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Thread: Disturbing News

  1. #21

    Default Re: Disturbing News

    Prelude to Battles Part 1


    Az thought to himself. The officers were gone now, off with their orders after leaving Bristugo on the way to Dalimond. General Escasia was with her legion heading to the last suspected location of Laslo QuickFingers south of Bristugo. Az wished she could be here with him in Dalimond.

    Getting to the cliff by the bay near the little tower had not been easy, with so many civilians watching his every move. This was the one spot of quiet he had left to himself. He looked at his feet. He would never get used to invisible stone. The great stone walls and ramparts were finished. The six hundred year project was finally done, though it was probably older, according to a couple of discreet scholars. The grand wall followed the diagrams for Dalimond city proper in Ashlander's personal diary, but which he had never started. The Gnomish machines, weapons and rails had been added on in the last twenty-seven years enabling disappearing catapults and their larger cousins the trebuchets. In the grand wall there were also apartments for the military, hospitals, munitions, and areas for massive troop movements with their own portals. Behind the grand wall were the great dwarven pillars higher than the wall but instead of fire on top there were huge gnomish devices. Infrequent towers rose above the wall, as where designed inFeladan but more massive. The wall were twenty two meters high and ten meters wide except in some places where it was thicker. There was a massive fortification at the bay entrance, with a huge raisable stone gate, as well as large fortified entry points. Unknown was the two metersprotuberances from the wall to the outside, which according to the gnomes just simply appeared ten years ago. The center of the bay held the greatest of secrets: An assortment of aerial vehicles with components and weapons never before seen. There was something else. Something unimaginable. It was there, and all agreed, but none knew above and around them. Strange things had been happening in the bay for centuries, but no one spoke of them, for fear of ridicule. Their quiet conversation always ended with hex signs drawn in the air.

    He was furious with the course of the events this night and for the last thirty years. Only twenty more years and he could have exterminated the WA in a single week with a preemptive attack with these same strategies, tactics and weapon systems. ALL preparations were thrown away now, out of necessity. His hands trembled and right eye twitched.

    Taking a deep breath he focused.

    Down below Az could see with his spyglass, Fiendish General Clovis with his body guards, three Fiendish Master Class Blood mages at the town center. Slowly his head of security Colonel Vladockt forced the four individuals into a ever tightening noose over the last two and a half hours. Az grinned in admiration. Vladockt was a fiendish murderer out of Kirasanct. He formerly had been in the Imperial Kirasanct Guard. He was one hundred and fifty years old. He was a genius with a eidetic memory as well. He had been in charge of counter espionage, and a host of nefarious black ops out of Kirasanct. Originally a temple assassin, he had a history of unnecessary and unsanctioned kills to perfect his technique. He had gotten himself imprisoned in one of the secret Imperial bunkers, dedicated to the most dangerous criminals in all of Istaria. He had refused to become a Blood mage for the goddess of vengeance, saying it was far too limiting for anyone of true professionalism. Many said the goddess of vengeance was afraid of him, and that was why she allowed him to be captured, so his threat to that sacred city was neutralized.

    Vladockt was a force like no other. Not less than forty-three free assassination requests, from the illegal guild of killers, had been brought to his attention. Supposedly Vladockt had killed two of their Guild Masters for practice. Vladockt was merciless, vicious and absolutely loyal.

    Az turned his spyglass to the name of his pain, the Kirasanct general in charge of Imperial Kirasanct troops in the lands of the snow. General Clovis was a traitor. He had been watched by more than one department out of Tazoon for the last thirty years. He had the connections to squelch anything that could be done about him. Scuttlebutt rumors had indicated that he owned at least forty percent of the Imperial judiciary.

    Vladockt had proven it. Since then he had verified two hundred and thirty-eight counts of treason, with seventy-eight counts not requiring a court. General Clovis had set back his plans for twenty to forty years, due to his incessant blatant inquiries. His spying for the Withered Aegis had prevented a winnable one week war. The total extermination of the WA was no longer an option. Since he had come to Dalimond after his demotion, it had been far easier to avoid him while Vladockt tracked, recorded and did his planning on what to do about him. The general's network had been deep, large and encompassing.

    Vladockt had been impressed by Clovis for a while. Over a thousand people reported to him. This network had enabled him to buy slaves for the Withered Aegis armies, and find secrets in the Tazoon bureaucracy for blackmail and extortion. Military secrets were his biggest endeavor, for sale to the WA. The WA had turned him from his loyalties decades ago. Vladockt's final report had estimated on the conservative side of over twenty-five thousand deaths, mostly of innocent civilians. Vladockt had proven four thousand of them, all tied directly to Clovis. The time for his termination had arrived. The straw that broke Az's back, and necessitated this route, was the murder with his sycophant, the city magistrate, to eliminate the High Priestess of the Temple of the Goddess of Vengeance, deep below Kirasanct. Once the successful murder was carried out, then the magistrate, now high priest, bullied the Supreme Commander to send five legions of Imperial troops to defend Kirasanct. Once they arrived, he bespelled them and placed them under a geas. He left them naked outside the walls, freezing to death to be a “blood sacrifice” to the dark goddess, when the WA arrived. The idiot goddess had fallen for it. She had obliviously not been paying more attention to those under her own roof. Complacency was a terrible crime.

    Now Tazoon had approximately three hundred and fifty troops with over one hundred thousand enemy combatants on the way, led by three of the great dark lords. Indication of a force of ten thousand hovering on the borders of the observatory with a lesser great power, twenty thousand on the border of the Cauldron and fifty thousand at the edge of the Dead Pool, also led by more lesser or great powers. An emergency civilian and military response was not enough. Only a declaration of war would legally place the imperial troops, with the authority of a war time standing, and that standing's available resources.

    Az took out his tell stone and called Supreme Commander Leaf. “Supreme Commander Leaf?”

    “Yes Supreme Commander Az?” she answered.

    “We have a full blown war now instigated by the WA. We need only verify what is going to come out of the gate at the Eastern Outpost. The Magistrate of Kirasanct, acting under the orders of General Clovis, has your five legions of Tazoon Imperial troops bespelled. They are under a geas, stripped naked freezing outside their walls, waiting for an attack by unknown enemy forces, to be killed as a sacrificial offering for the dark goddess. General Clovis is here trying to spy again, is a traitor and I have proof of it here in Dalimond. Our few troops are spread out with little to no resources. I have a plan, but now will need additional resources to carry it fully out.”

    “NO!”

    “No what?”

    “I refuse to declare war. It would be illegal as the WA has not declared war on us. There is no full council to make such a declaration, and no King to declare one unilaterally, to ask for assistance to protect his race, which would force our hand. Are you such an idiot that you have forgotten the basic tenants of Imperial treaty law??!! By the way, Clovis would never do such a thing, and neither would the Kirasanct magistrate. I have known them for more decades than you have been alive, and trust them both. So you are either ignorant, not properly informed by your criminal band of villainous individuals, or suffering from those human problems that affect the mind after so many years. You are above thirty years old. You are on your own. I am going to press charges on you for stealing my Seal of Office seven years ago. So make sure you get a lawyer. I am very busy getting these portals taken care off for military and civilian use. I think this is all a ruse on your part to seal me into a deep bunker so that you can take over the empire. You are a liar. I am a princess. You are a commoner. Good bye and good riddance.” The princess terminated the call.

    Az made the second call to the Gifted Lunus dragon who wasalways with Malicore another legendary gifted warrior, “Mordel are you there?”

    “Certainly Supreme Commander. Malicore is with me. We are having an ale at Aughundell watching all the dorfs go running around. We are not exactly sure what they are supposed to be doing. General Granite Fist has not been available for orders. There is a rumor of a forces coming out of Old Rachival heading here. Is there any thing we can do for you?”

    “Did you hand out and drop all those little scrolls I gave you for Kirasanct?”

    “Yes, we finished that about thirty minutes ago. It caused quite a fervor.”

    “Did you see the imperial solders?. Did you happen to get visual proof of their existence there?”

    “Are you kidding? We had those dark wizards trying fry us with their various spells and what not.”

    “There have been complications. We must have proof for their existence outside those walls, or we cannot save them to fight for Tazoon. Do you understand why they were there? They were requested by the magistrate and general to reinforce Kirasanct for help for the hordes coming there. The Supreme Commander Leaf did not know they were to be used for a nice sacrificial offering to the dark goddess. They were able to do this after they murdered the chosen high priestess. The magistrate is the sycophant of Clovis. Clovis is a traitor in the employ of the WA. It is a long story. I need you to trust me.”

    Mordel paused, shocked and appalled. Az never lied about anything, as he considered a lie a waste of time. Mordel thought that he really wanted to be there when Az finally did lie.

    “Is this going to be really dangerous, really important, and going to get us a lot of enemies?”

    “Oh yes, yes, and absolutely Yes.”

    “Let me ask Malicore as we are a team”

    AZ could hear the cadence of a argument going on.

    “What is the payment for this little escapade?”

    “The nefarious glory of fly by snatch and grab of a high ranking Kirasanct official and thumbing your noses at the defenses, while you get surveillance on the Imperial Soldiers. Their goddess is going to be furious, especially after she interrogates him and his friend. If you will do the other missions I will ask of you, risking your lives and skins again, you will become heroes to every other race in the lands besides us. The Fiends will of course hate yourguts. So food and drink for the rest of your unnatural lives, whenever you are at Dalimond”.

    “So about the snatch and grab...”

    “Grab the magistrate, take him out of the city limits, above the clouds and drop him on my command. You will need to be able to carry Malicore on your back and hold the magistrate in you taloned paw for up to an hour.”

    “Why?”

    “If he can sprout wings and fly like he claims to be able to do, we got big problems. If he goes splat, then I need to know if he resurrects himself. If he is gifted, we will have even bigger problems. I am not sure exactly when I will be able to give that order, but no more than an hour.



    “Will you do it?”

    “Yes.”

    “Thank you Mordel.”

    “There is no reason to thank us. We are being paid and I am very bored. Goodbye.”

    Lifting the tell stone again Az called, “General Granite Fist.”

    “Yes?”

    “Are you by yourself?”

    “You must be joking. In this bunker?”

    “Very well then. You would have heard my conversation with the Supreme Commander. You will remain calm and keep an impassive face. There is a plan. General Granite Fist, I am hereby resigning my post as Supreme Commander of all Istarian Military Forces. As second in command, you will, of course, take my position. You will inform Princess Leaf. You and your twelve advisers will come immediately forthwith to Dalimond, to begin your duties. For us to survive this night, I must take up other sundry obligations. The enemy is unloading out of Old Rachival. You know where they will be going.”

    “Of course I know. Are you alright Az?”

    “No I am not. I am furious. I have a full picture now, and it is disastrous.”

    “After this call take a moment. You should rant, rave scream and curse. I have noticed that humans think far more clearly after doing this . If you remain as you are, we will fail. I am quite aware of what others have done to us, and its results. Since General Clovis is in Dalimond, he is your responsibility. Good luck to us both Az.”

    Citizen Az put the tell stone in his pocket absently thinking. The events so far tonight had been horrific and overwhelming. Shaking his head he cursed stamping his foot. There just had to be a traitor. There just had to be a bad apple in the barrel. He clenched his fists tightly in fury screaming in near mindless rage. The howl of his outrage for the first time echoed throughout the bay bouncing off unseen walls overshadowing the noise and confusion in the human city.

    All grew quiet. The blue tattooed Wardogs, stood at attention clapping their fists on their chests in salute. They knew that fury, outrage and hate. It belonged to them and their Master Az.

    The Fiendish, master class body guards, stiffened and immediately took a triangular defensive stand around their client, Fiendish General Clovis. General Clovis shivered behind them in their circle of protection. He could not help but to shudder at that howl, like the forgotten creatures of darkness hunting with a feverish need of blood and violence.

    Clovis whispered to the trio,” Remember your contract!” Getting no verbal response, he screamed it, clutching at the lead of the trio of master class blood mages. She shrugged off his hand grunting in disgust.

    The Dogs of War had already reacted to their movement, with the established pattern ordered by Colonel Vladockt for this particular mission. The pattern of total encirclement by crossbowmen keeling between long spear men. Behind the kneeling men, stood longbowmen. The longbowmen pointed their arrows waist down. The crossbowmen aimed waist up. The spear men would center their thrusts at the midsection. In a circle around them, and placed on building tops, were various casters and additional longbowmen of different schools. All their orders were clear. Only fire/aim at the blood mages, and only after a spell was indicated as being launched. Each had been trained to hold their positions for over an hour without movement or noise. All had been trained in the minutiae of facial/muscular movement of blood mages and other types of casters. In the case of master class blood mages, the blue tattooed Wardogs knew the secret language of heart beats, blood circulation, as well as changes of blood pressure in various parts of the body. With total control of their own bodies and blood, a master class bloodmage could hear, interpret and send messages in total silence in the middle of a crowd up to three meters.

    The lead blood mage realized something was very wrong. She recounted their movements. They had been trapped. The foolish coward behind, them kept screaming at all the civilians and Wardogs, that they could not do this or that or whatever. As if his rank made any difference at all to these humans. These were not stupid, untrained barbarians. The surrounding soldiers were calm, their hearts a slow regular rhythm. None of those bolts or arrows or spears were aimed at their client. She realized suddenly that they were aimed at them. The General had lied. There was nothing in their contract for offensive combat, life and death, hazard pay, death benefits to families, beneficiaries, death rite fees to the temple for burial or the final tithe to the Dark Goddess of Vengeance.

    They had been played by a miserly little ***. If any of them lived the Guild Master would have to be informed. This was actionable treason in Kirasanct. The soldiers around them were professional killers, with training far beyond the norm of imperial soldiers. Any movement of any of theirs resulted in the creaking of knuckle bones, creaking of bows or more gestures from the further out casters. Only one individual could produce such killers and trap master class killers that they were as bodyguards and that one had been in prison for over fifty years.

    By happenstance she looked up. There he was, Vladtockt The Lord Of Death, First Assassin in the dark goddess's temple. Sweat began to bead down her spine for the first time in her life. She could not speak up. She could not move. She and her sister blood mages would die in place as their contracts required—for a traitor.

    Hard, flat stares met icy cold grins, and dead eyes. The great pack of the Dogs of War waited hungrily and patiently for the kill. The stage was set. The die was cast.

  2. #22

    Default Re: Disturbing News

    Prelude to Battles Part 2


    On the secret Ramparts of Dalimond

    Private citizen Az closed his eyes taking a deep breath. He calmed quickly. He hated what he would have to do. All the other alternatives had been eliminated. The Dryad princess had driven the final nail into a no alternative coffin. He had hoped she would at least begin to see the bigger picture of the overall strategy. She,however, could not see the intent of the orders or how those order would affect her agenda because of her obsession concerning her political domain. She did do him one and only one favor by reminding him of a single clause in the alliance treaty. A King could force the hand of the alliance into a full blown war. He should have remembered, but too much had happened too quickly and he could not be everywhere at once. She was incapable of running a war and refused to listen to her own two battle hardened generals using them merely as secretaries. Now she obstructed what needed to be done just out of personal spite. She would pay dearly and he would make sure of it with the role she had finally forced him into. Tazoon was a gesture of his race to others. Perhaps this gesture should come to a close in human history. That would be for the future, if there was going to be one. By noon tomorrow all would be decided. Once again the fate of these Holy Lands would be determined by what a human decided to do or not do.

    Quickening his pace he ran along the wall's invisible surface. He wished Escaria was with him. Always calm and serene in the midst of his fury and passion. Better tho that she was away. He did not wish her to be tied to what was about to happen below. The time had come to cut out a sickly cancer inhabiting Istarian flesh on these lands.

    Suddenly a green flash of light surrounded him. He stopped and sighed. Secretly fingering a certain tell stone in his left pocket.

    “Is this the way you greet me human Az with a sigh?” said the Queen of the Dryads sitting on his shoulder.

    “So you have been spying on me again I see. Is it true you are older than the ancient great mountains?,” AZ said in a belligerent manner looking at the town square in the distance.

    Angered the dryad Queen hopped off his shoulder and hovered in front of his nose rapping him between his eyes with her royal scepter saying huffily,” How dare you ! You impudent..”

    Az interjected with an innocent look peering at her crossed eyed exclaiming,” Oh no it cannot be! A youthful visage with the glory of the sunrise. No ravine deep wrinkles, bland watery eyes or broken yellow teeth like Blog first commander of the fourth cohort! Nay I say....”

    “Enough Az enough!” she harrumphed, frowned then laughed. She hovered up and then sat on his head.

    Sighing she became serious somberly saying,”Now listen carefully my stubborn little Az. You were destined and fated to do what has been done in the past and will be done this night to come. Think about those past things carefully and the questions I pose. The foray into the tomb of Ashlander Vandus long before the Gifted quests in the company of specific individuals of all the races in an unparalleled effort of cooperation for the sake of a child? Even a Lunus dragon was there and the party was led by the High Chiconis Elder without complaint by the Lunus faction! Remember you not the fateful promises Vandus required of you in return for his secret scrolls, maps, scepter, crown and artifact? Who would have thought this possible? You did not know of the prophecies that only dryads and the High Elder dragons were aware of . The stipulations that Ashlander made on the night before his death, aware of his coming fate. Only a child of his own bloodline would enter his tomb in the centuries to come before all others. Only an innocent would have the right to hold what he would give. The blessing he would bestow on this child for all the days of his life in order to full fill the promises he would require.

    She continued,” The secret tunnels that were built into the bowels of Old Rachival for its treasures and knowledge therein of the gnomes under the very noses of the Withered Aegis while still a teenager? Who could have seen the rise of power of a young man into the seat of the Supreme Commander of all Istarian Military Forces at the ripe old age of twenty? The legendary caverns below Dalimond with their secrets and supplies filled by the hand of Vandus, while ships still roamed the seas. The building of allegiances for the production of the implements of war unheard of in all the lands existing in ancient legends and folklore lost in the mists of time? ALL of this done secretly under the very noses of the authorities you despised? Tho not least the last great enterprise of a tunnel through the bowels of this land to within inches of the lair of the dreaded Plague Bearer, done without question but only on the trust of a man's dream? Who would have thought that such a thing could be done?? The grand project of Ashlander completed in secrecy after over six hundred years, much less the additions of the Gnome and Sslik ideas to the defenses of this city?”

    The Queen continued quietly in an ancient voice filled with unimaginable time and sorrows,” All of these things around you, beyond you and in times before you were brought to fruit by a powerful king. A king lost to time before Ashlander in an age before the coming of Dragons. A king whose reign and name has long since turned to dust, blown away by the winds of time. A mortal king whose power was so great that even the great pantheon of gods feared him. He was the one who swore a Great Oath to the Elder Gods of Light. A vow with words of such power that realities you know not, heard his words and felt his terrible power. Why do you think the Dragons came here from a distant place in the past? They hunted in distant realms for that power that winds it way into the very essence of what they are. Little Az even the Hand of Destiny was forced to comply.”

    She continued grimacing,” We only know part of this grand puzzle. We do know that all of these things in your life and the lives others in these times came into play to protect a great hidden treasure. This framework of occurrences define our present. How much is fated or predestined, we do not know. The only thing we really know is that the Prophecies are ongoing, and we are caught up in them. Was your grand plan for the Withered Aegis yours alone, part of prophecy, or rather just a segment wrought by ancient words of power to the to the expectation of an entirely different ending in our future? Words of prophecy are shrouded in riddles and misleading clues to protect the outcome in the future. To know the absolute conclusion would negate the outcome by the very nature of the actions of the one reading, understanding and reacting.”

    Az could feel her changing from a sitting position to a standing one.

    “Oh Az,” she emphasized, “The fates are upon us. We are all pieces in a grand design doing different things. All the races have different prophecies, each requiring different actions or in-actions in relationship to ourselves or each other. You need to let go of your petty angers and not blame yourself for things that do not work out according to your plans. Remember this thought therefore, life and history are never fully written, never what they seem to be and true reality is never what it appears...”

    Az interrupted grumpily with a near shout,” Do these prophecies, which I have not been allowed to see, say who will win? When and where will the final battle be fought? When will this night finally end??!!”

    Rising from his head she flew in a tight angry circle ending in a hover in front of him half a meter away. She looked away with her palm towards him quoting,” and she will speak to him of many things before the Moon reaches its zenith on the ramparts hidden from the world.” Now we know who she is and who he is . You do understand yes??

    “Yes,” he replied with a growl.

    “And Az?” she inched closer to his face hovering and quivering with rage quoting,” If he fails, the Darkness shall take the lands of Aradoth in four days. Lesser Aradoth shall fall in six days. All other lands shall fall in fourteen days. The grand treasure of the city by the sea shall fall last scorched and burned after dragons fall from the heavens,the gods are no more and the first children of the lands magic,the dryads all, will lie unmoving, for the sands of time cover their flesh, the dream of Palmyra gone forever. Darkness shall reign for a thousand Aeons before light shall again come into the world.”

    With eyes glowing with green fire She hovered even closer still, only inches from his nose growling back at him,” I grow weary speaking with mortals out of necessity. I grow weary with your lack of understanding beyond your scheming. Have you not realized the realm of mortals is tied to the realm of the gods?? What so happens there shall be reflected here and what is here shall be reflected there? Are we winning at present? Think Az and realize this one important fact. Our gods are losing Az, losing this great “fun” war!! The Withered Aegis have summoned more than they know back into the divine realms. The Elder Dark Gods of the first age are pouring out their power to crack back open that door to the mortal realm, where they once walked. The great horde out of the Western Deadlands are not so much headed to Tazoon, which has already fallen, but to the site of the destruction of their former Leader Torrin Macalir. It is here that they must be be present. A minimum of Three Great Dark Lords blessed by the Elder Dark Gods shall be needed to complete the cursed profane ritual of perverse resurrection of the undying dead.”

    Taking a deep breath she calmed. Backing up still hovering she said,” You are right you know, none of this is fair. You shall carry the same mantle as I do. Neither of us wanted it. You were also right about taking the battle to the enemy, tho for all the wrong reasons. The gaming board of great ancient powers, Az is in play. The pieces are set and the winds of Destiny blow for dragon, dryad and bipeds alike across its surface. Only one dire warning left to give to you and your people from that great hidden power in Dalimond Bay. “No execution will take place in Dalimond behind these walls. That time has passed. If such an event should come to pass I will allow a wrath to descend on the humans unlike any before. The Lord of War shall defend my chosen place, not profane it with punishment by death or torture.”

    You will understand shortly Az. I promise. No, I am not the one that has been spying on you, your spies hover above. In response to your first question I will tell you this. Yes I am older than the ancient great mountains. And last but not least, a Tell stone no less!??,” said the Queen of the Dryads with a grin laughing she disappeared between blinks of an eye.

    Az fingered the tell stone again lifting it to his ear. He heard the laughter of the elder Dwarven general Granite Fist saying,” Told ya before it would not work Az. The bet is mine won fair and square. I will decide my prize later on. Thank you tho for doing this. I will inform the selected others. No one else must know of these truths lest all fall into despair no?”

    “Az replied,”Agreed. I am counting on you Supreme Commander to stop those deaths planned by Colonel Vladockt for the traitor and his unenlightened body guards. You heard the word.”

    “Indeed! And from Royalty no less! Well I have an idea about what is in the bay from an ancient tale passed down in the Iron Guard through the centuries about the dryads, but that is for another time. Besides I would not want to spoil your surprise. Oh Az how fortunate we are to live in these interesting times!! Fear not, it will please me to spoil the Colonel's plans!” she said laughingly, as the tell stone went dead.

    The two great elder ancients above him lowered themselves to either side.

    “Fear not naka Az we are with you,” said the High Elder of Dralk.

    “So is it true that you both have been spying on me all this time?” he questioned addressing the dralk ancient, while looking at the high elder of Chiconis.

    “Spying is such a limited word. Observing would be more accurate. In fact we have been observing you every day of your life, since you had been identified in our own prophecies ,” interjecting the Chiconis elder.

    Turning his attention back fully to the lunus high elder he questioned again,”Then you knew about what that *---* allowed to happen to my family when you could have prevented it..”

    Without an apology the Dralk high elder replied emphatically,” Would you have had the life ;you have without this happening? Would all the things you have done in your short years been completed up to now till the morrow? The answer is obvious and the answer is a resounding no. Until the arrival of helian high elder at that moment seemingly by happenstance, we only suspected you were alive, having no idea where you were. Only when you were, saved did our own prophecies verify the act and validate your position on the Board of Destiny. Did you not know of these things the druid discussed? For that matter of what we are speaking now?”

