Category: fantasy

The Stranger – Part 1

He suddenly opened his eyes, panting, drops of sweat on his forehead. He moves into a sitting position on his blanket and, taking deep breaths, looks around. It was another nightmare. Details of the dream were fading away but dark images were still haunting his mind. For a moment he did not realize where he was but then it all came back to him. Together with the sorceress, he traveled for many days, tracking the ones that took her brother. They did not really understand what happened, how the warrior was taken so easily, but the dark scent of magic he was tracking was not good news. He never felt magic like that before, neither did the sorceress. During the last days the traces were getting stronger, they were getting closer. He figured that next day they will get them.

He looked to his right where she was sleeping and froze. She was not there. A clear sense of danger shot through him and he jumped up. Her pack was still here, but she was gone. He looked around and it was then he noticed the flashes of light through the trees, in the distance.` Why did she leave?`. He didn’t waste any more time. Grabbing his staff he started running towards the flashes.

As he ran got closer to the lights, he noticed that most of the trees we cut down, scorched. Some still burning. Dark corpses were in the bushes. Pools of blood. Deadly magic had been unleashed here, her magic. But why ? He ran. Sounds of battle were heard ahead, screams. He could feel the magic crackling in the air. He ran faster. He was real close now. Stopping for a second, he quickly whispered ancient words and raised a protection shield around him. He then rushed ahead and entered the clearing but stopped dead in his tracks.

In a heartbeat he took everything in: corpses everywhere, weird humanoid shapes, but yet not humans. The high elf was with her back to a large rock, a trail of blood from a head wound was on her neck, the left sleeve of her robe was torn away and another scar was seen on her arm, her chest moving up and down with effort, her hands glowing. The hideous creatures were surrounding her, advancing slowly. He had a feeling that the dead corpses on the ground somehow cut their courage a bit. He needed to act fast but help was needed. Whispering the words, he called forth his power and used it to open a portal to the underworld. The air seemed to shimmer in front of him and, with shriek, a dark shadow appeared, floating above the ground and holding a huge scythe in its hand.` Command me, master`, whispered the shadow.

“Protect her!”

With a terrorizing scream, the specter instantly glided towards the creatures. They started to turn but the specter was above them. Before they could react, the scythe moved with blurring speed and two creature were cut in half, blood spraying into the air. One creature slashed at the shadow, but the shadow dodged the blow. The creature lifted its sword to hit again but, right then, it got hit by a powerful gust of wind and flew across the clearing, hitting a rock on the other side with such violence that its head exploded. The shadow quickly killed two more creatures.

Then the necromancer saw what the sorceress was protecting at the large rock: the warrior was on the ground, bleeding from several wounds. He was still alive, he could feel that. More creatures attacked the woman. In those split seconds several things happened. She sprang her hand up and a fireball hit one of the creatures, killing it instantly, a scythe came from nowhere and sliced the legs of another creature, green lightning shot from the necromancer’s hand and another creature dropped dead with a thump. But the last one went through and with a growl, ran his sword through the wounded warrior’s chest. The creature was killed the next instant by the specter, but too late. The woman was staring in shock at the dead corpse. She looked at the dark elf and he saw the tears running down her cheeks. She was shaking her head, not believing this: “No … this can’t be …”. More creatures entered the clearing. She looked at them, then back at the corpse.

“No .. no .. no … NOOOOO!!” she screamed.

She sprang her hands up and the night ignited.

The Stranger – Part 2

“Wait, we still have time!” cried the dark elf.

But his voice was lost in the thunder that rolled over them. When he looked at her he realized she would not have heard him anyway, she was lost in her own rage. The thunder came again and suddenly two twin lightning bolts split the skies, connecting with her hands. She was whispering something and the lightning bolts were still connected to her hands, cracks of blue energy moving along her arms. Then her body started to glow, as if it was charging itself. Brighter. And brighter. The earth started to shake, the air was so dense that you could hardly breathe.

