Immortality

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Immortality

Post by Ruu on Sun Jan 08, 2012 11:17 pm

Burning...burning...The entire forest was burning. The fierce light of flames enveloped even the most sacred groves of Urdur. The winnowing fire had spread until it licked at the edges of the Castle of Amalda, Urdur's capital city. For so long Urdur had been at peace, but that peace had been brutally broken and shattered in only a matter of days. The first ominous portent had been a mysterious illness, inflicted on the King and Queen. Even the greatest of the Nayan healers had been unable to ascertain the origin of the disease and despite all their efforts, both the King and Queen had passed away. They had refused the rite of Immortality, a rite that could only be invoked once every 100 years. They knew that the ritual would take great power from the Earth, and would not only weaken their kingdom, but would also sap strength from their own citizens. They would not ask for such a sacrifice, and in the end had passed quietly. They entrusted the care of the people to their young son, Prince Heios Almada. A young man with a bright smile on his features, the Prince had forged a great link with nature and even the wildest animals were calm in his presence. The King and Queen felt that the people of Urdur were in good hands. Their only regret was that they would not be able to spend more time with their son.

Heios had assumed a brave facade, a false sense of bravado. In public, he was strong and secure, though his smile seemed to have lessened slightly, and the glow in his eyes had become noticeably dim. At night, however, once all the courtiers, attendants, and sympathetic friends were gone, the young boy would cry himself to sleep, humming the lullaby his mother had sung to him ever since he was an infant. As his emotions were becoming increasingly troubled, his connection with the Earth began to wane. No longer could he summon wildlife at will, and it took great effort to utilize even a fraction of his power. Even the Light magic that provided him such joy was lessened as his zest for life was shadowed by the pall that cruel Death had cast over the country. And as Heios weakened, so too did his own people feel the traces of despair, for they were all linked through their mystical religion, devoted to the goddess of Life, Naya.

It would come as no surprise to those accustomed to the callous ways of the world that one would seek to gain through the misfortune of another. That person was a whisper of evil in the East, a dread Warlord with terrible powers. He had heard the rumors of the boon of immortality bestowed by the goddess Naya on her beloved, and it was his wish to gain that immortality for himself. His army of devoted followers tore through the mystical barriers that had once protected the entire country. Heios' people were slaughtered where they stood, and soon the hordes reached Amalda itself. Heios had wished to ride against the Warlord immediately to defend his people, but his most trusted advisers and greatest soldiers would not allow it. They fought valiantly to protect the life of the sole remaining heir to the throne of Urdur, and the greatest Sages and Paladins were able to stem the tide if only for a short amount of time. But the Warlord himself appeared in all his power, and destroyed the defenders with ease. All that stood between his complete control of the people of Urdur was the King himself, sun-touched Heios. The two faced each other at the top of the castle, a tower with a once scenic view, now burnt and blasted by unholy fire. Heios knew exactly what the Warlord wanted, and he also knew that the Warlord would never get it without his help. His solitary hope was to defeat the Wardlord...or to die trying. At least with his death, the secret of immortality would be sealed away for all time...The battle had begun much in Heios' favor. His strength and endurance coupled with his command over the Light proved a turning point in the battle, but it was not enough. The tragedy of losing his parents was too much for his young heart to bear, and his defenses were beginning to wear thin. It would only be a matter of time...

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

Sky blue eyes, once light-filled began to dim as the prolonged battle began to take its toll on the young Prince. Multiple wounds had been inflicted on his body, and though his command over Light caused them to continuously heal, they were becoming too numerous and too frequent. Spells and protective barriers had shattered, friends and allies had been lost, and even the earth itself was screaming in pain. Everything that mattered to the young Prince was being taken away from him, and melancholy was beginning to consume his spirit. Still, there was a certain regal bearing to the young King, a King certain in the knowledge that his goddess would protect him; if not in the current life, then in the next. He raised his hand to wipe blood and sweat from his brow, even as he held up the fabled sword, Nasir.

"I will not surrender, " he cried, his voice filled with a quiet strength though his eyes were troubled with conflicting emotions, "You will never, ever obtain Naya's cherished secret. It is not for the likes of you! I would rather die than open the way forward. Your evil will end here!"