    “Absolutely not. I don't believe in destiny or fate or other such nonsense. IF I am wrong, then I would be very interested in their whereabouts so I can happily gut the Four Fates, lop off the hands of Destiny, listen to her wail and free us all of their tyranny. I am knowledgeable of War and only War. With this in mind I do not believe in a state of peace. There is only War and the interludes of time between Wars. Those interludes should only be used in preparation of the next War. History shows over and over a “state of peace” leads the “enlightened” to their own demise and destruction in the next War. I am surprised that the dryad would be so taken in by such poppycock. The very idea that what we could do or not do and the effects between our own realities to each other is just outrageous. If this was indeed correct then, Why has the God of War and the rest of his Kind done such a poor job of it and left us to clean up their mess!?? The fact, if this is indeed true, that the WA summoned ancient deities to assist them proves that MY war would have ended their existence twenty years into the future. The meddling of gods, fates, destiny, and complacency has ensured that the next truly great War will destroy this world with the tools that will be needed to win it. This is just a strategic series of battle field exercises that will waste my plans, most of the cities resources and ensured a lot of useless deaths.”

    “Then you feel sure you will lead the alliance to victory?” questioned the Lunus.

    Az shrugged saying,”I did not plan for this foolish series of battles. I don't need a bloody prophecy to tell me we will all be dead in two weeks, if we don't pull the rabbit out of the hat by noon tomorrow.”

    Suddenly standing still the dragons looked at each other in an extended short silence, nodded at each other then both looked down at Az. Az had stopped and was getting impatient.

    Az reached up his arms enveloping his vision of both saying,”What is going on here that I do not know?”

    The Helian elder replied matter of factly,” A personal matter. A private matter that does not concern you or this conflict.”

    The Lunus raised an eyebrow and questioned, “Why are you in such a hurry Az? This is the first time we three have ever spoken civilly to each other or were alone together.”

    Az pointed to the Dalimond square,” If we do not hurry up there will be a slaughter. Every single life down there has value, even the traitor. I would not see them wasted uselessly. The sickly green clouds of the Withered Aegis are getting thicker and ever so slowly obscuring the sky. Soon the moon will be gone. We cannot afford to lose aerial advantage.”

    The High Elder of Chiconas winced. The High Elder of Dralk roared. The lunus interjected quickly cupping his paws,” Step into my taloned paws Az the Warrior known now, as the Lord of War.

    Az stepped up quickly, holding on to the huge talons stating cryptically,” Thank you. You will not thank me in less than an hour tho according to Skirnir, who was told by Knossos to deliver a certain message to me. This is going to be rather difficult for me don't make it worse by interfering.”

    The dragons rose into the air together quickly, flying the short aerial distance in silence with both dragons frowning in concern.
    Last edited by Skirnir Ouija Glada; January 27th, 2018 at 01:17 AM.

  3. #23

    Default Re: Disturbing News

    Prelude to Battle Part 3

    Bunker in Tazoon

    Supreme Commander Granite Fist looked at the dead tell stone in her hand. The discussion with the Dryad Queen had been informative and collaborating with her own people's prophecies. She knew of course that the dryad Queen would know of the tell stone. She would not know who it was linked to. Dryads were so linked to nature, it obscured their vision in more ways than one. Though they acknowledged other races prophecies, they disdained them while in nature's embrace. A great strength and weakness as well. Dropping the tell stone on the granite floor, she crushed the crystal beneath her heel. The Dryad Queen was right. Each race had its own prophecies. The hand of Bobbit was on her now. Unlike Az, who disavowed prophecy, she cooperated in its fulfillment. Like Az, in his own intellectual entrapment, she, within the prophetic framework, had no real choice in the matter, either. After a short huddle of conversing with her twelve advisers, she approached the podium. The ranking dryads, Fiendish Colonel Metz, one of the three great traitors to the Alliance and the senior Elvish Liaison officer that Az had left here to get the orders signed.

    Drawing near she reached into her backpack taking out two sets of sealed order scrolls. She handed the two scrolls to General Thornbranch and General Hornwhistle, acting personal secretaries to Princess Leaf, Supreme Commander of all Istarian Civilian Affairs.

    General Granite Fist looked at one, then the other, Dryad General and spoke calmly, “Generals, your orders are well delineated and quite clear. Much will be explained about past events hidden from you, due to the Princess's behaviors, for the last number of decades. I believe that Az has chosen well. If the five legions do not come back from Kirascant and sent back here, you are to immediately retreat to Dalimond. As Acting Supreme Commander of all Istarian Forces, I am leaving scouts here and there, in case this should happen.”

    She continued, “If the legions do get back here, then your orders clearly state to make a stand here until reinforced. In this latter case, there will be no retreat from Tazoon. You will die in place, if necessary. I will do my best to see that this does not happen. Both of you are too precious to lose on a mere incorrect calculation.”

    Glancing a last time at the generals. she turned her full attention to the Princess Leaf, “Now for you Princess Leaf. Tapping her chin she tilted her head to the side,” YOU have gotten what you wanted—finally. Az is now, no longer a ranking member of the Imperial Military Forces. In fact he is not in the Imperial Services at all.” Granite Fist did not glance at the Colonel. She already knew where, and what, he was doing. Her eyes stayed on Princess Leaf. The same nightmare, repeated over a thousand times in the last twenty years, had diagrammed out what she would do very clearly. She continued, “He will have other sundry duties. Know that Princess Leaf that you yourself have personally guaranteed this particular outcome. May the gods help you!”

    The Princess looked at Colonel Metz, trying to ignore the Dwarven General she had known since she had come to Tazoon. She smiled brightly at her long time confident, and possible future husband, if her mother would agree to the union. Grinning broadly she crowed, “ Well now!. Things will get back to normal. How they are supposed to be!”

    Colonel Metz smiled wickedly, cunningly, and maliciously intoned,” Oh yes, my dearest Princess, very normal in ways you would never believe. I look forward to escorting you to the Throne Room of my Masters.”

    “Masters?” she questioned, “I don't understand. You have only one goddess, Milord Colonel.”

    The Fiend said nothing except to grin wolfishly at her showing his fine white teeth.

    Slowing blinking, Granite Fist still remained looking at Princess Leaf, who was growing more nervous. With this last statement of the fiend, she was getting frightened, as the truth was beginning to dawn on her.

    Granite Fist addressed the Elvin Liaison Officer to right of the Dryads, “Elf, I know your name, though you are always addressed by your title. I know who you are, why you are here, what you represent, as well as your mission. Make no mistake. I Am the Supreme Commander, and you are hereby ordered NOT to return to Az's side, or Feladan. You are to stay here and record events in Tazoon, for your Elvin superiors, on My authority. You will stay close to this young female dryad's side, to ensure her safety, if needed. If not, you will accompany these fine dryad generals. You will remain the Elvin Liaison to the Supreme Commander, as these dryad generals will carry my authority in this field of battle. The corrupted dead and spirit scouts already roam the streets above and around the city from the great pit west of Tazoon, under the domination of the Withered Aegis. Feladan is falling and there is nothing we can do about it, at this time.”

    Addressing the Princess a second, and final, time still looking at her in the eyes, Granite Fist said seriously, “Princess Leaf, as Supreme Commander of All Military Forces, I hereby relieve you of all duties, forthwith, concerning all civilian and military personnel affairs, until a Grand Military tribunal has determined whether or not your act of sending military personal to Kirasanct, thus endangering the well being of the entire Imperium, was legal, treasonous, a matter of poor judgment, or just childish immortal naivete. From that point in time you will be handed over to civil authorities, based on their discretion. I, therefore, remand you to your mother, or these two fine battle hardened generals, in the absence of a prison cell.”

    Turning completely away from the Princess in dismissal, Granite Fist formally addressed the fiendish Imperial Colonel,” Colonel Metz, your last orders are simple and straightforward. You will report to the Dark Goddess, and confess all of your treasonous actions. In conjunction with your superiors, your city and race are removed from the alliance of all races. You will also report to your deity, your criminal conduct in the first degree murder of your High Priestess of the not-so-secret temple beneath the basement of Kirascant. You will also, voluntarily, reveal without prompting, your role in the enslavement of over twenty-five thousand innocents, to the Withered Aegis, including over one thousand of your own people. You will also tell your Goddess that as, Supreme Commander, I will personally lead the forces that will level Kirasanct, after this present war is concluded, if needed. You will tell her I look forward to this event. The plans for this event have already been set in stone, for future use. Colonel Metz, you are a traitor. You are hereby stripped of all your rank. You are banished from all imperial lands. I was asked to give you this, before you carry out your final orders.”

    She handed him the elaborate black shiny thornwood scroll, in ancient fiendish script, sealed in blood drenched wax. Breaking the seal, then reading the fiendish writing within, he began to laugh. “Vladockt the Lord of Death, First Assassin for the Dark temple, is in prison and has been discarded by the Dark Goddess. This writ of a death warrant has no meaning. Throwing the scroll away he continued confidently, “I look forward to my Masters killing your race and your personal enslavement, with this dryad wench, to amuse me for the millennia to come. Az, and all of you, are fools. What say you then, oh elderly ancient dorf? Before I burn you to an icy dust? Surely you don't think YOU can kill me!,” he chortled brazenly.

    Leaning easily on the odd two bladed war axe with a peculiar spike Granite Fist replied,” You are wrong once again citizen of Kirasanct:

    1. Valdockt is alive and has been head of Az's special forces for some time. He has personally been tracking you, Clovis, and that idiot magistrate for ten long years.

    2. The dark goddess never revoked his privilege. Probably a clerical error on her part but, nevertheless, he remains the first assassin at this time.

    3. And finally, yes of course, I am going to kill you.

    Granite Fist quickly drew a single ancient glyph in the air between them. The divine glyph froze the fiend in place, silenced him and placed him under a geas.

    The fiend blinked in surprise, losing the advantage. The overly large axe seemed to swing in slow motion changing in appearance, as it descended to the fiend. In less than a blink it burst into golden flames cleaving the fiend in twain below the neck. As the remains of the body hit the floor, Granite Fist reversed the axe and pinned the fiend's head to the floor with its spike. His contorting face reflected his surprise. A column of golden flames of judgment surrounded them all, exploding through the bunker rooms, through the bunker ceiling, through the bulging, flowing sickly neon green clouds, to the far clear sky above. The green clouds of withered aegis power, burned as flames scoured the sky, ground and bunker for the unworthy, delivering the Justice of Brobbit from the green lands, to the east and to past the deep pit to the west. The flames remained in a circular perimeter. Screams were heard, as half the individuals in the bunker tried to escape, but exploded in flames, burning to dust in less than a instant. Of there colonel there was only a burnt spot on the stone.

    The room was silent, as a brilliant green burst of bright light, appeared before the Dwarven Supreme Commander then retreated immediately, hovering before the dryads all.

    Ignoring the light, Granite Fist had already dropped to one knee. The other Dwarves followed suit, bowing their heads. Holding up the great war axe in supplication,and bowing her head,Granite Fist called upon Brobbit, speaking in the first ancient language of the Dwarves, “Take away from us this great divine burden, oh Mighty One! This part of prophecy has been fulfilled. Your command has been followed.”

    A huge transparent hand gripped the weapon's handle around hers. Hand and axe disappeared.

    The dryad Queen Leaf, hovered up in a green flash, holding up her scepter exclaiming,” How dare you....”

    The Supreme Commander looked at her with a frown cutting, her off, “You rap me on my head, and there will be repercussions. I have far more important things to do, than listen to the type of tirade you already gave the human Az. Stepping up closer, Granite Fist looked at Queen Leaf with a flat stare, continuing, “When you look at me, you see, not a human, but All the Dwarven race. You may be immortal, guardian of a great crystal of power, Queen of your people, but you are not without limits. If you think your great secret in the bay of Dalimond can completely leash Az, you and it are very mistaken. Your prophecies, and the Draconic ones, are not the beginnings and ends of this torrid little affair. We have been aware of many things for a long time. What sits in the clear waters of the only deep port in all the lands, is the least of all of these things. Now, you should have a nice chat with your daughter, who is a primary mover of these present events. I really don't think you would agree with her decision, resulting in the potential dark blood sacrifice of FIVE legions, and their support companies outside the, now traitorous, Fiendish racial city. Just think, thirty thousand plus troopers all well trained, all their gear and clothing taken away, that are supposed to be protecting Tazoon and YOUR daughter, are freezing to death! Don't you have things to do?!! You've got an army to move from that magical island of yours, to Tazoon.

    Suddenly, Granite Fist leaned forward so much, Queen Leaf hovered backwards. Granite Fist raised her voice sarcastically, “Oh yes I understand now, you and your armies cannot traverse the Western Deadlands to the desert. You need Az, a mere human mortal, to clear the way, so you can make your grand entrance to the fields of battle. Well!! You got a lot of surprises coming to you Queen Leaf!! Make sure that great power of yours, protects that Tower of Nature, less one more structure bite the dust of war in these lands. By the time night is over, Az will have another title no longer merely The Lord of War. He will become The Lord of War and Destruction, with what you have yet to see. Gods help us!!. Good Luck to us both, Your Majesty!! I will see you shortly, in Dalimond. You will, of course, get all these individuals outside of Tazoon, near the eastern gate. Reinforcements will be forthcoming at that location If they come at all.”

    The twelve dwarven advisers waved, smiled then disappeared, with their leader, in a blink of an eye.

    Queen Leaf turned, looking ominously at her daughter, who had dropped her to knees before her mother weeping. Taking a deep breath the Queen began to shout.
    Last edited by Skirnir Ouija Glada; February 4th, 2018 at 12:14 AM.

  4. #24

    Default Re: Disturbing News

    Prelude to Battle Part 4


    Dalimond


    The refugees had filled Dalimond to overflowing. Complicating matters was the full Legion of blue tattooed Wardogs and support companies belonging to Az, in and outside of the city perimeter. Individuals were camped on any available space within the city walls and surrounding the city. The roof tops were filled as well. The roiling black and neon green clouds, at two hundred and fifty meters in the air, had deepened the darkness, making the dim glows of campfires and torches even more gloomy and frightening. As the fear of the great multitude grew, so it seemed that the evil clouds drew closer to feed off the emotions of the vast numbers. The folk tales of the nebulous dark beasts, were already in the lore of the land. The creeping turbulent clouds only showed the truth of them. The clouds were like a huge voracious beast filling its belly. The final truth of the evidence was the arrows of light shot into the air by the Wardogs . If too close to the rolling green clouds, they would be snatched up, consumed then spat out as only blackened embers. In the darkness, fear and near panic, only a drunkard on the wharf noticed the little rowboat, with a small sail, coming up to shore with its four passengers cloaked and cowled.

    The amazing contraption floated on the water and had two poles with a silken sheet tied to the structure in various places. Two muscular males moved poles in and out of the water to either side. Two smaller figures, near the front, were wrapped with cloaks. On either side of the bow, written in Saris and Sslik, were the words Bright Sail. The name rang a bell in the drunkard's mind. He remembered an archaeological dig done by scholars, one hundred years ago, in a fishing village. The village was over one thousand years old. Of the many things found, was a fully intact sailing vessel. Its presence was considered a sign from the gods. The Saris had put it in storage in Kion, for further study, but the fantastic vessel had been forgotten.

    The old Sslik Captain reminisced. Once he had been a hero long ago. Against orders from the Magistrate to man the walls he had led a platoon to the eastern side of Lesser Aradoth due to the report of a druid. For a week, they had fought the strange monsters from the sea. The villages of numerous areas had been saved, with the platoon of city garrison soldiers, from Sslanis, But the villagers had refused to testify at his ensuing trial, due to their fear of the grand garrison. Only the great seer of Sslanis testified in his behalf. He was charged with treason, for disobeying orders. They called him a lunatic, gave him a medal for idiocy, then cast him out, banished from Lesser Aradoth.

    He laughed to himself thinking of the old saying, “No good deed will remain unpunished.” With no job, no position, no hope, he had wandered all these years as a vagabond. One day last year he had had a dream about being here before midnight. He could not remember all the directions or why, only what to say. To Dalimond he went then stayed night after night—waiting.

    The drunkard tumbled off the wharf onto the beach, laughing at the irony of it all. Now was the night. Dressed in rags, and drunk, he greeted them. He spluttered waving his arms standing up, “The heralds of prophecy have come to Dalimond.” Passing out, he fell backwards, hitting his head on a stone, becoming unnaturally still.

    Two short, frail figures from the small boat, knelt by the body. The taller of the frail pair, Bastet, eldest of the Saris High Priestesses said, “The first in six hundred years to arrive in Dalimond by sea. And the news of the gods would be heralded by the Fallen Hero.”

    Even a common peasant could see that the two females were blind, though they wore their blindness with dignity and aplomb.

    The shorter, frail, elderly female, Ssylvennia, Seeress of the Sslik, placed her wrap on him respectfully praying, silently. Removing her thin, scaled arm, she said, “And then his god came for him.” The body disappeared. Shaking her head she spoke softly, “Trinkets and medals for valor, and honor in war, then cast away in peace, forgotten. He saved the lives of oh, so many.”

    The overly-muscular males, who were the feared Grand Masters of Kion and Sslanis, came forward after beaching the boat.

    Bowing fully, the Sslik Grand master of Chi, Caliban, addressed the two,” Come honored and ancient ones, a party such as ours should not be late.”

    Stepping up from behind them, and taking each of their elbows, the Saris Grand Master of Unarmed Combat, Prospero, escorted them silently to the town square, while Caliban led the way. He gently pushed aside the people. They fell to his touch, so the high ranking, blind, high elders would not be inconvenienced. A pool of calmness swirled around them, peaceful with the smell of an early spring.

    A bit further down the beach a voice called, “ Did anyone hear anything?”

    Another voice answered, “T'went nuthing , just that fool drunk old Sslik passed out there partly in the water.”

    The only reply was a grunt and a scuffle over cup of ale.

    The receiving pad had been dead for hours in the city. Suddenly, it flashed a brilliant white, flaring light, in the darkness of the city. The momentary light was blinding in its intensity, causing screams and cursing, as most were momentarily blinded.

    The pad flared again, with thirteen individuals appearing; Supreme Commander Granite Fist and her twelve Iron Guard Commanders. Knowing her potential opponents were blinded she called out her series of orders to her twelve commanders,” Get me toVladockt! Separate the Wardogs and mages. Then launch your fellow commanders, with their shields, to our targets. Finally keep the receiving pad secure. No different than in the siege on the walls of Aughundell. Only you can do this. These idiots must be stopped, lest the War be lost here before it begins.”

    The Dwarven commanders executed their orders impeccably.

    The kneeling, heavy crossbowman, in front of the lead master blood mage, mistook the twitch of a single muscle in the right corner of the mage's eye. His right knuckle popped as the trigger released the enchanted adamantium bolt at point blank range. Less than a millisecond later, the Master blood mages reacted, as the shields flashed in front of them. Their abilities overlapped and combined reaching outward to what would be an area effect of over fifty meters in diameter enveloping the Wardogs, as well as civilians. The abilities would compound in power and blood costs, burning away even the lives of the caster as it extended to its maximum range, without immediate healing.

    The ancient Sslik Seeress commanded the Grand Master Monks with one word, walking to the city center as a group, “NOW!,”

    The grand masters blurred into Divine movement towards the center of the confrontation. Running up behind the circle of surrounding Wardogs. They leapt on the huge warriors' shoulders, and jumped forward in the air, dodging the flying objects. ALL things to the Grand Masters slowed to a mere crawl, some stopping. They saw the Supreme Commander flying towards the Fiendish colonel, with the daggers she had thrown, in the air in front of her, preparing for her first running step. They saw the shields arcing through the air, with dwarves and their shields following on the heads and shoulders of the Wardogs. The wall of Wardogs collapsed below and before them. The second set of three dwarves, with their shields , were only a microsecond behind Granite Fist. She was landing in a run, heading towards the target. Vladockt's three daggers flew to the blood mages, wobbling, their trajectory off because he had thrown them while dodging the incoming Dwarven blades. The crossbow bolt was slowly leaving the weapon. They saw the blood mages initiate their master class special ability, drawing blood strength and power from the hundreds of combatants and civilians in the square. They knew General Clovis had pulled out of his pocket a travel scroll to Kirascant. His incantation had already begun, planning to illegally leave his body guards to their untimely deaths.

    Only they could see, in this slow motion world, Dragons appearing in the sky. A transparent blue, tall fiendish female figure, ran towards Valdockt through the Wardogs. Thousands of imminent flashes of light were all around them. The frightening, and sudden, appearance of armed Gifted ones, as unaccounted for flakes of stone were popping off the Dalimond Statue of Winged Istara, drifting to the ground below.



    The Cusp of Prophecy had arrived.

  5. #25

    Default Re: Disturbing News

    Prelude to Battle Part 5


    Dalimond

    The darkened receiving pad once again burst into light now continuous. So brightly did it glow, that the sky of descending dragons were revealed to all. Skirnir the Immortal hit the receiving pad first, moving with every spell and potion he had, as well as the additional potion he had gotten from the Gifted Dragon, Mordel. “Only thirty-five meters,” he thought to himself. Batting the mortal humans, and others, aside with the Knight of Creation Shield, he headed straight for the translucent, seven foot tall figure, clearing a path for those behind him.

    Skirnir thought to himself,” Vladockt must not die.The monks would have to take care of the traitor and his body guards.”

    Some of the Wardogs and civilians enveloped in the expanding bubble of dark purple began to die. The glowing evidence of triple master class ability, was none of the Gifted's concern. They had only three slow heart beats to achieve their goal.

    Without looking back, Skirnir shouted the orders he had been given, “Cixi attack the target I give you, William pinion the second target by attacking, all others assist Cixi.”

    Cixi, the renowned Gifted Gnome,head of the Gnomish Liberation Front, followed directly behind him. Kumo and Fire Opal, adult dragon Gifted Ones, flashed above the receiving pad. William Swann, the Immortal, took his Elemental Archer stance on the pad facing, the side of the Dalimond Inn. He would not miss.

    The crossbow bolt struck first, impaling and exploding within the lead blood mage, killing her and knocking her backward into General Clovis. Grand Master Prospero killed the second and third blood mages. Lightning, thunder and fireballs, followed the divine moves of the monk. A group of casters added their power to his. For the blood mages, caught by surprise, there was no defense. Their bodies shredded before the horrific onslaught of the blue faced, tattooed Wardogs of Az. The affected individuals, which had been lifted up in the air by the power of the master blood mage abilities, began dropping like stones; dead before hitting the ground.

    Grand Master Caliban rendered General Clovis unconscious, catching him in the last syllable of his scrolled recall spell. Twisting in the air Caliban, with his claws out, grabbed Clovis by the tongue, picked him up. He caught the three poisoned daggers, thrown by Valdockt. Jumping up, he stood on the air, the bolts and arrows flew beneath himself and Clovis. Using his own chi, Caliban then threw Vladockt's the three assassin blades at the tall blue figure. Three lines of solid light met their terminus in the body of the blue figure.

    Thousands of lights were now appearing all around them and outside the walls of Dalimond proper. In the corner of his eye he saw the Statue of Istara twisting off its mount. Exploding stone mosaics crackled like lightening strikes.

    Skirnir watched as Supreme Commander Granite Fist reached Vladockt's side, and attacked the translucent figure. The figure backhanded her, and she flew into the path of her onrushing companions. Vladockt was lifted up by his throat with two of Granite Fist's daggers in him. The blue, flame-flickering figure planted its feet firmly on the ground. Niatha Moraven the Dark Fiendish Goddess of Vengeance and Power had fully arrived, visible to all standing, ready to kill Vladockt.

    Roaring in fury Skirnir, slashed down with the Knight of Creation Shield, severing the arm of Moraven at the right elbow. It bounced off the wall, and he knocked the appendage to the western edge of the human tavern. Turning, he struck the goddess with a gauntleted fist to the jaw, then rolled away as Cixi attacked. Kumo and Fire Opal hovered while they breathed fire, attacking Moraven over the gnome's head.

    Skirnir threw Vladockt away from the building, over the dwarves, to the pad . He saw the Dryad Queen arriving with her noble court. He shouted, demanding that Queen Leaf heal Vladockt, as the body fell at her feet. Trusting her to do as she was told, he turned to Granite Fist and her escort, casting spells to save her.

    Sweating from the pain of broken bones being mended, Granite Fist whispered, “How?”

    “Rank amongst the Gifted has it privileges. Some of us have the highest rank of all,” he replied solemnly.

    “All of you Gifted ignore the goddess hovering above,” she earnestly pressed.

    “She and her brethren have only added to the suffering that we will endure this night. We fight for the sake of Istaria, not the gods. I have nothing for any of them,” he said scowling.

    “Will the Gifted help us this night? The hordes of Old Rachival sweep the fields, heading to Aughundell. There are few to come to our aid.”

    “Nay, we will not. The greater power we must confront, lies elsewhere,” he replied. Turning he strode to the combatants.

    A screeching howl of pain had been filling the Dalimond streets, as Moraven turned sideways reaching out to her severed arm with its hand flying away from her. She was being pummeled by Cixi, the gnome. William waited for an opening. His aim was true, and the partial arm, with its grasping hand, was pinioned to the wall. He walked forward firing continuously at the severed limb.