The creatures were moving slowly back, out of the clearing, not understanding what was really going on but feeling that something really bad was about to happen. Then they ran. But the sorceress didn’t stop. She kept absorbing energy and soon her body was like pillar of pure white light. The earth was shaking really bad by now, rocks were starting to crumble, trees were falling. Suddenly, the lightning bolts were gone. For one heart beat the world stood still, unmoving, silent.

Then it happened. The sorceress released her hold of the power and all that energy exploded from her, in a radial blast. Waves and waves of energy were radiating from her, with a shrieking sound. The waves were moving with unbelievable speed pulverizing everything: the trees were exploding into million of splinters, rocks were crushed, huge cracks appeared in the ground. Then the wave reached the running creatures and hit them. Their horrified screams stopped abruptly when they were blown away, exploding into a red cloud of blood, limbs and bones flying everywhere. On and on went the wave, relentless, killing and destroying, almost as if it were alive. Then it stopped, the thunder faded, the earth stopped shaking. The sorceress staggered and fell to the ground.

After a while, the dark elf stood up slowly, still dizzy. He looked around and saw her lying on the ground. Quickly, he got closer and turned her around, resting her hear on his knees. Pulling her hair away from her face, he just watched her for a while. The bruises and the cuts from her face could not hide her beauty. He smiled and then called softly to her. She took a deep breath and then she opened her eyes, blinking.

“What happened ? Are they dead ?”

The necromancer looked around at the land that was now destroyed beyond recognition as far as the eye could see and nodded:

“Yes, I would say so. Are you ok ?”
“I’ll be fine”
“Good, let’s get out of here quick, we still have time to save him”

She looked at him with an incredulous look but said nothing. The both got up and walked to where the warrior’s corpse was. She looked very tired, but she cast her spell and a shimmering portal appeared. Then they both lifted the body and stepped through the portal, which closed behind them. Far, far away, in a dark forest, another portal formed and the three of them emerged from it. They moved the body next to a nearby tree and gently put the warrior down on the soft grass.

“What are you going to do ?” she asked.

The dark elf said nothing. He reached into his pack, took out a small leather pouch, opened it and produced a small gem. She looked at the gem, then back at him.

“Is that a .. is that what I think it is ? How did you get it ?”

He shot her a dark look and said nothing.

“Ok, I don’t want to know”

He put the stone on the warrior’s chest and knelt to his side. He closed his eyes, focused on the stone and called forth his dark powers. At first nothing happened. But after a while strands of shadow started to form above the corpse. More shadows appeared and they started to rotate slowly around the stone. Something started to glow inside the shadows, as if trying to get out. Suddenly a ray escaped the shadows and hit the stone. The dark elf focused harder and the stone went brighter and brighter until you could hardly look at it. And then the warrior gasped loudly and his body staggered violently.

After a while he stopped shaking and slowly opened his eyes. He was alive once again. The stone was gone. The high elf burst into tears of joy and hugged fiercely her brother. The necromancer placed his hand where the stone has been and whispered some words. He moaned in pain but clenched his teeth and held his hand still. The warrior’s wounds started to heal and close and soon no trace of them was seen. Spent, the dark elf sat back, panting heavily.

“He will be all right, he just needs to rest. Let him sleep for a while”

He stood up and grabbed his backpack.

“I need to go now. Can you send me away ?”

She nodded and came close to him. Her eyes locked with his and they needed no words. She put her hands around his neck and pressed her head to his chest, holding him tight. He hold her for what seemed to be an eternity. Finally they parted and she cast her spell. Soft light engulfed him and then he was gone

The Zoo

“Finally !” he says to himself.

After he cleared the forest, the great spires came into view: huge, impressive and beautiful in their simplicity. He was always impressed with them. Although he could use the services of a wizard to get on the moon (druids can do that too, but he really leaves that as a last option), he preffers to use the spires whenever time is not an issue. He remembers first time he saw the spires, long time ago, in another land. He did not believe things that huge existed. He was so stunned that he almost died when that griffawn attacked him from behind. The scar on his back still itches from time to time.

