Gift of the Gods

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Gift of the Gods

Post by Ruu on Wed Jan 04, 2012 10:21 pm

Arraydon, the country of the Rising Sun, glorious and pristine, was said to be the most resplendent of all the nations of Lyria. It's people were dedicated to the god of Light, Alucio, and they were said to be the most spiritual of the three countries devoted to the Pax Trinity. Unfortunately, in their pride they had turned a blind eye to the ways of the world. Secluded in a bubble of their own making, they had forgotten the nations that lay beyond them. The fabled Tower of the Sun ensured that no attacker would ever penetrate their borders and no enemy would shed blood in their sacred city. The people themselves lived in harmony and peace; Masters of Light magic, they professed to have a love for all, and many did. But so many others, including the current Ministers of Alucio, had desensitized themselves to the plight of the other nations. The cast-aways who had been banned from Soldr because they were not seen as fit to serve the glorious army of Ragnoke Mountain; the innocents sacrificed for the necromancers' unholy rituals in the Thoctar Caverns; the enslaved people under the bowels of the city of Heeth; the "blasphemers" and "heretics" who decried the corruption that wound its dark tendrils even in the hearts of the most lofty citizens, the one with the greatest powers. Even those in the service of Alucio were not immune to its influence.

But this was all about to change...For so long the people of Arraydon had been free from the evils, both natural and human-made. Now, there were those ready to strike back. The heretics and blasphemers themselves were the first to betray their own nation. They painstakingly built remarkably sophisticated tunnels under the city and contacted the Necromancers of Thoctar, the sworn enemy of every Arraydon citizen. The Necromancers eagerly sent their undead legions through the ground, bursting into the city walls. Many were killed indiscriminately, for the deathless showed no mercy and knew no pity. Even the most powerful light magic was put to shame by the sheer numbers of this impressive force. Above ground, the Light of the Tower to the Sun would have burnt the corpses to a crisp. Yet the Tower of the Sun's power was focused on the borders of Arraydon, for none had truly believed an attack could have come from under the ground. With the capital city under the unprecedented attack, nearly all of Arraydon's Peacekeepers had been drawn back to the Great Temple. Soldr's grand army took this time to invade its borders. Fire burned brightly in a place where natural fire had not been seen in ages. And in all of this confusion, most of the Royal Family had been slain...Lord Agrus and Lady Illyria died protecting their children, smote by the dread Necromancer Fa'Sil. Their oldest son and daughter, Christian and Calliope, were the next to fall, into the hands of the feared Soldr general, Koratos. Only Lucius, the youngest, had been saved, taken from the Great Temple by a lone Knight determined to protect the last of the Idrion lineage.

The young boy, sole survivor of his people, opened jade eyes, emeralds that glistened in the sun. Fed the lies and comforts of the Ministers of Alucio, Lucius truly was an innocent soul. He did not understand the horrors that plagued his country, did not realize that the people of Arraydon themselves were at least partially to blame for their fall. Nothing but fear could be seen in those eyes, and a deep sadness at his loss.

"Sir Kent...W-where...are we?" he whispered, shivering in the light blue cloak that protected him from the suddenly frigid weather.

"We are nearing the borders of Arraydon," replied the knight, a stalwart man in shining armor, "We will be safe soon, child."

"B-but...w-we can't just leave everyone..." Lucius began to protest.

"There is nothing left," replied Kent, trying to lessen the sting of his words, "We cannot fight against so many."

A shimmer of tears fell from Lucius' eyes to the ground racing under the horse they rode. Suddenly, the horse made a high-pitched sound and threw the riders from its back as a score of undead burst from the ground. A man clothed in dark robes materialized into existence.

"Ah...a refugee...Trying to escape with your own life. How delightful," laughed the dark man, "It will be my pleasure to kill you."

Kent drew his sword, but before he could do anything, the Necromancer muttered a spell. A dark sphere of energy enveloped the Knight and he was gone. Lucius pushed himself to his feet, looking younger than ever in his terror. The Necromancer grinned, knowing his victory was at hand. He took a step forward, pulling at a chain around the boy's neck.