    Explosive, blue fire consumed the corner of the building, where her lower arm and hand had been pinioned. While she faced the field of slaughter, and looked at her hand, the daggers of Caliban found their marks. One struck at the base of her neck, one struck at her mid-sternum with the final striking her in the abdomen. Three of the seven great chakra, had been pierced.

    Staring at the daggers, she began to diminish. The poison, derived from her own blood, would kill her slowly. She tried to take a deep breath to call forth her true power, knowing that in the mortal realm of the Prime, she was subject to the Laws of Istaria. Blinking, she saw the female gnome at her feet, grinning up at her with her Demon Maul on her shoulder. Cixi was casually taking a break, while her brethren of the Gifted assisted her, by burning the goddess without pause.

    All around, and in Dalimond, Fiends appeared in the bursts of light. Looking up seeing her children abandoning her, the goddess remembered the pandemonium in Kirascant, less than an hour ago. The Dark goddess screamed in hatred. The scream was cut short by the strike of the demon maul to her abdomen stunning her as Cixi cursed in ancient Gnomish, enjoying each strike with relish. For the first time in a millennium, the goddess went silent. She was Thunderstruck.

    Skirnir walked calmly, through the eerily quiet scene, disturbed only by the fire of dragons and wails of a dark goddess' pain. The grand masters knelt on one knee, while one held up Clovis by his tongue, acknowledging the goddess Istaria.

    The goddess called out to the Gifted dragons burning the diminished divine one, “Cease, oh, Gifted ones, for I, and the pantheon, demand it. Your continuance disturbs creation!”

    Hearing the tone of command, they stepped back, after looking at the goddess.

    Skirnir, in a fury of temper, trotted up to the center of the devastation, his anger apparent. With a gravelly voice, he reprimanded them, “Never again disobey an elder Gifted's command, nephew and niece!!. Istaria may require even a greater price than the one you pay now.”

    Both bowed in obeisance before their uncle, no longer stepping back into the partially collapsed and burnt, human inn.

    Skirnir called out, “Speak thy words of prophecy, oh, Saris seeress!” He stepped forward gazing up at Istaria without fear.

    Both blind seeresses stepped daintily over the bodies, and various parts, lying on the blood soaked grounds. They made their way forward slowly, through the carnage. Thousands of Fiends crowded the city. They both bowed to the goddess, hovering above.

    Bastet, eldest of the Saris High Priestesses whispered, though her words carried easily throughout the city, “A goddess shall be admonished by one of her prior children. Now appointed by Istaria.

    “Seeresses, are the Gifted mentioned in any of the prophecies, divine or otherwise?” Skirnir's growl echoed through the city.

    “Nay!” both answered in unison.

    “Oh Gifted, Renowned Gnome, Cixi, instruct your former goddess so that all may hear with their own ears, lest any lie!” he thundered.

    “I shall, oh dorf, who never loses his temper!” she replied impertinently. She looked around, then up at the goddess Istara. Grinning, she said, “No one but the Gifted hears the wailing of pain due to broken divine laws, or the canker of the Withered Aegis on and beneath Istaria's flesh. Only the Gifted can hear her demands and commands. The Gifted bow to no god or goddess, no royal power, no government, imperial or city state. We heed only the one, on whose flesh we tread. Ware thee well, all of ye great powers, then of us and ours. You are all mortal to the gifted. Until our deeds are done, we will be here long after all of ye divine, or not, are dust. We the Gifted are fated, our destinies set in stone not of our choosing. Only the Gifted are fated with eternal suffering through resurrection. Only the Gifted may receive eternal redemption in their fight against the Withered Aegis.

    Cixi called out to the Elemental Archer, “William bring the body part to your father.” She also summoned the dragons. “Kumo and Fire Opal fear not the grumpy dorf. You have done well. But remember these words, young ones. Now drag that slowly dying traitor over here.”

    William brought the arm, that was slowly shriveling up. Skirnir threw the arm on top of the blue skinned, shrunken, burning goddess. Ignoring Istara, Skirnir called out to the thousands of Fiends surrounding the Wardogs, imperial forces, and Dalimond citizens and refugees.

    His thundering voice reverberated through the city. “Look well upon your former goddess, brought low. Look well upon this traitress to the divine, to Istaria, to her people and to her temple. Judgment is required. As of now, you are fiendish, and she is your goddess. When the one of authority comes, and your swear by your own blood, then you will be human in your present form. Your children will be human in form or fact.”

    “Tell us, oh honored, Ssylvennia, Seeress of the Sslik, what does the prophecy say?”

    The frail, blind prophet stepped forward. “The prophecy says, Judgment shall be rendered on the soil of Dalimond, that the humans may be freed by one, not of their race, as they were also enslaved by one not of their race. With this a great secret shall Istaria reveal to all her children of all the lands and the knowledge of this shall cause the gods to quake in fear.

    “Speak, oh Fiends of Kirasanct!” Skirnir shouted.

    “Death!!” the Fiends bellowed in reply.

    With judgment rendered, Skirnir plunged the Sword of Creation into the Heart of the Dark Goddess, twisting it in his powerful hands. Suddenly the earth rolled and trembled, and the winds blew mortals this way and that. The dragons, hovering above, were knocked off balance. The Dark goddess arched up, turning into blue, fiery dust which was blown away by the winds.

    Bastet called out,” And the secret of the gods will be revealed. The Gifted may kill even the gods, if necessary, in the course of their duties.”

    Only the great powers remained in place, with the two grand masters, servants of Prophecy, their captive still in hand.

    No longer needed, the Gifted were gone, in a blink.

    The greatest rule of the divine realm had been broken. The very ground rebelled at this event. The winds whipped back and forth, unabated. No divine entity shall step foot on the prime, lest all the realms begin to converge. The great Elder Dark evil gods had gotten their crack into the divine realm. Vengeance had provided a doorway to the mortal realm of its own accord.


    Cusp of Prophecy continues
    Last edited by Skirnir Ouija Glada; February 17th, 2018 at 10:16 PM.

  6. #26

    Default Re: Disturbing News

    Prelude to Battle Part 6


    Dalimond


    Az spoke softly, “Stop your advance, High Elders. The events below must play themselves out. We must wait. We are too late to stop what has begun.”

    Hovering one hundred and fifty meters above the Dalimond soil, Aldebaran, the Lunus High Elder, addressed Az, “Why? Is there a prophecy you follow?”

    Sirius, the Helian High Elder, turned toward them both.

    Az retorted, “Nay. For each battle and conflict, there is much to be learned. Never before have we seen such a group of, supposedly allied, powers in conflict gathered so closely in the presence of the Gifted, much less of the divine. The Alliance is far more frail than many like to think.”

    Citizen Az stood in the cupped taloned paws of Aldebaran, looking at the scene playing out below him with his two escorting high elder ancient dragons. Fiends vs. Fiends, Wardogs vs. Fiends, Grand Master vs. Goddess, Gifted vs. Goddess all coming together like an avalanche. Events fell into chaos, cascaded into a vortex, then suddenly settled out with revelation. The power of consequence, good and ill combining. After the conflict the Gifted were gone. Now, boiling up, was another conflict of power. The Fiends having fully appeared, surged around Vladockt, the known First Assassin of the Dark Temple. The Wardogs surged around Granite Fist, Supreme Commander of All Imperial Forces.

    Both Granite Fist and Vladockt argued about who was really in charge. Most of the civilian refugees were pushed to the sides by the two factions. The larger force, five legions of former Kirasanct citizens, faced off with Az's legion of blue-tattooed Wardogs.

    Sirius spoke emphatically,“The dragons, lower than we, tell us there is going to be a riot, as you Humans, refer to such things. You should intervene now, else the alliance be broken.”

    Az remembered the orders he had given the Gifted dragon Mordel, who should be hovering high in the sky near Kirasanct. Ignoring the High Elders, Az used a tell stone to contact Mordel. Speaking clearly so that the elders would easily hear him Az said, “ Mordel did you verify the imperial troopers?”

    “Yes, half are dead and the other half dying.” he replied.

    “Do you hold the Magistrate in your great taloned paw?. Do you remember what you need to verify about this individual?” Az inquired.

    “Yes, yes,” Mordel replied in a grating voice full of threat. He continued “I am VERY Bored Az,” he said dangerously.

    “Firstly I am no longer the Supreme Commander. I gave that order with my full authority at the time. Those orders are therefore valid. Secondly, I wish to ask you now, as a friend. Please, fly as high as you can and drop him from the greatest height. As the magistrate falls, feel free to bat him around. Malicore needs lots of aerial bow practice, engaging an aerial target. Report the findings of your first set of orders, to me. You will also report your aerial training to both High Elders, who will be with me. The Elders are taking me to Dalimond proper at this time. What you find out in this exercise, will save lives of dragons and bipeds alike. Please advise them accordingly. This series of battles may end with the side winning, having aerial supremacy. I know the Gifted are gathering elsewhere, and I appreciate your time on behalf of the Imperium.”

    Mordel said patiently,“You need not concern yourself, little Az. We will follow your orders given when you were the Supreme Commander. I will report as directed. As far as the rest of the Gifted are concerned, we have already received additional orders from Divine Istaria. All of us will be where we are needed. Goodbye.”

    Az looked at one, then the other, elder grinning,“Nay I say again Elder. You all taught me well over the decades. In conflict, timing is everything. If I am right, Granite Fist will call on the Commander of the Fourth, and most ferocious cohort—Blog. He is the most feared individual in my legion, perhaps in all the lands. Of all the races, he intimidates the Fiends the most. I am sure you remember him. He was the one in my legion that complained about his back pack and armor. The dragons made some heavier armor, as well as a modified scale pack, for him. He was too rough on T6 biped equipment. The Dwarven smiths made his twin, huge handled, one hundred pound war hammers.”

    “But why is he so feared, besides enchanted dragon made armor, scale pack and enchanted Dwarven hammers?” asked the Helian high elder.

    “Well rumor has it that he was raised by icy dire wolves, till he devoured the pack. Somehow he ended up in Fiendish territories, and chomped his way through that area. Fiends managed to drive him off to other Imperial lands. After one of his horrific eating sprees, the Imperial Army gave chase, and drove him into the Eastern Deadlands. He was there for a number of years, and got a taste for ethereal flesh. The Withered Aegis managed to drive him back into the Alliance territories, after much to-do. It took five companies, armed with heavy equipment, to trap and drag him to a prison, specially made for him. That is where I recruited him. I earned his trust, by bringing him snacks, every day for a couple of months. Blog is absolutely loyal though, both simplistic and simple-minded. You see, he does not fight out of revenge, idealistic causes, or really anything complex. He is just hungry. He snacks his way thru a battlefield. Since he is a berserker, his cohort is more afraid of him, than me or the Withered Aegis. They will kill anything in sight, to make sure they don't accidentally become Blog's next snack. Blog is the only creature we know of, that the Withered Aegis is truly afraid of. After he gnawed and snacked a leg off of one of their great, Dark Lords, he made quite an impression. Blog is not anything we really understand, he is simply a force of nature. At eight foot five inches, eleven hundred pounds of brute strength, with a very elemental nature and some eccentricities about his eating habits.... Even though his breath smells like a charnel house, Blog is very charitable to his fellows, and always offers to share his food. What more could I ask for?” Az concluded.

    Below the two elders and Az, Granite Fist bellowed, as only a field commander can,”Where are ye, Blog? I need to check yer teeth. Give ya orders. I brought snacks for ya.”

    The western wall of the outfitter and tailor shop exploded outward. Sela and Ella Verin ran out the northern doorway with Loselren hot on their heels, as the roof collapsed behind them. Debris blew outward over the Human inn. Wardogs and Fiends intermingled and scattered, dodging the flying pieces of masonry. Seeing the infamous Blog coming towards them, many of the Fiends started dispersing to other parts of Dalimond. Humans pushed forward, to gain back their front row seats of standing room only.

    Blog, recognizing the voice of command, enthusiastically responded. That voice meant snacks were involved. Quick as lightning Blog was by her side, knocking the Wardogs aside without a second thought. Before Granite Fist could take a breath, she was sitting up on his wide shoulder. Blog looked at her nose to nose, smiling broadly. He pointed to his teeth saying nothing.

    Taking out a mithril stone chisel, Granite Fist held her breath, and picked between his teeth. She pulled out a few pieces of gristle, throwing them towards Vladockt in an off hand manner. Vladockt looked at them both furiously.

    “Give me your tooth chisel,” she said.

    Blog solemnly pulled out his worn down steel stone chisel giving it to her. Dropping it, she gave him her new one.

    “Why were you late coming Blog?” Granite Fist demanded.

    Without apologizing, as most would do, Blog stood his ground and pounded his chest sticking out his lower lip. He pointed to the newly destroyed shop saying, “Women say Blog need new clothes. Blog need mate. Blog need get busy. Blog show off teeth. Blog show clothes to females.” Slamming one of his huge war hammers on the ground he continued, “I will show them my hammer. I get one or three! Now snack!”

    She gave him the pouch at her side.

    Blog eagerly turned it upside down popping several skulls and a bony hand into his mouth. Looking at the Dragons, Fiends, floating flesh-like stone statue, and kneeling Grand Masters, Blog appeared confused. He munched on his bony snack slowly. He pointed at the crowd. ”Why Dogs here by us? Why Valdockt face us with many many Fiends there?”

    The Supreme Commander answered slowly and simply, “Valdockt think he boss. Vladockt not boss. Az say—Granite Fist—boss.” She pounded one fist on her chest. “There are many snacks coming to Aughundell. Valdockt say you stay here.”

    Blog grunted saying, “He no give snack. He not Blog boss. We go get snacks.”

    The Supreme Commander beamed a sunny smile at Vladockt. Nodding, she jumped down saying, “What Blog smell?”

    Blog replied, “Blog smell Dragons, Fiends, Human, Dryads, and Dragon blood in Fiend flesh. Blog smell many Females!!”

    She called for her water clock, which Dwarven Commander Rutger gave her. Holding up the clock, she spoke loudly to Blog. “Where is Dragon blood in Fiend flesh?”

    Blog pointed up into the vacant air.

    Granite Fist continued, “Blog see clock?”
    Blog nodded.
    She looked at him sternly saying, “Blog, go hunt females. Bring back. We check. Clock done short-short. I blow horn. Then we get snacks.”

    As Granite Fist turned the water clock on, Blog charged the fiends with a primal scream and bellow.

    Five legions of Fiends had watched the drama unfold. They had seen the unspeakable death of a Goddess. They saw the Human Goddess possessing a statue, which moved like real flesh, while still floating. Upon seeing the legendary Fiend Eater first hand, their fears bubbled up. To die marred or disfigured, carried terrible fines, in the Temple of the Dark Goddess.

    The Dark Goddess gave, and expected, physical perfection, upon return to her divine domain. A fine and fee for each imperfection, was expected at the Dark Temple, before death. No fee could be paid after death, these were considered part of death tithe, before the Ritual of Passing. Confinement, and dark torture, in her icy, blue-flaming dungeon, until the end of days, was the eternal judgment for any unexpected marring. With the Realms of the Divine, the Dead, the Prime and the Nether Regions of Darkness merging, the Fiends could see the ghostly horde of Fiendish dead coming for them in the distance. The legions had betrayed their Goddess in leaving Kirasanct. Too fearful to remember the promise of Az upon their arrival, twenty five thousand new Dalimond citizens rioted. Their Doom was upon them.

    Granite Fist's voice rang out above the clamor of bellows, shrieks, screams and cursing as many of the structures collapsed,”Grand Masters! Off your knees, and protect your treasures! Wardogs, gather up Valdockt, the Grand Masters and prisoner, and Seeresses. Surround us with the encirclement of your protection.

    Prospero and Caliban instantly reacted. Caliban threw the traitor to the midst of the Wardogs. He and his companion, gathered the blind Seeresses to within the protective circle. In the semi-quiet of the encircled area, an enraged Supreme Commander stepped up briskly and ripped the Insignia of Imperial rank from Vladockt's uniform. Shocked, Vladockt stood, unmoving.

    Granite Fist bellowed like a parade ground trumpet. “For your crimes against the Imperium, with your scheming and cunning, I, Supreme Commander Granite Fist, strip you of all rank, all privileges, all responsibilities, and remand you to Istara for your punishment.” Grabbing Vladockt by the throat, she flung him to the ground before the flesh-like floating statue.

    The statue seemed to stiffen into stone, shattering as the Goddess Istara manifested fully, not quite touching the ground. On one knee, hovering over the ground, she looked down at Vladockt. Driving a huge, blinding white sword into the soil beside his head, she bent forward, whispering into his ear. Vladockt fell to his knees, facing north, the gleaming sword visible in the corner of his eye.

    Citizen Az stepped forth on the soil of Dalimond Proper, from the Taloned paws of Aldebaran. Supreme Commander Granite Fist blew the Horn of Recall for Blog's return. Istara stood up, her radiant, golden, ethereal glory burning the Withered Aegis clouds above. The Gifted ancient Lunus Dragon, Mordel, appeared hovering above the arrival pad. Sitting on him, was the Gifted Renowned Warrior, Malicore, here to give their reports.

    A blue flash appeared In the air before the Goddess Istara. The Dragon Abomination met the Human/Gnome Goddess eye-to-eye, and the two great powers glared at each other. Underneath the Dragon Mordel, others appeared. General Escasia, Sergeant Major Ariella, Amelia the legion's expert druid, and her companion Mellia, an Imperial Spiritist arrived to give the Mission Report of Laslo's demise. The Dragons above and around Dalimond descended slowly.


    The voice of the Saris Seeress rang out in the chaos...


    Cusp of Prophecy continues....
    Last edited by Skirnir Ouija Glada; February 27th, 2018 at 09:19 PM.

  7. #27

    Default Re: Disturbing News

    Prelude to Battle Part 7


    Dalimond

    The voice of the Saris Seeress rang out in the chaos, "... and the winged Guardians of the Great Crystals shall silence one of their own and the Goddess's intrusion."

    The winds thundered this way and that way. The mass of humans and scattered races found the search for cover far more appealing than fighting each other. The appearance of a Goddess, and an unknown creature of power, with obvious ill intent toward each other, added to the chaos. As their shouts at each other filled the air, fire encircled them. After depositing Az to the soil of Dalimond, the two high draconic elders stepped forth. Raising their paws, they drew shimmering glyphs in the air. Suddenly, a globe of white, opaque light, encircled the Goddess and her opponent; Vladockt between them. The winds grew still. An eerie silence enveloped the city. The torches of the city reignited as the winds died. The white globe undulated with the colored flames of power, released and contained therein. With each bulge of the globe, the mortals retreated in fear.

    Granite Fist drew the Dwarven horn of recall from her lips. Blog bounded over the cowering Fiends, leaping around structural debris. Dumping his scale pack, he showed the fruit of what he thought was a successful hunt for a mate. Fifteen Fiendish females lay, gasping for air, writhing on the ground. Granite Fist carefully, but quickly, checked teeth and pinched limbs, shaking her head.

    She looked up at Blog. “They will not do. They poor quality. They not fit. Hunt mate later. Time for snacks. Come with me.” With a quick stride she reached the group of Dryads.

    Blog pouted, looking put out, but left the Fiends in the dirt, following the Supreme Commander.

    Granite Fist looked at Queen Leaf and her entourage quipping, “Well I see you at least have arrived on time to do something useful. I am going to do a favor for you. Your daughter, the Princess, will come with us to Aughundell and assist Blog, since Vladtockt will be indisposed. Perhaps a successful battle will look better on her record, if she survives. I was led to believe, before this fracas developed, that she is trained. She is an excellent example of the lack of proper parental oversight.”

    Queen Leaf glared. Taking a deep breath, she turned to the Princess, “Daughter how feel you about this demand?”

    Embarrassed, Princess Leaf responded, “She is right mother. The General Tribunal, which will be called on to decide about my lack of proper actions, will look poorly on me. If I refuse the Supreme Commander's request on this Dark night of Battles, it would be disastrous for me. You have, indeed, trained me well. My actions on the battle field, will prove this point, once and for all. I am tired of being viewed as an idiot. There will be no doubt of my capabilities, after tonight.” Turning from her mother she addressed Granite Fist, “What will my duties be?”

    Granite Fist spoke truthfully, “I am not sure, really. Blog is unlike any other. He eats his way through a battle field. You will provide direction and advice. This will not be easy, as he is a berserker. You will keep him on task. This will be the most difficult assignment in your long life. I need someone capable, well trained in communication skills, and decision making. He needs to kill quickly, not be distracted by sampling the flesh of his enemies. The Withered Aegis is fearful of him. It will be up to you, to figure out a way to accomplish this. I will be busy with other concerns. In assisting Blog, you will assist the Fourth Cohort, thus supporting the pivotal defense of Aughundell. The Gods will be watching.”

    Pushing his way through the crowd, Az approached the group, in a mounting fury, “The Fourth Cohort is Mine. Blog is my Commander. Neither he, nor the Fourth Cohort, is in your chain of command, Granite Fist.”

    “Are you refusing your assistance, Az?” the Supreme Commander retorted angrily. “There will be no Imperial help, and there will be no assistance from the Gifted, according to Skirnir. Well over half my guard, was under Princess Leaf, and you. They have ended up spread all over Istaria. I did not complain, but followed orders. I am the Supreme Commander now. Three full Legions are gone from Aughundell, Az. What we will face in Aughundell, is potentially greater than what is coming out of the Eastern or Western Deadlands. Aughundell must stand, so that whomever is left, may be funneled to supply needs elsewhere. Tonight, Aughundell will face before an onslaught, far greater than what we fought in the last siege. The far outer walls have already fallen, around Old Rachival, as if they were not even there. The count of the Iron Guard dead, is too great to measure now. All of this, due to the draining of our strength. What say you, then, after so much as we have given you over the years?!”

    “Since you are Supreme Commander, I ask you this. Where is General Escasia?” Az demanded.

    Granite Fist stood there with her mouth open, completely unprepared for the question, in light of all else happening. Blinking quickly, her mouth could frame no response. Stunned and shocked, she was silent.

    Az turned and looked at Blog, “Commander of the Fourth Cohort where is General Escasia? I have need of her report immediately.” He sternly addressed Granite Fist, “There is no need to speak to Blog in the manner you do. It is insulting. He may think simply, but he is not stupid!”

    Looking back at Blog, Az addressed him again, “Comply, Fourth Commander!”

    Blog pointed to the half destroyed human tavern and bank vault. “She in there with healers. Blog smell her easily.”

    Az bellowed, with a voice of command, he was famous for, “General Escasia and Sergeant Major Ariella, come forth and give the Supreme Commander your report!”

    Upon hearing their names coming up to the gathering party by the pad, both hurried out. Still dressed in the rags of their uniforms, they ran up. Bowing, they clapped their fists on their chests. Looking to Az, they saw him point to Granite Fist.

    “I am no longer the Supreme Commander. Report to your new leader.”

    Bowing once more, they presented their report to Granite Fist, handing over their evidence.

    Seeing Malicore with Mordel, speaking to the two high draconic Elders Az called out, “Gifted Malicore please give the Supreme Commander your report.”

    Malicore nonchalantly walked through the encircling Fourth Cohort, in which the protected space had grown in size.

    Malicore stated bluntly, “Mordel and I followed your orders, and friendly suggestions. The magistrate was dropped above the clouds, with the outlying guard post as the target. He seemed very upset, for one supposedly so close to his Goddess. He fell a long way. Mordel batted him back and forth between his paws, while I practiced aerial combat bow skills. I used my Demon bow, of course. Mordel was aggravated that I fell off several times. I found it difficult standing, or sitting, while we performed this exercise. He had to catch me, as he looped and swerved in the air, following the magistrate as he fell. Mordel had never done such a thing, either. The practice session was good for us both.” He could not suppress a sly grin.

    “I think the magistrate was dead, before he hit the top of the guard post structure, but I was too busy filling him with arrows to pay much attention. The Withered Aegis cloud cover presented additional problems. It is more solid than it appears from the ground. The green neon clouds tried to grab the magistrate as he fell through them. Mordel and I also noted thin black pulsing veins through parts of the clouds. Since he is an ancient dragon, Mordel, thinks those black veins were conduits of power for the Dark Elder Gods, supporting the Withered Aegis. Mordel used his fiery breath to drive them away, and Gold Rage to sever the black veins of power trying to grab the Fiend. In any case, he was pretty crispy when he hit the guard post. The Kirasanct guard was killed, of course, the guard post shattered.” He tried to look concerned, but failed. He was far too proud of himself and his dragon compnaion.

    “The magistrate was in pieces on the ground. He never did sprout wings like he claimed he could, and did not resurrect after his flight was over. I had heard he was a devout fellow, especially after he became High Priest. Mordel and I agree, though, that he did, indeed, lie a lot, since his fear of dying far outweighed his belief. It was disgusting. Now, if you will excuse me, I need to report to the High Elders, with Mordel. All three are looking at me now. My duty here is done.” Bowing, he concluded his report. Turning away, his attention focused on the dragons.