As he approaches the spires, he notices the mass of people and creatures awaiting the teleportation. Sighing inwardly at the sight of so many people, he requests his shard from the Scion that wards the spires. This time they sent down here human female. He takes his shard and moves out of the way, watching her. While she is not a dark elf, he can’t help admiring her curvaceous body that her white robe does a poor job at covering. ‘Not bad at all‘ he thinks. Right then, as if she read his thoughts, she turns her head to him and shots him an icy glare, her deep blue eyes almost glowing. Noticing the bloody corpses not far from her feet, he suddenly decides he will keep further comments for himself.

He moves to one of the huge pilars and, leaning on it, waits patiently for the teleportation. Although he used the spires countless of times so far he still can’t get used to the crowd. You could find here all the races you could think of (and some you would not want to think of). From the big and disgusting trolls and ogres to the small and annoying halflings and gnomes. All kinds of clothes, colors, weapons, smells, growls, snarls. It was all here. It was a zoo, that’s what it was.

He remembers when this place was completely deserted (baring, of course, the ocasional wizard that was appearing every now and then). In those times nobody had any idea what the spires were and what was their use. Until, one day, one of those erudite wizards managed to use the power of the spires to open a portal during one of his experiments. This was a good thing, the dark elf thinks to himself, because the way to the Nexus was opened. More commercial opportunities, travel was easier. More zoo though. Because of the Nexus, herds of people started to pour in. But that could not be helped, he guesses.

He comes back to present, watching the crowd. At some distance from where he stands a group of filthy barbarians are laughing and drinking some liquid which has a very dubious color. One of them says something and the others roar in laughter again. The barbarian puts down his sword and grabs several throwing knives from his belt. He grins and his companions and then, suddenly, throws one knive at the female Scion. The knife reaches her, hits some invisible protective shield and just falls to the ground. The barbarians find this very funny and laugh again, spilling drink on the ground.

These things happened before and the dark elf knows that, eventually, more blood will be soaked into the ground. For some reason the Scions never moved when attacked, nobody knows why. They can not be harmed though. Taking another gulp from the bottle, the barbarian takes another knife and throws again. They laugh again. The Scion does not. She just stands there, motionless but watching the smelly thug intently. Taking another shot from the bottle, the barbarian staggers a bit (too much drink, thinks the dark elf) and grabs the arm of one of his companions so he can steady himself. But the other one just laughs and pushes him away. He stumbles but regains his balance after a few steps and, with some effort, stands up.

Only to be met by the beautiful and cold eyes of the Scion. In his stumbling, he moved too close the her. He does not even have time to blink. With blurring speed, faster than the mind can comprehend, her arm lashes out and she brutally applies one single devastating blow to his head. The barbarian is lifted clear off the ground and lands with a loud thump several feet away. Even from where the the necromancer is standing, he can clearly see that the barbarian’s plate helmet was simply smashed into his brain, the upper half of his head is now only a diformed mass of blood, oozing brains, pieces of metal and bone splinters. He was dead long before he hit the ground. There is a small comotion and the remaining barbarians (who are not laughing anymore) drag the corpse away.

The dark elf shakes his head and chuckles to himself. Some people never learn. Amusements like this one makes it almost worth it to be this close to the Zoo of people. The melodious voice of the Scion is suddenly heard, announcing that the teleportation will begin soon. There is movement in the zoo, people standing up, grabbing their packs, weapons, pets and gods know what else. Getting ready.

After a short while, it happens. The space between the spires is filled with a blue haze. Hot-white balls of light float high above the ground, slowly moving in a circle between the four pillars. Then faster, and faster until they are just a blur of light. The Scion’s body is suddenly engulfed by a column of light. Just before that light lifts off the ground and shots towards the skies, the necromancer feels every single cell parting his body and join the light.