"Ah...the seal of Alucio," cackled the Necromancer, "So you are the last of those fools who believed themselves to be the Ministers of your powerless god. Your death will be sweet and sure."

Without warning, light burst from the child like an exploding star. When it cleared, the Necromancer was nothing but a pile of charred remains, and the undead crumbled to dust, at last released of their terrible imprisonment. Lucius' eyes widened in amazement as a voice seemed to speak inside his head.

Have no fear, my child, for I am watching over you. Trust and believe in your heart. Find the Leylines, and right the evils that have been done here.
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Re: Gift of the Gods

Post by Sólrökr on Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:47 pm

Words are the Haves. They own. They own words.

A sad world of darkness. A place where the only light is the flickering flame of torches; torches carried by the ones in charge, and none others. To sleep, shit, eat, piss, and fuck in the same four-walled room, company of twelve. This is the life of the have-not's, the life of the untouchable class, for touching them is filthy.

In the day, they dig. Mining for whatever materials still left in the pidgin-holed bedrock beneath the city of Heeth. Most have never seen the truth of the sun's light, save those who broke open their world's boundary and caved a wall leading to the outside… but the fear in them too great. Like blinded men of allegory, they resent a truth outside of themselves. They are the perfect slaves.

But I steal them. I steal their possessions.

Day after day, shuffled through tunnels to shear mineral from shale, and then back again to their cages, at only point do worlds mix. The echoes and trash that crawl through the sewer like sludge find their way through the funnel of disgust, toward a single point.

I steal and I steal, and they cannot know. If I speak, they will kill me; if I know, they will kill me – but they do not know I know.

Through years and years, hugged against a wall, tasting its clammy surface with his cheek, one creature listened and learned. It learned the words that were forbade, and from a seed sundered in manure, began a sapling of individuality.

Do they own them? They'd have to own my tongue too, and they don't, because I own my own tongue and I own me. They can whip me, and they can claim me, and they can howl and moan and beat me until I die, but I choose – I choose and I own.

And like most things in this world, crushed.

––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Careful, diligently, he waited for the guard to pass. Their eye-sight was weak, coming from the light, even with the torches, and there were so many of the have-not's that they wouldn't notice one or two missing. Without names, numbers, or words… none of that really mattered. All he lived for was these days; the days he could listen. It didn't matter what was spoken about or who was speaking, only that someone was.

He would be beaten again… he knew it. His peers would notice him missing, and they would share with him the brunt of their burden of the day. He would bleed, he knew, but it was worth it.

The guard passed, and he took his chance. Slithering along the hand-cut wall silently, he couldn't help but feel his heart pound in excitement; he was giddy with anticipation. Countless times he had made this trek, climbing up and up and up, unlike his usual descent, and each after the first had a similar, unadulterated pleasure attached to it. He would look up, through the metal grate, and see, not into the sky but, into a food-storage room, stationed a few paces off the town square, for a food stand. The grate was high, and no matter how hard he tried, he could never have reached it in his wildest dreams. He tried, for hours and hours he would try, but it only brought him closer to the sounds. Finally though, he became contented with his inability to reach them and only listen, and this is when he started to learn.

At first he could only understand their basic inflections, but certain noises became familiar, and eventually he wielded command over them… silently. After the first few days, his peers noticed. They beat him to show their envy, they beat him to show him what would happen to them if he was found, they beat him to show him: never do it, whatever it was, again. He persevered, and so too did the beatings, every time he was noticed gone. The guards never noticed, or didn't care; regardless they all looked alike, and whether they were bruises or shit stains, it really didn't matter.

He climbed further, weaving between the unused tunnels that the guards never cared to patrol. No one ever tried to escape, so it was silly to over-staff. Finally, he came to his paradise; his sewer drain that bequeathed individuality. So frivolous, cherished, and important. He sat where he normally sat, his pelvis wearing away at the stone from constant use, creating a tiny little seat. Curling his stringy legs to his chest, he rested his chin upon them and listened. Eventually, he dozed.

_________________________________________________________

His eyes fluttered open. Heat. He felt heat. Jerking his head up, he could see the sheen of their metal helmets, just before a gauntlet snapped his head back down and his mind to rest again.

