he proudly wore with a captain insignia pinned upon his left breast.

-Vhy, it iz you! How long haz it been?-

As he inspected the man in front of them, Alester's cheeks began to lose all color. He could almost recognize him from a half-remembered dream.

-Do I know you?-

Taken aback by the question, the Enolan captain chuckled nervously as his eyes widened up slightly.

-Do you know me? Vell, I vould zay zo! Ve zerved together in ze military for ten years, then you zuddenly dizappeared!-

The news struck Alester like a bolt of lighting. He couldn't believe what he was hearing, he wouldn't. But this man seemed to know him somehow…

-Ah! And who's ze little lady?- inquired the officer as he rested both hands upon his knees to have a better look at the witch.
Mariel raised an eyebrow at the man. She put her hands on her hips. This revealed the curvy figure that usually hid beneath her thick and lumpy cloak.

"Who're you callin' a little lady?" Mariel said.

She glanced over at Alester, noting his discomfort.

Oh hoh! Vell, excuze me, I did not mean to offend.- said the captain with feign sympathy. It was then that Alester noticed the group of soldiers that had started to surround them. By the looks of it, their cover had been blown -Anyvay, on to businezz. Vhere's ze boy?-

Mariel looked over at Alester, she had gone a bit pale herself. Her brown eyes scanned the crowd. She slowly twisted the grip in the staff she had been using as a walking stick.

"Blessed mother, I must break my vow in defense of the defenseless....." she began.

-I vouldn't do zat if I vere you, "little lady".- the captain warned with a smirk -You zee, if me or my men come to harm, zo vill your friendz Briek and Dyala.-

Upon hearing this, Alester snapped out of his trance and frowned fiercely.

-Just who are you?-

Again, the captain seemed puzzled by Alester's ignorance. This time however, his bewilderment was accompanied by mockful laughter.

-Really? So you veren't mezzin' vith me? You really don't remember me at all? Ha ha! Zis iz pricelezz!- suddenly, the captain's expression turned severe -Let me refresh your memory, zen.-

Reaching for his face, the man slowly removed his eyepatch. What Alester and Mariel saw then would chill them to the bone, as beneath the black piece of leather, the eye of a dragon peered at them with feral intensity.

-My name iz Alezter Treshire, and I'll be your executioner!-

At once, the Enolan soldiers drew their swords and began their advance towards the duo.

"....forgive me and ensure them full recovery or peaceful death." Mariel finished.

The blades popped out of either end of her staff and she rested into a defensive position. She surged her essence into the ground, in search of plant life. She glanced over at Alester.
"And you were accusing ME of being a spy?"

Glancing at her, Alester turned his sight back to the captain as he drew his sword.

-No point in worrying about Briek and Dyala right now. If I die, so does Alex. We have to get out of here.-

Lunging at them, the soldiers' blades clashed with Alester's own, and though he was able to hold his ground, it wouldn't be long before their sheer numbers overwhelmed him.

"Well that’s just silly; we should try to help them too!" She responded

Mariel blocked a few blades with her staff, she made quick work of a few soldiers. However, as the grass rose to tangle the soldiers feet, Mariel began to falter. The concentration required to both fight and use her magic was hard to maintain. That, along with the churning in her gut that went along with causing pain, Mariel was not having an easy time.

"If you cover me I might be able to actually slow them down." she said.

-All right.-

As one of the soldiers came at him, Alester was able to dodge his strike before sinking his sword into the guard's body. Then, snatching the soldier's weapon from his hand, the assassin wielded two blades to make himself a path towards Mariel. Once by her side, he did his best to keep their opponents at bay.
Once she could properly concentrate, her essence dove into earth. Her essence filled the plants and they rose up. The feet of the soldiers tripped up and became caught in the grass and branches. The plant life fought alongside Alester and did it's best to keep him from being overwhelmed.

-Lets get out of here!- he exclaimed, looking at the man who had the same name as him through the vines.

Mariel nodded and did her best to use the plants to form them a path through the soldiers.

"Go!"

While making their escape, Alester always made sure Mariel was close behind him. However, as they turned around a corner to vanish from sight, he couldn't help but look at the captain once more in the distance. The feeling of dread he felt then could've been Alex's or his own, he didn’t know, but that man definitely made him uneasy for some reason.

-We have to look for Alex and Clytie.- he suggested. There was also the matter of Briek and Dyala, but that would have to be dealt with once they made sure the prince and Clytie were okay.
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Re: Tales from Evanotia: Episode 1-The Mirror IC

Post by Ruu on Mon Aug 08, 2011 11:28 pm

Alexander watched the others head off in different directions before turning to Clytie with a smile.

"I guess we'd better go then. This place...it just feels so charged with energy. It makes me happy to be here." Indeed, the sun was shining, the grass was green, the sky blue. Nothing could mar this perfect day!

Clytie smiled back bashfully. "Yeah," she said, starting to walk.

Her brow furrowed at his second statement, though.

"Yeah..." she said again, more vaguely. It was charged with energy all right, but happiness wasn't what Clytie felt here. She felt anxious, like something bad was coming, but she shook it off, chalking it up to her harrowing past few days.

"Is something wrong, Clytie?" asked Alex, noticing the sudden change in her eyes.

The girl blinked away her apprehensions and smiled brightly up at Alex. "Hm? No! Just thinking. Should we maybe ask someone for directions, then? I don't see any graveyards from here."

Alexander closed his eyes for a moment, connecting to his Essence briefly. It swirled and danced in a variety colors of his mind, but it all centered on one spot.

"Actually...I think I know where we need to go. I just can...feel it."

Clytie cocked her head to one side like a curious puppy, but didn't question this; she was actually relieved not to have to talk to any strangers. She'd just as soon avoid that unnecessary risk, especially since her companion was so important.

"I'll follow you, then," she said.

"Thank you, Clytie," said Alexander sincerely, "I'm glad you trust me."

He lead the way slightly, but was close enough to Clytie that he could talk to her without turning around completely. "That was some performance back on the road," he said with a smile, "That really helped us out of what could have been a bad situation."

Clytie gave a not-quite-ladylike snort of laughter, ocean eyes twinkling, "Thanks! I'm just glad I made the cut - never had to sing for anybody like that before. Can you imagine if I'd been bad?" She laughed again, even if it probably wouldn't have been funny had that happened. "Anyone can sing and make up some nonsense rhymes, though," she continued, looking up at the older boy, suddenly serious, "The way you were going to sacrifice yourself for all of us in Angsbad, that's really what's impressive."

The young Prince smiled once again, though it was a smile tinged with sadness. "I...just don't want people to get hurt because of me. They were after me, not the rest of you. I don't know exactly what they want with me, but I have an idea. Caeus, my guardian, he told me a little about them before he and I were separated."

Alexander's expression turned wistful for a moment before his gaze fell once more on the younger girl. "Did...Briek tell you anything about me?" he asked softly, "I feel that I should be truthful with everyone in our group, since all of you have been so good to me."