There is a blinding flash of light then everything is over. The Zoo is gone.

 

The Paladin

After leaving the two dark elves, he heads for the woods again. He must search for him. He needs to find him. It’s been months now since the dark elf is searching the woods, but his prey is nowhere to be found. That does not bother him though. He will find him, he knows that. And when he does, he will kill him. He can’t fail his master. Stopping for a while he looks back, to where the inn must be. His thoughts drift for a moment and her image comes into his mind. `Maybe I should stay around for a while. This should be interesting`. He nods to himself. `Yes, I will be back.`. He wonders why he has this sudden interest in the young dark elf. He dismisses the thought now, there are more important matters at hand, he must focus. He is about to move again when a small sound is heard not far away. He snaps instantly. He sees a shadow moving among the tree trunks and his heart skips a beat. `Is it him ?`. But he knows the answer to that question.

-===-

The paladin moves at a fast pace through the woods. He does not like the woods. And he certainly does not like the woods at night. There are other ways to reach the town, but this is the shortest way. He curses himself for taking this route but now it’s too late to turn back. He takes comfort in the thought that the town is not far now. The town is safe. He will get … CRACK!*. The sound seems to him like an explosion in the silence of the night. He stops dead in his tracks and looks down at the broken branch under his boot. `Rats!`. He pushes slowly away the branch. A feeling of terrible dread engulfs him, something is very very wrong, his whole being screams of danger. He lifts his eyes and that’s when he sees him. A man in a dark robe stands still not far from him. He has a staff in his hand. His skin is dark, his hair is white and his eyes are burning with rage. It’s him, there is no doubt about it. The paladin quickly draws his big sword, words are useless. One of them is going to die.

But his hands are shaking. His heart is beating so fast it’s about to burst through his chest. He tries to focus, he’s been trained for this. He tries to calm himself. He fails and the shaking is not stopping. He clenches his hands on the sword’s engraved hilt and charges the dark elf. He makes a powerful swing with his sword, aimed at the dark elf’s head. But his sword hits nothing but air. He loses balance from the power of his strike and stumbles forward. Confused, he turns and the dark elf is behind him. Standing still. Same rage in his eyes. But his lips are moving, whispering unheard words. The paladin staggers violently, his sword drops to the ground. `What’s happening ? What’s happening to me ?!`. Trying to back off he finds out that he can’t, something is holding him still. His panic grows even more. Suddenly he feels like his blood is boiling, like molten lava is flowing through his veins. His skin stretches and starts to spurt, blood oozing from all over his body. Sheer pain explodes in a white flash through his brain. Pain beyond belief. He never thought there could be so much pain. He then starts to scream. Inhuman,  terror-filled screams. Long screams echo through the woods. And the dark elf is watching. The paladin’s bones start to loose consistency and begin to crumble. Soon he falls to the ground like a empty bag, in a pool of blood which is already soaking the ground. The shock makes pain fade away. He is somewhat surprised he is not dead yet. He sees the dark elf approaching, a long curved dagger in his hand. The dark elf puts his dagger to the paladin’s throat and locks eyes with him. It’s over. One quick slash and the paladin’s world fades into darkness.

-===-

The dark elf takes the bloody head and puts it carefully in the special bag he had prepared for this very occasion. He stands up, puts the bag into his backpack and grabs his staff. Looking at the deform pile of flesh and armor in front of him, he feels satisfied. A grin creeps on his face. Although he has no reason, he kicks the blood stained helmet, which lands with a thump into a bush nearby. He just felt like it. He is one step closer to his goal. With that, he heads back to the inn. They must be sleeping because nobody is there. The fire makes weird shadows on the walls. It’s quiet. He heads to a table in a corner, drops his pack to the ground and sits on a chair. He feels a bit tired, but good at the same time. Leaning back in his chair he closes his eyes, lost in a meditative trance but alert at the same time