We Are Helven
Another kingdom falls…
The walls crumbling, the populace either killed, or living in fear. One of the smaller kingdoms to the west of the Mannate Empire, flayed and gutted. Not even a coalition of heroes could stop this.
The king's chamber, once proud and full of grace, not long ago became a home to corpses and ruin itself. The king himself lies on his throne, his face frozen in the pain of death, and his queen in at least two pieces at his feet.
"Humans, what a waste of space."
Against the wall, a loyal servant to the throne lays, clutching a deadly wound in his chest. The King's Mage, a Wister Elf born centuries ago, winces as he feels his life fade. He peers through pained eyes to see the owner of the voice.
A tall entity stands before him, his long black hair falling almost to his waist, his pointed ears are elf-like, but this can't be any ordinary elf. His light blue skin and yellow eyes…unnatural! His sick face twisted into a grin of what could only be known as pure evil.
"You think you're some kind of elf?" the mage cries out, "you're just some sick freak!"
The large elven looking being glares at the mage, his grin falling into a slight frown. Slowly, he walks over, placing his sword into the sheath on his back. He raises his hand, placing it on top of the elfs, his fingers press into his head.
"An elf?" he chuckles, "no, we are Helven!"
Blue electricity crackles and sizzles in random spots all over his hand.
"You will not see our reign but your descendants will, take comfort in this, they will live a fruitful life where you could not."
The electricity moves through the mages body, his last feeling isn't of being shocked to death, but somehow, a strange burning feeling coursing through his body. His last scream resounds throughout the chamber as he is slowly reduced to ash, the powerful entities words resound in his spirit for eternity.
"Malakar! Malakar!" a voice cries from the hall, "is the-"
The figure runs in, his long black coat almost covering the mace at his side. He also shares the same yellow eyes and pointed ears, but he is a bit shorter, and his white hair only barely touches his shoulders. His skin a very light red, one could almost say pink.
Malakar watches as his servant slides to a halt as he runs in, a sadistic smirk slowly covering his face.
"I can see I missed the real fun."
"Yes, Drelic," Malakar says, "I see you were having too much fun wiping up the peasants, again."
Drelic scratches his head.
"How do you expect to fully be my second in command when you're always being so reckless," Malakar says, "when there is work to be done."
"Sorry," Drelic smirks, "these fools are just too much fun."
"Perhaps Bulkar would be a better fit." Malakar says this as he gestures to a large figure kneeling by the throne.
The large Helven creature stops cleaning his large blade and stands, standing a good two or three heads taller than Malakar himself. His bald head and dark green skin almost ignoring the fact that there is torchlight nearby. He is different from each of the others, in that his eyes are a light blue, possibly an effect of the power he was given.
Now it is Bulkar's turn to smirk, and Drelic would never admit the fact that this makes even his skin crawl.
"I think that title would suit me well, don't you think?" Bulkar says as he turns to the dead king, and holds his large blade up to the light.
"Where diplomacy fails, might resides."
In the castle courtyard, the agonized corpses of men, women, children, nobles, servants, knights and rogues lay still. Their cries already carried off by the wind, and thrown into the depths of the sorrowful ocean.
Malakar walks through the field of dead, bored with this victory. Another kingdom falls, another worthless challenge. Can no one give him a worthy fight?
Three figures approach, each tall as Drelic, yet not so distinct as he, Malakar, or Bulkar.
Two of the Helven before Malakar's trio share the same dark hair, yellow eyes, and height. But they are all the same shade of light green. The first, Crouley, whose only distinguishing feature is his eye patch over his right eye, almost as menacing as Malakar, and as devious as Drelic.
Crouley lets out a laugh.
"We really showed these bastards not to screw with us!" he gestures to all the dead, "heh, didn't we , Gaviro?"
The next, Gaviro, wears a muzzle over his mouth. The muffled sound of insane laughter coming out from underneath it. The chain wrapped around his body rattles as he laughs, and the spear tip at the end almost scratches the ground. Small white spikes protrude from random portions of his body, and his bulging blood shot eyes never blink.
The shortest, and perhaps physically weakest of all the Helven chuckles. While he is similar to the other two lesser Helven, he was created with some other purpose. His light blonde hair has cream colored tufts dispersed throughout, he produces a wad of paper. He takes a moment to clean his monocle before continuing.
Entiro flashes a smile, very rare for his kind indeed.
"They didn't stand a chance sir," he says to Malakar, "as I predicted, they barely put up a fight this time. We even managed to save some for assimilation."
"Very good," Malakar says.
Before he can continue, a sobbing sound is heard from among the sea of corpses.
"Hear that?" Malakar says, "It came from over here."
The group heads over to the sound, the source of which causes a chuckle throughout, Malakar remains grim. Bulkar steps to the side and watches intently.
In front of them, a small girl kneels, her hands shaking the body of some knight. Her cries fill the air, and the tears stream down her cheeks. Her eyes are brown, and her hair a light brown. A scar crosses her right eye.
"Well well, looks like the knight's squire....servent? Has come to claim her master," Malakar says.
The girl gasps and looks up, having not noticed the group heading towards her. She cries out and stands, but is unable to move as her legs tremble.
Malakar walks up to the trembling child, almost looking on her with pity for just a moment.
"Your master, is dead," he says, "you should have taken your freedom when you had the chance child."
Malakar takes a step closer.
"When you learn that freedom is for the strong to take," Malakar says, "only then can you truly be liberated."
The young girl takes a step back, unsure of how to process this.
"Alas," he says, looking at the scared child before him. Could she be assimilated? Work in the fields? Maid? Malakar's gaze shifts over to the other Helven, taking particular notice of Crouley's sinister gaze.
Malakar raises his hand, his index finger lighting up with a yellow glow. He places his fingers on the girls stomach, her face winding up in fear. Roaring he sends a blast of pure yellow energy straight through her, the blast only dispersing when it hits the stone wall behind her.
Her mouth quivers and her eyes widen, she clutches the wound as she falls, and within moments her trembling ceases.
"There, it is done."
Malakar signals for his trio to follow him out of this place.
One last victim lays killed among the rest…..or so they would think.