"Well, we're in Dandill looking for your family crypt," she said slowly, ducking her head self-consciously in case she had jumped to the wrong conclusion. "And all the stories say... I mean, what I sort of figured was..." She reluctantly met his gaze. "You're a Drakenguard, aren't you?"

Alexander nodded, having suspected that she had figured it out. Still, he wanted to be completely honest, no secrets. "Yes, I am Alexander Drakengard the Second. My...family was murdered when I was only a baby, but I was saved by my mentor. He raised me ever since then, only we were attacked by the White Knights and separated. I...wanted to find him but there is still no trace..."

Clytie nodded. "I'm sorry," she murmured. She was quiet for a moment, then, without her permission, she found herself continuing: "My family's gone, too. Well, dead, I mean." She felt her heart twist painfully behind her ribs at the reminder. Clytie always unconsciously shoved her emotions away, so when they resurfaced it was always a nasty surprise.

Alexander's eyes filled with compassion at Clytie's words. They both shared a sorrow, a sorrow that not every soul could understand. And Clytie's was even more painful, as she most likely remembered her family. He had no memories to speak of, except what Caeus had described to him. "I am sorry as well...But I'm sure if your family could see the brave things you are doing now
they would be quite proud of you."

She gave a humorless little laugh, avoiding Alex's eyes so he wouldn't see the tears brimming her own. "Yeah," she said distractedly, casting around for a change of subject so she could continue to shove her grief away. "We nearly there?"

Alexander could sense the turmoil and decided to drop the subject. When she asked if they were nearly there, Alexander took in his surroundings, noticing the old and broken gravestones. Ahead of them stood a modest monument, a gaping hole carved into the side of a hill. It was there that the energies of Essence were gathering. "There it is..." he began, but his voice trailed off.

In front of them stood a man, tall and strong, clad in the mail and garments of the Draconian people. For a moment, it seemed as if anger flared in his eyes before he smiled gently. "Alex, my boy, you have come as I knew you would." For a moment, Alexander felt an overwhelming urge to run, to embrace the guardian he had long thought dead. But the Essence...It was so negative...something wasn't right...

The moment she'd asked it had caught her eye, and she had been smiling triumphantly and walking with a bit more spring when Alexander's voice faded to nothing and she realized, if reluctantly, that something was wrong. She stopped walking and noticed for the first time the man in Draconian armor that barred their passage.
"Alex, do you know this man?" she asked under her breath, instinctively moving closer to the older boy.

Alexander stood in front of Clytie protectively as she moved closer to him. "No...I don't...this is not the man who raised me..." he said, his voice hard as steel.

The Draconian man took on a hurt expression, eyes wavering, "Come, my boy. After all I've done, you won't even recognize me. I don't want to stop you, I want to help you."

"You are not Caeus! Whatever you have done to him, you dishonor his memory with this...this cheap attempt at an illusion!" shouted Alexander, holding out his hand. The Essence flowed inside of him wildly, nearly uncontrollable. From his hand issued a thin beam of light, striking the Draconian and shattering it into a million pieces, for it had only been an image. A sound of harsh laughter followed quickly.

"I guess I win the bet. I told the others you wouldn't fall for such a simple parlor trick. Ah well...Looks like we're going to have to do this the hard way," said a voice as a man in white armor stepped from the shadows of the grave.

This man was different from the other White Knight, but he was still scarred and battle-hardened.

"Clytie...stay behind me..." whispered Alexander.

She didn't need to be told twice. She drew one of her throwing knives and stared at her hands until they lost their tremor. No more of this womanly fear. While Alex clearly had his own ideas about who would be defending whom, Clytie promised herself that she wouldn't let the knight get to him; he was the rightful heir to the throne and she was expendable. 'Father Tide keep me and Mother Sky preserve me,' she prayed silently.

The two barely had any time to react as the White Knight rushed at them with blinding speed. Fortunately, the Essence decided to react, clearly enraged at this blatant invasion of such a holy place. A large ground tremor rippled in front of them, knocking the Knight backwards.

Alex took that moment to close his eyes and envision the Essence as his mentor had taught him. Red Fire...the White Wind…Blue Water...The Green of Earth...Fire was so unpredictable...and the Earth was too damaged to be of much use. Wind and water...Wind could be a terribly destructive force, and Alex could feel the unpredictable Essence welling inside of him, but he had to do something. He would not sit idly by. Praying that it would work, he allowed the Essence to flow...to channel through him, creating a vortex of winds heading straight for the White Knight. The Knight, clearly surprised, was swept backwards continually. Unfortunately, so intent was Alex on the first Knight, he did not see the second sneaking stealthily behind them...

Clytie didn't hear the second knight's approach as much as she sensed it; something just wrong, the hairs on the back of her neck standing up. If she hadn't whirled about when she had, it could all have very well ended right then and there. As it was, she did turn, seconds before the knight's sword would have run her through, and she flung her knife with a speed and accuracy that surprised her just as much as it did the knight with a hilt know growing out of his shoulder. Unfortunately sticking him in the shoulder only served to slow him down and piss him off, and seconds later he had torn the blade from his arm and lunged at her again. She drew her longer knife and parried with it; the force of the man's blow made her whole arm tingle.

"Alex!" she cried as she parried another swipe, her bones absorbing another jarring shock of strength.

"Clytie!" cried Alex, turning his attention from the other Knight, floundering in the hurricane force winds.

The Essence pounded through his body, causing it to glow with a strange light. It was too much...too much...No! He had to stay strong! He would not succumb! Not when his friend was in danger! The anger...hot anger at the sight of his friend in grave danger, caused him to touch the power of fire without realizing it.

"Watch out Clytie! I can't...control it!" he cried, pushing her out of the way before a burst of extremely hot flame struck the Knight full in the chest. Clearly, he had spells of protection, otherwise the fire should have incinerated the man's body. As it was, the Knight was flung backwards.

"Impressive, young Prince, but you are on your way to a sudden death if you think you can harness Essence that way. Besides, if you don't calm yourself, we will be forced to destroy your friends. There will be no escape." A third voice called out, and a third Knight appeared.

Alexander's eyes widened and the aura about him lessened just a bit. "No..." he whispered. Why was this happening? How could there be so many? How could they have his friends? But...he could take them!

The power flowing through him seemed limitless, and he was only using a fraction of it. But...he knew Caeus wouldn't want this...He knew he couldn't control it yet. He could end up hurting his friends. Already the winds were out of his control, whipping about. Slowly, the aura faded from his body, his shoulders slumped.

Clytie lost her balance when Alex pushed her out of the way of the fire that should have roasted the knight she'd been trying to hold off. She skinned her elbow breaking her fall, but in her adrenaline-fueled state she didn't feel it. She pushed herself back to her feet and watched blind rage mar Alexander's features as the knights taunted him. "Alex, no!" she screamed, but he couldn't hear her.

She tried to run to him, but the winds his Essence was producing held her back just as effectively as it kept the White Knights at bay. The prince's aura faded, the winds died, and his muscles went slack. "ALEX!" She sprinted to the older boy and caught him by the shoulders before he could fall. The knights took their time closing in on them; these two no longer posed a threat to the hardened warriors.