_________________________________________________________

He gasped, his stomach shrieking in pain as a pommel racked it. He fell to the floor like a limp doll, clutching his chest. He knew where he was; the same place all executions of their kind took place, in between all the cells for everyone to watch. He didn't care though, only one thing ran through his mind: never see it again.

The guards had encircled him, with their leader walking an inner circle, shouting at him and everyone else. No one understood, but it didn't matter – it was about power.

He began to cry. An intense sadness washed over him, overwhelming even the pain. He sobbed deeply, the kind that hurt the body with the force of its suction. His fingers and toes curled, while his joints grew tight and locked. "I want go back!" he cried.

Everything stopped dead. Horror wrote itself across each face. Everyone, all at once, rejected the one who spoke. Rejected his words, his individuality, his existence.

"Kill it," seethed the guard captain to his men.

He understood then. He would never see it again. He was to die now. All the vile that filled his life, made tolerable, would disappear – leaving nothing. Sadness turned to rage; mind altering rage.

A dark figure, unnoticed by all, smiled in the background. Tynan's gift was received.

Those who found the remains would have thought the block revolted, if it weren't for the single living presence waiting for them, enveloped in a powerful torrent of darkness, quietly laughing to itself.
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Re: Gift of the Gods

Post by Ruu on Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:19 pm

Lucius sat quietly in thought, wrapped in an illusion using his newfound powers. To most people, he would look exactly like a rock formation, albeit almost human looking. He knew the necromancers and the leaders of Soldr's army would be searching for him, so it was best for him to hide his appearance. Everything had happened so quickly, that it was hard for his brain to process what had just happened. He had gone from being safe and secure in one of the most powerful nations in the land to a fugitive, though now blessed with the powers of Alucio himself. Alucio had said something about the Leylines and unlocking their secrets. He knew that for years sages and wise men had spoken of something deeper hidden in each of the Leylines, but the Leylines were spread amongst all the nations, most of which were at war. Therefore, it would nearly be impossible to even come to close to many of them. How was one supposed to survive the Caverns of Throctar or penetrate the heavily guarded Ragnoke Mountain? But Lucius had faith in his god. If Alucio said that it could be done, then there must be some way. How could he doubt Alucio's powers? How could one so lowly as he have the right to wield them? So many questions...but with the world in complete turmoil with the collapse of a great nation, there would be little time to ponder. He believed that his best bet would be to enter Ellyia. Ellyia was dedicated to the goddess Delphine, the deity closest to Alucio. It was said that for one hundred years she tended to the god when he was injured by his brother, the jealous god Tynan. If he was to find allies, they would be there. And besides, Hesperia's Spring was also located there. Perhaps that would be the easiest Leyline to enter, now that the Tower of the Sun was guarded by the dread invaders. Having made his decision, Lucius fell into a light slumber...

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

When the morning sun arose, high into the sky, Lucius realized he had overslept. He quickly discarded the illusion and stiffly got to his feet. Never had he slept outside the comforts of his own home, and it was a wonder he was not sobbing in fright at the moment. But Alucio had granted him a certain calm, a nobility to his bearing that would make others think twice before attempting to harm the youthful refugee. He knew that his clothing would be a dead giveaway, however, to any that might still be searching for him. He was nearing Ellyia's borders now, so the best thing would be for him to find a farm or small village. There, he could stock up on the provisions lost when the horse had been frightened away and buy some new clothing as well. His rather long blonde hair was probably another sign of his noble heritage. He'd have to have it cut. Even he was wise enough to realize that any traveler from Arraydon would be viewed with suspicion or worse, even in the realms of supposed allies.

As Lucius began his journey, head down, trying to hide the uncertainty in his eyes, he couldn't help but think about his growling stomach. He had not had food since the night before, just before the attack commenced. Perhaps his first order of business would be to find some breakfast...
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Re: Gift of the Gods

Post by Sólrökr on Fri Feb 03, 2012 7:56 pm

The light hurt in a way unfathomable. His eyes had been adjusted to the darkness since birth, the cornea spread wide habitually to take in as much light as possible… only constricting when a guard would pass by with torch in hand, reinforcing their power and strength. Now, with his ratty hair and filthy body, he looked into the gray skies for the very first time, and the burning vigor from above showed him no mercy. He winced hard, shielding himself with both hands, and falling to a knee as his eyes cried out in an painless, but powerful, distress.