The super race would continue on, slaughtering innocents and conquering kingdoms for years to come, until someone would finally come to stand in their way.
The wind plays over the deserted courtyard, bringing with it the ever growing stench of death and decay. Another kingdom, another graveyard. But among all of this, something stirs.
A little hand clutches the dirt, trembling as pain racks their body, letting out a small groan as they try to pull themselves forward. She crawls over the body of the fallen knight, one eye scrunched half way shut and face twisted in agony. Her eyes widen and a small, terrified cry escapes her lips as she feels a pair of hands grabbing her and rolling her over.
"Ah-aaahh!" she cries as he feebly lifts her arm in preparation of the doom to come.
Her brow furrows as she looks at the two creatures standing above her. One, is the kindly face of an old lady, a small, sad smile appearing on her face. The crows feet, and wrinkles adorning her face tell of many years of hardships, victories, and a great knowledge of the world. Her pale, white eyes have seen true madness and suffering, while managing not to have been completely absorbed by it.
The other, a terrifying image. His eyes appearing red and bloodshot, eyebrows furrowed into what appears to be eternally contorted rage. The black rag pulled up over his face covering his nose, mouth, and whole bottom half of his face. Scars creep up from underneath the rag, crawling up towards his cheeks and the sides of his head, dark hair covering his head, his light bronze skin covered in dirt. His brown cloak tattered and weathered, the metal bracers on each arm as worn and scarred as he is.
"Hello there, child," the old woman says with a voice as sweet as honey, "you poor, poor thing."
She slowly lifts the child up, who cries in pain as her body is racked in agony. The small hole blasted straight through her abdomen still vaguely smoking from the shot.
"I know child, I know." The old woman says as she waves a hand over the wound, "that'll ease the pain for now, but we need to get her proper treatment."
"Then let's hurry up," the man's voice sounds like his vocal cords have been through a cheese grater, "you know they like to come back sometimes."
The man keeps an eye out as the old lady scoops up the child, and they make their hasty escape.
An odd feeling of peace envelops the little girl, and slowly she stirs. The warmth of the fire ahead soothes her, as does the gentle crackling of the flames as more wood is thrown in.
She tries to raise her arms to rub her eyes, and pain courses through her body. She lets out a cry of pain.
"Try not to move too much," the voice of the man, "you should be dead with an injury like that. But I think Lady Geralmine should have you up again in a few weeks."
The man glances back to the child.
"Hmm, can you talk at all?"
"Yes," her voice is hoarse and low, one of his pointed ears quivers slightly.
"You sound almost as bad as I do," the man says, "let me get you some water."
While he is gone, a large, hulking figure enters the doorway. Half as tall as a man and wide as a bear; a green, slimy…thing walks in. Little white spikes cover its body, it's face contorted and twisted, teeth protruding, a waterfall of drool dripping from its mouth.
As its mouth opens it lets out a low pitched, gurgling sound. The girls eyes widen and she tries to call out. In a moment the man is standing over her, his eyebrows finally peeling up to reveal he actually has more than one facial expression.
"Heh, don't worry about him," he says, "that's Poodle. He's a good….dog, he won't hurt you."
As the little girl sips the water with his help, the man ponders something.
"Is that better? I just realized we don't even know your name yet."
"I'm…Luciana," she manages to squeak out.
"Hmm, my name is Keros," the man says, "nice to meet you."
The girl tries to say more, but Keros raises a hand.
"It's alright, we can talk later. It's probably best if you just rest now."
Just like that, the little girl Luciana, slips back into the realm of sleep.
Malakar enters the halls of his newest kingdom, flanked on either side by Drelic and Bulkar. The large chamber is filled with mercenaries, beast people of all sorts, kings, and down trodden peasants. Their prisoners all kneel on the floor. It seems the Helven have some mercy after all.
"All hail Malakar!" they cry.
"All hail the Helven!" they cry.
"Long live Malakar, our liberator!" they cry.
One man stands, quietly. The contempt written on his face, his arms crossed. As of late the Helven have tested out new methods of taking what is theirs.
"King Arius, our newest guest," Malakar says, "will you not bow and swear loyalty to your new ruler?"
King Arius raises an eyebrow, before letting his arms fall to his side.
"I've heard of you, Malakar," Arius says, "I'm surprised you haven't just killed me on the spot."
"There is more need for you than mere....play things."
Malakar shoots an icy glare at Drelic.
"A lesson more of us would be better off learning."
"So what do you want from us?" Arius asks.
Malakar surveys all the prisoners in this very room.
"First, I want your loyalty, then your soldiers," Malakar says.
"And?" Arius asks.
"Tax and tribute, a portion of your crops, and produce us your finest equipment. We will negotiate the finer details later."
Malakar puts one hand on his chin.
"Hmm, and we'll establish trade with the other liberated kingdoms and communities. In return for your loyalty and effort, you'll have our protection, and my gratitude."
Arius takes a step back, his brow furrows.
"That's it?" he asks.
"As I said, we will work out the details later. But you'll be allowed to run your kingdom however you wish, provided you do as I have asked. Let none say that Malakar ever infringed on his citizens."
Arius looks to the group of his fallen peasants, chancellors, generals, and citizens. This is a much better deal than most others had gotten in the past. But who is this interloper to tell him what to do? He who ruled with a gentle hand, and built this very kingdom from the ground up? Who else can say they went from a life of barbarianism, only to rise to this esteem in so short a time?
He looks once again to all those he used to rule, and would continue to rule. The Helven…thing, Drelic's hand crackles, a red misty substance quickly surrounding his hand, fingers twitching. The look on his face as he looks over all the prisoners. If he had been in charge, this would have ended much differently by now.
The king's throat visibly bulges as he swallows down his pride, and kneels down.
"Good choice," Drelic says, "I-"
Malakar raises his hand, silencing his underling. With this, Arius recites the oath to his usurper.
So it was, and so it shall be for eternity.
Yeah you commended them lol, forgot to let you know
Mmm, probably a couple of years
And yeah, he didn't seem as even keeled as I would have liked him to be. OG Malakar was more of a dick, and while this one still is I would say making him a bit more mellow suits him better.