"If you want him, you'll have to get through me!" Clytie shouted, her voice shaking through her attempt to sound menacing.

The Knights laughed, their voices gruff and terrifying. "You think you can protect him from three of the most feared warriors in the land, little girl? Think again!"

"C-Clytie..." whispered Alex, trying to stand so that she didn't have to support his weight, though his legs felt like jelly, "P-please...I...I..." What was he going to say? Ask her to leave him? Alester would be so disappointed. No..,There had to be another way...

"Clytie..." he whispered again as the Knights closed in, "I'm going to try to harness the Essence...one more time..even if it kills me...at least I'll die fighting...Not...a coward..."

"Don't you dare," she replied immediately. "You're more important, you have to live. I - I can hold them off, you have to go find safety, find the others." She was shaking like a leaf, but her eyes never wavered. "You have to."
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Re: Tales from Evanotia: Episode 1-The Mirror IC

Post by Artorius on Tue Aug 09, 2011 3:18 am

As the trio of White Knights were closing in on Alex and Clytie, resistance seemed futile. Two kids were powerless against such skilled and battle hardened warriors. The two youngsters could hear the clanking of the White Knights’ armor as they approached, but soon, the two would hear only silence. As they looked up, they would notice a figure looming over them. The whole of his right arm, and his left forearm were covered in articulated plate armor. The rest of his body was covered in rough leather hide and ring mail. Meanwhile, his face was covered in a bone mask which resembled the face of a dragon. Yet, his most defining characteristic was the massive sword he wielded; it was two feet across, six feet long, and impossibly hard to wield, it was the Slaughterer’s Star.

“It took me a while to catch up, I had some healing up to do. I hope I’m not too late.”

The legendary arena champion turned around to look on Alex and Clytie. No doubt the two would notice the White Knight’s heads had been severed by now. They couldn’t tell because of the bone mask, but underneath, Marik was smiling to himself. He was glad he had saved them, but even more happy to have saved their innocence. He didn’t want them to have to strike a killing blow, not yet.

“Glad to know you’re staying out of trouble, Clytie,” joked Marik.

Once again, the strong warrior offered his hand to the maiden. After she got to her feet, he would do the same for Alex.

“Now your highness, we must get going, there are others with you, right? We’ll wait for a short while, but then we need to get inside that crypt and get the hell out of Enola,” explained Marik.

------------------------------------
Eyre paced back and forth, her hands placed behind her back. She looked to Dyala and Briek, both of which were tied and gagged- their weapons lay several feet from them. The three were hidden under the hill inside of the Drakenguard family crypt. Through the stone walls, Eyre could hear the commotion outside. Suddenly, it went quiet. Eyre chuckled amusedly.

“Do ye ‘ear that? Sounds like ye friends ‘ave been apprehended,” cackled Eyre. “’Tis only a matter of time before ye are all dead,” threatened Eyre.

Briek thrashed about trying to break his bonds, but only managed to get the linen cloth out of his mouth.

“You’ll see soon, witch, you’re the one who’s going to end up dead, I swear it.”

The small, old lady smacked Briek firmly when the back of her hand met his face.

“You hit like a gir-“

At the butt end of his insult, Eyre planted her heel into his face, breaking his nose. Briek was surprised by her sudden show of dexterity, but maintained that she hit like a girl. No doubt his nose was broken, but he’d be dead before Eyre knew he felt any pain. The old lady only watched the helpless wanderer as blood trickled from his right nostril onto his face.

Skillfully, as the witch returned to her pacing, Briek began to wiggle the knife out of his boot. He kicked it up with his heel and into his hand. In doing so, he cut his palm, but held back any grimace so as not to alert Eyre. As quick as he could, Briek freed himself from his bonds. He quietly waited for his chance to pounce on Eyre. It would come sooner than he thought as the old woman heard footsteps approaching. She hobbled over to the crypt’s entrance. As she did so, Briek sprinted to his sword, he had no time to free Dyala, but he left his dagger near her hands.

The skilled wanderer gripped his sword and lunged at Eyre. He would find his sword had struck only what Eyre was wearing, she was nowhere to be found. Yet, in the blink of an eye Briek would feel her heel yet again strike his face, only with much more force this time. As Briek came to his senses, he would notice that Eyre was standing a few feet from him. The old hag was wearing a full suit of white plate armor, save for the helm, which she chose to forego. It seemed that she was a White Knight, and her weapon of choice was her own body. Her fists were blinding quick, but Briek parried as best he could. It was like her hands were made of stone! Each punch sent reverberations through his arms. The sword was of superior make, therefore it would last the battle, however, Briek’s arms were already starting to tire from the shock absorption.

“I can see it in ye eyes already, yer feelin’ the fatigue setting in.”

Briek took a swing at the old lady, but she flipped over his head and landed just behind him before delivering a painful kick into his spinal column. Briek grasped his back before stumbling to his knees. As Eyre approached him from behind Briek swung yet again. Eyre simply hopped back before sprinting at Briek and delivering a powerful blow to his sternum. Briek struggled to breathe as the air was knocked out of him. Yet, he continued to fight. Eyre would dodge and dodge and dodge, but finally, Briek trapped her in a corner. He used an overhead swing, hoping for the best. It wouldn’t be enough though, as Eyre slid underneath his legs and got to her feet just behind him sending another shockwave of power through Briek’s spine.

“Give up, ye stand no chance.”

“Gack!”

Briek cried out in pain, but knew nothing had been broken. Quickly, he let loose a volley of attacks- vertical and horizontal swings, overhead swinging, two handed power blows, and stabs. At the expiration of his assault Briek smiled. Eyre let loose a shrill scream as four of her right hand fingers were cut off. Briek simply let loose a little mid-battle banter.

“Bring it, bitch.”
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Re: Tales from Evanotia: Episode 1-The Mirror IC

Post by Artorius on Wed Aug 10, 2011 11:55 pm

Several minutes after their escape, Mariel and Alester found themselves within the safety of a local park, where a small temple had been built to praise Orbais, an Enolan deity.

-I think we lost them.- commented Alester, inspecting their surroundings to make sure they were safe.

"The kids....Briek and Dyala.."

Mariel's gut felt like it had tied itself into knots. The woman closed her eyes in an attempt to get her bearings.

"They are in need...but I imagine Briek and Dyala can take care of themselves...but Alex
and Clytie..."

-They're fine.- Alester reassured -At least for now. We should get moving. I can sense Alexander's presence not far from here.-

She nodded to him. "I'll follow you"

As they made their way back to their companions, the assassin couldn't help but think about what the other Alester had said. Was it true that he had served in the Enolan military for over ten years? The people he hated the most, the ones who had taken everything from him. Just who was Alester Treshire? All these thoughts swirled within Alester's mind, noticeably bothering him.

"Hey, don't worry about it....whatever you used to be is behind you. You just have to look to the future." The witch said kindly.

Glancing at her, Alester's face remained stern.

-I don't know what you're talking about. Let's keep moving.-

Mariel seemed to be in visible discomfort as well, her stomach was killing her. It was more than the dull ache that usually plagued her. 'Someone is in trouble, someone is in pain, you are needed' the pain told her as she walked.