The King of Heeth turned his head back to see the cowering form, and with reckless abandon swooped down and held his own cloak above the nameless man's head. "Men, use your shields to block the sun. We must hurry to the palace!"

He did not understand what was happening, or who this man was who showed him such affection. He was familiar with the word "King," but could never understand what it implied. All he knew was that the guard's obeyed him.

He should be dead, he thought. He didn't know how it happened, but he knew he was responsible when his peers began to rip at their cages like crazed beasts, tearing the rusted metal down like curtains, and swarming on the guards with insatiable hunger. They fought, and he watched emotionless, taking in the information without affection for either party. When it came to an end, and no man was left standing, only bleeding on their backs, the darkness swallowed those that were still breathing with creeping tendrils, and he was left alone – totally alone. He knew he could go back and listen again, but something compelled him to stay, so he did. When more guards came, he was sure of his own demise, but a confidence surrounded him… a perceivable darkness. None dared touch him, for it was an omen much too important. In panic, they all scurried, weapons drawn as they circled him, sending out messengers to every corner of the town. Doctors, healers, mystics, seers, advisors, and even the Crown itself.

They all came to see, but none dared touch. The darkness, a miasmal flame, bode of madness and death. With curious interest, he examined them examining him, in a kind of outer-worldly experience. Before, simply existing was a sin… but now he was interesting, and that was pleasing to him. Before long, a group of men appeared different from the rest. They glimmered strangely, as the fire reflected off of parts of their clothing, but one more than the rest, and atop his head shown a strange circle. He compared himself to this new figure, how his own adornments could barely considered a rag. Truth be told, it was a weathered potato sack, stitched with strands of hair to keep form… but it no longer even resembled that. He cocked his head sideways, keeping his eyes upon them as they spoke among one another - words he didn't know, much too complex or used in ways he'd never heard before.

They spoke for a long time, to one another and then glance at him, and then continue. Their voices ranged from anger to joy to fear, with many fluctuations in between. The earlier circumstances, to him, had almost long been forgotten…

A single man approached, the one called "King," and without a word, offered a hand. The significance of this, from the perspective of the world above the chasms was that of disgrace, that the King would extend his pure hand to that of a lowly untouchable; to the King himself it was a sign of respect, for Tynan, their lord, had chosen a disciple to lead his kingdom to glory; and to the being whom had been chosen, it was a gesture of unknown respect - never, ever, had they as a people been given a hand that was not a fist of rage. He stared at the hand, still sitting, unknowing of what it meant. His gaze rose to that of the man, head cocking the other way in simple curiosity. The King nodded to his hand, urging him to take it. A moment passed, his mind swirling with all the new information, until he decided to push forward; something none of his kind had done since the class was cast.

Up and up they ascended, through the caverns in the way that he used to sneak by, up and past his place of learning, and into a place he had never dreamed…

Through the streets they curled, the King still covering him with his cloak; through the bazaar, business district, and finally into the palace grounds. They ascended farther and farther, up the steps and into the palace… farther "up" than he ever imagined possible. The massive gold doors of the Heeth palace separated their vast maw, and in they all stepped.

The doors behind them shut tightly, and the light of the sun was pushed away. The light inside was much easier to adjust to, and he began to look around bewildered. The King removed his cloak and turned to the untouchable. "Can you speak?"

He looked at him confused, not knowing which answer to give. "Do you have a name?"

He shook his head. "I speak."

The King nodded to himself, grabbed the man by the jaw and forced their eyes to meet. "You are our savior. You are chosen by God. We will teach you. Do you understand?"