I actually have something like that planned out, and while its less of a confrontation it'll be pretty clear there's a shift in overall values once it happens.
And yeah I was thinking he should be able to run a stable kingdom, and not have everyone hate him. I do want him to have some fanatical minions and followers after all.
And regarding the last part that certainly plays a factor into multiple aspects of the story, and the Helven timeline. Things I really want to share but I think it's all gonna play out epically.
Think I might write the next part now that some of the ideas are fresh in my mind.
The moon sits high in the sky, master of the chaotic night. The wind remains silent, letting the nothing speak for itself.
Dirt and leaves burst into the air as a horse tramples through, then followed by another and another. Upon the horses sit lightly amrored warrirors, the light glints off their steel blades and what little armor they wear.
At the front of the line one Helven rides, enjoying the quiet of the night, but he smells fear in the air, his fingers twitch on the reigns, a smirk plays upon his lips.
More lands, and more servants must be taken for the glory of the Helven, and these peasants and their lords spit in the hand of Malakar. For this, there must be recompense. The village lies ahead, one of many on the path of war.
His hand twitches as he raises it, a red mist forming over his palm, between his fingers. It grows in size as he rides on, and bearing his mace, he comes across his first victim....
The sun beats down, heat envelops him, a small boy of seven or so toils. Drenched in sweat, his muscles strain, the two large buckets of water threatening to rip loose from his grip. But he can't let go, people need this water, and he didn't carry it all the way from the river for nothing!
He closes one of his grey eyes as a bead of sweat drips down into it, and he attempts to blink it out.
Step by step, his bare feet leave prints in the mud, and with muscles burning he makes it. The boy sets both buckets down sloppily, panting and tired he waves to the butcher. The butcher is a jolly man, and he waves back.
"Glinn! What a job, lad!"
The butcher takes the buckets in hand, and motions for Glinn to follow him. Upon reaching his shop, the butcher hands Glinn two loaves of bread, and a plethora of vegetables, and even some meat.
"Thanks, Mr. Pigarse!"
The lad makes his way home, humming a merry tune. Glinn soon reaches the other side of the village, walking into his house and setting the days earnings down on a shaky wooden table.
"Hey, Glinn." A tall, thin woman with a gaunt face greets him, a streak of grey hair going down one side of her head. "Worked hard today, son?"
"Yes, ma'am." The boy beams as he points to the food placed on the table.
She runs a hand through his light brown hair.
"That's my son," she smiles warmly, embracing him.
The sound of a saw through wood reaches Glinn's ears in this quiet moment.
"Father is working pretty late again?"
"Yes....hmm, he might appreciate a hand."
The woman grabs Glinn's shoulder before he can bolt outside. "But first, have some water."
The boy drinks, gulping down the water before rushing outside. He runs some small distance. Before him....father stands, sawing into a log. He stops to catch his breath, sweat drips down from his light brown hair and onto his forehead.
Glinn looks in worry, they haven't been the same since last winter. They are no longer sick, but it did a number on them. Luckily the stranger that came through had a very special potion. The stranger, who radiated warmth, yet his gaze was cold as ice.
"Hey, boy!" The man grins, "mind giving your ole' dad a hand?"
Pulled out his thoughts, Glinn eagerly gets to work. They work until night falls, when the light fails and the time to rest is here.
Laughs are shared, stories are told, jokes are made. The family sits by the warmth of the fire, as sweet dreams invite the small boy.....
Thunderous claps fill the air, horses. A shout.
Glinn sits up, wiping the sand from his eyes, shaking off the grog filling his head. He stumbles to the door, cracking it open. Somewhere people shout and what sounds like the blacksmith hammering a sword or something....that's not quite right.
Something lands next to the lads foot, a bolt of fire...an arrow! Arms grab the boy and pull him away.
"Glinn! Glinn!" a frightened voice says, mother.
"We have to go!" She takes his hand, her dress filled with red specks, it stains her hands too.
A blaze lights before the boy, and they rush, out the other door.
Buildings in the village burn, the roads filled with men in strange armor, their blades chopping...people. Glinn's eyes widen, about to shriek in terror when his mothers hand covers it, heading through the back end of the village.
The butchers shop is alight, two of the strange men throw Mr. Pigarse to the ground.
"You bastards, away! Away!" he scrambles up, tossing a rock at one. The man's head jerks back as the rock bounces, a sick cracking sound resounding as he falls.
Mr. Pigarse stares at the man, mouth agape. Something flies by Glinn, leaving a wave of hot air behind it...a red...orb? More like a mist.
It softly lands on the butchers back, he recoils arching his back, mouth gaping but no sound comes out. His shirt starts to deteriorate in the spot it landed, then his skin, blood oozes down as his back is opened up. A large splotch of skin just....disappears.
Mr. Pigarse falls, twitching and trying to say something. The soldier brings his sword down, right through his back, twisting it before pulling it out.
Glinn is pulled back, his mom no longer transfixed by the scene before-
They stumble back, having knocked into something.
"What is that?" Glinn says.
Drelic stands before them, drops of blood lightly dripping off his mace.
"Who, is the proper word." The reddish pink creature says, his pointed ear twitching, as a sick smile creeps across his face. "Drelic, of the Helven, servant of Malakar. Blame your lord for this."
The mace thuds, the spike driving through mother's skull, her eyes roll up and she simply drops. Glinn cries out, legs shaking. He scrambles back, and away from the hell beast before him.
"What are you so worried about....this?" Drelic holds the mace out, the child watches as his mothers blood drips from the spike.
"You don't have to worry about this....no, we'll let you go. Tell your people, tell your lord what happened here today."
Drelic waves his hand over the fallen woman's face, then over Glinn's leaving a red streak.
"This is on your lord's hands, boy." Drelic grabs the terror stricken child by the shoulder, "I know, it's not really fair. but that's not what matters."
The boy tries to turn in terror, before something flashes. It feels as though fire burns through his face, a long cut across his cheek, turning down right before his nose and trailing across his lips. He stumbles and blood oozes from it, the soldier holds the sword up where the boy can see it.
"This is all that matters kid, remember that."
Head adaze, the child tries to run, Drelic grabs him and turns him around.