With a cry, he threw the holy sword at the Warlord, aiming for his heart with a whispered prayer. It was a last ditch effort, with all of his power and mystical strength behind the throw.
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Re: Immortality

Post by Frithrika on Tue Jan 10, 2012 10:53 pm

In the midst of terror and chaos, Alcander; the coldblooded man who had caused it all was proudly watching the city crumble. He looked almost more like a beast than a man as the helmet shielding his head had large horns attached to it and was shaped to make his face resemble that of a dragon. The wind tugged fiercely at his long, black cloak as he grinned at the view from the top of the castle. His plan was going even more smoothly than expected. The army of Urdur was great in numbers; however the men had little to no experience with war. Nor did they possess the same killer instinct as Alcander’s followers. Those who had accepted the Warlord as their leader were not ordinary warriors. They were criminals, killers and dark magicians whom had all been banned from these lands. Many of them did not care too much for loyalty. Yet they fought when their master commanded it simply because they enjoyed the thrill. By now his army of scoundrels had completely taken over the city. However there was no time to celebrate the victory. A more important battle still remained. One that would likely turn out to be more challenging. The reason he had invaded this land was not only for its riches or for the sake of ruling over a large territory. Becoming powerful wouldn’t be half as much fun if it couldn’t last. In time age would catch up with him. And what then? Would he have to hand his winnings over to some runt? Dark magic could only do so much to keep him from aging, however if he could gain the power of immortality he would not only remain young, but he’d also become invulnerable. But to break the seals of the six shrines protecting Naya he needed a key. This key was not something he could simply steal and use to his heart’s content, because it happened to have a will of its own. The one who could destroy the seals was the young man Alcander was now about to face; Urdur’s newly crowned King.

Fighting the young King did indeed turn out to be a challenge. Even for a sorcerer with such well-developed skills as the Warlord it was a tiring battle. Had he intended to kill he might have defeated him much quicker. He’d only have to attack ruthlessly and then deliver the final blow the moment the King’s defense was weakened. However the entire invasion of this land would be in vain if he failed to capture this brat alive. Without the powers possessed only by members of the royal family it was not possible to penetrate the barriers protecting the shrine of Naya. Thus the King was valuable to the Warlord, at least for now. He would most likely dispose of him once he had gained access to the source of immortality.


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

When the King took a large risk by throwing his weapon at him; the Warlord knew this was his chance. He swiftly dodged the sword, though not entirely swift enough. It brushed his arm as it flew past him, leaving a searing pain. The chainmail hidden beneath his cloak kept it from creating a deep wound, but the legendary blade still cut through and tore at his flesh. He hissed and charged forward, delivering a blow of dark magic so forceful it sent his opponent flying. A loud crash followed when the King hit the wall of the tower before collapsing. For a moment Alcander feared that he had gone too far, but upon closer inspection the boy was still breathing. He had merely been knocked unconscious. Which was of course convenient as it was much easier to deal with someone who didn’t struggle. With a small bottle in hand he kneeled beside the young man and poured a few drops of its content between his half-parted lips. It was a paralyzing drug to ensure he would stay put if he should regain consciousness.

Moments later in the King’s chamber the Warlord had taken a seat while he waited for the young man to wake up. He had personally carried the King here as it would be easier to negotiate in a smaller room. His dragon-like helmet rested on the table next to him and he didn’t look near as intimidating without it. His unkempt dark hair and about a month old beard gave him a messy appearance, but if one squinted he could be considered quite handsome. He appeared to be in his early thirties though he was actually closing in on his forties. A slight smirk formed on his lips when the King’s eyes finally opened. “Now, do not panic. You should regain the ability to move in just a few minutes, I assure you” he said calmly. He didn’t mention that it would take even longer before Heios would actually have proper control over his movements, but oh well, it should be fun watching him stumble about. Although rather cruel, Alcander was known to have a childish sense of humor. He didn’t let a chance to play a devious prank slip away. “You probably already know what I want, so I’ll keep it simple,” he continued. “You have two options. You can join me willingly, or I shall make you join me by force.” His tone was nearly pleasant, though there was an underlying edge to his words, making it known he wasn’t just joking around. “You may still be young and foolish, but I take it you see which choice will be the most convenient for both of us.”
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Re: Immortality

Post by Ruu on Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:37 pm

The youthful King's heart sank when Nasir delivered only a glancing blow. He had no time to react as the warlock sent a burst of dark energy his way, slamming him against the wall. He felt something cold and wet trickling down the back of his head before his vision became blurry. He struggled for consciousness, but quickly lost the battle, succumbing to the almost welcome relief of utter oblivion.

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

When Heios awoke, he felt the soothing presence of his own bed. For a fleeting moment, he believed that the terrible war and the final, climatic battle had been nothing but a terrible nightmare. As he struggled to sit up, however, he found he could not move any of muscles. His entire body had been completely paralyzed. Panic set in, but he could not even thrash about. The only sign of his fright was his rapidly beating heart. What kind of sorcery was this that it could immobilize his entire body? His waking phantasm turned to horrible reality when he heard the voice he had prayed to never hear again. There was no mistaking smooth yet steel-edged tone of Alucander's words. His heart welled up with fear at the ultimatum. Joining the warlord and unlocking the seals would perhaps the greatest catastrophe the world would ever know. Alucander was ruthless now; imagine his lust for power after he became certain that he would never die. And yet...if Heios resisted, he knew there would nothing but pain, both for himself and his people. As the leader of a people of peace, he had really never known true pain until the battle. His body ached with multiple wounds, unable to close completely now that the Light had all but died in his exhausted spirit. The back of his head felt like it was on fire, and a general lethargy seemed to possess his body in addition to the terrible drug's effects. It was quite an unsettling feeling, and it truly clouded his judgement.

