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  1. #1
    DP Visionary Preybird's Avatar
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    Fan Fiction - The Resurgence

    I'm back. This is a follow on to The War Within, so if you haven't read it, it will help understanding what's led everyone to this point. I don't think it's entirely necessary, but it will give you some perspective.

    Expect to see a lot more of your favourite characters in this, and some will be making a reappearance.

    -------------------------

    An Unexpected Turn of Events

    Nishaven scowled as he read over the reports and compared them to what his Scrying Eye was telling him. The necromancer had carved himself a little pocket empire through trickery, subterfuge and death and now the Shadow were resurging. Reports of attacks were coming in all around Draconia and even coming far enough south to threaten the outlying settlements of Corvinus. The mine had been reinforced in preparation for war once again and troops were mobilizing to Corvinus’ defence. The Shadow wouldn’t get as close as they did when Kairos was in charge.

    Yet Corvinus couldn’t seal itself off completely, refugees were still trickling in from the five Kingdoms in the North, with Corvinus being the nearest major safe hub. Word of the attacks had come in some months ago when a trio of refugees, led by the priest Jericho Spellbane had arrived at the city gates. They had been harassed by Shadow troops until they got within Corvinus’ boundaries, and all were beaten and bloodied. They told of the hunter Baduruu and his skill in manipulating the Kingdoms into war. It had taken a month after they had arrived to discover that Gravebone was the mastermind, and a death mage named Thaddeus his right hand.

    “Has there been any more word?” Nishaven asked.

    “Three more attacks, farming settlements mostly.” Mikhail replied, placing markers on the map where the attacks had happened. “Seems like they’re trying to secure their resource lines.”

    Nishaven nodded. When Jericho had told of Mikhail’s skill in seeing through Baduruu’s deceptions, he put him straight to work as his advisor. He had a great need for a deductive mind like that. The third refugee, Raven, had gone back into enemy territory and was providing valuable first hand scouting via the Eye.

    “Are there any patterns that you can see?” Nishaven asked.

    Mikhail paused and pondered. “All the attacks are along major roads; seems they’re setting up to secure the paths into Draconia. The other Kingdoms are being ignored though; there is little activity around them.” Mikhail paused again. “As I mentioned, most targets have been related to resources so far, farmland, mines, and a couple of small Shadow Crystal deposits. They’re setting up and fortifying.” He looked at Nishaven. “Draconia was always a fortress, those mountain ranges made it nigh impossible for invading armies. Now, with the necromancer and an undead horde behind him, we won’t take Draconia with a conventional battle.”

    “Agreed. Thankfully I know someone who is the master of unconventional battles.” Nishaven replied, knocking on the table twice. Out of the shadows stepped a man dressed entirely in black, with tussled hair and a wry smile on his face.

    “You rang?” Lance grinned.

    Mikhail needed no introduction, extending his hand. “The famous Lance Shadowstalker.”

    Lance took his hand and shook it vigorously. “I’ve heard a lot about your talents Mikhail. You’re going to be a massive boon for Corvinus. Hope you didn’t mind me sneaking in like that.”

    “I knew you were there.” Mikhail replied. “Nishaven kept looking over in your direction periodically. Not for long, but just enough to tell me someone else was in the room.”

    Lance looked over at Nishaven and raised his eyebrows. Nishaven smiled. “I told you he was good. So, we’ve got an impenetrable fortress. Have you any thoughts Lance?”

    Lance leaned on the table as he considered his options. “My first thought is to insert a small team via portal, but no doubt Gravebone will pick that up and be ready for us. We could go through the mountains and avoid the passes entirely, but I want more information around the topography of the area before I commit to a move like that.” He stood up and crossed his arms. “Is there any word of Gravebone accepting turncoats and mercenaries, like Ter Adun and Kairos did?”

    “When we were still on the run, we had heard of offers being made for exorbitant sums, no doubt some mercenaries would’ve heeded the call.” Mikhail replied.

    “But Gravebone likes his armies dead, not alive. He may have just killed and resurrected them to ensure their loyalty.” Nishaven added.