"Hint, your lord lives that way." He points.
The boy just runs, as fast as he can.....nothing welling up into his soul. Leaving the burning village behind, he runs, for what feels like hours. Darkness falls, and the forest surrounds him, all he can see is an inky black clotting his vision....and running water somewhere...running like he is.
Glinn topples over......
Darkness breaks, hot pain shoots through the face of the boy. He jolts up wide eyed and wildly looks around. Warm furs lay all around him, the steady creaking of wood pricks his ears. Various crates and random supplies lay around, cooking pots, chairs, random piles of clothes.
Glinn groans as he reaches up to his face, feeling the bandages wrapped tightly around it. His stomach turns as everything rocks by and by, the sound of rushing water enters through a small pair of shutters. He grabs a nearby vase and vomits into it, and suddenly feeling very thirsty, guzzles down a nearby bucket of water. A satiated sigh escapes his lips, and simultaneously the door on the other side of the room slowly creaks open. Glinn had not even noticed it before.
A terrified gasp escapes the child's lips as he sees his captor. Short, about his height, wearing nothing but some kind of cloth around its waist, the creature stands stooped. Two black beady eyes seem to jut out, as if in a competition with its crooked and mountainous nose. The creatures skin, a brownish pink, and severely wrinkled in some places. Atop its head are several wisps of white hair.
The thing distorts its mouth this way and that, before flicking a pointed ear and smiling wide. Eyes beaming at the boy.
"Name's Wilezla!" it says, "pleased to meet ya lad!"
Glinn wrings his hands, staring at the Wilezla's outstretched hand.
"I don't bite lad." Wilezla retracts his hand, scratching his head, "found ya yonder down thatta way." Wilezla haphazardly jams his thumb backwards through the air.
"What are you?" Glinn asks, gulping a bit as the creature squints an eye at him. "What? Calling me a what? Rude!" Wilezla's thumb flicks his nose, "I'm a who." "You can't be human." "Silly boy, silly silly. I be a water elf." Wilezla digs through a pile of clothes muttering something about ignorant children.
"Should be grateful you know," Wilezla snorts, "t'was I that found ye after all!"
The events of last night course through Glinn's mind. He gasps and leaps up onto his feet, immediately falling over. "Take it easy, lad!" Wilezla drags the boy back to the blankets with some huffing and puffing.
"You're in pretty rough shape, you are!" He pats the boy.
"My parents....my village!" Glinn shoots up again, Wilezla sets him back down with a firm hand on his shoulder.
"Not much left of that, from what we could see," Wilezla's ears droop and his voice becomes grave, "you were a lucky one, that you were lad."
Glinn lays back, staring at the wall next to him. Feeling completely numb.
"What's your name lad?" Wilezla asks, scratching his head.
Glinns eyes flutter shut. He thinks for a moment, something stirs and he does not feel quite content with his name anymore. The yawning void within stretches on, deep in his mind, something unfurls. The face of the mysterious stranger floats through his mind. Pale red, strange white hair, like the demons in the legends of yore his grandfather used to tell him.
Stories of mighty heroes come to mind, Glinn is no longer useful. He must rise to be something else...one name in particular comes to mind.
"My name is...Perysis." The boy says.
"Perysis?" Wilezla scratches his chin, "'tis a funny name, it is." The water elf shrugs as they boy seems to fall into a deep sleep, leaving the small boats cabin.
The lad sighs deeply, relishing a couple hours to think.
"Raaaah!" an angry cry resounds.
Two wooden staves clash, one calm, cold, and effortless...the other full of passion, fury, arcing wildly through the air.
Luciana's eyes light up, twin flames that know nothing but anger. Gritting her teeth she begins another wild flurry only momentarily pushing her mentor back. While young and full of energy, she soon begins to tire, not being able to break the defenses of the pointy eared, scarred man in front of her. In a sweeping flash, she finds herself on the ground. Staff tip resting on her chin.
"Not bad," Keros shrugs, "but you could do better than that."
In the two years Luciana has been with her mentors, she has learned much. Mostly accomplished by bugging Keros until he relented and began to teach her.
She smacks the staff away, planting a firm kick into Keros' thigh. With a grunt he falls onto one knee. Springing up, the girl swings, sure she will be vic-
The nimble elf hops just high enough to clear the staff, and rams his foot into her chest almost the instant he lands. The girl cries out as she tumbles to the ground, air leaving her chest.
"That was good, even if it was a cheapshot," the strong elf grins as he extends a hand.
Luciana ignores this and picks herself up. Panting, she prepares for another round.
"No no," Keros waves a hand at her, "you're done for the day."
The girl reluctantly puts the staff in its resting place upon the rack. As they walk through the trees, she casts an inquisitive glance to her friend.
"When will I be ready to fight the Helven?"
"Never, if things go right."
"So what's the point of training me then?"
"This world can be cruel, you need to learn how to defend yourself," his eyes scan the trees ahead of them, "taking you to fight the Helven would just get you killed. Their power is immense, and not just their skills in magic in combat. Everyday their influence grows."
Luciana rolls her tongue around in her mouth, "so why are you even trying if you don't think you could even do anything?"
Keros furrows his brow and stares at the dirt. "I have my own reasons," he says, "I can't expect much to come of it, but I owe the world a good try."
"Do you think you could fight one of them?"
"Maybe one of the lesser ones," he says, "but that is a while away. First we must gather powerful allies. I know a couple candidates."
"So what about-"
"I should change your name to Questions." Keros chuckles as they reach multiple large trees, with homes built into them.
The place hubs and bubs with activity, many water elves and a sprinkle of multiple other races going about their business. The smell of cooked food entices Luciana as she starts making her way over to the-
"Hey, go wash up first." Keros shakes his head as he heads off.
The girl shrugs and grabs an apple before finding her cozy living space, hoisting her bucket, she makes her way to the river. Luciana kneels down, filling the bucket. Several boats line the small docks along the river, three seem to have just arrived.
Keros crosses his arms as he speaks with one of the elven sages.
"The Night Riders scorched another village," the sages words are heavy and sad, "Lord Farrin will not give in to their negotiations. It seems they have the red one taking care of this."