    “Malicore,” Az interjected quickly.

    “Yes?” Malicore replied looking back over his shoulder.

    “Since the Supreme Command has changed, will you and Mordel be available for further missions, as we had already agreed upon earlier?” inquired Az.

    Stopping, Malicore faced him once more. He gave Supreme Commander Granite Fist a long, flat, Sslik stare, without blinking. “Perhaps, Mordel does not like changes in plans, since he became an ancient. We will see. She can always contact us. Istaria may have other plans, or orders, for us who are Gifted.” Looking around he grimaced. “While all this bickering goes on here, the Gifted are already suffering and dying, at the ordained place, fighting the Dark Elder Powers. How much more do you wish us to suffer, by doing and accomplishing nothing here?” He abruptly turned and walked to the Dragons, knocking aside Wardogs, and others, as if they were nothing.

    Queen, Princess, and Supreme Commander stared at Az in disbelief. Sputtering, Queen Leaf put her arm in front of her daughter, hovering slightly backwards. exclaiming, “How could you...but her voice died with the glare that Az, Lord of War, gave her. Granite fist took a deep breath to speak, but Az interrupted them, pointing to the chained and manacled Clovis. He strained at his chains, a maniacal look in his eyes. Luckily, he was unable to speak, due to his damaged tongue.

    “Look and see the enemy you chose to allow to stand behind you. You are supposed to be a Guardian of a great stone of power and Queen of your people as well. This enemy's plans have come to fruition, standing in your shadow, oh mighty Queen. Yet, you quibble over the death of a traitorous bag of scum, who sundered Kirascant's tie to the Imperium, at the command of his Withered Aegis Masters. Your wait-and-see fear of ancient prophecy, bound you, freeing our enemies. The dragons were much the same, in many ways, but were at least more proactive. You, yourself, told me that you were older than the mountains. You were the Queen of Palmyra. Queen of the greatest power in the world. Rather than stand and fight, dirtying your hands with the blood of Istaria's enemies, you fled, leading your people into exile. Only the Gifted were powerful enough to bring you back! Now, not even your great stone of power could restore Palmyra in the far Eastern Deadlands, where once she flourished. Now, that region remains decimated, defiled, and fortified by an upstart necromancer, and his foul league of filth. Such was the leadership of the great ancient Dryad Queen!! Such was the sacrifice she made! What a waste!”

    With a small measure of her great power, Queen Leaf hovered suddenly before him backhanding him to the ground, furious because of his insult and impertinence. His blood covered her hand splattering on her face and gown. Her Royal Court surrounded her. Dryads of her own personal legion, appeared, stationing themselves behind and in front of the royal court, with their Queen. The dragons drew closer, in silence, eyes glittering. The High Elders in the forefront, looked down at the Naka and Dryad drama unfolding. The glowing white, opaque bubble of power evaporated, revealing Goddess, and Abomination, with Valdockt. All gazed in amazement at such a confrontation, on the eve of battle.

    In less than a heart beat, Blog snatched the Princess Leaf out of the air, putting her on his shoulder. He pushed Granite Fist behind him, tucked the unconscious Az under his arm, and stepped back in the midst of the Fourth Cohort, laying him down. Arriving only moments prior, General Escasia sped between the Wardogs to Az.

    First Company of the First Cohort, Dryads all, flashed between Blog with it's Leader, Commander Thistlefoot, hovering a foot ahead of the others facing off with the opposing dryads. The legion of Wardogs flowed around the Dryads, and others, like river water around a great stone. The Grand Masters placed themselves between the chained traitor and the Dryads, protecting their precious treasures, the Great Seeresses of Lessor Aradoth.

    Commander Thistlefoot, of the First Cohort, eased forward, shaking her wizard staff threateningly. “Take one step forward and you will die first oh cowardly Queen. I, Thistlefoot, first of the banished dryads, have no reason to lie. I will enjoy your death at my hands.”

    The Sslik Seeress called out over the throng, “...and the ancient winged Queen shall cast the Lord of War down on the soil of his own lands, and a great banished warrior of her own kind, shall step forward to defend him with those left behind long ago....”

    The traitor, Clovis, laughed maniacally, slapping his thighs, as neon green, glowing tears flowed from the corners of his eyes. His laughter echoed off unseen walls into the silence of the bay.


    Cusp of Prophecy continues
    Last edited by Skirnir Ouija Glada; March 10th, 2018 at 09:14 PM.

  8. #28

    Default Re: Disturbing News

    Prelude to Battle Part 8


    Dalimond


    Commander Thistlefoot raised her arms. Turning around full circle in the air above Queen Leaf, she addressed the great throng, shouting, “The Lord of War was correct. I was there. Queen Leaf led the people of Palmyra out of the world. No fight. No explanation. We, the Warrior Guardians of Palmyra living in the outer perimeter of the great forest, were sacrificed without consent. We were considered different, less. We could destroy and kill. We were looked upon as Anathema, despite the fact that Istaria chose us to be as we are. Then, the Withered Aegis overran those of us left behind. Five Legions to defend the Sacred Forest in those hallowed lands, only three legions survived, without having the Sacred Forest from which to draw our power.”

    Thistlefoot regarded her audience before continuing, “We fled here, called by the power in the bay. Now, we have new allegiances, duties, abilities. You hover above the firmament below us, that we call home. We were banished, forgotten and left for dead.”

    Drawing closer to Queen Leaf, Commander Thistlefoot leaned toward her. Being higher in the air looking down at her, Thistlefoots body was half again larger and wingspan three times greater. “Behold, grand nobility of the Dryad nation, your Queen — covered in the blood of a human. A mortal Human whose only crime was to speak the blunt truth standing on HIS own lands, to which the Great Ancient Queen took umbrage.” She pointed to Az. “ There her victim lies, dying, his flesh torn, bones broken.” Looking up into the empty air Thistlefoot called out, “What is your judgment oh my brothers and sisters of ancient Palmyra?”

    Suddenly appearing out of thin air, the remaining three Legions, previously of Palmyra, took their places, tier upon tier—one hundred meters above the Dryads. They flew in and around the hovering dragons, startling them. The High Elders of Chiconis and Dralk bellowed for calm, despite being shocked themselves. Until now, only the great dragons had dominion over the sky. Again the air above the town square changed with the glowing ghostly forms of two more Dryad legions from ancient Palmyra. Now, the living and the Honored Dead, gazed down upon Queen Leaf. A more sinister silence followed as Thistlefoot waited.

    Laughing, she looked down at the Dryad Queen, withering under her gaze, “Well said, oh Legions of Dalimond Bay!

    Looking at the Queen below her, she intoned, “We cannot judge you, Queen Leaf. No longer are we of Palmyra, or of your kingdom. No punishment have we for your crime of violence done even now in the presence of the Human Goddess Istara. Death is too good for you. As Captain of the Aerial Guard, Commander of the First Cohort, I banish you from the hallowed lands of Dalimond. I remand you to Alyssa our Goddess, your nobility of Palmyra, the Tree of Life and the Great Power Crystal of the Dryad people, for your sentencing and future disposition.”

    Then turning and ignoring the Queen Thistlefoot addressed the Dryad nobility, “To all of you I say, decide where your armies shall go. The children of your past are dying. The outer walls of Feladan are crumbling beneath the might of the Withered Aegis and Dark Elder Gods. The Withered Aegis travels before you from the Western Deadlands to destroy what remains of Tazoon, to bring back their dead leader. Your leader has left you with no plan, no orders and no decisions. She brought you to curry favor, spouting prophecy.”

    Turning again to Queen Leaf she said, “ By the Ancient Divinely-given Dryad Laws you will be STILL, you will be SILENT you will watch and see the Judgment rendered before the throne of our Goddess. So says the sapling of the bay.”

    Queen Leaf tried to speak, tried to act but was frozen by the Laws, uttered by their Goddess Alyssa.

    General Escasia's call for a healer rang out for the dying Lord of War, Az citizen of Dalimond. Several had tried to heal him, but he remained limp. Crumpled and broken his rasping breath, wheezed through his lips.

    The Helian High Elder spoke, “What has been done through a Great Power Crystal cannot be undone.”

    Lilith, the Abomination, slowly hovered forward, changing to Fiendish form walking on the ground to Az. Dragons moved backwards away from her in the air, the Wardogs parted, giving ground, growling.

    Lilith looked at Istara, who looked away saying, “He is no longer one of my children. He honors another. My hand is stayed. Waving her glowing hand indicating the hundreds of dead lying in heaps scattered in the city center, she stated emphatically, “Nor will I bring back these of my children who have honored me through the keeping of my Laws. I shall not return them back here from the Summerlands.”

    Lilith replied, “What of the legions of dead outside of Kirasanct?”

    Istara responded vehemently, “I will not return them!”

    Lilith ignored the Goddess. Walking up to Escasia, who knelt holding Az's head on her knees, she said, “Why do you weep, Saris child of Merrasat?”

    “No one can heal him, or if they can, they refuse to. Neither God nor Goddess will answer my prayer. They remain silent, unacknowledging.” She sobbed, glaring at the Goddess Istara. “Only Az can lead us, only he is aware of the totality of the plans of war this night,” Escasia replied.

    The Abomination gazed at her keenly. “Is there perhaps another reason, oh, Saris Female warrior?”

    Escasia blushed, turning her head aside. Pushing others away from the trio, Sergeant Major Ariella stood by her kneeling General, and friend, fearlessly addressing the strange Fiend, “Of course, FOOL, she loves him!!. So do something about this, or step away.” Her hand reached for the sword on her back.

    Ignoring Ariella and her threat, Lilith whispered softly, “I realized, after some consideration, you were an unwilling participant in the fulfillment of a blood pact, by my mother, concerning SoG and the Gnome. In this regard, I find myself in your debt. Therefore, what would you have of me?”

    “You must save him.” General Escasia returned.

    “To do so would forever change him. He would be like you, changed in ways you cannot imagine. So I ask you once again, child of Merrasat, child of the Saris. What would you have me do?

    “Save him from death,” she replied.

    “For the third and final time in front of all these witnesses divine, immortal and mortal I tell you,” she raised her voice. Catching the attention of all, save the Dryads, living and dead, who remained in silent contemplation of Queen Leaf. “Like you, he would become less than the Great Crystal Guardians, less than Divine, but more than mortal or immortal. In his, and your, flesh will be the blood of my mother, Zadora the Unspeakable, Anathema to all Dragons, removed from all Draconic records. This is the burden you will carry, as will he and his. Is this the Fate you will give him?”

    “Save him!!,” Escasia shouted.

    “You must NOT do this, Abomination!!,” bellowed the Lunus High Elder, roaring in wrath, joining the vehement voice in agreement of the High Elder of Chiconas.

    Changing into her true form, Lilith, rose above the couple on the ground, her great Dragon wings outstretched. The Abomination cut her hands with her own talons, allowing the brilliant blue-flamed blood to splatter on them both. Laughing in triumph, she lifted her arms saying, “So let it be Said! So let it be Written! So let it be DONE!”

    On the couple's cheeks, the glyph of Zadora's blood line appeared. The shattered bodies of the dead Wardogs lifted in the air, chest up, limp. All regenerated, wearing the Glyph of Zadora the Unmentionable, the Unspeakable Anathema to the Dragon race. The living Wardogs dropped to their knees in pain changing as the Draconic glyph appeared on their cheeks as well.

    Hovering above the crowd, facing the High Elders, she smiled showing her teeth. “By the choice of a female, mortal, nonhuman shall the destroyed bloodlines of ancient Barasavus be renewed. In an ancient noble house of Dragons shall Barasavus flourish, according to the Prophecies of Dralk. The house of the outcast dragon shall grow strong, and numerous as in the days of yore. What was denied and destroyed by Dralk, shall come forth strengthened, renewed and vigorous. The Unmentionable shall become many! On the night of calamity, they shall appear, coming in defense of the lands of Istaria. Led by the Heir of the royal line of Barasavus, and the Chosen child of the Saris, his mate, they shall stand before her stricken children, with Her anointed ones called The Gifted. Such was the prophesy of Zadora, my mother, given to the Noble house of Dralk after the Fall of the Draak Academy, thus fulfilling a great secret of the Elder High Councils of Dragons.”

    Lilith spoke loudly her voice rumbling in the bay, “Arise Royal line of Barasavus, Citizen Az of Dalimond with your mate Escasia. King and Queen shall you be of the Naka outcasts in the Ancient house of my mother Zadora. By her power, flesh, and blood, shall you both wield the living ancient weapons forged by the Gods of Light and Dark in The First Age. You will know how to use these weapons to fight what was bound in the First Age and is now released by the Withered Aegis.”

    Drifting down to the Pair in front of her, she crowned them both with the crowns of ancient Barasavus. The now royal pair, with the Legion of Wardogs, suddenly glowed with blue flames. Healed of all injuries, the legion raised their weapons shouting. Az and Escasia knelt in fealty before them, while the chanting of the bipeds in Dalimond continued.

    The Sslik seeress opened her mouth to speak, but was fearfully silenced by the warning of Lilith.

    “Utter one more word in MY presence and I will relieve you both of your blindness! No longer will you dwell in the darkness, nor shall your eyes see with the Third Eye, the pathways of prophecy!!” she thundered.

    Looking at the High Elders she pointed her finger at the Dryad Queen Leaf shouting, “Look at your Guardian, sister. The greatest of crimes has not been mentioned. Why is she here? What is a Guardian's greatest duty, other than the balance of all things? Who was to be the Guide for the transition of the mortal child Lizzie, with the Great Crystal of Power, for all the bipeds races? Where are the majority of your High Councils of Ancient Dragons? Where is the missing third of your winged dragon armies? Where are the majority of the biped wizards? They are all locked in the depths of the world beneath Tazoon, where Dryad Guardian left them, and her charge—Alone!!”

    “I declare the Dryad Queen unfit for her duties of Guardian! Istaria gave one great crystal of power to the outcast of Istaria's children. She gave one great crystal of power to the first magical race. She gave two great power crystals to the factious Dragons. Finally she gave the greatest crystal of the five to all her biped children. The sacred geometry for the balance of the prime is already diminished with one of its guardians in transition! The Withered Aegis was able to do, what it has done, with the Dark Elder Gods, since the youngest of us all had no mentor, no guide, no protector and the Dark Goddess set foot in the world!!”

    Roaring in Rage, the two High Elders recalled. Dragons and bipeds retreated before the fury of Lilith. Surrounded by, and contained in, a large funnel of brilliant blue flickering flames, she thrust the living and dead Dryads hovering in judgment, aside.

    Only the Gifted Mordel and Malicore remained undisturbed and calm. Then Lilith, guardian of the second great crystal of power, ripped the emerald pulsing crystal link and chain from around Queen Leaf's throat. Queen Leaf could not speak, could not move, bound by the laws of her people.

    Throwing the link and chain up in the air, Lilith exclaimed, “Let Istaria judge my own fitness and choose a new Guardian of the Great Dryad Crystal of Power!”

    Golden swirls of power surrounded Lilith. Leaving her, they flowed around the thrown crystal link. Suspended in the air, in a seemingly timeless moment, the chain and crystal link disappeared. Golden flashing swirls appeared around Princess Leaf, who sat on the shoulder of Blog, Commander of the Fourth Cohort. The click of a lock sounded with the chain and crystal settling lightly on the Royal Dryad Princess. Istaria had passed judgment and spoken.

    Turning back to the Queen, Thistlefoot pointed at her with a white flame burning staff she commanded sternly, “But, as for you oh Desecrator of the Ancient Divine Dryad Laws, judged by Istaria you have been placed on the scales and found wanting! You are Tainted Dryad! Get Out!!”

    The honored dead Dryad Warriors flickered out. With a face of stone seeped in fury Queen Leaf recalled with her Nobility standing as far from her as possible.



    Cusp of Prophecy continues

  9. #29

    Default Re: Disturbing News

    Prelude to Battle Part 9


    Dalimond


    Must I, the Abomination, and outcast of Dragons do all things? Looking at the Goddess Atara with disdain she said, “ My time here is almost done. Other things must I do that the balance be restored here and in the Divine realm, since the Pantheon has not properly cared for its own.” Stepping over to the chained Fiendish General Clovis, Lilith slapped him senseless to the ground.

    “He has been the eyes and ears of the Withered Aegis long enough.” Lilith continued solemnly her voice echoing in the bay,“Speak what you must Az, King of the Naka in the House of Zadora, King of all humans at--this-- time.”

    Az bellowed, “By the Authority of the human crown of Bavarius I declare a perpetual state of war between the Withered Aegis and all human kind. This shall continue to the end of days when the foul evil power is exterminated or human kind is extinguished. There will be no quarter. There will be no mercy. There will be no treaty. We will strike how, when and where we wish. For those who stand with us we will give succor. They will be allies in every way. There will be no more neutrality. For those who stand against us, refuse to aid us or stand aside leaving us to stand alone there will be naught. Neither shelter, nor sustenance nor protection shall be rendered that day or any of the days to follow in all the ages. Taking a dagger and cutting his hand he clenched a fist allowing human Royal blood to drip on the soil of Dalimond. I bind all humanity to this oath!”

    The soil seemed to ripple then flowed under the perimeter of Dalimond unto all the human lands.

    Mordel and Malicore stepped forward.

    Speaking first in the tongue of dragon and then secondly in the Naka common tongue Mordel raised his voice, “Istaria speaks to her children, the Gifted Ones. She accepts the Oath of King Az for all humans and other inhabitants on all Her flesh barring Her Gifted Ones.”

    Malicore spoke second “Her chosen Gifted Ones and the Guardians of ancient Palmyra shall reveal what she hid since the beginning of the world.

    The idle dead receiving pad flared. The ancient Gifted one named Knoble appeared. There were rends in his scales and flesh. He was bleeding. Without hesitation Knoble and Mordel met at the edge of the water a few meters away from the center of the great crowd. They faced the bay. The Guardian Dryads of Dalimond joined them hovering above in ranks, while the honored Dead of the two legions from long ago stood silent watch on the unmoving Queen Leaf.

    The ancient renown Gifted Dragons, with the three legions of Dryads hovering above them, stood upon their hind legs. All traced Glyphs of Power in unison in the air singing counter point in an unknown language The ground shook violently knocking all but a few of Dalimond to their knees on the ground. Waves of brilliant living green flames spread like a drop of water in a still pool. Waves of bright golden yellow fire followed. Moaning and monstrous creaking sounds flattened buildings with aerial shockwaves sending the mortals scurrying for disappearing cover, holding their bleeding ears, while buffeting the Dragons and higher flying Dryads. The thick Withered Aegis clouds above Dalimond Bay were shredded with inhuman howls and shrieks of pain blown about in the wind., The flowing pulsing black lines of power turned to dust inside the rolling thick neon green clouds of the Withered Aegis as the unleashed power in the bay expanded .

    Immense hurricane thunder clouds heavy with rain followed in the bay area then beyond. The rain came with winds sending the heavy down pour in a sideways slant far beyond the perimeter of Dalimond, following the locations of all the human lands. The clouds of distant Withered Aegis power was once again shredded over and over with the power of the cleansing fury of nature unleashed.

    Then an eerie silence came over the bay. The fury of nature was gone. The sky was clear. The moon shown down with its benevolent soft white glow, as the stars twinkled like diamonds in the dark velvet of the night sky.

    The Dragon pair turned to face the thinned out crowd in the rubble of Dalimond, while the Dryads returned to the judgement of the Queen. Knoble bellowed “ Behold mortals, Gods and immortals the Power of Istaria and the Might of the Ancient Dragons and Immortal Dryads. Behold the first born Sapling from the ancient Tree of Life hidden between the moments of time in the bay since the beginning of the world. Istaria set aside the little Sapling for the future needs of her children. The Sapling grew and waited for its birth in the Prime. The Sapling will be Home for the Satyr till Bachan is released from the Withered Aegis power. Home for the Dryad till Palyrma is freed. Home for the outcast of all her children. Home for the forgotten and the hunted through the ages. Behold that which was supposed to have been in all places, but is no more. What was lost to the world may be regained. Now Is the beginning of a new age. Her children shall decide for these lands—life or death.” With that being said the ancient Knoble launched up into the air and disappeared, while divine, immortals and mortals gaped wide mouthed at the revealed secret before them.

    The base of the Sapling was lost with deep roots going into a bay far deeper than had been seen before. The bay had increased in size as the illusion of substance of the shoreline slowly disappeared except that of city proper. Currents could be seen in the water as the roots moved of their own accord. Fully three hundred meters in diameter the trunk and roots arched this way and that to allow boats beneath.

    Two hundred meters above was the underside of the first of three stone islands wrapping around the trunk. Gigantic chains stabilized the lowest stone collar to huge blocks on the sides of the bay. The first aerial collar was three hundred meters wide with structures, trees and streams running off into the bay. The second island collar of stone was two hundred meters higher, one hundred fifty meters in width , anchored with immense chains to the first island collar. Streams could be seen running off in the air to the first level The last aerial island connected to the great trunk was two hundred meters higher and only seventy five meters in width. The huge trunk of the Sapling bulged underneath the top stone tier. The tree though grew above far flung clouds.

    The first set of gargantuan limbs arched well over the water and the first stone collar, stretching in all directions from modern Dalimond. Numerous smaller structures, foliage and trees of all types covered them. Great limbs spread out between the island stone collars and above.

    Hundreds of balconies could be seen in the trunk going up scattered here and there all lit and warmly welcoming with glowing flowers. Most spectacular of all was the dripping golden green yellow droplets that wafted down touching the surface below. Each floating droplet brought warmth, comfort and healing to any that they touched.

    The Dryad Thistlefoot began speaking to the people capturing their attention and imagination of the no longer secret sanctuary of the children of Istaria. Last bastion of safety and hope in all the world. Now all roads would lead to Dalimond.



    Cusp of Prophecy continues

  10. #30

    Default Re: Disturbing News

    Prelude to Battle Part 10


    Dalimond

    Quietly while all were occupied listening to Thistlefoot and ignoring the Goddess Istara with Vladockt, Lilith changed to her Fiendish form stepping closer to Az and Escasia. She quietly addressed the newly Royal Couple. Taking from an invisible back pack, she took out two, two handed great swords hooded with colored steel silk embossed with moving flowing scripts of spells over the sword hilts. She strapped the swords to their backs. The black bladed sword went to Az. The white bladed sword went to Escasia

    “Listen carefully to my children of my mother's house. These were the swords forged in ages past by the Elder Gods of Light and Darkness in the ancient wars between them. They are called the Twin Sisters of Ruin, Sister of Destruction and Obliteration with Sister of War and Judgement. In the hands of the ancient powerful Elder Gods these were the swords that destroyed the world. An ancient human warlock king used these swords with the help of the Younger Gods to bind the Elder Gods in endless slumber. The Younger Gods then are the same as the pantheon you know today. This is the great secret of the pantheon of Gods that my mother Zadora discovered. Both Gods and dragons have hunted for them. They are Alive and Sentient. No one unless an ancient God or long gone power can wear both. These are also the same Swords with which that ancient King of Humanity swore a great blood oath of power to the Elder Gods of Light before sealing them away..

    “You must always remember who you are, lest you fall to their will. My mother found them deep below Basavarus below the basements of Tazoon where they had been secreted away by the blood lines of that nameless king. This was the warning my mother Zadora left for me after she had found each. She was only able to wear both for a moment anymore and she would have been lost to their power and influence. Only my mother's dragon blood allows you to wear them at all. I am tired now, but there is still too much for me to do as no one else will share this burden” said Lilith.

    Emerging from the two story shadowed ruins of the Dalimond Inn. The Elder Gifted Knossos strode out with the Immortal youth of the Gifted in his step saying, “Surely daughter of my friend Zadora, do you truly think your mother would leave you undone? The laughing stock of Divinities and Immortal dragons, thus besmirching the houses of her bloodlines? Of course not!! Do you think I would treat Zadora's daughter so poorly? A great burden is lightened when shared by those one can trust! Now get those three Blood Mages you wish and be ready to leave. I hunger, thirst and am getting cranky.”

    Shocked and taken aback that any would talk to her like that Lilith walked up to him placing a kiss on his cheek. Poking the wriggling bag she spoke to it. “Well well!! So the friend of my mother was kind enough to collect you. Remember this Dark Goddess of Vengeance and Power. Three are the favors you owe me. So stay away from me, mine or my mothers, directly or indirectly, lest those favors become eternal.” Then walking over to Istara and standing in the midst of the shattered field of flesh facing the Goddess, she complied.

    With a haughty expression Lilith stood before Istara, looking at her with unrelenting eye contact. She resurrected the Three Master class Blood Mages killed in the conflict less than an hour ago by the Grand Masters and Wardogs. Each took a deep breath and looked upon their new mistress. With a bland face and a secret smile Lilith addressed them, “I have granted your pleas. You are all mine. You will not languish in the Dark Goddess's dungeon enduring torture till the end of days.”