    “Possible.” Lance stated. “But highly inefficient. And for an army that’s still in the process of setting up it’s unlikely he’d go to such drastic measures. We may still be able to insert some....” He was interrupted by the door behind Nishaven swinging open violently, crashing against the wall.

    “Master, quick!” The panicked Acolyte at the entrance shouted. “At the front gate, it’s the witch!”

    -----------------------

    Nishaven stood on the walkway above the South gate, staring down at the diminutive silver haired woman on the bridge. The walls were lined with bowmen, and the gates covered by dozens of guardsmen. Still the woman wasn’t intimidated in the slightest, walking ever closer. Nishaven launched himself over the edge of the walkway, magically controlling his descent and landing without injury, despite falling over fifty metres. Upon landing he prepared himself for battle. Majiya was not one to be trifled with.

    Majiya kept walking until she was only a few paces from Nishaven. She raised her hands and the guards behind Nishaven began to move in to defend him. However she did not attack, she simply looked at Nishaven, her face a blank slate. What she said next shocked even the normally unflappable Nishaven.

    “I surrender.”
    Last edited by Preybird; 04-11-2013 at 05:51 AM.
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  2. #2
    DP Visionary Preybird's Avatar
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    Calm before the Storm

    Gwen blinked with surprise at the two headed lamb in front of her. She had seen a lot of things in her time, but this was new. The animal seemed to care little however, each of its heads moving independently and feeding in the pastures.

    “They’re all born like that now.” The farmer stated frankly.

    “You mean with two heads?” Gwen asked.

    “With freakish deformities.” The farmer clarified. “You should see the calf that arrived this morning. Poor thing has six legs.”

    “How long has this been happening?”

    “First freak arrived about two weeks back I think. Back then it was a bit random, only one farmer per town would report something like it. Now… it’s every new birth.” The farmer scowled, pointing at the lamb. “It’s killing our business. No one wants to eat that.”

    “What do you think’s causing it?”

    “It’s this bloody storm.” The farmer frowned, pointing up at the blood red clouds swirling overhead. “Ever since this arrived things have been going insane.”

    Gwen looked up, pushing the hair out of her face as she did. “Any other strange events happening?” She asked.

    “People have been going missing, like literally just disappearing in the street. Someone will turn a corner and then it’s like they vanish. No screams, no cries for help, nothing. Not even clothing left behind.”

    Gwen’s eyes widened. “How often does that happen?”

    “Thankfully not often, well not as far as I’m aware. Only the Gods know what happens to those poor folk however.”

    Gwen nodded. “I see. Thank you for your time.”

    “Always happy to help a pretty face.” The farmer replied with a smile and a tip of his hat.

    Gwen walked to the hitching post, unhooked her horse and climbed into the saddle. In the distance lay Ravendark, a city that filled her with dread and pride at the same time. Dread because of what she faced, and pride because she had overcome the odds to save it. It was also a place she vowed never to return to.

    But now, against all good sense, she was back.

    A few days ago, Gwen had felt an unquenchable desire to come back here. Instinct or something more, when she had arrived she knew she had done the right thing. Something was very wrong at Ravendark, and she was intent on discovering what. The whole region stunk of chaotic magic, and the Shadow Crystals she kept with her were glowing with untapped power. In fact they had steadily gotten brighter as she had made her way toward the city, so she was using them as a compass of sorts. She hoped they would lead her to the source of the disturbance.

    She just hoped she’d be able to cope with whatever was waiting for her there.

    Ravendark’s walls began to loom large on the horizon, but the Crystals in her pocket indicated that it wasn’t Ravendark she was heading toward; it was one of the nearby pockets of forest. Swerving off the beaten path, Gwen began to ride through the trees. It wasn’t long before her horse risked getting entangled, so she hitched him to a nearby tree and started moving on foot.