"Were there any survivors?" Keros sighs.
"Just one that we know of," the elven sage says as he motions to Wilezla.
In a few moments the water elf steps off the boat, leading a small lad behind him who walks unsteadily, his face wrapped in bandages, a look of confusion on his face.
Keros kneels in front of the boy. "How did you escape?"
"They let me go," Perysis says, "told me to tell our lord what happened."
Keros looks from Luciana to the young boy, too much of this madness.
"I think its time we make a move," Keros says, "I'll have to speak with Lord Farrin first."
The half elf gathers his cloak and a satchel with only the most basic of supplies, strapping twin short swords to his waist. Mounting his horse, he rides off to meet Lord Farrin.
Luciana looks at the young boy next to her, noting his heavily bandaged face. With an internal shrugs she finds Poodle, the massive green mutt. In an instant her face is covered with the slimy tongue, she recoils in disgust.
With a pat on the head Luciana leaves the dog and enters one of the tree homes, a massive structure hollowed out and kept alive through some magic means. She creeps into the study of the Elder Sage, searching the dusty tomes and writings, maps and diagrams, pausing every so often to listen for the approach of some scholar or another. Fortune favors her and it seems they're all too busy.
Eventually, she finds what she is looking for, a map showing the way to Lord Farrin's land. Along with some notes on the land itself. The young girl folds this up and sneaks away to her room, taking up a leather satchel, and preparing for what could be a long journey.
Wilezla leads the boy to what appears to be a rounded hut, made out of an impressively broad tree. The strange elf speaking all the while about the different houses and trade "buildings" they pass by, as well as some general information about the kindly folk living here. The boys head spins at the size of this elven village, he barely pays attention to the elf.
They stop by a fountain, and Wilezla allows the boy to drink some water, as he is most thirsty. Once the boy has satiated his thirst, he is sat down in front of three water elves.
"Tis a nasty one, it is," one of them remarks as they unwrap the bandage from Perysis' face, "not much to do for it."
The other elves nod in agreement, applying some kind of ointment. The thick cream burns as it seeps into the wound, Perysis winces.
Fresh bandages are wrapped around his face, before one of the water elves pats him on the head and sends him on his way.
"Hungry, are ya lad?" Wilezla says.
The boy nods vigorously, noting his stomach screaming in agony. He also notes he is being a bit dramatic with this line of thinking.
Nonetheless the boy eats, stuffing down a mixture of fruits and vegetables. Wilezla sits, flicking a tiny acorn at the boy, who ignores it.
As he sits, he watches the trees whose leaves sway in the wind. He squints, a tiny cloaked figure steals out from the trees, making their way away from the village.
Perysis turns to the elf, "uhh, I have to pee!"
He dashes off from the table, still chewing food as he bolts into the forest.
"Sometimes ya just gotta go." Wilezla scratches his head in amusement.
A cry of dismay rings out to no one in particular, the boy slamming into the tiny cloaked figure. Both tumble down a slope, finally landing on the ground.
Lucianan drops her hood indignantly, fuming as she watches Perysis.
"Hey what's your issue?"
"Aha, I knew that was you," the lads head is still spinning, "what are you doing?"
"None of your business!"
"Can I go with you?"
"Sure," Luciana says, "you'll have to go get ready first."
"Is it going to be a long trip?"
"Yes...." Luciana goes into detail about the massive amount of things he will need for the long and arduous journey.
The boy obediently returns to the village, trying to keep a mental note of all the travel gear he will need.
Unfortunately for him, it would be impossible to travel with that much equipment, or to get it all together before Luciana finishes walking down-
She has finished disappearing into the forests in the direction of Lord Farrins lands before the lad has even gathered the first item...
Keros yawns, feeling the suns seductive rays on his back. He might be able to pull off a nap soon.
He quickly erases these lazy thoughts from his mind, there is no time to waste. Lord Farrin must be reached quickly, hopefully he can come up with some king of mutual bargain for the both of them.
It should only be a few days until he reaches the castle, assuming no large annoyances get in the way. Something twinges in the chest of the half elf, he takes a moment to feel the internal magic flowing within him. Stronger as than others, which their power flows without their bodies.
It is an unusually surreal trick. Not a trick, but a new way of being. It is ever growing, in strength in these quiet moments. An eternal spring of stability and discipline, an old magic long forgotten to most, save gods and heroes of yore.
The beautiful light of the sun, gentle swaying of the trees, the little animals in the forest, all at peace as, their life shimmering and glowing.
In the midst of the tranquility, a storm brews in the center. Savage and dark.
Many Years Ago
There is nothing, only the face of the void. Deep. Timeless.
All known existence lives within this tiny speck of oblivion. A blinding light breaks the smothering dark, it is piercing, warm, exhilarating. Deep rumblings pass through, in waves, a mind wrecking, ear splitting cacophony of pain.
Something else surfaces, a voice, gruff and slow. Then another, higher pitched and faster paced. The light fades, but the void does not take over. There is only....floating?
Tiny feet kick, moving slowly in the liquid. A strange place.
Thonk thonk thonk
A large appendage strikes the liquid. This is the cause of the rumbling, first it moves up, the from one side to the other. Is this strange beast a friend or tormentor?
Tink Tink Tink
A man, with graying white hair stares into the tank.
"Fascinating," Dr. Zyro says moving his finger this way and that. A tiny, light blue embryonic creature watches, its eyes follow the finger.
"Subject thirteen has opened its eyes, it can even follow basic movements!" Dr. Zyro scribbles into a small leather bound notebook. "They're not even supposed to wake up before the prepubescent stage, nevermind follow movement like this!"
"So? Maybe its another one of your duds or something," the stranger crosses his arms and leans against the wall. His dark hair tied up, a nearby torch illuminates his bronze skin and pointed ears.
"No, no, my friend, this is amazing," Zyro says flipping to another page of his writings.
"I don't really see how."
"What I really set out to create, a superior race of soldiers to fight, kill, and die at your command. Something greater may be at hand."
"It's just looking at you, I wouldn't expect much more of it at this point, doctor." He shakes his head at the overzealous doctor.
The doctor faces his friend.