Suddenly, as they were about to leave the park, an all familiar voice reached them from behind.

-Alester, Mariel!-

Running towards them, a visibly battered Briek joined them hastily.

-They got to us, *huff* those damn white knights. They tried to take us, but only I managed to escape. We have to help Dyala and find Alex; we're in grave danger here.-

Looking at Briek, Alester nodded.

-I know where Alex is. We're heading there right now.-

Briek nodded.

-All right, let's go!-

Mariel nodded and followed them to Alex. As she followed them her essence surged ahead. The plantlife surged into growth to assist her.

"You boys'll have to cover me again...I can't use my staff and work my magic at the same time."

...

Finally, after almost an hour of walking, the trio managed to reach the gates of the correct cemetery. As they moved through the endless rows of graves, they eventually arrived at the spot where Alex, Clytie, and Marik awaited.

Marik eyed the witch and assassin before placing resting his sword on his shoulder. No doubt they'd be very confused by his sudden appearance.

"Well, that was quick," remarked the swordsman. "I'm Marik, and I'm a friend of Clytie's, I've helped these two, and was hoping to assist you guys. Seems like you could use another sword."

"You? so YOU are the one who left that poor girl to those ridiculous SAVAGE cultists?!" The witch snapped at him. "I had to break my oath because of you! I had to KILL a bunch of people! And that poor girl, terrified out of her damn wits! I hope you have a sincere apology lined up for poor Clytie. And for the Great Mother's sake she didn't have a stitch of warm clothing!"

Briek stepped forward in between the two.

-That's enough. We have more pressing matters at hand. Dyala is still a hostage of the enemy.-

Marik looked dumbfounded, he didn't expect such a hotile introduction. However, at the mention of the word hostage he snapped out of his stupor.

"Lets go!"



The crypt was not more than a few yards away and the six companions had no trouble finding the entrance- a giant stone archway. Though the outside was simple, the inside was quite lavish. A long stone staircase took them three stories underground. The air was quite stale, but the six would be able to smell fresh blood close by. As they neared the bottom of the staircase, the six would be able to hear battle over the echoing of their footsteps.

-Someone's fighting?- Alester inquired.

-Dyala! Maybe she managed to escape. C'mon, hurry!- Briek urged.

Mariel looked around as they got deeper into the crypt. The magic ran dark and deep here. The essence here was ancient and within the earth itself. Any movement in the soil that happened too fast would destroy the crypt.

"Nevermind, boys....I don't think I can use magic down here."

Marik looked a little confused, but was otherwise unaffected. The party continued their descent into the ancient crypt. As they reached the foot of the stairs, they would enter a grand chamber, circular in shape, but still built of grey stone. This was the most recently filled chamber, and contained the remains of Alex's closest family, assassinated by Trentian assassins.

In the middle of this sacred resting place, the six companions would notice a man; his black cloak was drenched in blood. As he continued fighting a small woman in white plate mail, one detail became strangely obvious. The man who was fighting was indeed... Briek.

"What the hell..."

"Mother Goddess above and below" Mariel swore "Once again, you accused ME of being a spy" Mariel commented to Alester. She clicked the grip in her staff, the blades popped out at either end.

Turning quickly towards the fake Briek, Alester discovered that in the warrior's stead, the true Alester stood grinning.

-Gotta zay, Eric: you've gotten carelezz!-

Kicking the assassin into the chamber, the captain took hold of Alexander, wrapping his arm tightly around the young man’s neck while placing a dagger close to his eye.

-It'z been a pleazure, gentlemen! Ladiez.-

Retreating up the stairway, the true Alester summoned the power of essence to manipulate fire, blowing up the ceiling to cut off the entrance so he and Alex wouldn't be followed.

-Alex!- called out the assassin, standing up as he hurried back to try and move the stones on the collapsed entryway.

"Dammit!" exclaimed Marik. "We're going to have to find another way out, but first let’s take care of that... knight?"

The knight Marik was referring to was the small woman. Wielding his powerful sword, Marik casually walked towards the battle. Briek noticed the party out of the corner of his eye, but had no time for idle chat. He continued doling out blow after blow, but the woman would simply not die.

"Well are you just going to stand there?!" yelled Briek.

The real Briek continued his deadly duel with the barehanded Eyre, and was starting to wear down. However, Marik swiftly stepped in. The tide of the battle promptly changed as the swordsmen worked in tandem. Eyre was noticeably annoyed.

"THIS ISN'T FAIR!! But I can handle it," Eyre reassured herself.

"If you watch my back I'll get that uncovered for ya." Mariel said. She closed her eyes and focused on the free soil in the rocks. Mariel smiled as tree roots began to grow into the cracks. Slowly but surely the cracks widened up. Sunlight began to shine into the crypt.

Meanwhile, Eyre used the best of her skills to combat her two much larger adversaries. She would not go down easily. As Marik attempted to cleave her head from her shoulders, Eyre ducked and then jumped as Briek aimed at her shins. Then, as both men swiped towards her midsection she jumped over them, her hands on their shoulders, and slammed their heads together before landing lithely on her feet. Marik turned around in a split second and side swiped at Eyre yet again, she performed the splits before delivering a quick three hit combo to his midsection. She then pushed the warrior straight into Briek who was preparing for another attack, causing the two to stumble backwards, nearly falling. However, Briek managed to brace himself against the stone wall of the crypt. He subsequently pushed Marik off of him before charging Eyre.

His charge was less than successful as Eyre used his momentum to throw him right past her. Marik was wise enough to learn from Briek’s mistake. He started strafing around her, waiting for an opening. Finally, he spotted her arms getting lax. Marik stabbed, to no avail, but quickly he initiated a five strike combo. Yet at the end of it, Eyre was standing on the end of the warrior’s massive sword-she was a lot lighter than she looked. Marik braced himself as Eyre used his blade as some kind of springboard, propelling her into the air. She came down with immense speed and momentum when her elbow hit Marik in the face. She had now broken his nose as well.

“I’m grow weary of your games, hag!” yelled Briek.

Marik looked to the wanderer, he nodded, and he could only hope they were on the same
page. The pair took a wide approach, each on either side of Eyre. The woman was quick on her feet and kept them in constant motion. However, in a lightning quick maneuver of their own, Briek and Marik performed an x-patterned attack. However, expecting that Eyre would dodge the two immediately stabbed- Briek went high, and Marik went low. Eyre was skewered on Briek’s sword while her feet rested on Marik’s blade. She tried her best, but the outcome was inevitable. She punched and kicked, used her elbows and knees.

It was futile; she was as good as dead already. Her armor did little to prevent Briek’s magical blade from penetrating straight through her vital organs. Secondly, her forearm was no match for the black steel of Marik's massive blade. As he cleaved threw flesh and bone the woman let loose yet another shril scream. It continued on as Briek and Marik worked together to silence her. Eyre was no more.
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Re: Tales from Evanotia: Episode 1-The Mirror IC

Post by Ruu on Thu Aug 11, 2011 6:14 pm

Alex shielded Clytie with his body, though he couldn't protect her from the onslaught on all sides. He closed his eyes, waiting for the end, an end that never came. He looked up to find himself face to face with a man in a dragon mask wielding a gigantic sword, and nearly cried out in fright. Luckily, the man spoke before he could do so, and his kindly voice reassured the young heir to the throne. His eyes widened at the short work Marik had made of the three White Knights, perhaps the most formidable warriors in the world.