"I will...never..." he whispered through clenched teeth, his words slow and somewhat slurred, "Give you...what you...want...You won't...hurt me...not really...Because without me everything...you desire...will be lost...My goddess...will protect me...and my people...from your evils."

His words sounded more noble than he felt at the moment, reduced to an immobile body, trapped in his own castle by the most terrible of foes. If only his parents were here...They would have known what to do...
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Re: Immortality

Post by Frithrika on Thu Jan 12, 2012 7:43 am

The Warlord listened to the response with a bored expression on his face. Though the other still wasn’t moving it was not difficult to tell he was in despair. Alcander felt no compassion with him however. To him the King was nothing but a spoiled brat having lived a life shielded from the hardships of the world. This was probably his first time experiencing anything akin to abuse.

In Alcander’s eyes Urdur had not only been a country of peace; but one of ignorance. Outside its protecting shield there was a much harsher life to be found. The world he had grown up in was a cold and unforgiving one. None had been there to shelter him or show him kindness. He had learned from an early age to only use the powers he possessed for himself. If anything his strong connection with dark magic gave him a mean to defend himself, and later it became something he took advantage of to the point where he developed sadistic urges. Supressing others made him feel strong and superior. In the end spreading fear and terror had become his addiction. He had found companions with similar views, and as Alcander’s impressive talent in controlling dark magic grew he became a leader figure. That was his first taste of power, and as soon as he had savored it he wanted more. The results had been grander than expected. Soon he was not just leading a group of rebellions, but an entire army. Thus a dangerous Warlord had been born.

Alcander laughed scornfully as Heios claimed he wouldn’t dare to hurt him. “And there lies the proof of your foolishness” he snorted and stood up “How naïve. I cannot kill you, I’ll give you that. But there are many ways to make someone suffer that does not involve death. For instance I have access to poison much more terrifying than the one affecting you now. And I know just the amount to give you to ensure they only cause you pain without killing you.” To prove a point he forcefully yanked Heios away from the comfort of his bed, letting him drop helplessly to the floor. “You’re quite lucky to never have experienced torture, but I’ll put your ignorance to an end if you refuse to cooperate. Do you understand?” His threatening glare changed into a slight smirk as he placed a foot on the younger male’s chest, stepping on him much like a hunter posing with his kill. He didn’t add much pressure as his boots were quite heavy and he didn’t wish to break any ribs for now, but he wanted to let him know just how powerless he was at the moment. “We’re riding for the nearest shrine at dawn. If you want to travel with your dignity intact I’ll have a servant prepare your horse. Or would you prefer to be escorted in a cage like an animal?”
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Re: Immortality

Post by Ruu on Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:18 pm

As Alcander stood up to move towards him, Heios felt his heart palpitate with dread. Even the close proximity of the Warlord was enough to send chills down his spine, much as he tried to maintain his composure. Heios bit back a sob at the Warlock's words. How could he inflict pain worse than death? Why would he wish to do such a terrible thing?

Only a moment later, he found himself wincing in pain as he dumped unceremoniously to the ground. He was utterly helpless to defend himself and it hurt even more to know that once much power had been his. If only he had learned more of the ways of combat, perhaps he could have truly saved his people.

“You’re quite lucky to never have experienced torture, but I’ll put your ignorance to an end if you refuse to cooperate. Do you understand?”

Heios could not hide the fear as his body began to spasm just a bit in terror, made all the more awkward by the slowly returning feeling to his limbs. Torture was illegal, forbidden in the peaceful country of Urdur. It was seen as barbaric and nothing more than a ploy to assert complete and total dominance over another. But Alcander seemed to have no such qualms; in fact, his smile seemed to indicate that he reveled in it as he put a rather dense boot onto the young King's chest. His words brought the first hint of anger to Heios' eyes. How dare he compare him to a caged animal. A caged animal was seen as sacrilege in the Urduran culture; a caged human was even worse. He was the King of his people! He would not be submitted to such indignity! He bit back a heated retort, however, understanding that they would do little at the present moment. Once they got to the shrine, however, nothing on earth would move him. He would never open the way for the dread Warlock, no matter what pain the terrible war leader would choose to inflict on him.