    She then marked all three on their right cheeks with the symbol of her Mothers Bloodline, while Knossos addressed the crowd.

    “Where are the Satyr, children of Bachanatus?” Knossos called out in the language of that race.

    Less than a dozen appeared headed by an ancient Satyr healer in front of Knossos. With his arms Knossos gestured widely in question.

    “We are few now with most of our number dying in Feladan. Soon we will be no longer able to increase our numbers. Forgotten like our God, we will become only memories turning into dust blown away by the wind. Forsaken by our God, our lands are overrun by the Withered Aegis.” retorted the lead elderly healer.

    Lifting his chin and cocking his head Knossos replied, “Truly the Withered Aegis has taken from you all the hope in your blood and flesh given by your God. You have forgotten that the Divine can give you no more than what they are. Bachanatus is not a God of violence and war. So Bachan fell to the great evil–violence. In falling, its great temple was overrun and the Artifact to link your God to the Prime was secreted away in a place far to the east along the shores of Eastern Aradoth, deep within the lands blighted by the Withered Aegis. So of course your isles fell later and your numbers decreased. But, Istaria never forgot and the Gifted were instructed to re-obtain a measure of what was lost so that the Satyr would not become forgotten dust in the wind.”

    With this said Knossos took out of his pack, a package wrapped in enchanted and ensorcelled steelsilk. “Behold the Divine Pipes of Bachanatus! There is much the mortal realm does not know about the divine. Only perhaps a few of that Realm were ever able to affect the Prime without cost. Each divine entity required an anchor in one or the other realms. Without his pipes Bachanatus could not assist you. Even at that time, he would have not been able to fight like the God of War. You have diminished as has he. Play the pipes that he may come for he is needed. The Divine pantheon needs hope even as the Sapling in the bay. Play the pipes Honored One of the tower of healing. Play the Pipes of Bachanatus, Unam Humilem, and summon your God.”

    The elderly Satyr lifted the Pipes and began to play like unto the days of his long past youth. Joy flowed through the air like a river uplifting all that the flow touched. The few Satyr began to dance around the city center following the piper. The piping and dance became contagious. More non-Satyr came under the sway of the God's tune. Laughing and swirling around in all directions, most began to sing and dance of hope, love, and joy. The great limbs of the Sapling shook above them releasing, golden glowing green droplets of healing and renewal. The droplets became like snowflakes drifting down in a swirling funnel to the center of the great throng. Slowly a shape began to form as the laughter and singing resounded about the bay. The forgotten God stood in their midst, looking about in joy. The hovering, flying dragons and dancing bipeds looked confused and bewildered, as the music and dance ceased.

    Knossos stepped up. “Your people are few now Bachanatus . The Divine Realms are in disarray, as the Elder Dark Gods seek the Prime.” Holding up an Adamantium threaded essence hide sack with flowing lines of numerous Fiendish ensorcelled spells, the sack thrashed this way and that.

    Knossos continued, “Thus says Istaria, 'What has been allowed to die shall be renewed, that balance be restored on my Flesh and in the Realm above it.'” Handing the wriggling sack to the Satyr God, Knossos pointed to the unconscious Clovis saying in disgust, “The Dark Goddess will find the blood of a traitor to Her and her people sweet. Even in death the Damned can serve a purpose for the greater good. The Sapling can no longer abide the presence of the ashes of Niatha Moraven, nor the living traitor Clovis.

    Knossos quoted, “Istaria says,'Only the your pipes can summon Nyrevin, Goddess of Death and Rebirth to Kirascant. She will revive the five legions and instruct the Dark Temple for the needs of Niatha Moraven. With your pipes you will transport to Tazoon the five human legions and those whom accompanied them with their equipment. You will then go to see the needs of your dying people and the elves in Feladan. Help shall be coming. The Satyr have a home here now where you may come without touching the soil of the Prime. Five Legions of Honorable Human warriors will honor you for your Divine Deed, which will raise you up with their praise. Now go!'”

    Looking up at the Flying Dryads and adult and ancient dragons in the air Knossos shook his fist shouting at them all, “Why are you here in Dalimond gawking in the air, while Feladan's outer walls have fallen? Galderos and Alyssa are too busy to look after their own. Go dragons and Dryads. Istaria observes her children for betrayal!”

    Bachanatus disappeared with Pipes in hand and the chained Clovis over his shoulder. The dragons and Thistlefoot with her three legions disappeared in the air above. Whirling around Knossos stomped over to Az with a thunderous expression on his face holding out his hand. “Give me Ashlanders Crown, Az heir toBarasavus!”

    Az backed up his eyes never leaving Knossos and handed him the crown delicately, while Escasia squinted her eyes dangerously at the dwarf with his demand to her mate. Turning abruptly dismissing them, Knossos, angrily approached Istara still hovering above Vladockt, held in place by her will.

    “Isn't it time you DO something Goddess or are you some type of divine simpleton? Is there not a King to crown? Dalimond is left without a leader, as Az is crowned in another house, or are you waiting for a mortal seeress to show you the way?!”

    Knossos held up Ashlander's crown for Istara to take. Just before she got the crown he dropped it turning and heading to Lilith hovering in the air above her three new servants all Master Class Blood Mages with her mothers marks on their right cheeks.

    The Goddess cursed in anger, as she fumbled then stepped on the ground to catch the crown, she herself had blessed long ago. Her face contorted in rage at her own blatant mistake. She whirled this way and that noticing how all the people were staring at her. She was bound now in the Prime for good or ill, till balance was restored.

    Knossos looked up at Lilith demanding she take them to the Midnight Star plot in North Crystal for food and ale. They were open for business as a Imperial Depot for the war. They had the best Ale south of Aughundell, he sagely concluded, and the food cooked by a young Dwarven Confectioner named Bytsi, expert in her field. Noticing they had not left he looked up again. Lilith had an odd expression on her face with her eyebrows twitching and the corners of her mouth quivering, looking above his head over at the Human Goddess Istara.

    “What by the Pantheon of Istaria are you waiting on Lilith?!” Knossos demanded.

    Distracted she looked down at the friend of her mother's. Taking a deep breath before she lost her temper, she asked, “Knossos, friend of my mother Zadora why are you awake? Weren't you supposed to be taking a nap?”

    Sputtering hemming and hawing Knossos scratched his head and pulled at his long beard. Coughing into his hand, sniffing then adjusting his tall back hat he replied, “I was startled awake by a certain terrible thunder.”

    Looking at Knossos she blinked in consternation. As realization set in, she looked over at the Goddess then back to him. With both eyes brows raised she held her belly throwing back her head, laughing for the first time in centuries. Knossos muttered darkly, as they recalled together to North Crystal.

    By the time the laughter echoed back to the Dalimond shoreline a childish innocent voice filled the town center followed by a feminine shriek, shattering the silence of Dalimond and all of its inhabitants.

    “Mommy why is that pretty lady naked?”



    Cusp of Prophecy continues
    Last edited by Skirnir Ouija Glada; April 15th, 2018 at 07:27 PM.

  11. #31

    Default Re: Disturbing News

    Prelude to Battle Part 11

    Dalimond

    Vladockt, freed of the Divine Will of Istara, upon hearing the questioning child and the feminine shriek of the Goddess, whirled around taking his great cloak to wrap around the Goddess. He already knew that, though solid in the divine realms, their ethereal clothing did not typically make the transition betwixt realms. As it turned out, there was no need, the golden green glowing floating droplets fell onto her in a stream. Clothing appeared on her as a radiant light green robe. His no longer Fiendish eyes rested on what he saw in appreciation.

    The Goddess was indeed glorious. Only about five feet tall she radiated power and wrath as naturally as a fish swimming through water. Crystalline corneas in almond shaped eyes dominated aquiline facial features. Her hair was bronze chestnut with dazzling silver streaks throughout. The hair luxuriant, rich and thick cascaded down her back in large dropping curls. A single circlet crowned her head. Despite her lack of height she seemed to be able to look down her nose at the taller figures surrounding her. With eyes glinting dangerously she looked at Vladockt in a haughty superior manner devoid of any maternal expression. All the mortals of Dalimond dropped to their knees except for Vladockt, who bowed deeply then stood, alone.

    He smiled showing his fine white perfect teeth in admiration of her manner and her looks. His former position, as First Assassin of the Dark Temple, had taught him well the appreciation of great power.

    Istara softly spoke her power pinning his feet to the ground, “ You will be still now human, no longer Fiend.”

    Istara gestured to the statue of Ashlander holding up a sword and facing the bay. “Awaken oh Ashlander founding King of the ancient lands of Vandus.”

    The statue's exterior layers exploded off, leaving flowing stone skin and attire with stone sword in hand. The statue turned viewing the throng, looked up in the air and then gazed upon the great eternal sapling in the Dalimond Bay. Turning back to the multitude he shifted his gaze to Az and addressed him. “You have fulfilled your role well Az, King now in your own right. I release you.”

    King Az, dragging Eascasia forward, snapped back, “ Release me? I think not Ashlander Vandus. You and I have unfinished business that will be decided on the soil of the lands of the Dead in the Arena of the Pantheon before the God of War and other Gods. You will not face the horrified seven year old boy brought to his knees by terror in your crypt, with back bowed by the weight of your Geas. You will face a man. The battle will be short. Your death shall be slow. You will not like it. The sand of that arena will soak up your blood, as I spill your guts then spike your head before the great entry way. Then oh Ashlander King of Vandus shall I release you and dismiss you from my sight. Then and only then shall we be finally finished!!”

    The eyeless stone statue of King Ashlander and King Az Lord of War faced each other in a silence full of mutual promise. Az abruptly turned and headed to Vladockt and the Goddess Istara, still dragging Escasia with Ariella following. Unable to restrain him, Queen Escasia still held on to his arm slowly slowing his pace. The statue of Ashlander followed at a short distance then stood silently watching events play out.

    Granite Fist looked at the now enraged Az in amazement. The was not the human she knew. This was a human without mercy, without fear, full of purpose and full of vengeance. She remembered the Dwarven Iron Guard Prophecy given by Brobbit in the distant past of her people before the building of Aughundell. “In the days to come there shall be amongst the humans a child become a man. He shall be trained by my children and all the races. He shall be held in great regard by my children to come. On his back shall he carry the Sister of Destruction and Obliteration. His mate shall carry the Sister of War and Judgement. The swords shall be called in those days to come the Twin Sisters of Ruin. Forged in the First age of the world when the Elder Gods fought on the flesh of Istaria in a War that destroyed the world. Ware thee well oh my children and disturb not the Sisters of Ruin lest Their Wills overcome their welders and destroy the world, as they once did long ago.”

    Seeing Az angrily stomping his way toward them, Istara moved in front of Vladockt saying, “What have you to do with me and mine that you approach me in animosity, Az King of Barasavus?”

    “That is right fickle Goddess. After I slay Ashlander in the arena, I shall take you to task for your lack of guidance in the years before this night and during these hours of death and destruction. We shall both stand before the Tribunal of Divine Justice when I make my complaint. I need only call for the dead sacrificed outside of Kirasanct from this night of woe for proof of my complaint. The very necessity of calling near forgotten Gods to do what you should have done for your own children. Now, by the hand of an Elder Gifted One you stand before your children not because of your choice. So I ask you, how shall your children look upon their Goddess, when the enemy comes before the light of the dawn? You are indeed right. No longer shall I bow my head to you. I answer to the God of War. I am servant to the God of War and bow only to him.”

    Vladtockt's eye's widened at Az's audacity. So many years had he planned, manipulating people and events, so that his master Az would become King. He smiled in appreciation of the magnificence of the man that stood before him. Az was fearless and confident in his power. With brows furrowed in thought, he saw the slowly smoking sword hilts. He saw the little sporadic spurts of black and white flames spiraling around each of the Twin Sisters of Ruin. His knees began to shake as he remembered the ancient decaying tomes in the Dark Temple below Kirasanct. Vladockt stepped around Istara, who was gripped with fear with the realization of the what the royal pair carried on their backs. Seeing with eyes no mortal had, Istara knew the swords were awakening with Az's wrath. Vladockt drew the focus to himself lest the human Goddess be seen as weak by the multitude of mortals around them.

    Vladockt knelt on one knee with head bowed facing King Az. “Speak my master that I may obey.”

    Az looked upon him with a wide grin. “Well you stuck me with it Vladockt. Oh my most ferocious and loyal servant to my house, I release you from your blood oath to my service. Stand proudly Vladockt formerly of my house. Pursue your duties to these lands as you see fit.”

    Holding his arms up, he turned around addressing the multitude, which had listened and been dismayed. “Behold Vladockt a defender of Dalimond. Hail Vladockt! Honored in the eyes of Istaria, Honored in the eyes of Istara, who even now protects him, honored in the eyes of the Legion of War Dogs!! Hail Valdockt!!”

    The Legion and the multitude echoed his praise. Looking down at Escasia, Az kissed her. Calm now with her constant presence Az whispered into Vladockt's ear, shocking him with his information, then turned away.

    Az spoke mockingly, “Have you forgotten something Goddess of Humans, Gnomes and Saris?”

    Seeing Az and his Queen about to head to Granite Fist, a small petite gnome wiggled her way through the ranks of the Wardogs. Rapping a sergeant on the back of his thighs to get his attention she said quietly, “I need six strong brutes to dig where I show you for all your worth. The time for Az's plan to come to fruition hinges on a certain speed. Come now.”

    The Sergeant without question, knowing the female gnome, complied. The Gnome led the group through the crowd to the base where the statue of Ashlander had stood. “It is bigger than it looks and is very ancient. Az would not dig it up because of that traitor Clovis. Two meters deep all around it should be enough. I cannot do what I must until you complete this. So hurry up.!!” Standing behind the Wardogs hid her diminutive frame from the sight of all except Mordel the Gifted dragon with his long neck. The Wardogs began in earnest quiet fury.

    Laughing out loud Az turned from them both with Escasia leading the way back to Supreme Commander Granite Fist.

    Bastet, the Saris Seeress, called out, “.and Istara shall call upon the founder of Vandus who shall respond to her Will.”

    Ssylvennia, the Sslik Seeress responded speaking up that all would hear, “...and all would see that what had been lost to the human lands of old would be divinely returned.”

    Bastet called out a second time, “.and in the shadows of Dalimond shall certain truths be revealed that shall affect all in the days to come after the night of horrors.”

    The War Dogs looked at the Saris Seeress as did the Sslik Seeress with the Grand Masters of Chi and Unarmed Combat and Mordel glancing over. Feeling the weight of their questioning gazes, she merely shrugged sticking out her elderly thin chin in defiance and said, “Page three hundred and forty six, third paragraph last line in the Seventh Tome Of the Annals of the Dead last edition.” There were no further questions.'

    The crowd edged closer. Supreme Commander Granite Fist conferred with her twelve advisors as the Crowned Az and Escasia approached. Mordel and Malicore watched silently from the edge of the crowd. Malicore noted to Mordel of the two little figures on top of the remaining half of the clothing shop, peeking over the top with see and tell stones.

    Mordel stated emphatically, “Leave them be Malicore. The High Elders have told me that they are the silent Naka Witnesses in the shadows to all that has occurred and will occur once a certain Cusp of Prophecy is reached. One shall answer to the Grey Nakas of Power and one to the silent council in the naka city of Gnomes. Watch Malicore and see Draconic Prophecy be manifested. In my opinion The High Elders fear what is to be revealed.”

    “I find that hard to believe Mordel. Only dragons rule the skies above.”

    “That fact is now already in question with the appearance of the new Dryads of which we did not know, who can indeed truly fly. Their threat to us has yet to be evaluated by the High Councils. The greater fear is to come. Methinks that a change between Chiconus and Dralk will be forthcoming. Now be silent and remember every moment for the days to come,” rumbled Mordel.

    Nimbles peeked over the top of a portion of the roof that remained intact after Blog had nearly destroyed the place earlier. Now with seeing stone, telling stone and hearing stones from the Grey Council Nimbles was set. She watched the events below in wonder. Who would have thought that a angry dragon mother and Laslo a greedy little Gnome could have caused such a night of events. She heard a noise behind her turning she saw her friend Fidget, a Gnomish spy from the Intelligence Division for the New Rachival Government.

    “Hurry up Fidget you are missing all the fun. Who knows, maybe you will get a promotion and a raise after this. I know I will,” said Nimbles, looking smugly at her friend.

    Give me a paw Nimbles, so I can get up there then we can share. You can report to yours and I can report to mine. Besides I want a desk job. I am getting too old for all this sneaking around.”

    “My place has been better than yours Fidget to see everything going on!” Nimbles exclaimed in a whisper.

    “You can be such a moron at times Nimbles,” grunted Fidget, as she settled into place beside her friend.“The nasties were already moving before now. Now that the Sapling is in view in the world, the majority of their forces are changing directions. Their numbers are much greater than previously thought. Do you need more communication crystals?”

    “Yes I do. The Grey Council only had so many.” The two exchanged goods then whispered quickly to each other at a rapid pace, head to ear. Both were shocked at the shared information.

    Nimbles asked, “So what are the Gnomes going do since they cannot retreat to Dalimond?

    Fidget responded, “Above my paygrade but my orders are quite clear. Stay here and continue to report. You had best report to your superiors. Your troops of nefarious individuals need to abandon their positions and do a full retreat. None of you can fight head on what is coming, unless you want to your own ranks eradicated . We know Az had been in contact with and had certain agreements with the Grey Council, who had been protecting a lot of the abandoned Gifted settlements on the sly. We do not believe Granite Fist will be very forthcoming about any alliances with your fellows.”

    “Thanks for that Fidget. I am glad we can share information. Our true enemies would tolerate neither of us.”

    “Agreed and your are welcome. You Do however owe me for the crystals. You know how costs are quibbled over by accountants and their political bureaucratic bosses.”

    “You got it and I owe you,” said Nimbles.

    Then both reported to their superiors. Both were ordered to stay, observe and report.

    Fidget nudged Nimbles, pointing to the events below. Pay close attention to a certain gnome I have been looking for. Fidget pointed to the little Gnome between the legs of the much taller massive Wardogs. She has been quite elusive. Every record about her, except her Certifications and Qualifications for Tinker, have somehow disappeared. We had a tip that she was in Dalimond, consulting that dubious at best law firm of Fiends called the Three Sisters.

    “What is her name?” questioned Nimbles.

    “She is Laslolye WileyFingers, Master level Tinker “unofficially” second only to the Grand Master Tinker. She claims to be the only living relative to Laslo QuickFingers. We think she is the last of the whole criminal clan. She also alleged in the past that Gangaf Tagley instructed Versanto to hire a thief, whom in turn stole the schematics to that infamous “ X project” in Old Rachival. Since the thief was not a tinker, he or she did not get all the pertinent schematics, instructions and directions. Gangaf Tagley wanted the glory and funding to go with his rising reputation and Versanto was riding on his coattails. Gangaf did not pay attention and only supervised Versanto at very minimum level. According to Laslolye's statement at the general hearing before the scientific review board, Versanto is an idiot. He bungled the experiment and the result is history. She agreed that Gangaf came up with the bot idea, but was not smart enough to make the intellectual leap to the next stage.”

    “Did not she have proof for all this?. If so, she should have shown it.”

    Fidget squinted her eyes thinking then said, “That is where things got interesting. She brought with her seven boxes of supposed documentation and proof. She challenged Gangaf to lay them out on the long table for all to see. Once the truth was exposed, she said, then she would demand his execution for destruction of Old Rachival, betrayal of the Gnome race along with intellectual theft. Intellectual theft is a huge crime with the Gnomes. She argued that Versanto should only be imprisoned, since his only real crime was trying to impersonate a Tinker. She said his papers were forged and she could prove that as well, since he was such an idiot.”

    “ So what happened?” Nimbles asked.

    Fidget laughed quietly, “Things got REALLY interesting after that point. She stood there by her sealed boxes patting them, while sarcastically taunting Gangaf to come over and “get crackin” as the humans refer to it. Gangaf turned red in the face then held up his nose and said, “.. among other things he was not going to involve himself, or sully his reputation in such a sordid little tawdry affair, as this scientific hearing.” This of course brought gasps to the entire board and half the population of New Rachival viewing the hearing. After all the hearing was convened at his demand for monetary reimbursement for the public defamation of his character by this upstart of a Tinker. He could not taint her Credentials, as they were so rock solid and her advancement had been a very public affair. Personally I think they gave Laslolye her Mastery in Tinkering just to get rid of her from their class rooms. She had a very real reputation of not being able to “play well” with others. Anyway he stood up after saying HIS evidence was in Old Rachival and when the Gnomish home was returned to the gnome race his position and his ascertains would be vindicated. With his dignity in tatters he left without a word. The board demanded the originals of course from Laslolye. She just laughed at them. About that time the Fiendish Law Firm of the Three Sisters showed up and gave the enquiry board Certified Imperial Legal Copies of all the “evidence”. Furthermore, they told the Board of Scientific Enquiry that their client was not legally required to do anything else, unless Gangaf wanted to pursue criminal or civil litigation. That their client was also able to state her opinion however outrageous it was publicly. The Three Sisters were eagerly awaiting to go to court to set the historical record straight with the government of New Rachival. The City Government would be paying all their costs upon the trial's conclusion.”

    “So what happened next? Asked Nimbles.

    Fidget snickered, “Well there was nothing until a fire in which the records were destroyed. Laslolye claimed of course that Gangaf destroyed them. Gangaf replied with insults. There was a huge public outcry that slowly disappeared. But you know just how long the public keeps their attention on any subject. Here today gone tomorrow. So Laslolye continues to make her outlandish claims and Gangaf continues to refute them vigorously by making public insults about her certifications, designs reputation and what not. Their public bickering has become legendary. Each Master has their own adherents.”

    “Has Gangaf tried to do anything else?” asked Nimbles.

    “Oh yes. He has attempted to reconvene the Scientific Board of Enquiry not less than twenty three times. Each time they send him legal letter saying that they were not going to involve themselves in a such “sordid little tawdry affair” concerning his personal business.”

    Nimbles pressed Fidget, “...and Laslolye?

    Fidget said quietly, “The Board refuses to say anything. In fact, they don't talk about her at all warning their employees to do the same or lose their jobs. She has been the Lead Gnomish designer of a lot of stuff in Dalimond, but I don't know what, since every thing around her is shrouded in secrecy or is classified far above my own security clearance. Personally I think she is dangerous.”

    “I have heard that name. A super genius that refers to Versanto the trainer and his master Gangaf Tagley, as idiots that should have been terminated with the damage they did. Well she is a citizen in good standing like her entire clan for generations. Laslo despite being a prior friend of sorts of mine, never was very good in keeping the tenets of the Laws” said Nimbles.

    Fidget pressed Nimbles about Laslolye. Her friend looked her solemnly and responded, “What do you know of the Three Sisters Law Firm?”

    “Not really anything more than common knowledge. They are very expensive and exclusive. They cater to the rich. A number of governments keep them on retainer. They are excellent litigators and to the best of my knowledge never lost a case in court.

    Nimbles nodded adding, “-Every- government has them on retainer and they also act as mediators between governments, conflicting agencies, local and regional businesses and the story goes they also defend individuals in the afterlife, as well as mediate between Gods.
    They very rarely do pro bono, unless in some way the case can further their own PR or profit. Any client that does not pay meets with a terminal accident based on their contractual arrangements. Even the grey council is very very careful before bringing them into anything. They have defended individuals before the grey council as well. IF any contracting parties refuse to mediate after bringing in the Three Sisters, lots of people permanently disappear. The Three Sisters Law Firm is always very low key with any public statements. You and I both know how lawyers make all sorts of public statements on behalf of their clients to try to sway public opinion. The Three Sisters don't. So when you tell me that “The Three Sisters were eagerly awaiting to go to court to set the historical record straight with the government of New Rachival. The City Government would be paying all their costs upon the trial's conclusion.” This means one and only one thing. Their case is already proven, airtight and undeniable. In this case NO ONE is going to go to court with the Three Sisters. You can bet they have all the original documents, relevant materials and what not. Its a done deal. So in answer to your question, since I am a government employee like you are and government employees have no personal opinions my opinion lays with whom Laslolye has contracted with for her legal defense.”

    “Well said Nimbles,” Fidget declared softly betwixt them. “You will live to grow up in this shadowy realm we live in after all,” grunted Fidget, slapping Nimbles on the shoulder.

    The voice of Istara rang out at the center of the great throng.

    Responding to the voice Nimbles turned her attention to view the scene below them. Nimbles stood up without thinking, as Fidget tried to hold her down. “By all the Gods of Istaria..........!” She blurted out.

    Giving up, Fidget stood up to see as well. With eyes widening she spoke quickly and furtively into her tell stone reporting.


    Cusp of Prophecy continues
    Last edited by Skirnir Ouija Glada; April 22nd, 2018 at 09:41 PM.