"T-thank you...sir..." he stammered, "You have our eternal gratitude."

He looked over at Clytie to make sure she was uninjured before turning back to the newcomer. Before he could ask the man his name, Marik said that they would have to get going quickly.

"Yes...there are quite a few of my friends still missing. I fear...they have already been taken...wait...no..." said Alex slowly, closing his eyes, "Sir Alester...he and Mariel are safe and they'll be here for soon. But I don't know about Sir Briek and Dyala..."

Moments later, Alester, Briek, and Mariel rejoined them and Alexander couldn't help but grin in delight at seeing them unharmed.

"I'm so glad you're alright!" he laughed, "It seems...we didn't cover our tracks as well as we thought. I was afraid all would have been lost, but this great warrior saved us. Though Clytie was very brave. You should have seen her hit one of the White Knights right in the shoulder!"

Alexander hesitated a moment when he noticed Alester's expression, sensed the turmoil he was feeling. He wanted to ask what was wrong, but it didn't seem the time for that as Marik introduced himself and offered his sword. It would be wonderful to have such a strong warrior with them! But then Mariel suddenly exploded angrily at him, causing Alexander to be taken aback. Even more shocking was the revelation that Dyala was a prisoner. Though the young Prince didn't know her well yet, she was still one of their group and they had to protect their own! As Briek intervened in the fight, the Prince's attention fell on him. There was something off about him...The Essence around him was dark and troubled. What was...different? He had little time to think as Briek led them into the crypt.

Looking around, Alex could feel the ancient magic seeping through his bones, rejuvenating his weary spirit. He nodded silently at Mariel's words. This magic was extremely volatile. One wrong spell could have disastrous results. As they reached a grand chamber, Alex held his breath. This was where his parents...brothers and sisters...were buried...He nearly ran to the crypt to...well..he didn't know quite what he would have done...Pray? Cry? Find a way to honor them? But all of this rushed out of his mind when he saw Briek fighting an unknown assailant. If that was Briek...He turned too late to find himself looking at someone completely different. Another illusion! He should have known! The man chilled his very soul...a gutwrenching feeling from earlier...had he really felt it...touched him before the now revealed captain grabbed his neck tightly and pointed a dagger at his eye.

Alex had no time to struggle, and before he could do anything they were out of the crypt, the entrance blasted by a burst of fire essence to facilitate their escape. He knew he was fortunate he wasn't dead. His captor must have definitely wanted him alive or else he could have easily slit his throat. Still, he was certain the captain wouldn't be gentle. The dagger was still dangerously close to his eye, and he was willing to bet the captain would have no qualms at partially blinding him. He wanted to draw on the Essence, to harness its power again, to free himself, but last time he had tried it had ended badly. Besides, the captain's attention was all on him; there was no way Alex would have time to even perform a quick spell. He wanted to at least struggle to hinder the man, but again the dagger's point stood dangerously within his vision.

"Let me go," he said firmly, though his voice soft, "You certainly know who I am. If you are a true Enolan citizen you would seek to aid me, not to hand me over to the enemy."


Last edited by Ruu on Thu Aug 11, 2011 10:24 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Tales from Evanotia: Episode 1-The Mirror IC

Post by Rusty Wings on Thu Aug 11, 2011 9:47 pm

It didn't take long for Clytie to realize that neither she nor Alexander would escape this situation alive. She squeezed her eyes shut and wrapped her arms tightly around the prince, hoping at least that the end would come quickly. After a moment of eerie silence passed and Clytie still wasn't dead, she opened her eyes and lifted her head warily, wondering what was causing the delay.

In the place of the approaching White Knights stood a huge, intimidating warrior with a dragon bone mask and a huge, heavy sword that drew Clytie's fearful gaze almost immediately. In spite of her fear of the clearly-dangerous newcomer who seemed to have made short work of the knights, she couldn't help but feel like she'd seen that sword somewhere before...

Then the warrior spoke, and the voice clicked all the memories into place. All of Clytie's fear fell away in an instant and she grabbed Marik's hand and leaped up, hugging him around the midsection with all her might, laughing as relieved tears fell down her face.

"Marik! I thought I'd never see you again!" Though she hadn't spent very much time with the taciturn man, he'd saved her life back in Fossa and now he'd done so again, and she felt that that alone warranted a warm greeting, even if being hugged and gushed at by a little teenager made the fierce soldier uncomfortable.

Eventually she stood aside so Marik could help Alex to his feet and introduce himself and tell them what they already knew; they had to get moving. Clytie was pleased to hear from Alexander that Mariel and Alester were all right, but she would feel much more at ease once Briek and Dyala were accounted for, as well...

A few moments later their party included Clytie, Alex, Alester, Mariel, Briek, and Marik. Clytie was overjoyed to see that most everyone was unharmed and she even raced up to Mariel and gave her a hug - since Marik had returned when she'd thought him to be dead, the little harbor girl had found herself in a bit of a huggy mood. She blushed when Alexander praised her bravery, bashfully pushing some of her hair behind one ear.

"Oh, that was just a lucky throw," she followed modestly. "Alex did all the real fighting. He's really quite powerful with his Essence!"

Clytie beamed up at Marik when he offered to join their party, but her face fell when Mariel began berating him for leaving her defenseless and alone after the battle of Fossa. Clytie opened her mouth several times to defend the tall warrior, but was unable to get a word in past Mariel's anger. As touched as she was by the witch's concern, she knew that Marik had done all that he could to protect her, and she gave him a little smile to show that she understood that.

Then the time for smiling was over; Dyala had been taken and they had to get her back.

---

The crypt was spooky, as crypts have a habit of being, but Clytie barely had time to think about that; she could hear the sounds of battle echoing off the walls. They raced toward the clash to find the real Briek locked in combat with a small female White Knight. Clytie turned to the fake Briek just in time to watch a man she didn't recognize disappear up the stone staircase behind a cascade of falling rocks - with Alexander in tow.

"No!" she shrieked, but she knew there was nothing she could do about Alex now. Marik was right; they had to deal with the situation at hand.

Clytie stood with her back to Mariel and a knife in each hand, watching Briek and Marik battle the fearsome lady knight and poised in case she got past them. Fortunately, she didn't; it took a long time, but the two men eventually stopped the skillful woman's breath.

Clytie sheathed her knives and turned anxiously to Mariel. She wanted to ask how much longer this would take, but she kept her mouth shut for fear of annoying or distracting the witch. Patience was a virtue, after all. If only it wasn't so hard to be patient when a friend was in danger.
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Re: Tales from Evanotia: Episode 1-The Mirror IC

Post by striDer on Fri Aug 12, 2011 3:22 pm

Once they were out of the crypt, the real Alester released his grip on the prince and sheathed his dagger.