"Ready my horse..." he replied at last, grasping at his last shred of dignity, "I will...accompany you..."
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Re: Immortality

Post by Frithrika on Fri Jan 13, 2012 10:50 am

“Good choice” The warlord practically purred and moved his boot off him. He knew Heios would most likely begin to resist again once it was time to destroy the shields, but it should not be too difficult to convince him he had no choice. Those not accustomed to pain were easy to break. He could tell that merely the word ‘torture’ was enough to frighten the boy. There was no doubt he wouldn’t be able to handle the real thing. Alcander bent down to pick him up and placed him back onto the bed, more gently than one would expect from such a coldblooded man. It was not really an act of kindness. He was simply trying to manipulate the young king. If rewarded with benevolence each time he submitted it should teach him the easiest way out would be to obey his orders. “I’ll have a medic look at your injuries shortly,” he informed him and picked up his helmet before heading to exit the room “The castle is already heavily guarded by my allies. So take my advice and don’t try anything foolish. You’ll regret it.” With that last threat he firmly closed the door behind him. He did not lock it, but there was no need. Two of his most trusted followers were already guarding the door. Heios’ powers might be surprisingly strong for someone so young, but in his currently weakened state it was not likely he would stand a chance against any of Alcander’s servants.

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

By dawn all preparations were already made for their journey. A few of his followers had been chosen to accompany them while the rest of the army would be occupied keeping the city under control. In contrast with the despair that had spread through Urdur; Alcander was in high spirits. And he saw no reason why he shouldn’t be. He had managed to conquer a whole country without suffering any major losses, and soon he would be granted eternal life. He’d be dancing around and laughing by now if he didn’t wish to maintain a shrewd image in front of his men. Besides he had to focus on the task ahead.

“Is the Princess awake?” he called mockingly upon entering the room belonging to the fallen King, “I’ve come to escort you to your awaiting stallion, milady. Are you all set?” He was aware that his jokes probably wouldn’t be well received, but that made it all the more tempting.
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Re: Immortality

Post by Ruu on Fri Jan 13, 2012 7:01 pm

As Alcander left, Heios was seething inside. The Warlock treated him like a child, or worse, a slave dependent on the good will of his master. He was not a slave! He was King of Urdur and he would show the Warlock that Naya was not a goddess that you wanted to anger. Though defeat had already come, there were still sources of untapped power available. There were still people willing to rise up against oppression and there were many snares and pitfalls within the shrines themselves. It would not be easy for Alcander to gain immortality. Taking a deep breath, he calmed his simmering anger. To follow the ways of Naya was to be at peace, even in the most trying situations. Closing his eyes, he allowed calm to flow through his body. Soon, he was able to move his limbs again, albeit awkwardly, and in a matter of hours he had regained full control. It was a shock to find that his body hadn't responded the way it should have, another testament to the cruelty of the dread Warlord. Soon after this, a medic came to tend to his wounds, though the treatment seemed more painful than the wounds themselves. It seemed Alcander's medics didn't rely on the healing properties of Light Magic, rather they utilized the darkness to forcefully close wounds. It was a much quicker process, but it ignored any pain on the part of the wounded individual.

After the medic left, the young King sat cross-legged on his bed. He closed his eyes, allowing himself to slip into a meditative trance that was more restful than even a good night's sleep. He allowed his exhausted spirit to rejuvenate, and could feel the powers of the Light seep back into his weary body. His connection to the Earth was tenuous at best, for it was still reeling with the pain Alcander's forces had inflicted on it. But Heios could feel pockets of green growth, untouched by the destructive fire, and teeming wildlife, driven back for the moment but not subdued. There was still an army out there waiting for his command. He just needed to choose the right moment to unleash Nature's fury...

The youth stirred as something feathery and soft alighted on his shoulder. His eyes lit with recognition upon seeing a snow white dove, the symbol of Naya. It cooed, whispering sweet words in his ear before he whispered back, quietly trilling the bird's complex language. Moments later, it was gone into the wind, leaving Heios with a new sense of life and vigor.

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

Heios opened calm eyes as Alcander's mocking voice rang harshly in his ears. He said nothing at the Warlord's demeaning words as he threw a spotless white cloak around his shoulders.

"I am ready," he said simply in a short clipped voice, brushing past the Warlord.

If Alcander wanted to stop him, so be it, but he would not follow like some kind of subservient creature. He noticed Alcander's men, ransacking his castle, but always keeping watchful eyes on him. Any threat of escape would not be taken lightly, it would seem. So be it. He had no wish to escape at the moment anyway. He soon reached his horse, delighted to see that the steed had been relatively unharmed. Ignoring the chuckles and harsh glares, he embraced the creature, who also seemed joyous at seeing the young ruler alive. He whispered in snorts and whinnies, the secret language of the horses before mounting the steed.