"No, that's where you are wrong. This is the beginning of something else. What if we can develop them past the capacity to follow simple orders, they could be generals, emperors, gods!"
"Not sure how one waking up prematurely is giving you this train of thought."
"Aha, you see my small minded friend. This newest generation has been created using only the blood of the best and brightest. Only the most gifted could have qualified this time. The most brightest of the goblin clan, humans with exceeding ingenuity."
Dr. Zyro paces around, eyeing the other tanks and their slumbering occupants.
"Only the most fearless orcs. The elves most gifted in magic...including you. Especially you."
"What's so great about me."
The doctor turns to face his friend once again.
"With your...unusual bloodline, you're the perfect warrior and practitioner of magic. You are cold, cunning, an immaculate specimen. Your ability to analyze any situation and come out on top, no matter how dire. It wasn't easy getting so many different people to give me their blood samples. Working out a way to create life from multiple different DNA sets has not been easy either."
"With your help," the doctor continues, "we could instill these traits upon them. They would be unstoppable, and together we could finally end the brutality of the lords in this wild land. Not even the Empire could be a match for us."
"That's going a bit far."
The doctor turns to the glass tube, tapping on the glass.
"And I have the feeling you will the greatest of all of them," Zyro rubs his chin, "it won't do to call you subjects 13, 14...."
"Hello little Malakar," Zyro smiles, and the little form promptly falls back asleep.
"You're naming them now?"
"Yes, it is only right that I do so," he says, "heh, for someone with your aptitude, you can be pretty small minded, Keros."
The half elf shrugs his shoulders and watches the tubes, watching all of the tiny forms in their slumber.
Had some trouble focusing on anything writing related for a while.
Maybe the bribe gave me some motivation, in any case I would written something this week anyways.
On the outskirts of the Helven Kingdom, sits a settlement, on the brink of the lands that lie beyond. The seemingly normal landscape suddenly marred by a thick fog, an unnatural fog. Rolling over the hills and past the crumbled walls of the settlement, past the dilapidated buildings that were monuments of peace loving people.
Guards and civilians lay strewn about, victims ripped from their mortal coils. Arrows, pikes, swords, bows snapped and crossbows discarded.
Rotting, howling undead wander the town, in search for the survivors. From the fallen keep, several saunter out. One tall and lanky, hunched over, wearing nothing but some rags. Its unnaturally large mouth curls into a smile, revealing dozens of sharp rows of teeth, its tiny white, milky eyes scan the area. The two tiny holes that count for a nose take in the smells of death and decay.
A dark shadow watches from atop the keep, talons tapping the stone. It observes all.
Next to it, a large half ogre drags a flail through the dirt, letting out a raspy groan. Flanking them on either side are revenant knights, one grasping a pike, the other a broadsword and a crossbow in the other hand.
The lanky one pushes past several zombified grunts, feasting on a corpse. It stirs as necromantic powers flow through it, and as it pushes itself up to find the living, the zombies trail behind it. They pick up whatever spilling guts they can as they follow the new addition to the hordes.
The walking corpses travel past the old inn, not noticing the sounds of undead skulls being smashed on the inside, nor do they see arrows piercing the hearts of their brethren from a nearby rooftop. And they definitely don't see the flash of the blade which would take them permanently. The simple beasts.
From underneath one of the ruins, an old man peers out a small crack in the cellar, watching and listening. From inside a mother comforts a small child. And a variety of people sit, some in despair, others with a silent hope. One sits against the wall, cradling a snapped pitchfork, watching the door. Another leans against the doorframe with a hammer. Surely the way in has been blocked by some debris, as has the way out.
That is an issue they will have to solve when the undead pass by, if they ever do.
The lanky one swivels its head this way and that, stopping at the outside of the ruined house. Its bare feet plant firmly in the dirt and crushed stone, scrunching its toes for a second. The old man takes a quiet step back, holding his hand out to the people behind him.
A shadow looms over the crack, the old mans eyes widening as one pale eye meets his. Between the broken stone, a wide smile curves upwards, saliva dripping from the vile fiend.
The undead ogre limps over to the house, lifting its stone club, no doubt taken from the pillar of one of the very houses these things had destroyed.
The lanky ones head bobs up and down, tongue flapping wildly before being sucked back into its mouth like a noodle.
The old man steps back, looking up towards the ceiling.
It's going to collapse the house on us.
Whistling in the wind, a single arrow flies true. The ogre grunts, the arrow having embedded in its neck, right below the skull. Its mouth gapes open, letting out one low groan as it falls onto its side.
The other three turn, and standing on the roof stands a lone elf, another arrow already nocked.
More undead things begin to creep out of the many houses, alleys, and streets. The adventurers eyes scan the area, there are many of them. Several grunts lurch up to the inn, growling and poking their swords in the air.
The one in the leads eyes widen as the sound of wood cracking splits the air, and in an instant a large wooden club smashes through its skull. In a howling arc the club breaks apart the rest of them, whether it be their heads or their bodies it matters not. Nothing can withstand a good smashing.
A heavily armored man breaks them, not waiting to be surrounded, he dances around another group, picking them off.
The undead knight with the pike aims for a deadly throw at the warriors back, but something swooshes down from the rooftop behind him.
"Uhh?" he looks down at his arms, laying on the ground next to him, before twin blades flash. His head falls next to the pike, then the body joins them.
A human woman, swings two katanas slicing the flesh of the dead. The lanky one just barelay manages to crawl up the house from which she jumped. The archer joins them, all fighting through the hordes of undead.
The last undead knight places the blade upon his left forearm, using his right to stabilize and point the blade ahead. He stalks the fighters looking for the perfect opening, and one he finds as he walks steadily. Planning on planting the sword in the human woman's back.
The knight swivels, arcing the blade, but misjudged the distance. A flash of white light pierces his eyes, and before he can move, one single stroke of a broadsword leaves him in two.
Stepping over the gurgling and dying creature, an elf raises his sword before joining his friends. A shimmering white light coats the blade, slicing through and burning undead flesh, like a smoldering ember they fall.
With a vengeance the adventurers break through the ranks of the undead. They move from alley to alley, building to building, always on the move. Always watching each others backs.