-Hand you over to ze enemy?- he said, circling around Alex -You don't zee vat's going on here, do you? Zose people, ze onez you call your friendz, zey're ze onez...
-ENOUGH OF YOUR LUDICROUS BABBLE!!!- another voice boomed from Alester's mouth, deep and ethereal. In that instant, the dragon eye underneath the patch began to radiate with a fiery light, burning through the black piece of leather to stare at the young prince.
-Alexander Drakengard.- the mysterious entity in Alester's body vociferated - "Drake", descendant of dragons. I am Galuma, The Shifter; former protector of your ancestors in ages of yore. -

As the captain approached him, Alexander would feel a massive change in the essence around them, swirling uncontrollably like a storm. And though it was only a 6'1" man who stood before the young prince, the shadow he cast was that of a massive beast.

-Today I come before you not as an enemy, but as a confidant and friend. Heed my words, for the fate of the world rests upon you, young one. I am here to both warn you and make a plea.-

Suddenly, the sound of tumbling rocks reached them from the crypt's entrance, signaling the coming of Alex's companions.

-The people you travel with, not all of them are who they say they are. I have seen this, peering into the mist of what is come, but my sight wanes as the aeons pass. Who the traitor is, I do not know; however, when the time comes, he or she will be the one to deliver you in the hands of the enemy.-

While Galuma spoke those last words, his shadow began to shrink back to human form.

-As I am now, I cannot help you, for I have given this man only a portion of my power; enough to find you and deliver the message. Now, hear my plea, as darkness comes to cloak the world in shadow. You must travel to the Argonian Peaks, far beyond the northern ice lands. Once there, find my remains. Only then will you realize your true destiny.-

Vanishing completely, Galuma´s presence faded with the glow in Alester's eye. After this happened, the captain clutched his face and tumbled to the side, finding support upon a small gravestone.

-I've kept my end of ze bargain.- he said, getting back on his feet before walking away -Next time we meet, boy, I'll bring Zkoll your head in a platter.-

Before long, the Enolan captain went out of sight, leaving Alexander all by himself.
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Re: Tales from Evanotia: Episode 1-The Mirror IC

Post by Torturous Flame on Fri Aug 12, 2011 9:09 pm

Finally Mariel was able to break through the cave in. The others rushed out to help Alexander. She followed them at a slower pace. The young witch soon emerged from the crypt. She looked up as she felt the essence in the air shift. It tickled her nose a bit. She watched as the other ran to Alexander. As far as her own senses told her, he was relatively unharmed. She could not really tell though, the ground was spinning. Mariel, though twenty and considered 'full grown' by anyone's standards, had not fully grown into her own abilities. She had yet to finish her study of plant life and her chosen Talent. So of course using that magick was taxing on her, because she had not fully mastered it. In addition to this, the ancient magic that was embedded in the crypt had made it difficult contact any of the plants that immediately surrounded the crypt. Mariel slowly sank to the cool grass and her head touched the ground.

"I'm sorry" She whispered to the plants beneath her.

Slowly her own essence touched that of the trees nearby and some grass. The tree's energy and the energy of the grass plants flowed into her. She only took what they could spare. Finally she lifted her head from the cool grass and looked over to the group. Mariel rose to her feet and walked over. She looked at the group; most of them seemed relatively unharmed. She soon found where the majority of her discomfort stemmed from.

“Briek, sit down for a moment so I can heal you.” She said.

The man paused as if to argue, then sat down on a tombstone. Mariel knelt beside him.

“You shoulda said somethin’ immediately and let someone else take over for a bit. Broken ribs can puncture lungs ya’know, especially with two of’m.” Mariel said soothingly.

She lifted his shirt up to reveal the bruises. She gently placed her hands over it and closed her eyes. She whispered the words of a spell that seemed to whisper in the wind. She finished and opened her eyes. The bruise had faded to green and the pain had stopped.

“Now drink this.” Mariel said.

The witch pulled a bottle from one of her many pockets and hands it to him. It was a vial full of brown liquid. It looked disgusting.

“It’s gonna taste nasty, just so ya know.”
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Re: Tales from Evanotia: Episode 1-The Mirror IC

Post by Ruu on Fri Aug 12, 2011 11:20 pm

The young heir to the throne looked confused at the captain's words. What was he talking about? His friends were the ones to what? Before Alexander could react to the endless torrent of words, a different yet for some reason, not entirely unfamiliar voice cut through the air like a fiery dart. The eye patch was burned away by the fiery light of a Dragon, a true Dragon. Never in his lifetime had Alexander met a real dragon, even in the form this one had taken. Caeus, a Draconian, was the only person he had met who had come close. And even Caeus paled in comparison to the splendor and power Alexander could feel even from the shadow of the creature's power. The Dragon then addressed him by name and called him a descendant of dragons, while identifying himself as Galuma the Shifter, a protector of his ancestors. There was...dragon blood in his veins? But...how was this possible? He wanted to ask, but only a few words could escape his lips.

"I-It's an honor and a privilege to meet you, Your Greatness," he stammered.

Such powers...the Essence surged and bubbled as if it would explode. Alexander had never felt such a strong wielding of Essence. His eyes widened when Galuma informed him that the fate of the world rested upon his shoulders. Whatever did the Dragon mean? He was only trying to seek to restore his lost Kingdom. He had nothing to do with the entire world. How could the fate of the world rest in him, a young boy not yet a man? His mind spun with the words and he had so many questions he wished to ask, but Galuma was continuing to speak. The Dragon warned the boy of a traitor in their own midst, someone who would hand him over to the enemy. A traitor? But...how could that be possible? They were all like family to him! Alester and Briek, though hardened warriors, had done nothing but treat him with kindness. Mariel had comforted him with her motherly ways and her wondrous powers of healing. Clytie was a sweet girl and an unkind word had never escaped her lips. Even Dyala, whom he had just meant, could not have been a servant of the enemy. She had such love and respect for life. She wouldn't turn against it. How could any of them be against him? How could any of them wish to turn him over to the enemy? Well, there was still time he hoped. He did not doubt the Dragon's words, but perhaps there was still time to turn the heart of the traitor away from their cruel intentions before it was too late.

When Galuma tasked him with traveling to the Argonian Peaks to find the remains of the Dragon and his own destiny.

"I will...do as you ask. If the fate of the world rests on my shoulders, I will do whatever takes to help," he whispered, "But..."

The question died on his lips completely when the Dragon's presence disappeared entirely. He barely had time to take up a defensive position when the captain left leaving with a warning and a threat. Moments later, his friends broke through the Crypt. His heart raced for a moment, the weight of what he had just been told nearly crippling him. What was he to tell his friends? How was he to explain why the captain had just let him go? Who could he trust with a traitor in their midst? Regardless, Alester would know at least something of what had happened. He wouldn't be able to keep a secret through the bond. When the group finally reached him, he smiled as best as he could. When questioned about his escape, he mumbled something about a strange creature frightening the captain away, which wasn't exactly an untruth. To avoid anymore questions, and because he was worried for Briek's well being, he ran over to Mariel and the mercenary.