"The Shrine of Igrin, god of the sacred flames, lies but a stone's throw from the city. Let us make haste," he said, trying to maintain the shred of dignity that he was clinging to.

In a matter of moments, the group reached the shrine. It was an imposing structure, forged from igneous rock and gleaming obsidian. The fires that burned atop elaborate torches were strong and harsh, yet somehow different than the fire that had once ransacked the city. Next to the shrine bubbled a small pool of lava, burning with black smoke. Heios turned bright eyes towards it, though he tried to hide his excitement.

"That is Igrin's pool. Only those with Royal Blood may be submerged under the burning flame. I must enter if I am to be granted the strength to release the barrier that will allow us to travel to the Inner Sanctum to release the seal."

He waited quietly for Alcander's response. He knew the Warlord could stop him if he wanted to, but he hoped his ruse would work. The pool was not, in fact, a key to opening the shrine. It was one of the few sites of power in the land, and it would grant Heios command over fire as well as restoring his still weary body. If the Warlord did not allow him to enter, it would be a setback to his plans of obtaining his country's freedom.
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Re: Immortality

Post by Frithrika on Mon Jan 16, 2012 2:14 pm

Alcander mounted his large, black shire horse. Its impressive height and strong build made the surrounding horses resemble ponies in comparison. He was mildly surprised that the young King seemed eager to get going. The Warlord was not a very understanding man, but he knew enough about how the minds of soft hearted humans worked. It was no easy task making them sacrifice others for personal gain. Thus it was unlikely that Heios would turn against his people. He was undoubtedly aware of how much dread it would cause his country if he led him to the source of immortality. Of course Alcander had figured he wouldn’t have to drag him kicking and screaming to the shrine, but he had expected him to show more resistance. Something was off, but he let it slide for now.

Suspicion arose in his mind once more when they reached the shrine. He was paying attention to how Heios’ eyes kept drifting towards the pool of fire. The young man’s expression did not reveal much, but Alcander was used to dealing with more cunning enemies. It was clear to him the other was hiding something. Fortunately for the Warlord he had not traveled to Urdur on such an ambitious mission without doing any research ahead. The secret of immortality had interested him for years, and while he was waiting for an opportunity to seize it he had sent spies out to gather information. Their original task had been to pry into whether there was another way to break the seals without the powers of the royal family. They had found no answer to this question, but they had collected many secrets and rumors about each of the six shrines. Thinking back, Alcander could recall hearing about Igrin’s pool. He did not know what sort of blessing it would bestow upon Heios if he should enter it, but chances were it would somehow aid him to escape.

“You truly are naïve” the warlock snarled, “so naïve it’s almost endearing, but more than anything it’s pitiful. Do you truly think you can fool me so easily?” He jumped off his horse and snapped his fingers. Immediately three of his followers headed straight over to guard the pool in case Heios would attempt dashing towards it. “Now come. We have no more time to waste on your foolish ideas.”

The inside of the shrine held another pool of lava, filling a large gap between the entrance and the gate leading to the inner sanctum. The bright red lava was different from the kind outside however. Even Heios would surely die if he fell in. Nine narrow bridges went across to the other side, and beside them were remains showing there had once been a tenth. Only one of these bridges would not shatter when someone reached the middle of it. Clearly some unfortunate fellow had chosen one of the faulty bridges in the past.

“Which one is it?” Alcander asked, watching his reluctant companion intently “Tell me or I shall have my servants go across first. You don’t want them to fall to their death because of your stubbornness, do you?”
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Re: Immortality

Post by Ruu on Mon Jan 16, 2012 7:50 pm

Heios' heart sank when Alcander quickly dispatched three men to guard the hallowed pool. If the Warlock understood the secrets of the sites of power, Heios felt that all would truly be lost. A soft memory touched his mind, a rustle of dove's wings fluttering in his ears and he was forced to hide a smile. No, all would not be lost. Naya was still with him, and her powers were very much alive in Urdur, as the Warlock would discover. To at least calm some of Alcander's suspicions, Heios glanced regretfully back at the pool. It would not do to reveal the Warlord his hidden hopes and dreams. The youthful King quickly followed after his conqueror, entering the shrine. The shrines were complex places, and only could be traversed by the Royal Family and those dedicated to the ways of the particular god and goddess. It was strange that none of the monks of Igrin stood guard. Of all the Nayans, they were the most prepared for war as their god was its champion. Many of them had donned full battle armor to join in the defense of the capital and had proved to be quite hardy foes. But Heios was certain that not all of them had died in the onslaught. He prayed that perhaps they had some foreshadowing of the events that had transpired, and had gathered together further inside the shrine to plan a counterattack.