The undead numbers thinning, the unknown heroes can taste their victory.
It will not be too much longer, should be arriving in Lord Farrin's land soon. Bags rest under Keros' eyes as he trudges forward. No time to rest when there are important matters at hand, he can only hope he doesn't reach it too late.
Keros squints, it appears there is a village ahead, out in the plains. What a relief, he could probably trade for a few things, perhaps ask about the general area.
As he nears closer, all hopes of basic contact drain fast. His stomach drops as he looks upon the burnt down, ruined, smoldering huts and houses. Rotting bodies are strewn about, vultures and wild animals pick at the corpses.
Keros exhales slowly, passing through. He notices the tracks in the mud, it seems a good amount of horsemen came through here. He wonders if this could have been Perysis' village, and at the thought scans the area. If this was the Helven, and it's very likely that it was, they probably are long gone by now.
At least for now, but who knows how far they could've gotten. Passing the village, the half elf wonders where all this will lead to, and if he'll actually be able to get some support for his cause.
It all seems so hopeless at times, and briefly he wonders if he should pass Farrin's castle. To keep going and going, until he reaches the desert lands, and even further still. Out to the uncharted lands.
Keros shakes these treacherous thoughts from his mind, he has a course and he must stay it.
Mud squelches as many horse pass, from over a hill, more can be heard. Many of the riders tense up, save the first one in the troop. His iron helmet sits firmly strapped to his head, but his armor is sparse. A single pauldron over the left shoulder, and simple plates covering the rest of his arms.
Twin roads converge, the darker armor of the night riders in contrast with the simple armor of the other line. Drelic bids his horse to quicken its pace, catching up to the first rider in the next column.
"Reports say the undead have been growing more numerous," the rider says, "the town by the border, Kartis, has seen many. They've even become so bold as to walk up to the gates."
"Hmm, I've always wanted to have a crack at some of those rotting things," Drelic says, "I can handle this from here, it's not safe for you to be out here, Malakar."
"I want to see these things for myself, how else can I assess the issue?" Malakar's eyes narrow as the town comes into view, "when have I ever worried about danger?"
"You have a kingdom to think about, my lord."
"That is why I am here."
"Are you sure you still know how to swing a sword, I can't imagine spending so much time with nobles has sharpened anything other than your tongue."
Drelic smirks, waiting for a response. Malakar's hand alights on the sword handle stemming from a scabbard on his back. The reddish one's eyes widen, surely Malakar cannot be that upset at his good natured ribbing?
Drelic's gaze shifts from his lord, over to the town of Kartis. Smoke rises into the air, and a fog starts to creep over the town.
The Helven squints, he thinks he can just make out the shape of something writhing along the stone walls, perhaps some rotted freaks.
No, it must just be the shimmering heat upon the stone.
Surely Kartis still stands.
A butterfly flits past some flowers, its gold and blue wings reflecting the sunlight. Luciana reaches her hand out, but the butterfly is too fast yet again.
"Someday I'll catch you, Ms. Butterfly."
Sunlight filters through the trees, the young girl relishing the warmth. Somewhere she can hear the river, and she tries to make course for it. According to the map, she pretty much needs to follow it to get to Lord Farrians land.
Or was it Ferrin?
She shrugs internally, for Luciana will know it once she sees it on the map next time she checks it. She has been walking for a couple of days now, only stopping when it's time to sleep. Blisters start to form and pain shoots through her feet.
With a slight huff she sits at the edge of the river, the waters calm. Slowly she takes her boots off, dipping her feet in the water.
Briefly she wonders how Keros is doing, and if she should have brought Poodle with her for protection. These thoughts quickly fade as something flies out of the water and straight for her!
The girl leaps back, shielding her face. The sound of something squirming reaches her ears, and slowly she peeks out from the safety of her arms.
A single fish squirms in the grass, its scales reflecting all the colors of the rainbow in the light. Luciana marvels at this, before peering down into the water. Far below, she can see the shimmering scales of more rainbow colored fish. She takes the squirming thing, letting it gently back into the water.
"Go home to your family, little guy."
She sits by the water, humming merrily. Perhaps she will find somewhere around here to camp for the night, her feet still hurt and she has plenty of time to grind them to a stub. Luciana laughs at the thought, soon lost in some whimsical daydreams about mermaid people.
After all, if dragons, gods, rainbow colored fish, and fairies exist, why not mermaids?
One by one they fall, one rotting heap after the other. Sloppily they swing their rusted swords, rake with their claws. But there are more than it seemed at first, and more trickle in by the walls every second.
The adventurous quartet find themselves nearing the center of the town again, a deadly symphony of steel, iron, and magic.
Burning hot steel rakes the human woman's head, and her blades respond in kind, sending the undead warrior back to the grave. Blood oozes down her face, it wasn't that deep, as far as she can tell.
Her twin swords do the work for her, carving through these monstrosities. One parries while the other strikes, one is a shield, the other biting like a viper. Sometimes both are used for each task, but rarely.
She sidesteps the heavy, downward swing of a broadsword, her foot lurching out.
The undead stumbles, bone popping from the knee. That's the least of his worries as the twin blades pierce his heart.
The warm blood trickles down her neck, settling under her armor and down beyond. Sounds muffled as one ear fills, and her eye is caked shut by her own lifeblood.
One particularly nasty creature raises a kris dagger, the fool doesn't hear him. Even as his teeth mash together and his armor jangles, she is too focused on his brethren before her. Just as he reaches her, a shining light steals his gaze, along with his undead life.
The elf wields his magic sword in one hand, tapping the womans shoulder with the other. They pair up, watching each others backs, finally making it through this group of undead.
They don't stop, they can't stop, especially not here. Small nicks and scratches, bruises and dented armor. The elven man glances to the house, it does not seem as though the people have been moved from there.
They could still be saved, however it doesn't seem like that will be possible. The group exchange knowing glances.
"To the death," the elven man holds his sword out, the twin katanas, archers dagger, and finally club meet it.
"To the death" the adventurers cry.
There is no regret, this is what they do.
Save people, do what good they can. They vastly misjudged their odds, perhaps their time is up. But they really wouldn't have it any other way.