"Will he be alright?" he asked hesitantly, before noticing that Mariel seemed quite tired, "Are you alright? Are you in need of healing yourself? Or at least a renewal of Essence?"
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Re: Tales from Evanotia: Episode 1-The Mirror IC

Post by Artorius on Sun Aug 14, 2011 5:08 am

As Briek emerged from the crypt Marik at his side, Dyala at their back, he looked to his fellow warrior. The bone mask was gone, broken from the blow Eyre delivered to Marik’s face. Briek only chuckled as he spoke his first words to the skilled warrior.

“The hag broke your nose too, huh?”

Marik managed a half-hearted smile. However, it soon faded away. He cracked his nose back into place; he’d done it several times before. He then examined the grizzled wanderer, it was clear Briek hadn’t shaved in days, but the blood and bruises only added to his disheveled look. His black cloak had a few holes by now, and it was clear he was in some amount of pain.

“You look like you’re in pretty bad shape there,” commented Marik.

Briek looked towards his new companion. There wasn’t much to say, he’d been in worse condition before.

“I’m fine. Besides, we need to get going, now that Alex is safe we need to find what kind of clues his ancestors left him in that crypt,” urged Briek.

However, before the wanderer could say another word, he was whisked away by Mariel. She quickly assessed his injuries, and wisely, fixed him up. Briek was a little hesitant to accept the gift at first, but decided it was for the better. Indeed, he figured he’d need his full strength for the dangers that lay ahead. With all the death brewing about, Dyala quickly cycled what life force lingered in the bodies separated from their heads. After the brief ceremony, Briek gathered the party.

“The crypt was built centuries ago. You just saw how unstable it can be, there can be collapsed tunnels, and maybe even chambers. I don’t know how deep we can go, but there is an entire dynasty’s worth of dead in there. At some point, and this is just speculation, I would imagine there are spells, incantations, essence drains, or other traps in place deeper in the crypt. I’m not going to lie, there’s a slight chance we could lose someone down there, but I’m confident there is something Alex needs in there. Something only a son of the Drakenguard line could have. But it won’t be enough… we’ll need Mercury’s Mirror to defeat Skoll and restore Alex. Skoll… is more powerful than he seems.”

With that last, abrupt statement, Briek began the march into the crypt. Marik decided to stick at the back of the pack to make sure no one fell behind. While doing so, he made a reassuring remark to Clytie.

“Don’t worry Clytie, I’m right behind you. You’re safe.”

It was dusk outside by the time the party made their way into the inner sanctum of the crypt. Magical torches fueled by ancient essence reserves lit the path. At any given moment, on either side of the travelers were coffins filled with the bones of Alex’s ancestors, house servants, and close family friends. Yet, there were glaring omissions, not a single emperor’s remains were to be found. Yet, all would be explained when they entered a chamber few knew about. It was strangely both lavish and bare all at once. Yet, the beauty of it could not be denied. Several stone sarcophagi were placed in rows of three. On either side of these massive stone coffins were giant stone hands- they doubled as art and torches.

Though the party could not see it at the moment, on each sarcophagus was a inscription with the name of an Enolan monarch. In addition, each inscription also detailed their accomplishments and time of their reign. Next, placed on top of each sarcophagus was a sword, crossed with a large scroll over the Drakenguard coat of arms- an infant dragon curled around an infant human. The coat of arms brought to mind what Galuma had said about Alexander’s bloodline. There were certainly rumors that had floated around for centuries about the Drakenguard bloodline’s association with dragons. However, they were never taken very seriously. But they were hard to simply dismiss, seeing as a simple peasant was able to rise up against a powerful dictator, it was certainly likely the family had come into contact with the ancient beasts.

After the party soaked in the grandeur of each sarcophagus, it was still hard understand exactly what they were looking for. Briek had not been specific by any means. In fact, not even the wanderer knew exactly what they would find, but soon enough, the undisputed party leader dusted off one of the oldest looking crypts. Briek read the inscription.

Emperor Raymond “Dragon Friend”

First Emperor of Enola

2nd World-1st Year-1st Month-1st Day

2nd World-101st Year-4th Month-12th Day

‘Twas I who was King Among Men, and Friend to All Dragon Kind.

To he who shareth in my blood, raised by the lesser dragons, with a true dragon’s heart- I give unto thee Leviathan, bane of evil and death of pretenders. Proceed, if thou dost possess the treasure of my descendants.

Briek turned towards the rest of the party, each of them examining various aspects of the royal chamber. He quickly beckoned Alex over.

“Alex! Come over here, look at this.”

Briek pointed to the inscription on the sarcophagus. Yet, as hard as he tried he could not think what treasure Alex could possibly possess. However, the warrior soon noticed the necklace hanging from the young man’s neck.

“Alex…” said Briek before pointing to his necklace.

Briek nodded at the boy before backing away. He had a feeling Alex would magically know what to do, or something spectacular was going to happen.
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Re: Tales from Evanotia: Episode 1-The Mirror IC

Post by Rusty Wings on Mon Aug 15, 2011 2:16 pm

"Alex! You're all right!" Clytie sighed with relief as she raced out of the crypt with the others, smiling. She could tell right off the bat that something was bothering the older boy, but she didn't question him about it; he'd tell when he was ready. Satisfied that he was okay, she went to stand with Marik while Mariel healed Briek, glad to have everyone back together.

Once everyone was put back together, Briek called the company together and gave a solemn speech about the dangers of the crypt. Clytie, who had been feeling better since they'd gotten everyone back in one piece, felt her heart dropping again at his words, but she knew he was right; this was important, but they would have to be careful.

She let everyone else enter the crypt ahead of her, until Marik gestured for her to go before him so he could take up the rear.

"Don't worry Clytie," he said. "I'm right behind you. You're safe."

Despite her apprehensions about reentering the crypt, having Marik with her again made her feel much better, and she gave him a grateful smile.

All was silent as they walked through Alexander's ancestors' final resting place. The air was heavy with the significance of those buried here, and Clytie couldn't keep the awe from her face as she gazed upon all of the carvings and inscriptions, especially once they came upon the gorgeous sarcophagi of the emperors. She felt the same way she used to feel when she'd watched storms on the ocean back in Llyr: positively dwarfed by the beauty before her.

At last they reached the tomb of the first emperor of Enola. Clytie, being short and at the back of the group, couldn't see it very well, but she watched intently as Briek read what was inscribed on the sarcophagus, then called Alex to him. She tilted her head confusedly to the side when he pointed to the necklace the young prince wore, knowing it was important but not yet knowing why. She could feel the significance of this moment swirling around them all like a leaf caught in the wind.
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Re: Tales from Evanotia: Episode 1-The Mirror IC

Post by Ruu on Tue Aug 16, 2011 1:48 pm

Alexander listened quietly to Briek’s words. It seemed they had gone from one dangerous situation to another, but the hardened warrior seemed to think there was something Alex would need. He would still need to inform the group about the the journey to the Argonian Peaks. He knew they would ask for an explanation, and he wasn’t quite sure what that explanation would be yet. Still, those thoughts were for another time. Now, they needed to focus on discovering the secrets of the crypt. Alex wondered what Briek meant when he said that Skoll was more powerful than he seemed. Did this have something to do with the darkness Galuma mentioned? The young Prince had so many questions, and apparently there was so little time to have them answered.