As he looked at the bridges, it became apparent that warring forces had already tried to unsuccessfully assault the shrine, as one of the crossing had shattered. It was a well known fact that the monks of Igrin were a hardy people, unaccustomed to visitors. They made certain that no enemy would ever surprise them. Heios knew which bridge was correct, of course. The monks changed the bridges periodically, but the Royal Family and Igrin's faithful knew that the correct bridge would resonate with a gong laying on this side of the gap. But for any other person, the resonance would be so slight that they would not see it unless they specifically knew what they were looking for. He turned away from Alcander's gaze when the warlord asked him to reveal the correct bridge. He winced slightly at Alcander's callous dismissal of the lives of his own men. Heios felt that he could not be responsible for the death of others in such a manner. And yet, that was what the traps were for? They would only justly suffer Igrin's fiery wrath if they attempted to cross.

"I...do not care if you send your men on the wrong path," he said, feigning indifference, "They will be subject to Igrin's judgement. But I cannot help but wonder at your own bravery. If you are as powerful as you say, why don't you choose the path you believe to be correct on your own?"
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Re: Immortality

Post by Frithrika on Wed Jan 18, 2012 6:54 pm

There was a slight hint of hesitation in Alcander’s eyes as he switched his attention back to the nine bridges. Even a warlock of his caliber couldn’t fly. If he fell into the flames it would be the end for him. Usually he would simply send of a powerful blast of magic that would break all but the correct bridge. However he had felt since yesterday that his right arm ached terribly and drained his energy whenever he used his powers. He had hidden it well, but he was quite fatigued from the wound Nasir had inflicted upon him. As if the blade had been covered in poison it was slowly weakening him, and he would most likely not regain his strength properly until after the wound was healed. Using much magic today would be tiresome. Yet he was not willing to back down from a challenge. Besides he didn’t wish to let Heios know he wasn’t the only one suffering after their fight.

He stepped forward and stretched his arm out towards one of the bridges, aiming for the centre of it. A ball of black fire formed in his palm before being shot towards the bridge. The moment it hit, the bridge crumbled. By the third bridge he was already gritting his teeth, trying to hide that he was in pain. Fortunately he was in luck when he picked out a fourth bridge to aim for. This one was not shaken by his attack, thus it could only be the correct one. “That’s the right path” he said smugly and reached over to grab the back of the young King’s collar. He didn’t think his hostage would be brave enough to sacrifice himself by diving into the flames, but he still kept a tight grip on him just to be safe as he pulled him along across the bridge. He couldn’t afford to lose the key to eternal life.

As they made their way towards the inner sanctum there were several dangers. Nearly invisible strings that would trigger deadly traps if one should be unfortunate enough to step on them. Alcander was prepared for this and carefully examined their surroundings, successfully avoiding all strings and lose bricks. Finally they got through, and Alcander’s weary expression brightened up considerably when they could see the glimmering seal ahead. He was just about to approach it when he heard a sound caused by neither his nor Heios’ steps. He didn’t have to look to know it was the monks protecting the shrine. He had expected the ambush, yet he had chosen to leave his men outside. Alcander held a trump card that would keep them from daring to attack him. He quickly whipped out a knife and pulled Heios close before turning around to face the monks while he held the blade pressed against the king’s throat.

“You may be a brat, but they already accept you as their King, don’t they?” he purred into his ear, “command them to back off.”
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Re: Immortality

Post by Ruu on Wed Jan 18, 2012 8:33 pm

Heios watched with interest as Alcander began to strike the bridges with unholy magic one by one. Why didn't he just send an entire burst of magic throughout the cavern, knocking all but the correct bridge loose? Was he trying to conserve power for a fight he anticipated? Was he injured from the previous battle? Or was he really less powerful than he believed? The young King's heart sank, however, as the Warlord discoveredthe correct bridge, turning to taunt his captive. Heios did not resist as Alcander dragged him across the bridge. For a moment his eyes turned towards the lava, the blessed lava of Igrin that could perhaps end this all if he could but pull away from his conqueror for a moment. But to end one's life was blasphemy and a mockery of hope. Besides, not all was lost yet. There were still other powerful forces at work, even if Igrin's monks could not withstand Alcander's might.

The young King hoped that perhaps Alcander had not anticipated the traps guarding the way to the Inner Sanctum, but he found that the Warlord had truly planned his attack on Urdur down to the minutest detail. His captor knew the secret ways through the deadly traps and quickly pulled his captive through their midst until the shimmering of the seal could be spied faintly in the distance. But there was still one more challenge to face before the seal could be broken...