    It was a dense forest, but besides the vines that ran underfoot Gwen had little trouble navigating it. After all she had spent most of her adult life in the wilderness. As she progressed she could feel the Crystals begin to actually vibrate, they were storing so much latent magical energy. That would’ve been enough to tell her she was close, but she wasn’t worried about the Crystals anymore. She was worried about the lightning storm in the clearing in front of her.

    Looking up she could see the storm clouds were thicker here, and lightning constantly arced between the ground and the sky in a beautiful yet deadly display of power. Yet the lightning wasn’t natural, it was of magical origin. It began to bend in toward a central point, forming a ball of energy floating a metre or so above the forest floor. More lightning strikes blasted the ground, shattering the rocks in the clearing and tossing them into the air. Gwen covered her eyes to shield them from the ever intensifying light, and to prevent stray rock chips from blinding her. The sound as the air was split over and over by the godly forces was immense.

    Eventually the light died down somewhat and she could look once again into the clearing, and what she saw turned her stomach to ice. In front of her stood a being of pure energy, lightning given a malevolent intelligence and purpose. It roared, splitting the very heavens. The unholy noise caused Gwen to sink to her knees in agony.

    Zaladar had returned.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member BDK16's Avatar
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    Once again, amazing PB

    I really think you should make a book or at least help out with the lore

  4. #4
    DP Visionary Preybird's Avatar
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    Hellmouth

    Thaddeus looked down at the shambling army of corpses. He shook his head when he considered the quality of the resurrections, and knew that those troops would only be good for another month or two before they decayed entirely. But they had needed an army, and fast. Even with Draconia’s formidable natural defences, he and Gravebone would not have lasted long by themselves.

    Looking across at his master, he could tell the lack of quality troubled Gravebone as well, though his face was as emotionless as ever. The good news was that word of their victory had spread rapidly, and Shadow forces from all over had converged on Draconia. Another month and there would be enough troops to hold the city, and they wouldn’t have to rely as heavily on the undead. But truthfully if what they were building worked as planned, holding Draconia would become irrelevant.

    “It proceeds well Master.” Thaddeus stated, pointing as the gargantuan structure being built in the city square. “I anticipate it will still take another two weeks however. The slaves are less than efficient unfortunately.”

    Gravebone chuckled, sounding like a pair of stones being ground together. It was horrid and hurt Thaddeus’ ears, but he had gotten used to it over time. “This is true. Still, we have the humans running scared. They don’t know what to do with us, so they hide in their cities and wait for us to make the first move.” He turned to Thaddeus. “That gives us time.”

    “Until they discover just how vulnerable we really are.” Thaddeus added. “We have been beating back scouts from all over the land, but eventually one will get in here. We cannot allow them to see just how unprepared for war Draconia is.”

    “No, we cannot.” Gravebone said, looking down again at their army. “So we need to give them other things to worry about. How goes the attacks on neighbouring settlements?”

    Thaddeus looked at reports from some of his more literate squad commanders. “We’ve secured enough food sources for our living troops, though we will need to keep expanding to maintain supply as more and more arrive.” He flicked through the pages. “Another Crystal mine fell to us only yesterday, which is excellent news as it will help with the construction.”

    “And ore for weaponry?” Gravebone asked.

    “Ah.” Thaddeus replied with a sigh. “That’s where we are lacking. Draconia’s mines are working around the clock, but they ran mostly dry years ago. King Dinear was importing most of his ore.”

    “So that’s what we are going to have to do.” Gravebone replied. “I believe Harak had some excellent mining resources.”

    “Harak is still fortified, despite the damage we did to their armed forces. We would have a hard time taking it, and it would make the humans acutely aware of our shortcomings. My recommendation is to go after Herodius. The plague has weakened that Kingdom to the point of nonexistence, and they would be easy pickings.”

    Gravebone nodded. “Do they have mining capacity?”

    Thaddeus shook his head. “No, we would have to demolish buildings and extract ore that way, however it is still the better prospect. Definitely better than fighting a protracted war with the Harak remnant.”

    Gravebone raised a bony hand to his cheek, tapping it as he considered the options. “Do it. I will send Kairos to lead the assault. Give the humans another thing to worry about.”