Frightened, he nodded frantically.
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Re: Gift of the Gods

Post by Ruu on Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:23 pm

In a matter of hours, Lucius had been able to transform his appearance. His hair had been cut by a farmer who had asked few questions and provided him with suitable clothes and breakfast as well. He had bought one of the farmer's horses with gold from the purse he still held concealed beneath his tunic. The horse took him to the nearest town and there he was able to procure provisions for his journey: dried bread, cheeses, and meats as well some rope and other useful odds and ends. It nearly depleted the small amount of gold that he held with him, but he was not thinking of the long term. He was determined to fulfill Alucio's wishes, no matter where such a journey might take him, and he was sure the god of Light would provide for him. Even with his altered appearance, he still received the occasional stare from a group of men in dark hoods and a contingent of soldiers from the fiery Mountain. He briefly wondered why their kind would be allowed in the peaceful country of Ellyia, but reasoned that the times were changing. Arraydon had been ransacked; it was only natural that the other countries would begin to probe and test at the defenses and borders of Arraydon's allies.

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

A day's journey took Lucius to the borders of Ellyia's capital city, Taercrest. The city was of complex design, a melding of wood and greenery that caused it to look like just another forest. Homes were cleverly bored into the trees and the vibrant plants life provided natural decorations. Lucius knew of the King and Queen of Ellyia, for they were elves, creatures of immense wisdom and an unparalleled power over natural elements. Lucius had met them with his parents during a conference between the rulers, but was fairly certain they wouldn't remember him. He did bear his family's crest and seal hidden in a secret pouch sewn within his clothing, but he wasn't sure if it would be wise to reveal himself. He was the lone survivor of Arraydon's Royal Family, and he was certain the Zardans and the Soldrs would stop at nothing to see him dead. Even if there were not informants within the castle, his very presence would put the entire nation of Ellyia at risk. It would be better to join a pilgrimage making its way towards Hesperia's Spring, the place where he could begin to unlock the secrets of the Leylines. With this thought in mind, he made a small camp outside of Taercrest's borders, falling asleep under the night stars.

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

As Lucius slept, he dreamed, a dream that seemed to span countless centuries...Images danced in his mind of a bond, a close connection between siblings that should never have been broken. But the cruel jaws of jealously severed that bond, and turned to anger and hatred. A weapon of hatred brought an immortal creature to death's door, and Lucius could feel the pain, wracking his body. For what seemed like an eternity the pain continued to spread through his body, unabated, tinged with the oily vapor of betrayal, betrayal by one's beloved kin...Yet a single, steady presence continued to stay at his side, whispering words of hope in his ear even as the pain lessened, faded, and was gone...

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

Lucius awoke, eyes wide with terror. The dream had been so real. It was as if his own brother had struck him down, intending to slay him...

You have felt in a small part my pain. Know that this pain will ever haunt your thoughts as you carry my burden. Know that the one who caused this has found his own vessel and will be hunting for you. But know that my Light will lead you, guide you, and protect from even his harm...

This voice echoed in his mind before leaving him, allowing him to rest in peace...
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Re: Gift of the Gods

Post by Sólrökr on Mon Feb 27, 2012 8:27 pm

If he had a chance, he would have wished to go back to his old life; back to the status of whipping boy.

But he had no chance to regret, and no chance to think outside of what was demanded of him. From the moment the King grabbed him by the jaw, he did nothing but work, from sun up until well beyond its fall, he worked in ways he never knew possible. They drilled his mind, broadening his scope of language and instilling a sense of past, present and future to suit the history that would come next. They shoved food down his throat to groom his body, and though it tasted better than the slop he was fed in a cage, he had no means of enjoying it. More, they began to train his body with exercise, cultivating the nutrition in the best way they knew, until he'd vomit from duress. He slept when allowed, but infrequently and not for long.

Had his mind not already broken, it most certainly would have; even the sponge-like brain of a child could not handle the amount of unadulterated information they attempted to shoe-horn into him, let alone command mastery of… but Tynan's gift bequeathed more than command of his own elements. Like an engineer, Tynan had foreseen the need… specific he was with the one whom he chose, and the plan which he formulated off of that individual was just as nuanced.