As they walked through the crypt, this time into the deeper recesses, Alex could feel the energies of Essence become even more concentrated. If someone were to harness this power in the wrong way…he shivered to think of the outcome. For a tomb, however, it was strangely beautiful. He couldn’t help but wonder if any of the dead had suffered the same fate as his family, or if they had all enjoyed a happy succession. Why had his family been murdered? Even Caeus hadn’t been completely certain of the circumstances of their death.

When they reached the burial place of the ancient monarchs, Alex couldn’t help but gasp in awe. As he looked closer, he couldn’t help but notice the coat of arms. An infant dragon and an infant human? Was this what Galuma was referring to? Perhaps others thought of it as a mere myth, but Alexander could feel that there was something more to it. Before Alex had time to consider the implications fully, Briek called him over.

He looked quietly at the crypt of the one who had been the first Emperor, the one who had risen against the cruel tyrant in days long gone by. Alex felt a strong presence, Essence of unimaginable power. The man who had once been a simple peasant held inside himself something more. There was something similar in their situations; they had both sought to overthrow a tyrant, but Alex wasn’t sure yet how his own story would end. When he read the inscription, his breath almost left his body. All those years ago…how could this inscription have been meant for him? And yet…he had been raised by Caeus, a Draconian, certainly the lesser dragon the inscription was referring to. What was this about the bane of evil and death of pretenders? Would that mean the traitor would be revealed? Alex wasn’t sure if he was ready for that, but already things seemed to be moving at a whirlwind pace. When Briek pointed to his necklace, he nodded slowly, carefully taking the treasured medallion from his neck.

The effects were instantaneous and spectacular. The medallion began to pulse with different colored lights…Red…Blue…Green…White…the colors of Essence, ending with the brilliance of Light, the Light that was said to dispel all darkness. The cave began to shake terribly as the walls themselves began to beat, like a living heart, sending a wave of colors throughout the entire crypt. Alex, however, stood firm, ignoring his surroundings, wholly focused on the medallion as it began to gyrate. Slowly at first, but ever increasing in speed, tongues of flame began to spread from its center until they touched the ancient crypt. A great grinding sound was heard as an explosion of raw Essence shot upwards, tearing a gaping hole in the ceiling. Inside of the essence floated a great sword. Embedded in the hilt were a ruby, a sapphire, a diamond, and an emerald. The handle curved upwards , fashioned like dragon’s wings, and on each wing could be seen a glittering gem. Translucent, almost transparent the gem seemed, yet it held a light inside. The gem was no longer seen in the world of men, and had not been seen for some time. It was Soulstone, a gem said to hold the very powers of Essence within. The blade itself was long, crafted from a metal used once and never again. It glowed even inside the Essence, its own aura of power radiating throughout the room. Alexander stood awestruck before taking a few steps forward. Without a thought, he reached inside the pillar of Essence, heedless of the danger, and grasped the hilt of the sword. Immediately, the flow of Essence stopped, yet the sword itself continued to glow, spreading the aura around Alexander himself, centering just above his heart. For that moment, Alexander seemed changed, no longer the boyish expression in his eyes, but a wisdom beyond his years. And the boy's eyes glowed and seemed to be lit with fire. An ancient fire, which possessed seemingly infinite power. Even those who did not possess mastery over Essence could feel the immense wave of energy bursting forth from Alexander's body.

“I am Alexander Drakengard the Second, sole heir to the throne of Enola. I was raised by lesser dragons and have come to fulfill the prophecy. Let this blade be terror to the foes of the Light, and let it renew and reinvigorate a kingdom grown old with decay and deceit.”

After he spoke these words, his arm dropped a bit, and the aura disappeared as did the look in his eyes. He hadn’t realized what he had been saying, and now he felt slightly foolish. But inside his heart there bloomed a courage that had not been there before, though the hope had always remained.
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Re: Tales from Evanotia: Episode 1-The Mirror IC

Post by Artorius on Wed Aug 17, 2011 5:24 am

As Alex returned to his normal state, Briek looked on in awe. He smiled as the boy approached him with a newfound determination present in his eyes. Alex hadn’t turned into a seasoned warrior, but it was clear his resolve was hardened. Marik however frowned. It was too early, Alex was not yet ready. How could he be, he was just a boy. The immensely powerful Leviathan was not a toy; it was an ancient weapon, an Excella Arma. Such weapons were said to have been given to Evanotians by the Gods themselves. Marik’s slaughterer’s star was one such legendary weapon. These magical arms were extremely hard to wield, and even harder to master. To truly unlock the power of one such weapon would be to become invincible. Marik was not even close.

“Amazing…”

“This is a mistake…” muttered Marik under his breath.

Briek turned to the new party member with an accusatory glance.

“Why is that?” the wanderer asked.

Marik confidently approached the established party leader. He was not intimidated by his mysterious façade, or rugged appearance. Similarly, Briek stood his ground, and didn’t budge as Marik approached him.

“He is not ready for this. We should have come later. You will see,” firmly stated the warrior. Briek was not at all pleased that Marik had second guessed his decision making, but decided that unity was more important than his feelings. As such, he replied with restraint.

“He is more than ready. He will prove you wrong, YOU, will see,” replied Briek.

Marik silently grumbled to himself as he backed off. He too understood the importance that the party stayed united. He didn’t want to start trouble after a mere hour or two of being in the group. He walked away, still convinced he was right, and Briek was naïve. However, as he did so, a pebble landed rather hard atop his head. Before Marik could say “Owww,” the entire party would be able to hear the ceiling crack. Larger chunks began to fall off out of the air, like hail in winter. The entrance to the chamber soon collapsed and it became clear that the group would need to proceed deeper into the crypt. Although, at this point the crypt was more like akin to an entire burial complex. Both Briek and Marik considered it majestic and a marvel, yet, it was hard to admire its beauty when it was falling on top of you.

“I have the worst luck when I take underground trips…” commented Briek before rounding up the party and evacuating.

It was intense as the heroes dodged rocks and falling pillars. They outran collapsing walls, falling torches, statues, and other ornaments. Finally, the party would reach the end of a long, ornate hallway as the crypt ceased collapsing. Their only exit was a long rusted copper tunnel. It was about large enough for each of them to enter in a single file line. As a stench began to permeate throughout the copper tunnel, it was clear where they were going. Rats, roaches, and rotting remnants of trash and sewage lined the copper tunnel as the party neared the end. Briek was the first to emerge from that small sewage tunnel. As he took a step down from the tunnel, his boots met lukewarm, murky waters. Each step he took splashed several of the terribly stinky droplets onto his cloak. Before him were three paths, one leading west, one leading east, and one leading north.

“Well, I’m lost…”

“I say we head west, we don’t want to go deeper into Enolan territory, but… I’m not the only one here,” said Marik.
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Re: Tales from Evanotia: Episode 1-The Mirror IC

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