    “It will be so.” Thaddeus replied, and he left the room to begin preparations, leaving Gravebone staring out at the courtyard.

    As he watched he could see hundreds of hands working, slaves bound with chains and controlled by constant threats of death. Sadistic foremen cracked flaming whips and struck out with razor sharp claws at anyone who even looked away from their work. Those that collapsed from exhaustion and hunger were dragged away to be fed to the growing Shadow army, or released to provide sport and an outlet for all those pent up urges. Away from the construction site Gravebone could see his front line troops training, Gargoyles and Flayers matching their skills against a number of human mercenaries and turncoats.

    One thing that had surprised Gravebone while raising this army was just how willing some humans were to betray their people for material wealth. He had no need for human currency, and once he had taken Draconia he had simply opened the safes and let the mercenaries walk away with as much gold as they could carry. It was a simple method of payment and while not feasible in the long term, it provided loyalty while he needed it most. When he ran out of funds he’d simply kill any surviving mercenaries and resurrect them as loyal subjects anyway.

    The crack of the whips returned his attention back to the creation in the main square. The ring rising up to the sky was only half built, and progress was slowing the closer they got to the top, as the supporting structures and scaffolding had to grow with it. And the further from the ground they got, the more slaves died from falls or simply collapsed from exhaustion while making the long journey to the construction sites.

    To the outside observer, it looked just like a giant torus. But in actual fact it was a colossal gate, a direct pathway to the Shadow realms. Through it he could drag an entire army into this realm, but that was not his intention. He already had an army.

    No, the Hellmouth was for something far more lethal. Something ancient was slumbering in the darkness, just waiting to be unleashed on the world. And when it arrived humanity would meet its end.
    Last edited by Preybird; 04-15-2013 at 02:00 AM.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Reshiram99's Avatar
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    Nice!
    Fire Snakes are high in Vitamin D.

    Account for Gondorian to put crystalz into: Reshiram99

  6. #6
    DP Visionary Preybird's Avatar
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    The Elder One

    Majiya tugged at her chains as she looked around. She could honestly say they weren’t taking any chances with her, a fact that gave her a sick sense of pride. Upon her surrender, Nishaven had encased her in an anti-magic field and teleported her to this dungeon deep under the Collegia Arcanus, surrounded by over two dozen armed guards. There was no actual door on the cell, you could only enter or exit via Portal, and with the anti-magic field up that was an impossibility. The bars were thick and made of enchanted steel, runes littering their surface and able to resist almost any force. No, she was well and truly trapped down here.

    Outside the cell stood her captor, the human mage Nishaven. She wondered what he looked like under that hood and mask, all that was visible were those unnatural eyes that permanently shone a bright blue. To his left stood Lance Shadowstalker, and to his right stood another human, unknown to her. He was a little shorter than Nishaven with brown hair and slight stubble over his chin. His eyes constantly flittered over her, taking in every movement and mannerism.

    “What’s this about Majiya?” He demanded. “What are you after?”

    Majiya stood up and moved as close to the bars as the chains would allow. “Believe it or not I’m here to warn you, and help you.”

    “Just what makes you think we would want your help? You Shadow are untrustworthy in the extreme.”

    “Really?” Majiya laughed. “You may not realise this, but your people have worked with the ‘untrustworthy’ Shadow before. The bowslinger Gwenneth only saved Ravendark with the help of the Wulven Moonstalker.” Majiya curled her lip; her defeat still was a bit of a sore spot. “You just need to understand what motivates us.”

    “And that is?”

    “Power, revenge. Or if it comes down to it, self-preservation.” Majiya replied. Nishaven didn’t like her tone, she sounded almost smug, despite her situation. “In my case, it’s the latter. Gravebone’s plans are too dangerous. He needs to die.” She smirked. “Again.”

    “I seem to recall you wanted to drag this dimension into chaos. What could be worse than that?”

    Majiya looked into those soulless blue orbs Nishaven called eyes. “Extinction.”

    “He intends to kill us all?”