  12. #32

    Default Re: Disturbing News

    Prelude to Battle Part 12


    Dalimond


    Istara called upon Ashlander, “Ashlander founder of the Kingdom of Vandus. Now is the time for the Divine promises to be fulfilled. What is binding in the lands of the dead are binding in the lands of the living as well. Speak that all humanity and other races may hear your decree. The Pantheon will ensure all will hear.”

    Ashlander spoke, “Behold children of humanity descendants of Dalimond and other far flung human places. I stand before you saying what was lost to human kind is now returned. By the grace of Divine Wills and Prophecy the bloodlines lost to humanity by choice, before the fealty of blood oath to the Evil Goddess bound them, are now on this day restored. All received the offer and by their own wills chose. The one called Az, leader of you till now, walks his own Destiny. The Royal bloodline of mine house stands amongst you. His parents were sacrificed for denying the will of an evil goddess. His blood oath to that monstrosity was never given. Only truth is seen in the Lands of the Dead. The capital city of all humanity is without a king. Not anymore for I am here that all may know the Divine choice and mine.

    The flowing stone eyeless statue walked up to Vladockt, “Kneel Vladockt!”

    Ssylvennia's voice rang out, “The returned bloodline shall be crowned by Istara to the amazement of all.”

    Vladockt knelt for the first time with a feeling of fear hearing the voices of the seeress. There was no escape. With a possessed living statue before him and the hand of the Goddess of Istaria on his shoulder he could feel and hear the weaving hands of Destiny on Her Loom.

    Ashlander stated, “You are my full blood heir. The blood line lost and now returned. Qualified in all ways during your sojourn with the Fiends in Kirascant, imprisonment by the Imperium and service to Az and your people. I therefore announce to all of humanity that here kneeling before me is the true King of Dalimond. Goddess Istara crown your chosen one.”

    Istara standing to the side of Vladockt held the ancient crown up, turning full circle for all to see. “Behold the crown of Ashlander held in safe keeping by Az all these years until needed. I, Istara Goddess of the Pantheon, crown you Vladockt, King of Dalimond and diverse settlements. King of all humans who call those lands home.”

    “Arise Vladockt King of your people,” said Ashlander and Istara in unison.

    Vladockt rose standing. King Az and Queen Escasia stepped forward shouting, “Hail Vladockt King of Dalimond and all human lands. The huge throng chanted, “Hail Vladockt!, Hail Vladockt!”

    Vladockt look up astounded at everything happening to him. He saw Az grinning widely and smirking. Saw him mouthing the words.......... “Gotcha!”.

    A small gnome figure worked her way to the forefront in the clear area around the new Royalty, Goddess and dubious statue. She stepped up in the middle of them all, put her hands on her hips and said, “Well now! We got two Kings here now, a Goddess, a giant tree and a dubious walking statue in my opinion at best. Maybe a LITTLE leadership will be forth coming? Vladockt King of Dalimond you owe me so much on so many levels I would spend ten human years writing it all down. I thank Telak you are not the simpleton that Az is. And Az, you are way off in what you think is out there. But then, you are only human so it is excusable I guess.”

    Looking at Istara up and down she spoke aloofly, “I am not impressed. I hear that Telak's standing in the pantheon is gaining stature. I can see now why. The people of Dalimond will get a good look now at their Goddess. I suggest you don't let them down now that you finally decided to show up and get something done. Good for you Goddess I say though. I have always been in favor of short females coming up in the world to show their true power. Males have only screwed things up for Aeons. And as for you Ashlander, I am not going to even bother. Just do us all a favor. Leave and assemble your armies wherever they are and get moving. Maybe you will do a better job fighting than you ever did, as the so called great founding King. Only things I ever saw was the Mess you left for all your human subjects. Shame on you. Hummph!” She then zapped him with a little device in her right hand reducing the statue to small uniform bricks.

    Istara looking furious with a thunderous scowl on her face, began to step to the sarcastic, impertinent, self-centered and haughty little gnome.

    Laslolye whirled around holding up in the air between them a tiny black box with a big red button with tiny gnomish script 'Push for a big mess'. Laslolye began her retort in a soft voice ending in a bellowing shout, “Don't even think about it oh so called greatest power and most influential Goddess of the Grand Pantheon of Divinities. Telak had to pick up Your slack and --get ME. YOU even dare look like you are going to twitch and I will SHUT THIS PROJECT DOWN!! That my dearest Goddess will mess up the Lord of Destruction's plans, or have you ever so conveniently forgotten about those really NASTY swords on the backs of that Human and his Saris mate over there??!! Turning her back on the Goddess the little gnome stomped over to Az, Escasia and Granite Fist next to Blog with the new Guardian of the great Dryad Power Crystal, while the massive throng stared at the little still living wondrous affront to everyone.

    Vladockt looked at Laslolye in admiration thinking to himself, “She would have made such a fine Fiend!” He glanced at Istara who had turned away from the Gnome and was looking at him with a scowl. He blinked giving her a bland innocent look and bowed deeply to hide his choked laugh.

    “Well Az, I believe that Vladockt needs a particular item. Or did you think to pinch it for yourself?”

    Az looked dumbfounded blinking in confusion. Granite Fist coughed. Escasia looked questioning at Az. Princess Leaf laughed on Blog's huge shoulder. Sergeant Major Arellia standing somewhat behind Escasia's left shoulder snickered.

    Laslolye continued patiently, as if speaking to a child,“Think hard now Az. If a King does not have a big sword like you do, but has only a little muli-purpose tool at best or a small little knife at the least. What in the name of Telak is that King in need of?”

    “Experience?” Said Az.
    “Umm,” said Escasia looking embarressed.
    “Duh!,” said Blog with a wisdom laden voice.

    “A Scepter Az you idiot. A king must have a scepter, if he does not have a sword,” Princess Leaf said with a matter of fact tone of voice and Royal Authority.

    Laslolye gave a big smile that seemed almost threatening in some odd way, as she replied, “Thank you Princess Leaf. Men are just lost without their swords and symbols, if that is all they have.”

    In the distance Nimbles shrieked in laughter, as she rolled off the remaining section of roof she had been spying from, while her friend slid down after her fearing Nimbles had injured herself.

    Az reached into his steel silk backpack and pulled out an eighteen inch Scepter oddly shaped and encrusted with strangely cut jewels in some nonsensical pattern.

    Az stepped up to Vladockt solemnly. “Your Majesty, here is your Royal Scepter.” Az smirked at Vladockt who was no longer smiling. Under his breath he muttered so only Vladockt could hear him. “She is allllll yours now Vlad”, looking at Laslolye, "May the gods help you!"

    “Thank you King Az,” Vladockt said softly and politely with a bland look.

    “Well,” said Laslolye standing next to Valdockt looking up at him, “ Do it!!”

    Vladockt looked at the Scepter with a blank look. Looking up at Az he coughed. Az shrugged his large massive shoulders and just smirked. Vladockt furtively glanced about. Everyone was looking at him expectantly, as Laslolye tapped her little foot impatiently.

    “Gads!! We don't have all night you know!” exclaimed Laslolye snatching the Scepter out of Vladockt's hands. Walking by the Goddess she muttered, “Good job Goddess.” Then stomping again to the bay where the Wardogs had been digging, Laslolye crooked her finger at Blog saying one word, “Come.” Blog hearing that tone of authority immediately complied.

    Everyone followed her diminutive form.

    She jumped down into the newly dug hole. She landed on a 1x1x1 meter black metal cube.
    Taking out a small strange device that hummed at a high pitch that looked like a thin metal tube with a pulsing light crystal at the end of it. She inserted the device then adjusted the back end clicking it into the right place. A deeper thrum began. A two centimeter hole appeared as a metal plate slid back. She slowly inserted the Scepter turning this way and that way listening to the clicks, as the scepter went deeper. Four centimeters from the end the Scepter vanished into the cube on its own.

    Looking up from inside the hole on top of the cube Laslolye told Blog, “Take one of your War Hammers and tap gently where I tell you. Easing himself into the hole, Blog tapped where he was shown. The ground shook violently and thunderous thumping bumping and clanking was heard underneath the ground of Dalimond. Laslolye shouted for immediate removal of them both. Blog grasped the gnome and the Wardogs pulled them both out straining with effort. The metallic and stone floor disappeared under the cube, which vanished into a black abyss of a shaft. The flooring clanged and snapped shut with a bang.

    Bastet's voice called out, “All roads shall lead to Dalimond for that night and all nights thereafter.”

    Ssylvennia chimed in, “..And all paths of Power would flow from there to all the lands except to the evil city of the north, the lands of the great Dragons, and the hidden city of Palyrma.”

    A deep whirling sound rumbled then stopped and there was silence. Laslolye called out, “Fill up the hole Wardogs. NO enemy must see it.” The hole filled up quickly with the Wardogs bringing more dirt from elsewhere.

    What about my Scepter?,” demanded Vladockt all in a huff.

    Laslolye looked at Vladockt. Took off her glasses and slowly cleaned them. She put them back on delicately. She raised an eyebrow squinting over her glasses, as she looked up at him spoke, “Your Sceptor?. You probably thought that crown was Ashlanders too didna ya!! Well let me tell you something Human. While Istara and others were soaking up all that worship, Telak was hard at work. He made the Technological device you call a Scepter. It is a key idiot to get everything going. Your crown he made as well, a courtesy no doubt and substituted it for that cheap thing Ashlander never used, and I don't blame him for not using it . I would not be caught dead wearing that that.... oh never mind! By the way do you see things differently now?"

    “OF course I don't. It is only a crown!,” he shouted tilting his head forward as he shouted.

    In a flash she snatched off his crown and zapped it with the little device then slapped it back on his head. Valdockt dropped to his knees screaming. Laslolye spoke calmly without rancor while Vladockt writhed on the ground, “Since you don't have time to read two hundred and fifty tomes three inches thick, here is a little box so you could understand, since you are human now. Push the friendly looking green button and ask it any question you need. All the rest of the idiots can read the scrolls Az had prepared.” She dropped the multicolored little cube on the ground beside him.

    She continued, “Man up Vladockt and gird your loins human. Now you will see inside all of your lands as a God would thanks to Telak. “With these,” throwing down on the ground four big bags of see,tell,hearing stones and pulsing little crystal rings, “ you can communicate with your army, your government and your machines. These are not like those cheapies Az gave out. There is a whole different kind of ummm -coughs-sputters- magic in them. Your crown and these of course are self repairing and renewing. But, then again a God made them so what can I say?”

    “Therefore I say to all that are here under the limbs of this giant tree. Nothing has been done to free Old Rachival, the true home of the Gnomes nor the great observatory that we the Gnomish people built. Like the Satyr we have been left to our own devices. Telak is forgiving of the ignorance of others that they may seek his enlightenment. Knowledge is like a weapon, Neutral in all regards. How we use this magic is that which determines who and what we are. Instead of freeing Old Rachival, as Feladan was freed and the Dryads were freed this Imperium did nothing for the Gnomes. Only the Humans, simpletons tho they may be, remembered us and assisted in the expense of time, labor and cost of New Rachival. We the Gnomes have the longest memories of all written and passed down. Today you will see where our magic went to support our allies instead of mounting an invasive force to retake Old Rachival or free the Observatory . We the Gnomish people have always put others before ourselves. Here in this place called Dalimond you will see secret labor of many come to fruit. Hidden from Gods, hidden from dragons, hidden from Dryads of old, hidden from most of all the races and even hidden from Prophecy. This was the will of Istaria according to Telak. Only Istaria's Gifted could see the great sapling or the work of a six hundred year project here around you. Now is the time, this is the place, you will see the might and power of the Gnomes with the enlightenment of Telak.”

    “To you Vladockt King of all humans on the lands of Istaria I can say this however, Dalimond Owes New Rachival a lot of mithril and gold. Dalmond owes –Me-- a whole lot more since I have three hundred years of labor, designs and supervision in this project. I will send the Three Sisters Law Firm to you at a later time to set up the repayment schedule. I keep them on retainer. Now if you will excuse me I think I will go to North Crystal to the Midnight Star to get a room and something to eat and drink. My part in this mess is finally---concluded. After a good night's sleep and a nice breakfast, I will start on the catastrophe my distant relative Laslo Quickfingers left me. My work in this nasty little war is OVER.” Using a tell stone she called for the Three Sister Law Firm to meet her at the portal. Zapping anyone in the way with her little hand held device, the way cleared easily. The portal flashed then Lalsolye and the Three Sisters were gone in a golden flash of the portal that immediately went dead again.

    Acting in cooperation for once, Az and Istara assisted King Vladockt to his feet, who remained unconscious.

    “What happens now Goddess? Can you do something about Vladockt?,” asked Az with concern. Calling out to the Sslik and Saris seeresses Az questioned, “What do the prophecies say enlightened ones?” But they were silent

    Istara spoke, “There are no Prophecies for this moment Az King in the House of Zadora. Neither Divine, immortal visions or other has been written or spoken. It is as the Gnomish female has said, 'shielded and held secret'. Neither you nor any other can truly remember what you have done. Istaria has clouded the memories of all for the protection of her peoples. Only that nasty little Gnomish female carries all within her mind unclouded protected by Telak. No, there is nothing I can do for this human King, as he wears a device of another God. The Draconic Guardians are returning, perhaps they can do something..

    The High Elders of Dralk and Chiconis flashed into Dalimond still hovering five meters in the air. They
    slowly landed carefully as bipeds made way. Both changed into Khutit form, as their feet touched the ground.

    The High Elder of Lunus spoke, “The dragon and bipeds are freed now. All are safely on land where they need to be or in the air above. There is nothing we can, do for the Naka Vladockt. Perhaps the Last Guardian can do something.”

    “Where is Lizzie, my little cousin? Is she alright? Is she safe?” inquired Az frowning in concern.

    Princess Leaf left Blog's shoulder and hovered over in front of Az saying, “The High Elders have addressed her needs successfully. She is where she was sort of. She is alright. She is safe.”

    The Guardians of the Great Crystals of Power gazed at each other silently communicating in some unknown way.

    The Helian High Elder said gently, “She is already here but not here, Az watching and deciding. We cannot and will not say more than that.”

    Istara watched as Az began to lose his temper. Escasia gripped his hand so tightly he was forced to look at her. Escasia spoke, “You yourself know all about secrets Beloved. Your entire life has been shrouded in them. The guardians are no different. I doubt Guardians were in the world when these swords were made for those ancient horrific wars. You had secrets you even kept from me and others because the time was not right. The Guardians apparently are no different. Calm yourself. Our problem now is Vladockt. He wears the crown a God made not fit for a human. We cannot proceed until this is rectified.”

    “She is right Az King in Zadora's house,”spoke Istara.

    The air in Dalimond became unnaturally still and calm. An eerie quiet seemed to settle on the city with a feeling of tranquil expectation...


    Cusp of Prophecy continues
    Last edited by Skirnir Ouija Glada; May 2nd, 2018 at 12:12 AM.

  13. #33

    Default Re: Disturbing News

    Prelude to Battle Part 13



    Dalimond


    In the air above the receiving pad of Dalimond a hazy translucent form slowly appeared. It was gigantic. Glowing and dripping a white fire of power it was over one hundred meters high and fifty meters at its base. Before the throng's eyes it seemed to be ever so slowly getting --larger. The immense structure remained insubstantial, floating above the receiving pad.

    A female form slowly hovered out of its midst headed to Az. Az's eyes lit up in recognition with a slight furrow on his forehead. Lizzie had grown and changed. Her skin was the purest alabaster white. Her features and form seemed to reflect a small measure of almost all the biped races including the Dryads but excluding the Fiends. Huge filmy transparent wings, twice as large as those of an ancient Dragon, had grown from her back and were moving slowly as she traversed the distance to her cousin Az. The filaments of support for the span of the wings though strong seemed ever so delicate and fragile. Her eyes remained closed and her mouth did not open as she spoke.

    Without addressing Az she went right to Vladockt. Ever so softly she spoke in a strange musical lilting tone of minor chords. Reaching out with both hands the crown lifted and began to whirl faster and faster until all that was left was a band of unknown metal, glowing with great heat, and with numerous jewels floated in the air before her. A simple pink cotton pouch with green script of dryad and dragon appeared. The pouch with its script floated in front of her. She took the little pouch from the air and picked three different colored jewels from the cluster. The rest of the jewels and crystals dropped into the pouch. The three chosen stones set themselves into the hot glowing band of metal which immediately cooled. She placed the band upon Valdockt's head.

    She spoke in the common tongue, “Awaken Vladockt King of Dalimond and be at ease.”

    Vladockt woke taking a deep breath. Thank you Lizzie, Human Guardian of the Fifth Crystal of Power. I can see everything clearly without pain.

    Lizzie continued to speak slow and clearly, “Telak had the best of intentions, but assumed what was fit for a mortal gnome was also fit for a human. He was of course wrong. So this I tell you. A King should see clearly the truth around himself in his lands. A king's ears always should hear the truth. The touch of a Generous King is a one of true healing. Secrets of a King are his alone to give as he chooses. Take this bag Vladockt. The stones within grant many powers neither you nor others are ready for such power. Your heirs will know when the time is right to add a stone. They will innately know what and how to add this power to the crown and survive. This is the gift to your blood line I give for the generations to come. The last and greatest gift though I give to you is a secret.” She leaned over and whispered quietly so none would hear.

    I don't understand,” Vladtockt admitted. Others tried and failed to hear what she said.

    You will in time,” Lizzie replied.

    Floating upright she addressed the throng around them. “No longer will my Ward, the Fifth Great Power Crystal, provide for the needs of the Dryad. They have their own crystal. No longer will my ward provide for the dragons. They have their own crystals. Kirascant will NEVER again receive power from the Fifth Crystal. Let their Goddess provide what they need. The attacks on my Ward for Aeons by Niatha Moraven to steal its life force for her own use will NEVER be forgiven. Slightly turning in the air Lizzie, Guardian of the Fifth great Power Crystal, locked closed eyes with the Divinity of Creation. You Istara WILL inform your Divine cousin of sorts that I will –Obliterate-- her from all the realms, if there is ever another attempt. Turning slightly to Vladockt she said, When I leave here the cities and settlements will have power restored. When the power is on, push the green button that Laslolye told you then all will begin as planned.”

    Az and Escasia come with me. Ariella you will await Escasia's return here.” Lizzie slowly hovered toward the receiving pad. Az and Escasia followed. Upon reaching the receiving pad, Lizzie turned around partially standing within the glowing huge crystal addressing them softly, “Warriors remember the words of the Sslik seeress,Trinkets and medals for valor, and honor in war, then cast away in peace, forgotten. It shall be no different for you and yours. In fact it will be far worse. None but the Guardians truly know the Destruction and Judgment that will be needed tonight. None but a few will object to what will come later. When the fight is concluded, if you survive, then you will bring those terrible Swords to me. In all the lands only I, the Fifth Guardian, can hide and store them in a place where magic has no sway. What you both will stand on in the air fighting is not magical. This magic is actually knowledge called science. The Gnomes keep this fact secret. Lilith and I have discussed this situation and agreed.
    When nastiness of the aftermath is in full swing, when what is needed is done, call upon Lilith the Mistress of the House of Zadora.”

    Now for your gifting that will be needed for the battles to come this night. Show me your palms. Now you must trust me Az and Escasia without this particular Gifting you will both fail.”

    Az and Escasia nodded. Swiftly taking a small knife Lizzie cut one of each of their palms then placed them together between her glowing hands, muttering in a guttural tongue.

    Lizzie then looked at each saiding, “Now you are bound together. What one sees so shall the other. What one hears so shall the other.” Taking the crowns she placed a certain gem in each of them. “And finally, what one thinks so may the other know through the crowns you wear. Tell no one of this gifting, lest you are killed out of fear.” Placing a hand on each head she said, “ Let these Guardian walls help protect you from the swords. Remember both of your minds together can overcome their singular wills. The swords are antagonistic to each other. Remember also, the Dark Sword of Black flames feeds on Destruction and Obliteration. The White Sword of White flames feeds on the results of War and Judgement. Long has it been since they have fed. Now go and Destroy Az my cousin. Go and Pass Judgement Escasia mate of Az.”

    Abruptly turning she fully entered the Great Crystal and disappeared. The lights once again glowed in Dalimond. The portals and receiving pads hummed. The power of the cities had been restored and all the settlements.

    Az turned and spoke to Vladockt, “It is time Vladockt. Follow the instructions of Laslolye.”

    Vladockt pushed the friendly green button on the little black box. There was silence then a deep hum and vibration began. The immense walls around Dalimond appeared slowly section by section, outer walls at twenty two meter high and inner walls at thirty five meters high. The tall stone towers with their Gnomian devices came on shining brighter than sunlight in the darkness around the walls. Lights turned on and shined out windows of the rooms in the walls facing Dalimond. The great surrounding spell-enhanced walls arched with outer and inner walls fashioned similar to Aughundell but on a more massive scale. The walls stretched beyond Bristugo before curving in turn towards the sea. A number of outlying settlements were enclosed by the outer walls and ramparts to protect them. There were numerous weapons similar to catapults but grossly larger. Hundreds of catapults became visible as they rose into view. Slowly some enormous weapon emplacements rose up into view while others lowered and disappeared. Hundreds of little Bots could be seen going place to place along the tops of the walls riding Gnomian carts with wheels, gliding along rails, carrying out their duties. Focusing his eyes he could see through the walls and into the earth revealing thousands of square meters of factories , storage, barracks, repair shops and hospitals. How had they managed to pay for it all? as he began to worry. No wonder there always seemed so few humans in Dalimond they had been below working to maintain secrecy. Here was everything that would be needed for a huge war and he Vladockt was responsible for it all as he shivered.

    It is larger than what Az realized and implied over the years,” thought Vladockt, as the tremendous fortified entry points came into view. The fortress at the entry at the sea was the largest going out and over the water entry point. Spanning into deeper water stone piers rose well above the tide lines. Great doors to the under ground began opening as Gnomes humans and elves with a scattering of the other races boiled out. Large tubes rose up into the air belching smoke while other sucked air in. Finally the last of the shocking surprises came to view. Tens and tens if not hundreds of floating ships came into view moored to scaffolds and each other. Some so very large with others of medium or smaller sizes. A single massive ship dominated the aerial view.

    Thousands of flickering lights from floating mounted cargo disks beneath and on the sides of the vessels explained their function. He could see the tubes of stone going from under the shoreline out to the tree.

    Az spoke softly to Vladockt slapping him on his back, “My dearest friend this is the best we could do. We did not have that extra twenty years as we had hoped. I am sorry it is not greater and it had to be kept secret even from those whom I trusted the most. You taught me well over these last twenty years Vladockt. See the fruits of what you explained to me that was needed.”

    Granite Fist stood stunned with her advisors gawking. Dalimond was no longer really a city, it was a machine designed for only one purpose—War. A war she had trained him for as well as the Legion of his infamous Wardogs. She cringed thinking about her part in this monstrosity of power and the destruction Az would bring to the lands. Gods help us all she thought. There was no doubt in her mind now about what Az had said long ago that she had publically scorned him for, “IF Dalimond ever falls the world will already be ashes.”

    Mordel and Malicore consulted the Ancient High Elders. The Lunus High Elder was shaking and quivering with rage. The Helian High Elder was calmer with fear in his ancient wise eyes.

    Vladockt saw the reactions of the two lead dragons. He nudged Az, You better go over there before we have a revolution on our hands. Make sure you take your mate.”

    Agreed,” replied Az. Then taking Escasia by the arm and whispering they both walked over to the waters edge where all the dragons on the ground where standing.

    Az introduced his mate to the two High Elders. The Helian flinched as he glanced at the Lunus High Elder, who had smoke curling up from his nostrils.

    Az said companionably, “High Elder of Chiconis could you step over with me for a few moments?” Az pointed further down the shore line.

    Escasia addressed the Lunus fervently, “I am so glad you are here. I need you to do me a favor. I can see the smoke coming out of your nostrils so please do not burn up by accident. I am almost as afraid of fire as I am of water much less heights. I am comforted that you are not afraid of such things. The sight of entrails, blood drenched soil or structures and scattered body parts on a battle field does not bother me in the least. I have to admit I really Do enjoy a good chase and the thrill of a kill, or watching the light go of my enemies eyes as I send them back to the Gods for retraining for another life. But I need your advice and I Don't want my mate around to hear about any of my weakness. I do have a bit of pride and who wants to look like a fool??!!”

    The Lunus High Elder choked and snorted turning his head away as he belched smoke. “Is this some kind of trap he has set for me with all his secrets? He was also curious about why she kept trying to scratch her back, while she spoke but the Elder said nothing.

    Surely you are joking. After all according to Az, if you are upset then he has achieved what you, the Helian dragons with the Gifted Dragons have taught him. The value of secrets only revealed at the right time. He has feared the destruction of Dalimond for a long time. He did not even know about this giant tree. Building the air vessels was a huge undertaking with all the spies and traitors, while trying to dodge something you could not see. Did the Dragons know about the tree?”