Dozens of dark pockets lined the cavern, and Heios knew that archers were hidden in the alcoves, ready to fire their feared poisoned arrows. A dais could be seen just in front of the seal, crowned by a statue of Igrin in his glory. Surrounding the dais were men robed in red, chanting in an eerie yet perfect tone. In front of them stood a man, his hair jet black yet streaked with gray. He wore full battle armor, studded with rubies, and in his hand he hefted a great sword. He resembled a warrior much more than a sacred dignitary. And yet he the pendant of Igrin was displayed prominently over his chest, and around his waist hung a circle of prayer beads. His rust-colored eyes were dancingwith vitality, yet they grew dismayed upon seeing a knife pressed to the throat of the young Monarch.

Heios didn't bother to struggle in Alcander's grip. If the Warlock decided to take Heios' life, he would lose the secret to eternal life, and Heios was fairly certain this was a risk he did not want to take.

"Don't worry about me! He won't kill me unless he wishes to lose his greatest desire. Please, I beg of you, even if he would destroy me, you must defeat him! He cannot be allowed to desecrate the sacred forests of Naya any longer!" cried the King.

The monk hesitated, eyes flashing as his body began to glow with the transcendent might of fire's essence.

"Unhand the King at once, or the fury of Igrin will consume you," commanded the leader of the monks, "You are surrounded by archers who will gladly strike at my command. You would not last a moment if you were but grazed by one of their arrows."
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Re: Immortality

Post by Frithrika on Thu Jan 19, 2012 3:29 am

Alcander tched. Using Heios as a human shield could have been effective if he didn’t insist on being so loyal to his country. As one who led an army he did know the value of loyalty, however what he didn’t tell his soldier was he saw it as a weakness. The moment a man started to value something more than his own life he was enslaved by it.

Now Alcander had no choice but to fight. He almost regretted not bringing his men with him, but most of them were careless. Surely they would have triggered more than one of the deadly traps he had just maneuvered through. No, he had to deal with this on his own. Fortunately he had been conserving his magic while breaking the bridges. He was tired, but even in this state he still had a fair chance at winning. “I hope you’re satisfied” he hissed at Heios as he released him “there wouldn’t have to be bloodshed if you had listened”. As he pulled back his knife the blade grazed the other’s throat. It was by no means an accident, and by no means a lethal wound. He had avoided the carotid artery and while it was deep enough to draw blood there should be no lasting damage. Hopefully he was the only one aware of this however. Alcander was relying on his opponents’ lack of experience with violence. He knew that for at least a few precious seconds all the monks and even the archers’ eyes would be drawn towards their beloved king. They would be momentarily immobilized from the shock.

He used this opportunity to charge up before releasing the terrifying dark flames he possessed. A protective shield was formed around him and the King, but the rest of the room and its inhabitants were trapped in the explosion. This was the warlord’s true power; merciless destruction. Many of the alcoves surrounding them collapsed while cries of agony could be heard from others. For most it would be a devastating sound, but it was sweet music to Alcander’s ears. It meant he had hit his targets. As the flames perished and the smoke began to clear he could see several of his enemies scattered around. Some were burnt beyond recognition and the smell of burnt flesh made even the warlord wrinkle his nose.

“Do you see what happens when you disobey me?” he spat, but just as he was about to get cocky about his victory; fatigue caught up with him. His wound began to throb and sting while his body was weakened to the point where fell to his knees from exhaustion. Staying conscious was quickly becoming a challenge, but he could not allow himself to black out now. His enemies were defeated, but there was still the king. Normally he would doubt Heios’ ability to murder someone with his bare hands, but it was likely he’d be enraged by the death of the shrine’s guardians. His anger could give him the strength he needed thus it was more important than ever that Alcander didn’t let his guard down. His vision was blurring and it was getting more difficult to breathe, but he still forced himself to stand back up. Looking vulnerable at a time like this could be fatal. “Now I hope you’ve learned your lesson. If you have, then destroy the seal.”
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Re: Immortality

Post by Ruu on Thu Jan 19, 2012 7:14 pm

Heios had precious little time to react as the knife bit into his throat. He winced at the sharp pain, but was only partially surprised when the knife went no further. He realized Alcander's tactic too late as the wave of dark fire washed through the sanctuary, tearing through rock and flesh alike. He bit back a choked sob as the smoke and dust cleared, charred remains the only thing left of the once renowned warriors of Igrin. For half a moment he wished the dark explosion had taken him with it. At least he would have died with them, shared in their cruel fate. They had only been trying to protect him. They had been the defenders, and Alcander had ruthlessly taken their lives. A harrowing thought touched his mind; if Igrin had been so powerful, how could Alcander's dark magic hold a candle to him? Was the Warlock truly more powerful than the gods and goddesses?