The man with the club turns to the archer, who is fast running out of arrows.
"Duck!" he says and she does so, as his club smashes the head of a nearing fiend.
She slides next to the man, and with a twang releases another grunt from its captivity.
Another one tries to run up alongside her companion, only to have the blow smashed into his face. Saliva and teeth fly into the air before she kicks him to the ground, stepping back as the club finishes it off. As the man kneels, having finished his attack, she rolls off his back. Landing on the other side, fending off another creature, this one more dog like than anything else.
The human woman pants, having taken another wound to the side, just a glancing blow. Her body throbs and hot pain courses through her, but she fights with renewed vigor, if only for the sake of her friends. In the hopes they can live on.
A low moan echoes out from underneath a visor, two hands claw at the dirt. Two eyes pierce out from underneath steel.
The knight, now only half a knight, wraps his hand around his fallen brothers pike.
The man swings his club, felling three at once before ramming the end of it into anothers chest, crushing it. A strange, spider like thing hisses its maw opening to reveal several barbs that jut out. An arrow pierces its eye, and as it squeals the man smashes the thing to a pulp.
Blood and vigor.
Specks of black ooze cover the man as he beats this foe out of this world. He backsteps knocking two more down so as to protect the back of the elven man and the other woman. Something catches his eye and he to see what-
His mouth gapes, his eyes widen in shock as he watches the pike blade bury into his chest. It looks so odd placed there.
Yeah it shouldn't be there.
His hand is already numb and the club falls from his grasp. The man furrow his brow, seeing the decaying mouth of the undead knight curl into a savage snarl as it grabs him by the neck, pulling itself up. With amazing dexterity it seems to hang in the air.
A dagger flashes in the sunlight, finding itself in the mans neck. The foul beings eyes glare through the slits in the visor, hatred emanating from out of them. One final breath leaves the mans body as he hits the ground.
The knight pushes himself off, gurgling one last time as a dagger soars through the air, burying itself into its chest. It falls slain.
The remaining trio watch their fallen friend, with more shock than they thought they would given the circumstances. The elven man raises his sword, the white light cleaving through iron and flesh.
He and the other work their way to their friend, but the undead seem to back off. Perhaps they've realized the futility of their fight. Or perhaps there is another reason.
A dark cloud covers the sky above, a single, croaking cry fills the air. The shadow descends from the keep, eyes meeting with the archer as it swoops. Fierce talons tear flesh, the force of the attack pummeling the elven woman. Her arrow flying hayward and landing in the ground.
She rolls on the dirt, finally landing on her back. Her own blood pools underneath her, and she drags herself to her bow. The single croaking cry fills the air again.
The archers quiver was cut from her body, but fortune placed it close to the bow. One last arrow...one final chance.
The dark empty eyes of the beast meet hers once again. She lets go of the string, and a shrill cry fills the air as it finds its way into the shadows dark heart.
The elven woman falls back as the thing flies past, air swooshing her hair up at an odd angle. She rolls over, a thunderous crash reaching her ears as the bird like thing crashes to the ground. It's talons quiver one last time before death takes it, and she gives herself permission to rest. Safe knowing that creature can do no more harm.
The elven man watches his last remaining friend, both are wounded and tired. The majority of the undead seemed to have shuffled off somewhere, to some other ruckus. The human woman rushes three of them, dancing around their attacks and striking out with deadly efficiency.
On the side of the house, the lanky creature crawls. Its tongue lapping in and out before finally settling back inside where it belongs, running over the rows of pointed teeth. One single drop of saliva drips, he is so hungry.
The elven mans hand falls to his side, the glow of his sword fading. The creatures claws clench against the stone, the smallest of hisses escapes its lips in bloody anticipation.
The elven mans ears prick, and twisting he swings the sword, the creature having dropped to a window sill with unearthly agility.
The thing howls and leaps up, the elf swinging his blade up as he pivots. The blade sings within inches of the creatures feet as it flips. One last turn and the elf swings, the creature will fall in half.
Except the sword flies through empty air, the creature slinking along the ground. With a vicious snarl its hand darts forward, sharp claws spike through the mans belly. He gasps, watching the hand dig around inside of him, his blood oozing out.
The lanky thing pulls its hand out, licking the blood from its fingers. Its eyes sing with glee, and the elf falls back, his sword clattering to the ground.
Feet pad on the dirt, light, as if carried by the wind. The first blade arcs just as the lanky one turns, the blade tearing through his gut. It screams as it falls back, spinning off its feet and landing propped up on its elbow.
The woman shouts triumphantly as she leaps, burying the katanas into the foul things chest. Its mouth gapes as it shrieks, arms flailing. The human woman lets out one more cry of victory as she buries the swords even deeper. The lanky one convulses before letting out one last raspy shriek.
The woman pants, cold overtaking her body, but the sun shines on her face. One last warmth, and she just barely has the strength to turn her head to her elven friend. She smiles faintly before succumbing to her wounds.
The elven man watches, hollow. His hands still clutch his wound, he stares at all the various undead strewn about, and his companions. The pathetic, feathered heap nearby.
The sounds of fighting reach his ears, and he cranes his head to try to get a look. To no avail.
He hovers in and out of darkness, on the verge. When hooves meet his ears, he barely has the strength to look up as a pair of feet hit the ground. This must be his end, and he prepares for the foul undead to finish him.
Instead, a hand protrudes. In front of him stands something...yellow piercing eyes, light blue skin...how unnatural. It has the pointed ears of an elf and the raven dark hair of an orc.
The elf reaches his hand, and the thing grabs it, pulling him up. Another pair of hands drag him along, but his eyes flit over to the blue one. Watching his mouth move.
"What's your name, elf?"
The elf wades through the brain slog, looking upon the sun for a moment.
"Telien," he says, "my name is Telien."
"There's people over there," Telien trys to turn his head back from where they came.
"We'll handle them."
The next thing Telien knows, he is on the ground, some kind of padding is under him. Some king of human sits over him, waving a hand over his wound. It soothes the pain, but soon various potions, tools, and herbs are broken out of a sack.
The mages hand waves over him again, and this time Telien sleeps.