    Giving her a long searching look and taking a deep breath of her scent he knew there was no subterfuge. He was calmer now still wary of her, her inadvertent association with the abomination, her mate and now that horrific sword on her back. He thought clearly as only a dragon can unfettered by naka biped emotions. Looking at her he replied, “No we did not. The High Elder Council members now were young adults or new ancients at the time and not privy to the actions of the prior High Elder Council. We only knew our Elders were busy doing something in the lands of the Naka for a couple of centuries before they left closing the gate of Embers.”

    Az planned an attack on Dralk supposedly.” looking at her closely

    Waving her hand in an off hand manner she stated simply, “A ploy that worked. Az did plan an attack on Dralk long ago when he was really angry, but realized it was not feasible. In a moment you will see why. Dragons will always rule the sky and the proof of it will be right under your taloned paws. So be careful.

    But as far as all of these secret things, no one but a select few knew he was telling the truth about the three great Fiendish traitors. So *sighing*.the need for secrecy became almost monstrous considering what was being hidden now that I see it. I was very angry about his furtiveness stubbornness. Now seeing all of this I understand.”

    Seeing Escasia take a tell stone call in the middle of a conversation was just too much, Ariella headed for the couple angrily.

    Hold on please I have to take this tell.” said Escasia in a distracted manner.

    The High Elder looked at her in amazement at the naka biped's audacity. While she shouted into the tell stone reprimanding someone, he communicated silently with his Helian counterpart in conversation.

    He thought quickly, “Since Az was giving the Chiconis High Elder tours of the ships telling of strengths, weaknesses and how they were going to be used. The Lunus had a clear picture now from the information he received. These vessels were truly only useable for one purpose--to support a ground offensive. The vessels could deploy troops to the ground, each other, including Dragons, with mini-portals or drop destructive devices on the enemy. They could not ever be used in true aerial battles, which was their greatest weakness. Dragons would have to protect them from aerial attacks, pull them, if not enough wind and scout for targets below them. Their very existence though would teach all Dragons in reproach, he grudgingly admitted to himself. The cleverness of bipeds could not be underestimated. In this regard his High Elder counterpart had been correct, but what could come in a thousand years? So just what did this female want, as another much older Saris obviously stamped in a huff towards them,” he observed.

    Walking over to Escasia she jerked the tell stone out of her hand and said, “Follow your orders, or I will see to it that the Dogs hang you by noon today.” She then clicked it off. Taking Escasia by the ear back to the Huge Lunus she addressed the High Elder, “I am so sorry she is wasting your time and not getting to the point. I had hoped I trained her better, as I have been her Guardian for over one hundred years. I know who you are and realize your large responsibilities. She is very Stubborn, self effacing and modest. We just don't have time for that nonsense.”

    Without further adieu Ariella jerked Escasia around pulling the scabbard and hooded sword off of her superior's back. Immediately white flames erupted around Ariella from head to foot. Ariella held the sword and scabbard out in front of her and shook it violently, “How dare you even think about judging me. I have already been judged by my Goddess Merrasat and -not-found wanting. So shut up and stay in your scabbard until you are needed, or I will see to it you are melted down.” The flames suddenly ceased and the sword became still.

    Dragon make an opaque screen around us Now!” demanded Ariella.

    Without pause or reflection the High Elder provided the screen thinking how so very much the older Saris was like an ancient Lunus female with certain hatchlings. Looking up in the air, he could see that air vessels, called ships, were leaving all directions. Smaller ones were very quick. Larger ones very slow. Huge sheets of silk hung on poles wrapping around the ships bulging outward in the direction they were headed. The Fiendish looking humans were being addressed by Vladockt and dispersing to the walls. Granite Fist, her twelve advisors, the Princess, newly made Guardian, with Blog and the Fourth Cohort were porting to Aughundell. The Dogs of War were boarding the strange vessels. Hundreds of Gnomes were porting into Dalimond from New Rachival due to the evacuation order by Granite Fist the Supreme Commander. He heard his name a second time being shouted. He looked down at Ariella.

    Yes?,” he replied focusing on the two naka females. The older of the two Saris had pulled up the shirt of Escasia revealing her back. Her back was covered in small bleeding craters, weeping blisters surrounded by whelps and blood blackened red skin that radiated heat. Gasping to himself, realizing his mistake too late, the blood he observed was the blood of dragons. This was serious. He called for the Helian High Elder, who was far more knowledgeable about bipeds.

    Almost immediately the Helian ancient was present looking at the Saris's back closely. Unperturbed he cast a spell of regeneration on Escasia then looked at the Lunus. A rapid silent conversation ensued between the dragons. Both nodded in agreement.

    The Helian addressed the Saris females. Queen Escasia is changing according to the agreement with the one called the Abomination. What you see is the beginning of that change. We are not at liberty to discuss it. You must consult the Head of her House. Taking a shallow jar from the Lunus, the Helian High Elder stirred in several herbs watching it bubble then solidify. He focused making the newly formed cream colder. He made eye contact with Escasia saying, “You must have someone rub this one once an hour every hour for seven days. Other areas on your body may erupt and will need the cream as well. This will do for tonite You will NOT wear the Sword in its scabbard on your back. Your guardian will wear it for you. When the time comes tho only you can weld it the Sister of War and Judgement. If you choose not to do this then you will be in your lands of the dead by the time the sun rises.”

    The Helian said to the Lunus,“We must go now. Time is short. The ships here are departing with Az and his Admirals. Both our councils await our judgement and orders. Let us meet in Dralk as we did together long ago. There is no time for anything else.”

    Both prepared to leave when Ariella shouted at them, “ No one goes till this is finished.”

    The Dragons looked at both expectantly, anxious to go. With the salve like cream on her back Escasia looked frightened but embarrassed. She could hear Az calling for her high above, as the largest of all the ships was being pulled from the docks by dragons.

    Well Escasia no one can hear you or must I embarrass you further by telling them myself?” growled Ariella.

    Sighing deeply she spoke softly with a quick glance at her guardian, whom had that “look” on her countenance, mumbled looking at the ground, “Umm well I am afraid of heights.”

    The Dragons chortled snatching both of them in their paws. The Elders then headed up to the rising Flag Vessel. Six hundred meters up and climbing both shrieked in fear, surprise and wonder.




    Cusp of Prophecy continues

  14. #34

    Default Re: Disturbing News

    Prelude to Battle Part 14


    In the Icy North

    With sightless eyes Valkor looked up at the stars. A full moon in a clear sky was above his fortress. The green clouds of the Withered Aegis would never loom over what was his. His Power was too great. His hate was pure, clean, honest and unsullied by other emotions like the Withered Aegis. True he sucked the lives of others to survive, but that could not be helped, nor had he ever agreed to his present state for the sake of something else.


    In his fleshless state his very bones hummed with the power wafting on the wind. A realization slowly formed in his mind. Torrin Macalir was coming back to the world. His armies and sycophants were on the move. But there was something else. Something more dark and sinister far more powerful underpinning all of what the Withered Aegis was doing. This Darkness provided all of his enemies therein with whatever power was needed and to whatever extent.


    His attention was drawn to Kirasanct. By the Gods he thought, two Goddesses and a God walked the lands with divine power and vibrant life. The scent that was not a scent, indicated life that was tainted by agendas, needs and emotions. Their vibrant life force was not like his hate which was so pure. His attention wandered, then focused West and South.


    Dalimond was where there was a Gigantic life force reaching high into the sky. Pure, unsullied, clean, vibrant and untainted the life force was so powerful to reach out to him from so far away. With bony hands and fingers extended in hate and need, desire flooded in.


    Once again though, his sense of ethereal thought and smell caught the barest hint of his nemesis Torrin Macalir. Which did he want? A life force so powerful he could reclothe his bony frame with flesh and blood enjoying its pleasures, or did he want that ever so sweet taste of the life force of his great enemy? He toyed with his hate and his vengeance. It would be far better with Torrin's head mounted on a spike right here for his own personal joy and pleasure. He wanted to feel Torrin's throbbing and pulsing blood running down over his cold bones. He could see himself as he ripped out Torrin's heart. His enemy would scream for mercy and find none.


    OH yes yes!! that is what he, Valcor wanted. His bony jaw clattered with laughter. A screaming wind whistled through his frame. IF only he had his wife's head present to see and hear Torrin's silent frozen open mouthed scream of horror in death.


    He reached out his hand to the great dark power in the world and it answered, swirling madly around him in dark sweet joy. Darkness to darkness and like to like, Valkcor wanted nothing except the assistance to get Tazoon. He needed no God-like power nor anything offered. He had been sucking the life force of the Gifted for years. Life force robust like a fine wine, so did the Gifted taste to him. The black lines of power enveloped him then spread to his minions. The Dark Elder Gods realized they had finally found a disciple worth having. The Elder Dark Gods gave him all he asked for and more. Their new disciple understood them and they understood him.


    In Dalimond the blind seeresses wailed together calling out in great fear, “... and the horrific Dark power of the north is born! The Dark Elder Gods shall prepare the way before it!”


    In a further, more distant realm, Drulkar raised his head and sniffed the winds of power. Remembering his words to his distant children on Istaria, “When the Cusp of Prophecy is full, Elder Darkness shall come to you.”


    The moment had come. The Stipulations of the Cusp of Prophecy had been met.



    The Time for Battles had Begun

  15. #35

    Default Re: Disturbing News

    Battles Part 1



    Knoble, the ancient Gifted Helian left the scene of the Gifted fighting in the Eastern Deadlands. Istaria had gathered all the Gifted from times past, present, and future at the appointed spot. They lived, fought and died in place. Hazy black-thorned gigantic tentacles rose from the set-aside grave site set aside in its own alcove near places of power and by the main road. The tentacles rose from the sealed entrance, writhing in the air up to the neon green Withered Aegis clouds above. It was obvious to the Gifted that this was how the Dark Elder Gods were feeding their power to the Lords of the Withered Aegis.

    They struck any attacker, even the minions of the Withered Aegis, on the roads passing by. One meter to ten meters thick they could flatten an ancient like a swatted fly. The biped Gifted Ones fared far worse. Nyrevin joined the Gifted at the battle ground resurrecting them even faster than they would normally. They, the Gifted, died so quickly that again and again they would run on the pieces or bodies of their fellows. The fight, without ending, had started at sunset and continued to present. One tentacle would be destroyed and three would take its place.

    The dark evil dragons had made their appearance as well. Half again larger than an ancient, some could fly through water, some through ice and some through stone. No dragons of the element of Air had been seen yet. They would raise their heads and snatch a biped or hatchling on the surface for a snack then return back to the element of their own. Disappearances ranged from the farthest north to the farthest east, west and south. From what the Gifted had surmised, even the Withered Aegis was not immune to these creatures attacks. Only Shepherd's Mountain seemed unaffected. They were terribly formidable, but thankfully few. The strange dragons had to be scouts. Their expansion throughout the lands had been too systematic.

    Istaria had given orders that three of stone and two of ice would be preserved and confined on a plot of her choosing. The Gifted had already transported the designated number of dragons to William Swann's plot in Hemji near the Troy arrival pad and the night was only half way done. The Nakas gave no quarter obliterating each dragon at a price of hundreds of warriors. Skirnir had said it was a question of balance of some cosmic sort and Knoble had to agree. The young Gifted Elf was wroth at the whole affair. His tenants had boiled out of their rented housing screaming in horror and taking the first portal out leaving all of their belongings and gold. Knoble chuckled to himself, glad this fate had not been given to him and his own lair.

    Looking about in the air, Knoble ground his teeth. He had been told to go to Chiconis to order the evacuation of the hatchlings and their matrons to Dralk. Special instructions had to be given to the matrons to protect the young. He was then to head to Dralk to address the factious Helian and Lunus dragons in the great ancient hall. Even now the dragons argued and squabbled like Naka children over the tainted High Elders despite, their power of the great crystals, demanding their deaths according to the Laws. Others, with superior Draconic attitudes, were determined to not get involved in Naka affairs at all. Still others argued to kill everything off but only the dragons. Knoble was appalled. Over a thousand dragons had convened there for the first time since the split between factions in 471 BR. Chiconis was to be deserted. The multiple fronts were too vast and defenders too few. Help would be on the way to assist him at Dralk.

    He landed at the pad in Chiconis. He was met by three battle scarred ancient matrons with fresh wounds.

    “What is this news you bring us, Knoble of the Gifted,” said the eldest.

    “All of you will take the hatchlings and retreat to Dralk. From Dralk all Matrons will take the Hatchlings to Drakula's Heart. All of you will be assisted by the Higher Elders of Dralk and Chiconas. None shall remain here in this our home. The evacuation will be total and complete. There will be no argument or discussion. Some of the enemy has broken through the Gifted lines attacking as far north as Trandular. The evil creatures seem to fly thru the elements of their own snacking on the flesh of us all. Anything touching the elements in fear draws them to feed.

    Upon arrival you and the Dralk Matrons will cast spells of deep sleep on the little ones. In that sleep there are no dreams and no fears. Without a scent of fear none will be drawn to them and the creatures will go elsewhere. So their guardians must empty their minds as only a dragon can do properly. The hatchlings are the most vulnerable of us all. The protected areas in Dralk have already lost four hatchlings before word got to them.” Knoble gravely told them all.

    A second ancient spoke up, “Will the Dralk ancients give us issue over this gathering of hatchlings with matrons of Lunus and Helian there at the same time? Must we be prepared to fight?” as she hissed.

    Knoble looked at her somberly, “There will be no fighting between Dragons. We stand to lose an entire generation like we all did at Draak. We do not breed so quickly as the Naka do. Our young are our greatest treasures. They lost more than just hatchlings to these evil dragons in Dralk. They will welcome your great strength.”

    “But, what is this we hear of the Tainted One? The one called the Abomination? Does this creature stand with us or against us? What will become of us, if we are all tainted along with our hatchlings by the warriors of the Naka Az, his mate or this strange creature?” adamantly stated the third Matron.

    Knoble replied, “The Gifted know of the truth of all of that, who is guilty of what and how this all occurred. Certain elders are aware as well. We will not discuss it now. Even now the might of all dragons is quibbling in the Great Hall while the lands of Istaria are being over run. So consider yourself tainted and ask yourself do you feel any different? Now get the hatchlings. It is time they learn how to hover and come to the pad. Hurry with every moment spent here our enemy grows far stronger.”


    In the Icy North


    Valkor stretched his bones in luxuriant splendor. Robes of thick vines of power encased his frame Valkor felt warmth for the first time in over a hundred years. He could feel the power oozing out of himself. His decision was easy.

    Calling to the Dark Stalkers and his other minions he gave his orders. With the power of the Dark Elder Gods rising from the soil Valkor began to skate on the black flowing ickor. His Dark Stalkers ran before him filled with the power of their new allies. Their appetite echoed in their howls that rocked the mountain sides causing avalanches, as they sped along. His decision was made. Suck the lives in his path on either side of the road he chose. Only one idea consumed him. The Dark Gods assured him their true disciple he would reach his destination in time to gather up his prize. Upon his return to his foreboding home his wife's skull would greet him as he presented to her his great prize. Whistling a jaunty little tune he spread his dark joy with every life he drained away in his journey of revenge.

    In Chiconis

    The hatchlings slowly hovered to the pad frightened and quivering. They did their best to stay in the air continuously with the great dragons looking on. There were two hundred and twenty five hatchlings in total. Knoble called for assistance. Flashing In the air above them hovered fifteen Lunus Matrons lead by Sirius, Guardian of the Great Helian Crystal of power. With the additional help the process sped up. Only one hatchling was left that would not come. Exhausted from her grief the little one would not move. Both her parents had died at the front line of defense with the enemy coming from the Dead Pool, and somehow she had been linked to them during the battle. Once the Sapling had emerged, the tide of battle had turned with the enemy withdrawing to advance in another direction. The fight had accomplished little to nothing except to diminish the ranks of Chiconis.

    One of the Helian Matrons went to collect the hatchling, but was stopped by the High Elder for the Great Laws forbade its rescue. The hatchling had the right to make its own decision of life eat not eat, drink not drink or move not move. The little female smaller than even the smallest of her compatriots was alone. Without blood lines and kin she was on her own having made her decision.

    Chiconis was empty now. Winds blew through the city, as if it was a forgotten ruin. Only the little female hatchling remained slowly dying. Her quavering, piping, full of sorrow and grief echoed faintly through the underground chambers fading, as her life slowly dwindled away.


    Decisions continue

  16. #36

    Default Re: Disturbing News

    Battles Part 2

    In the Mountainous Cold North


    Harlun Vorundo, The Guild Mistress of Thieves, watched the ongoing events in Dalimond laying on her huge bed in comfort. The aftermath of the Dragon vault theft still sweet on her Fiendish tongue. The confrontations at the town center was hilarious until the Death of the Dark goddess. Clovis deserved everything he got, but the death of a Divine Entity by a Gifted One? All she could think of was one word--horrendous. This changed everything. Sitting back down on the edge of the bed clenching the sheets she watched in amazement as events played out.

    The unveiling of the great Sapling, the crowning of two kings, the changing of a Great Crystal Guardian, the demotion of an ancient Dryad Queen, the emergence of a different type of dryad that could truly fly. The disclosure of Dalimond's fortifications with a huge aerial fleet, kept secret for decades if not for hundreds of years, astounded everyone.

    The fact that now three Goddesses walked the firmament along with a God was more than just frightening. She called Celio, the underworlds number one vault specialist, to her chambers. Her directions were given quickly and emphatically. She gave him a small scroll with instructions along with her Temple Seal. Her decision was made for short vs. long term planning. Fiends could think quickly on their feet. A gift of their Dark Goddess.



    In the Air Above


    The Hekla, flagship of the 1st fleet had long since departed at the command of Admiral Twistpipe. He was a fierce middle aged gnome with an unusually aggressive personality type. Since there was no order not to leave, he made the decision to take advantage of the loophole, using his own judgement. He looked at his clock . It was a quarter after midnight. Unbeknownst to Az he also answered to the New Rachival Intelligence Agency who wanted a birds eye view of the Western Deadlands. The Gnomian Scientific Bureau was also responding to the request of the Helian High Elder with whom they had a separate agreement. Equipment, for ground camouflage from aerial intruders needed to be delivered to Drakul's Heart, the sacred volcano of the Dragons. An engineering team would go with the equipment. Above the WA clouds his ship, the Helka, was still below normal cloud level. They would reach their first drop in thirty minutes at the volcano. That drop mission would take fifteen minutes. How long the equipment would take to set up was not his problem.

    The 1st mate reported, “Sir we have an Aerial Disturbance (AD). The AD is incoming from East of Tazoon. Fifteen hundred meters and closing quickly. It is really big sir. I would say about three times the size of an ancient. Changing configuration on the crystal viewing screens. ETA is about four minutes. Transferring UFO data to fleet.”

    Without hesitation Admiral Twistpipe softly stated his order. “Captains you know the drill. All up above normal cloud level by one hundred meters. Notify the Helian High Elder we need inbound dragons to us from Drakul's Heart. Give our present speed and position. Use stealth attack sequence--Defensive Alpha. All to stealth mode. Crystal silence. Ahead full.”

    The fleet rose swiftly. What it lacked in aerial maneuverability and speed it made up in altitude modification limited only by the magic of gravity. The ships disappeared in the clouds, followed by fading from view after breaching the clouds. The Fleet was made up of a large ship, ten medium ships, twenty smaller ones with numerous very small scouts spread out in tactical precision. The decision had been made. Fight only if attacked, neither mercy nor quarter would be given. There would be no rescue of downed ships or falling comrades. The mission overrode all other concerns. Fully one half of Az's killers would be the fighting contingents, as needed, in support of three of the four fleets.

    The 3rd Fleet with Admiral Tenbeck and 4th Fleet with Admiral Sparkfizzle left shortly after the departure of the 1st fleet. A tactical planning session between Admirals of the 1st 3rd and 4th Fleets in route had finalized their decisions. The 3rd Fleet's mission was bombardment of the Dead Pool then back to Dalimond for city support, resupply and then on to the Western Deadlands and Tazoon. The 4th fleet would head to Ashlander's Cauldron, the Fallen Gnomian Observatory then back to Dalimond for city support and resupply then on to the Western Deadlands and Tazoon for ground support. WA Temples and Portals were the primary targets. How they accomplished this Az did not care and each Admiral was very different from the other.

    Az wanted havoc, mayhem, scorch and salt in the Dead Pool, Cauldron and Observatory mainly to obstruct the lines of Power of the Dark Elder Gods that were flowing to WA ground troops coming to Dalimond. Cut the supply of power, decimate their numbers in the process and force a retreat to former battle lines. They did not have the manpower to do offensive landings or munitions for true enemy destruction. This would have to do.

    The Western Deadlands and Old Rachival were a different matters. Az demanded the destruction and total obliteration of the Western Deadlands even if it took all four fleets to do this. The Tazoon Imperial Forces were were at a disadvantage with an axe at their throats, concerning the Western Deadlands and its portal. Tazoon was a now strategic nightmare that had plagued the Imperium since the WA had overrun and occupied the Western Deadlands.

    No bureaucrat was going to stand in the way of Az fishing off the new beaches that would be started there after tonite. Az had made it clear he would be happy to use their guts for bait, if the goal was not accomplished. Whether it was the Admirals or the bureaucrats he was referring to was up for grabs.

    None but the 2nd Fleet Admiral Whistlecheek knew about what Az had planned for Old Rachival. The oldest Admiral of them all had been shaken and pale refusing to talk about his meeting with Az saying it was classified and only shared with New Rachival Intelligence. He seemed very angry, dismayed but determined, when they had met in route via crystal conference. The other half of the Legion of Wardogs was divided onto the 2nd Admirals Fleet and Az's gigantic floating ship which was headed to the Eastern Deadlands.

    After these missions were completed, further strategic battle field actions would be in flux. Only Destiny knew what was going to happen afterward and She wasn't saying anything.


    Back in the Mountains of the Cold North


    Hinni Sharpfizzle stood at the opening in the mountain at the end of the sled tracks hidden by from the outside by illusion. She was the pilot/captain of the Taku. The Taku was a scout ship/messenger capable of a crew of two with a small single passenger squeezed in if necessary. The little ship was capable now with Gnomian technology of fast turns and had a speed of flight three times greater than the ancient dragons. They could ascend a quarter again higher in altitude than any dragons excluding the Gifted Ones. Chief engineer Pud Blowfuse stood next to her.

    “The armament is complete Hinni. We are good to go. Project Backblow is set and ready to move.” said Pud.

    “And the other team?” she questioned.

    “What about the other team? We were ready three days ago but since you just had to make a few more adjustments we did the same. By the way we won the prep bet. You owe me one hundred and twenty five gold.” grinned Hazel Goodlight, female captain/pilot of the Kon.

    The Kon was a four person crewed ship. The vessel was only one point seven five times faster than a ancient dragon with wide slower turns. She was however outfitted with far greater fire power. Her crew joined her with Chief engineer Squi Brasswhistle female Gnome from the Boondocks. Weapons/Engineer human male from Yonderways, a tiny village past a certain stump in the backwoods east of Dalimond and heavy weapons specialist Takara Skaa female Saris from East of Butchie in Lessor Aradoth.

    Pud asked, “Squi did ya need help with that stealth device? Ours drove me nuts!”

    “Well some, but I had a bit more help than you did,” as she answered, leveling an unspoken accusation at Hinni.

    All of them were wrapped in heavy fur thanks to the “kindness” of the Thieves Guild Mistress. It was so very cold in the mountainous north. The Fiendish Mistress here was the Grand Mistress of Thieves. She was very abrupt, oddly threatening and forever speaking about the cost of goods which she had been forced to supply. The Grey council had approached her about her secluded area several years ago for the prototypes to be rebuilt and retested. She had allowed it out of curiosity so they thought. She however became bored quickly leaving them to their own devices. Confined to their quarters and work areas, only the outside proving and training provided any relief. The outside was limited though to certain valleys and specific mountainous areas for training.

    Each was in his or her own thoughts. There was no speaking amongst them. All of them gazed slightly up looking at the green lightning in the black veined WA clouds. Each mentally asked the same question. How would they get out from under it?. Once underway it would not be a problem. They would have plenty of power. It was time to pack their supplies for the night and then be off. The Grey Council had an operative in Dalimond. It was time to go.

    Hazel spoke up first, “Well we may be in competition with each other, but we still are friends and you are the eldest. What is your decision?”

    Hinni replied with confidence she did not feel, “Well the * * here did not include eating and drinking on our supply list. We will need to get a bite to eat and drink and a bit to keep for later tonight if we are tied up. Then I will head west to the Deadlands. You and your crew will head to the Observatory, Cauldron, and Deadpool. We will meet up in 2-3 hours. Use those crystals to stay in touch. We can plan our resupply and repairs in route to the first landing site.