He was so distraught, he barely noticed the telling signs that the Warlord was beginning to become fatigued. Perhaps if he had been more observant, and perhaps if he had not fallen into a state of shock, he would have been able to take advantage of the situation. Unfortunately, he was still reeling from the wound, minor as it had been, and his mind still screamed with the agony of the fallen warriors. Connected as he was to the Earth and to life itself, that connection was magnified tenfold in the sanctuary. Even if he was too weak to harness the power, the connection was still there. He bit back sobs as the Warlock reminded him of the danger of disobeying him, and commanded him to break the Seal. He hesitated, but clearly had little strength to resist at the moment. Wearily, he pulled himself to his feet, holding a hand over his neck. When he reached the seal, he touched it lightly, a shudder running through his body as he did so. There was a sound not unlike the mournful sound of hissing fire, and the glow disappeared. Above the temple, a ray of crimson light shot through the sky, traveling towards the Shrine of Naya. A small ground quake shook the area, and all was still. Heios sunk to his knees, tears running down his face.

"You...you're...a monster..."
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Re: Immortality

Post by Frithrika on Fri Jan 20, 2012 10:34 pm

Alcander watched with interest as the seal was broken. It felt ironic that despite all his power he was still unable to remove the seal, while a member of Urdur’s royal family could do so seemingly effortlessly. Still he was satisfied. In less than a day he had taken control over the first shrine. Only five remained. He snorted softly at the other’s words. “Thay may be true” he mused. It was far from the first time someone accused him of being a monster. In his younger days the word brought painful memories to mind, but as he began to lose his sense of right and wrong he started seeing it as a compliment. He liked the idea of being more than human. A dangerous and powerful being feared by all. That was something he did not mind becoming.

“But this is not entirely my fault.” He added in a steady voice “I gave you a chance to let them escape, yet you ordered them to attack me. Does that not mean I have the right to act in self defense?” Oh he knew it was cruel to put the blame on the already heartbroken young man, but if he was devoured by guilt it should become easier to use him. “If you behave better at the next shrine it shall not have to end like this. I’ll spare the lives of its guardians as long as you send them away.”

He leaned against the wall and let out a pained sigh, choosing to wait for a while before they moved on. He needed to rest after exhausting his powers, and though he was far from sentimental he had the decency to give Heios a moment to grieve. Finally as the pain in his wound began to cease he walked over to pull the King to his feet, resisting the urge to comment on how pitiful he looked with those red, puffy eyes and tears streaming down his cheeks. Since he had done his task for now there was no need to treat him harshly. Alcander was the type of person who found amusement in kicking a man, but he wasn’t too interested in kicking one who was already down.

“It’s a mere scratch” he said, narrowing his eyes as he got a closer look at the wound on his neck “It will heal up perfectly fine once it’s been disinfected.” Perhaps scratch was an understatement, but the warlord was much too used to seeing worse injuries. He stepped back before heading towards the exit. Their job here was done and there was no need to remain any longer. “Come along. And don’t forget to watch your steps.”
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Re: Immortality

Post by Ruu on Sat Jan 21, 2012 3:17 pm

Heios tried to ignore Alcander's accusing words. They couldn't be true! The Warlock was lying, trying to poison his words even more. Even if he had ordered them to stand down, they would not have obeyed him. They would have fought tooth and nail to rescue him, for they were Igrin's warriors. But the logic sounded hollow to his ears, and his spirits continued to fall. He shuddered at Alcander's next words. If he behaved better...The Warlord was acting as if Heios were a child, or worse, an animal that he expected to obey him. The young King felt his grief harden into resolve as anger clouded his mind. He wouldn't aid the Warlock any longer! He would fight and wouldn't stop struggling until his breath left his body. If he could help it, Alcander wouldn't even get near to any of the other shrines! He could feel that the Light inside of him was already beginning to gather strength again as he shed his despair with his new resolution. Naya would protect him and she would see to it that a power-hungry individual would never obtain immortality.

After what seemed like a long time to the young monarch, Alcander finally walked over. Heios glanced at him apprehensively, but noted that the older man didn't have quite the same spring in his step as he did before their fight. In fact, he seemed to be downright tired. Perhaps there were limits to the man's power, and if he could exploit them...But it would do no good to struggle yet. He was still injured, and this Temple's Seal had been already deactivated. He glared at the conqueror as the man examined his wound, proclaiming it a mere scratch.

"I don't need your foul sorcery to disinfect my wound. My own powers were suffice," he shot back, and even as he spoke he allowed his power to touch the wound, light gleaming for a moment.

The blood flow stopped completely and the wound healed, but it was obvious Heios was not at full strength for a scar still ran across his neck. He followed after the sorcerer, ignoring the other's taunts. Before long they were outside again and Heios ran to his horse, embracing his beloved companion, the only friend in the midst of foes.

"I'm not going to lead him to any of the other shrines. I don't care what he does to me. I will fight him and fight him and I'll never stop," he murmured to his steed, uncaring if the Warlord or his soldiers heard him.
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