He excelled despite all odds, though with difficulty. His body grew strong and lean, mind sharp and critical… and the training continued. Seers came from across the land to delve into the dark powers that bubbled to the surface; the strongest warriors summoned to train him in the art of both battle and strategy… and an indignant fire burned in the back of his mind; one that grew slowly, but exponentially…

"Your name," King Harod of Heeth announced aloud, before the entire court, "from this day on will be known as Teron, disciple of Tynan, and General of the Royal Guard."
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Re: Gift of the Gods

Post by Ruu on Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:48 am

With the dawn came a new sense of resolve, and of urgency. If Tynan's devotee were already searching for him, there wouldn't be much time. The hopelessness of Alucio's task began to dawn on him. How could he ever hope to enter Soldr, Zarda, or even Acadia? Surely these countries would be on guard now that the fragile peace between the nations was beginning to collapse. No...no...to give in to despair now would already secure the victory of Kaos. If the deities of Kaos were to get their hands on the powers of the Leylines, the results would be disastrous. The entire world would be plunged into darkness and despair and Hope itself would be consigned to fairy tales and myths. Lucius could not imagine such a world and the thought sent shudders down his spine. Trying to ignore the stinging sensation of unfounded fear, Lucius arose and approached a small stream, splashing cool, clean water on his face. The burst of fresh, invigorating water renewed sinking spirits and firmly entrenched his sense of resolve. After a quick breakfast of some dried cheese, Lucius gathered his belongings, preparing to finish his journey to Hesperia's Spring.

As he approached the dirt road that served as the only means of travel through the wooded land of Ellyia, he heard a strange chant echoing throughout the vastness of the forests. His heart surged with hope as he recognized the chant that was dedicated to the goddess Delphine. Only the fabled Hesperian monks would be singing such a melodious hymn. The monks were quite powerful and completely connected to the Earth. They were also known for their acceptance of all peoples, no matter how strange or outlandish they might appear. If this group were heading towards the Spring, perhaps they would allow the young boy to accompany them. Not long after the young boy heard the singing, the monks themselves stepped into view. They were of varying ages, but one and all wore the traditional mint-dyed robes with a silver cord tied around their waists to signify unity and harmony. As they passed by the child, the eldest turned to regard him with a grandfatherly smile. His hair was as silver as the rope fastened around his waist, but his sky-blue eyes held a vitality that hinted of great joy in his life.

"Are you lost, my child?" the monk asked in a gentle voice, "For if you are, there are few answers that cannot be found with the aid of the mother of nature."

"Hail, good brother," replied Lucius, though he quickly remembered to drop his formal language so as not to give anything away, "I am on a journey to Hesperia's Spring to pay my respects and to find some answers."

"That is good to hear, for we are also on our way back from the capital to our beloved home. I am Brother Cade, and I would be honored if you would join us. It is good to hear news of the outside world from time to time, and to associate with those from countries other than our own."

"What makes you believe I am not from this fair land?" asked Lucius hesitantly.

"Though dressed in the simple clothing of the Ellyian people, you cannot hide the Light of Arraydon from your eyes. I would ask what news you would have of the besieged land, but I can tell you wish to speak little of the matter. Know, my child, that your secret is safe with us. We will not betray you, certainly not to those dark necromancers or the destructive soldiers. You may travel with us with no fear. And should you choose to confide in us, we will never reveal your words to another living soul."

"Thank you, good father, for your kind words. If you don't mind, I will journey with you. I thank you for your generous offer."

"All are welcome under the protection of the goddess of Life. Delphine smiles on your journey, I am sure of it. We will do whatever is in our power to give you protection and to speed you on your quest."

Lucius silently wondered how this elderly monk seemed to know more about him than was humanly possible. And yet, the deities were much more active in these days. Perhaps Delphine truly was working to ensure that the one chosen by her brother would succeed in halting the designs of Kaos. He wasn't sure he was ready to spill his entire story to this group of strangers as of yet, but in the days ahead he felt much more at ease as he traveled with them. Indeed, his story did reach their ears, and they shook their heads quietly at the atrocities committed during the siege of Arraydon. Lucius did not, however, mention his royal heritage, though he wasn't so sure that Brother Cade hadn't guessed the truth. Perhaps, however, he should have taken more caution. No one noticed the monk who had not been there when Lucius first met the group, and disappeared soon after Lucius told his story...Darkness was at work, and darkness would always follow wherever there was light...
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