    As if on cue Celio appeared behind them addressing them all, “You all should have more faith. The Guild Mistress would never let honored guests go without. All of you are just ignorant. My mistress is very busy with Guild affairs. In keeping with the fact you would need these things, you are to give this scroll to the Captain of the guard at Kirasanct.

    You need no go inside. They will bring everything you need to you, while you are moored at the entry point. All of this had been arranged several years ago. Kirasanct has already been notified of your imminent departure.

    Also in keeping with Grey Council mandates, the cost of this huge undertaking was fifteen mithril pieces and has been paid for by the Thieves Guild. My Guild mistress personally made sure your three resupply points were in secret locations and already prepared at her own personal expense.

    Unlike Tazoon we take our responsibilities seriously. You will find that being citizens of our unofficial capacity is far more rewarding for those that deserve merit than Imperial Tazoon. Imperial Tazoon dishonorably discharged you, left you without pensions, put you on the streets just because you told the truth pointing out other's machinations. In this case it was four Admirals, who wanted all of you hung that rounded all of you back up and planned your executions.

    The Grey Council will always take into its ranks highly motivated, trained and well educated individuals. Therefore, please keep in mind there are open warrants on all of you with a death sentence. You ALL have been found guilty by a certain secret Imperial Tribunal. My Guild Mistress, not the Grey Council, was the one that planned the extraction before your sentencing. Keep that firmly in mind for future reference and tell no one. Grey Council politics can get life threateningly interesting. Due to your importance in the present and in the future remember what you owe the Thieves Guild.”



    In the Guild Mistress's Chambers



    Harlun Vorundo thought to herself, “She may be member of the Grey Council, as Guild Mistress of the Thieves Guild, but she was not above the demands of her Goddess whom was no longer in the Divine Realm. A Dark Goddess, she was tied to forever by blood fealty. In fact that same Goddess was not that far away, killing Fiends left and right in Kirasanct, cleaning up her own house so to speak. The possibilities with these events, ships, gadgets and what not were seemingly infinite for revenge, profit and future planning. She cringed at the mistakes she had made with the Grey Council. In her compliancy she had been foolish and not forward looking. She had lost a lot of power and her place on the council had been successfully diminished by several others. She would have her revenge. She had to hurry the Dark Goddess could arrive any moment. She jumped off the bed running to her chamber's door with her servant's name on her lips. Hearing the faint noise she froze in step. Time was up. It was too late. Turning she knelt with her face to the floor. Her arms extended in supplication palms up.

    Niatha Moraven, Dark Goddess of Vengeance and Power,laying on Harlun Vorundo's huge bed growled, “Ahh where is my most favored servant going? Where is the huge tithe for that little escapade an hour or so ago in the Public Dralk's vaults?”


    Decisions continue

  17. #37

    Default Re: Disturbing News

    Battles Part 3


    Dralk


    Knoble, upon arriving in Dralk, headed to meet Mordel at the entry way to the ancient grand hall. They strode purposely to the grand hall which had been sealed up on the departure of the Helian Dragons with the building of Chiconis. The newer Dralk Grand hall built by the Gifted some time ago was not large enough. The entirety of the Dragons race, excluding matrons and hatchlings, for a full meeting would be attending, not counting the few that Knossos had sent to Feladan from Dalimond. There were over seven thousand dragons now to attend a racial decision affecting all of the lands.

    Knoble and Mordel communicated silently Gifted to Gifted only.

    “I wish this did not have to be done,” muttered Knoble.

    “If you wish I could call upon the Nimrod Family of Gifted.” replied Mordel with understanding.

    “Nay, Lovwyrm Head of that Family has already told me they have committed to other duties that will occupy them for an amount of time this night. They are not available. I keep having the feeling that we have missed an element of Destiny, but I am not sure what. There was an ancient prophesy according to Zadora that would be manifested concerning her house. The tome, which I read in the restricted vaults of the council, was so ancient that it was falling apart with even the smallest of breath on it. Only one of nine tomes remained. No one seemed to know where the other tomes went to. Brutus the lawmaker, accountant and lead archivist has no idea about those tomes. He said they had been missing for over four thousand years.”

    Mordel somberly returned, “It was probably concerning Dalimond and all that occurred therein. I think you should allow me the honor and pleasure of addressing this great amphitheater of squawking chickens. I have awaited this opportunity with baited breath for several aeons. At least after this night the Question concerning that dubious dragon Zadora will become forever a moot point. There is an ancient traitor amongst our brethren of so called immortal Dragons. All these Laws concerning her and that blighted offspring of hers have plagued us with problems long enough. Much will be revealed and I am looking forward to it. Since Zadora's daughter is a Great Crystal Guardian, she is beyond my claws. As much as I would like to kill her, even we the Gifted cannot unhinge the world with that type of unbalance. At least our supposedly sacred ancestors will have a measure of the light of truth shined on them. To be frank I am relishing the idea of being the one to make so many enemies this night with what will happen along with all the deaths because of their own choices. Thankfully all of them are only really just mortal, despite the fact they view themselves otherwise.

    Mordel continued, “Consider this then my friend. The 4th Fleet Admiral Twistpipe has called for assistance from the dragons on Drakul, but there is none there now to assist. There is only the fifty Matrons for the four hundred and fifty hatchlings at the volcano's heart. The fleet must arrive with its cargo of Gnomes and equipment. Also, support must be given to the matrons. Take if you would the two dragon crystal guardians. They will allow themselves to die in compliancy with those foolish Laws of Taint. I am sure they will be needed later so they must not be allowed the dubious luxury of a prolonged death. I for one would loathe to be the one face Istaria in her dreaming wrath. More Dragons can follow later to protect the little ones. The Guardians and yourself should be enough the 4th Fleet to ensure the safe arrival of the technicians and equipment.

    Knoble considered carefully then decided. “I will take the latter. The hatchlings take precedence. I think they are seeing on their devices what we have already supposed. There was another breed of elemental dragons, far larger than the others. You have forgotten something else.”

    “And?” replied Mordel.

    “That fleet must successfully open the way for the Dryad forces to head to Tazoon. The WA occupation of the Western Deadlands is far too great now. Troops still march from that portal there. The numbers are far greater than what the War Council of the bipeds know. The Dark Elder Gods not only raise the dead but they replicate the dead as well. Without opposition they have strengthened their positions for decades. The desecration of the land is far too great now for the Dryads to traverse as their connection to the land is too intimate and personal.” Knoble responded.

    “Well what I waste I say. Fully half of the biped forces held at bay by such nonsense. Where is the 2nd Great Crystal Guardian? She should be at the head of those forces then there would not be a problem.”

    With aggravation Knoble answered, “Fated lines of Probability and biped unpredictability including the Dryads. The two high elders who are also Guardians should be able to take care of it along with the Gnomes. Our plates are full as the humans would say. The Dryad Crystal Guardian is in Aughundell at this time assisting in the besieged forces there. Az is furious that the Elves refused to leave Feladan. Now his forces will be split again to attempt to do anything about that . He had counted on the Dryads at the Sapling to be available for other duties as well as those Dragons that were there in Dalimond at the time. But there is a far greater problem I am concerned about.”

    Almost to the entrance Mordel stopped and looked sideways at his Helian Gifted friend, “What is the greater problem than having all the Dragons freed from their ignorance and free to fight where their High Elders would have them this night?”

    “What is to be done about the Plague Bearer? Az claimed he had a surprise for the Great Recklor. Only the small contingent remains at the Eastern Outpost. We the Gifted fight ever so close to him and yet Reckor ignores us all, as if our fight at the primary entrance of power into the Prime Realm was nothing. He amasses an invading army, as if he had all the time in the world. The northern forces of the Eastern Deadlands are not heading to Delgrath as the High Elder Councils had advised Az. Everything is now headed to the entry point to the Deadlands at Eastern Outpost. The army being amassed between Reklar and the Eastern outpost is far greater than the one still marching from the blight Portal in the Western Deadlands.

    Sharpening his claws on the stone Knoble persisted, “It is my belief that Recklor plans to march almost straight for the Western Sea with his terminus in Tazoon to assure the resurrection of Torrin Macalir or perhaps Dalimond with the great Sapling. Only Aughundell lays betwixt Recklor and what ever his goal. I believe the attack by WA forces at Aughundell from Old Rachival is only a feint despite their grand numbers to 'test the waters' as humans say. The Northern Deadlands are empty of WA forces. The old Satyr isles are empty as well. The Plague Bearer is not drawing on the Powers of the Dark elders gods as his fellows are. I believe there is a power play in progress amongst our enemies. Whether short term or long term I do not know. The WA plays mostly a short term game compared to the Dark Elder Gods of the first age of this world or perhaps before this reality's creation.”

    Mordel looked appalled saying, “But we have right at seven thousand dragons here in Dralk now.”

    Knoble replied somberly, “Yes there is. One thousand for each fleet. Three thousand in reserve. One possible traitor in the Grand Hall to our cause which has already probably inhibited our plans in some way. So who will defend against a march to the sea from the with the Plague Bearer at its head?”

    “And Az said...?”

    “He just laughed pounding the table in front of him saying nothing with his senior staff looking on as if he was mad. With that awful grin of his he told me to make sure all the magistrates or lords or high elders stood in their city centers ready for orders at two am. He said to me to be SURE each Leader of each city. had the first coin of their people which of course the humans think are very magical items. Then we would all rich before we died as he continued laughing. I did not bother to stay.” Knoble retorted.

    Mordel grinding his teeth answered, “Well then my Gifted brother your decision has been made. Go Quickly. Malicore and I will be happy to take care of this mess concerning our lesser brothers and sisters here in Dralk. The High Elder here told me the hatchlings have already been sent to Drakul. I will send both High Elders to you shortly.

    Malicore grinned, while taking out his demon bow, running into the entry point to the ancient underground facility. His cursing could be heard, as an emerging ancient knocked him out of the way into the tunnel entry.

    Looking over his shoulder Mordel, winked at Knoble, backhanding the hurried ancient archivist/Law writer back into the tunnel.“Ah Brutus I am so very honored you came to meet me personally. There is much we need to discuss at the podium below!”

    At Mordel's Gifted command the stone arched entry way flowed into a solid wall, as Knoble heard the bellow of pain issue from the ancient's throat, bouncing off a wall inside.

    Knoble sighed thinking, “I will never understand Lunus dragons. Hopefully he would not be too dreadful. The Grand Alliance needed every Dragon in there or most of them at least.




    Decisions continue

  18. #38

    Default Re: Disturbing News

    Battles Part 4



    In the Icy North


    Hinni Sharpfizzle Cpt. of the Takulooked about herself. The ships were on the sleds. Harlun Vorundo's servants scrambled with the final technical details for launch. The doors and their supporting illusions were slowly being drawn back and dissipating. Pud Blowfuse, Chief Engineer of the Taku responded to each item of the instrumentation as the Captain called out her check list vs. his own.

    Pud addressed her. “Hinni I think we got a problem. Those tweaks you put in are offering me a really strange set of variances on my dials. I am not sure what to make of it. I think we should check it out before actual launch.”

    “No time Pud. The last complaint of yours led to a three month hunt ending in nothing. We are one hour behind getting ready to do a stop we did not plan. Tonite is the night. There will not be another time to achieve what we must. Everything on my dials is showing “in parameters”. Strap in Pud.”

    “Your parameters Hinni not mine. I did not agree with those tweaks you put in. Your dials are not like mine. I am telling you we got more than a single problem.”

    Their argument devolved into a shouting match. So involved in their own disagreement, neither had remembered they were connected in the two ship crystal battle net communications grid.

    Hazel Goodlight Cpt. of the Koncalled out in the ship to ship battle net. “We are five by five Hinni. We are ready to launch. You got a problem? We can work it out quickly together. No biggie.”

    The launch chief waved his flags on the stand between the ships and their sleds, indicating launch in three minutes. In a set pattern he began counting each fifteen second segment with a particular flag stance. The iron and copper whistles could be heard in the background, as the steam pressure increased for launch of the sleds and ships.

    Hinni growled, “Captain Goodlight we are five by five. We are ready to launch. Chief Engineer Blowfuse you have your orders. Strap in or get off my ship.”

    “Hinni....,” Stated Captain Goodlight.

    “You will address me by my title Captain Goodlight I am Captain Sharpfizzle. I am the leader of this expedition....”

    Cpt. Goodlight cut her off sharply saying, “ You are the Captain of your ship only. The Mission Parameters were set by the Grey Council, not you. I had thought we were friends but apparently not. Realize this Captain Sharpfizzle, my crew are not sycophants to some scheme of vengeance you have been brewing in your head for the last few years. You endanger your ship, crew, or this mission, you will answer to us first THEN the Grey Council Captain SharpFizzle. Do YOU understand me?”

    Chief Engineer Blowfuse stated in the net, “I got a bad feeling about this Hinni.--We-- are done after this mission Hinni.”

    Capt. Sharpfizzle did not answer either.

    Launch Chief waved his Flags. Launch in thirty seconds, mouthing the numbers no longer discernible, as the last copper whistle began blowing continuously.

    Captain Sharpfizzle looked long and hard at Captain Goodlight before putting on her goggles and lowering her glass cockpit shield at the front of the small ship. She did not answer on the crystal battle net for launch verification. Both crews were shocked by the events of the last few moments, as the motives of a supposed friend come into view.

    Speaking to her crew Capt. Goodlight called out, “Are we green for go people?” Her crew answered her individually and with confidence in her, “Green to go Capt.”

    The flags seemed in slow motion to Capt. Goodlight counting down. Three, two, one and Capt. Sharpfizzle launched one second early. The last flag fell to the Launch Chief's side with the silent word “Launch”, the steam sled shot out with a roar, before dropping off and launching the ship into the air.


    In the Air East of Dalimond


    The 2nd Fleet and Az with the great ship Juggernaut traveled together for the moment far above the clouds heading to Feladan. The flag ship Trum of the 2nd Fleet had been tethered together with the Juggernaut for Officer meetings of various levels with specified ships. Az had called for a private meeting between himself and Admiral Feder Whistlecheek. They met in the huge command room with the maps for engagement and time frames.

    Admiral Whistlecheek waited till the door was closed before he stood up and slammed down his fist on the table, “Who do you think you are Az of Dalimond? I have reports of your Dogs collecting up certain individuals and interrogating a number of MY officers with a Large handful of THEIR Gnome and other technicians already in chains. This includes a personal relative of mine. You will release them all or I will …..”

    Az cut him off by propping up his boots on the table while peeling an apple and enjoying a slice now and again. He spoke softly inserting, “YOU will do nothing of any sort or I might prematurely gut you, then hang your innards out to flap in the wind behind the Juggernaut by accident. I just hate mistakes especially my own. Besides I really don't want to be badgered by my well intentioned mate. Her claws are rather sharp. So please sit down before you set your tail feathers of honor on fire and end up looking like a fool.”

    Getting up Az got two tankards of cool dark sweet Aughundell Ale. Placing the ale before him, “Here you go. Relax, sit down and let me bring you up to date about some unfortunate nastiness. I shall tell you a little story first, then you will get your proof. It all started, according to Vladockt, about seven years ago when you, me and the others started laying out plans for an Aerial fleet. There was a certain Gnome that was overlooked for a promotion on your personal Military staff. Instead of an being made an Officer of Rank, this Gnome was given the duties of your personal messenger and liaison officer. It was actually quite an honor, considering the secrecy involved at the time with Clovis and his friends trying to spy. The Gnome was not impressed and wanted satisfaction, through revenge for all those decades of service. He was frightened of a deal with the Dark Goddess but did not want to be involved with the WA. Instead he tried to be a hero leading a very small group of Wardogs to Old Rachival. The mission did not go well, however he was able to get to the main surviving upper level of the subterranean living areas. He was by himself. One hour later the attack on the Wardogs suddenly----ceased. He came out saying the mission was accomplished. He later made seventeen more trips. We only found out about these in the last twelve hours with a bit of creative interrogation techniques on his toadies.”

    Az tossed on the table a file. “These orders were signed off by you for the original mission, but you had no later input in any of the activities this group carried out in a clandestine manner. Vladockt was the most efficient record keeper I have ever seen in my life and was NEVER wrong in his assertions.”

    Admiral Whistlecheek looked at the file. His hands slightly shook at the name and picture in the file. A fine line of sweat appeared on his forehead. “I remember this. I did an additional report giving a commendation for this individual. His “mission” was to figure out enemy strengths for what we are doing tonight.”

    “Yes that is correct.” said Az. Here is a copy of your report and commendation, laying it in front of the Gnomish Admiral. Az continued calmly. “Do you have any idea about what he might have wanted with all the other trips?”

    “None what so ever. This is potential actionable treason and needs to go to a military tribunal. How long ago did you notice anything wrong?” said Whistlecheek, leaning forward frowning at Az.

    “Five years ago. And yes you are correct to a degree about the courts, but traitor General Clovis owned thirty to forty percent of them. There would have been warrants for searches, subpoenas, committees, hearings, and what not would have gone on for years. The whole mess could have gone on for decades, since it just did not involve the humans, but multiple races. We would have already been under WA control by this time. Everything you, myself and others worked for would have been revealed to our enemies. Vladockt's advice, under the circumstances, was watch and wait. Events played out in a different manner than what we had planned, as you know. With these things in mind would you have you done the court circus ritual, considering the court's level of corruption? Remember that all the vaults under New Rachival that have been built since Old Rachival fell would have been uncovered by Clovis and reported to his WA masters.”

    Az pitched another file on the table in front of Whistlecheek. “Clovis really wanted to see the new secret vaults of your race. This was the general plan he was going to use to get to them. I quote, '.any trumped up court procedure could be used to infiltrate the Gnome vaults and I own the judges that would be involved'. Look for yourself, as this is the report he had prepared for his Masters that Vladockt's intelligence group intercepted.”

    Whistlecheek looked then closed his eyes. “...and my relative? You said you had absolute proof of these individuals.”

    “There is no such thing as absolute proof without divine intervention. Istara refuses to come, despite my request. She is still rather angry about the Dalimond affair. As far as your relative? Well he looks to be beaten up a bit, but it was necessary. After he was questioned by a Master Class Sorceress, whom happens to be another distant relative of yours, we found out certain things. He had poisoned teeth. Those had to be removed of course. He had a small amount of explosive with a detonator in a internal fleshly pouch. There were a couple more pouches. They had to be opened up of course. In one pouch we found your Family Sigil, Crest and Signet Ring. In the last pouch we found what appeared to be a scroll with a certain symbol on it. We did not touch it and left it intact in the pouch, suturing it up again.”

    “The symbol?” asked Whistlecheek.

    Az showed Whistlecheek the drawing that had been made of the symbol in the wax on the scroll. “I would also like to point out Admiral that this mark is found on ALL the right heels of the traitors. Would you care to check the heels of the traitors for yourself on your flagship?” Whistlecheek; hissed, jumped up and pulled away from the table.

    “You recognize the symbol?” enquired Az without blinking an eye.

    “Yes it is the Sigil of the Dark Lord Of Gears overseeing Old Rachival, a younger sycophant of Torrin Macalir left in charge by that Damned one. He is part of their Cabal. It is my understanding he wishes to be a God. You may be many things General Az, but never could it be said you are a liar.” whispered a subdued Whistlecheek.

    “So what now?” asked Whistlecheek, wiping the sweat off his forehead.

    “Well you have to prove to me you are not part of this and I have to prove to you the same. We both are indirectly responsible for this mess. Then you need to go to your ship and call on Istara. It will take a Goddess to ensure the fact that none of your ships, including your flagship have been compromised. She will not come for me, as I am no longer hers, but in your case that is not so and this is your fleet and your flagship. I cannot risk sending you to Dalimond, nor can I risk the lives of your troops by sending all of you Old Rachival. Feder, we found three hundred and twenty three detonators with explosives across your fleet. We are still missing fourteen stone of explosives from the manifests along with twenty two detonators. If you can pass judgement, but cannot do something about those traitors ask Istara. I get the impression she likes to feel important. You tell her if she cannot do something about those traitors I will kill them all personally so no one else gets the blame for lack of due course.”

    “I am confused. How we prove our innocence to each other since we are the last of this chain of individuals?” Whistlecheek said frowning.

    “Really quite simple ole boy. We let the Elder Gods of Light decide.” Az spoke matter of factly. “IF either of us are guilty, we will be fried to dust in an eye blink.”

    Az raised his voice calling out, “Beloved please come in. It is time.”

    Az took off his sword and placed it scabbard and all in the metal safe. Escasia and Ariella walked into the room. Escasia was cowled and robed. Ariella carried the huge sword on her back.

    Escasia spoke softly never looking up and making eye contact. “Why is this nonsense necessary?” They spoke silently through the crowns quickly and succinctly.

    “Because it is needed. Traitors have been captured. Both of us are implicated. This is the only way, lest someone claim otherwise later on.” Az replied.

    Aerialla gave the sword and scabbard to Escasia. Both were wrapped in white hot flames, which did not harm them. Escasia gave the sword/scabbard to Az ,whom in turn wrapped him in the same, but he was left with his clothing slightly smoking tho unharmed. Az turned holding out the same to Whistlecheek. Pale and shaking he took it firmly and was wrapped in flames, like the others. He took a deep breath with a beatific expression on his face. He smiled as if he had caught a wonderful scent. He breathed in the flames deeply. Unlike Az, he looked refreshed, relaxed and energetic without his clothing smoking. He gave the sword/scabbard to Escasia, who in turn gave it back to Ariella.

    “Az I am out of cream the Helian High Elder gave me...,” Escasia said plaintively.

    “We have been placed in the scales of judgment and not found wanting my friend,” clapping Whistlecheek on the back. Grinning broadly, Az nudged him to the door. “Time to go back to your flagship, call upon your Goddess and let the decisions be made. If all is well, then Escasia will be joining you with the Sister of Judgement and Justice. Feladan and the Gifted are sorely in need of our help. You will proceed with your mission. Intrude in Aughundell, if you must. Save as much as you can in munitions. Dragons have not yet come. We must move forward.”

    Bowing to each, Admiral Whistlecheek nodded then knelt on one knee taking Escasia's hand kissing it saying, “Thank you for this kindness your Majesty.” Standing he then made his way to the mini-portal on the far side of the room and disappeared.

    Standing on his own deck he shuddered thinking, “It was true. They were all changing. No longer did she have a paw, but rather a sharply taloned hand with miniature scales for flesh.”

    Looking at the prisoners kneeling on the deck in chains, Whistlecheek's voice rang out calling upon his Goddess. He was surprised when she appeared instantly.

    She held up both hands and all his fleet glowed. The ships moaned and groaned with little puffs of smoke here and there until the glow faded. “It is done. They are not invulnerable, but far more resistant to damage, oh my mortal child. All that was wrong is gone now. I cannot refuse you. You have been placed on the scales of Judgement far more severe than my own and found innocent, as well as having been blessed and graced. For you there will only be the Summerlands when your time is upon you. What is your will with these individuals, indicating the chained Gnomes and others.”

    “Az will kill them without due process. It is in my mind they are guilty, but I have no stomach to execute my friends, colleagues and a relative.” Admiral Whistlecheek somberly spoke.

    “So be it, my child. I will see to their judgement personally upon my arrival in the divine realm in my own throne room.”

    Snapping her fingers the chains disappeared. The Gnomes and others scurried this way and that trying to run and hide in a place that had no such hidey hole above the clouds. Snapping her fingers a second time all disappeared except one, the Gnomian relative of Admiral Whistlecheek, Wert Squekywheel, remained. Running he leapt over the rail. His attempt to end his life failed., Instead of dropping, he hung in the air looking at the clouds below him and at the Goddess slowly walking up in the air to him. Green flames erupted all around him, as she got closer. He screamed in agony and fear.

    Istara stood in the air before him, as he writhed and thrashed about fruitlessly. Her face was sad but serene. She spoke quietly, though her voice carried to all the ships. “Fear not former child of mine, you will not die here. I cannot judge you, as you no longer belong to me. I will however give these lands a boon and a final order you WILL carry out, errant child no longer mine. No longer will these lands ever hear your complaints again.” Flesh covered his mouth. Touching his forehead she placed a divine Geas. “You will report to your New Master in Old Rachival. He has left the great headquarters of the Cabal to check on his domain. You will report a colossal failure in the grand undertaking he was going to reward you for.”

    White fire added to the green roiling flames, as his movements became frantic, frenetic and erratic, while silent screams vibrated the air of the vessel.

    The Goddess continued, “Surely he will reward you accordingly. Even now he hides from my power, as the piece of him in your belly tries to escape my presence. Tell him Divine Judgement is coming for him so gather about himself his fine army. My flames will of course leave after you accomplish this.” She snapped her fingers a third time. The Traitor was gone. Istara disappeared instantly thereafter.

    The howling winds seemed to settle sighing in relief with all of their departures.



    Decisions continue
    Last edited by Skirnir Ouija Glada; June 20th, 2018 at 10:22 PM.
    Skirnir

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