    “He intends to summon the Elder One to this dimension to win the war for the Shadow. The problem is the Elder One does not care, he only cares for death. This world will be left a barren wasteland before he is satiated, devoid of all life, human or shadow. Only the undead will be left, and Gravebone their king.”

    “Why not go after him yourself then? Why come to us?” Nishaven asked.

    “If I could I would human. Your kind are beneath me, but unfortunately there is the little matter of an army, and the battle for Corvinus robbed me of mine.” Majiya stated. “So I offer assistance in defeating Gravebone.”

    Nishaven crossed his arms. “Just what do you propose then?” He asked.

    “Prepare your army. I will give you the rituals required to be able to generate a Portal large enough to drop them directly into Draconia.”

    “And then we let you go?”

    “I wasn’t finished yet.” Majiya scowled. “I go in first. I will need to act as a beacon for the Portal, allowing you to place it correctly. You wouldn’t want your army showing up in the walls of a building.”

    Nishaven laughed, “You want us to simply release you into the Shadow stronghold? Are you mad?”

    Majiya rolled her eyes. “If my goal was to join Gravebone, I could’ve just walked there myself you idiot. I want him gone and his gateway destroyed, and to do that I need an army. So, you need me there for the Portal, and I need to be there so I can be the one to end Gravebone’s miserable non-life for good.”

    “So ultimately this is revenge.” Nishaven stated.

    “Insurance.” Majiya retorted. “Simply put I can’t trust that any of you would do it right.”

    Nishaven was silent for a moment before speaking. “I will consider your offer.” He said simply before turning on his heels and walking out of the dungeon with his entourage.

    Majiya snorted. “I’ll be here.”

    -----------------------

    “She’s playing us.” Lance stated. “No way is she being honest.” The trio had stopped in the hallway heading out of the dungeon, far enough away so that Majiya couldn’t hear them.

    “She is unnaturally confident given her situation.” Mikhail added. “But from what I’ve heard, she’s always like that.”

    “Agreed. She knows more than she’s letting on.” Nishaven said.

    “And yet she is telling the truth, she wants our help in stopping Gravebone.” Mikhail stated. “It’s written all over her tone and body language. It’s what happens after we stop Gravebone that concerns me.”

    “If she is speaking the truth, she leaves us with little choice to be honest.” Nishaven replied. “We can’t get into Draconia any other way.”

    “Look, do what you gotta do, but I don’t like this, not one bit.” Lance scowled. “I don’t trust that bitch as far as I could throw a Behemoth.”

    “I know, I don’t trust her either. But this is probably our best shot of defeating him quickly.” Nishaven stated. “Plus revenge is a powerful motivator, as she said.”

    “She also mentioned it wasn’t actually revenge.” Lance retorted.

    Nishaven frowned. “We shall see.”

    -----------------------

    Majiya smiled, and instantly Nishaven regretted his decision. “I knew you’d come around.” She said.

    “Don’t think we’re just letting you free, witch.” Nishaven stated. “You will be bound by magic to complete your end of the bargain. I will see and hear everything you can, and if you even step out of line for a second I will incinerate you from the inside out.”

    “Such harsh words.” Majiya purred. “I’ll be a good girl, don’t you worry.”

    Nishaven said nothing else as he wove the enchantments over Majiya before casting her through a Portal. Majiya gave them a quick wave as she was pulled through to freedom.

    “I hope you made sure the other end of that Portal was a few metres above the ground.” Lance quipped.

    Mikhail stifled a snigger and despite the seriousness of the situation, Nishaven had to admit that was funny.
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    DP Visionary Preybird's Avatar
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    Supercell

    Gwen gingerly touched the burn on her arm as she surveyed the wreckage of the homesteads. She had attempted to confront Zaladar before he had arrived, but without the chaotic power of Ravendark behind her she was outclassed. Facing defeat, she had been forced to retreat into the forest to avoid death, and helplessly watch as the elemental destroyed this harmless village in a fit of godly rage.

    However Zaladar hadn’t done it alone. For every human he killed, a smaller version of him manifested from his body. These smaller versions were not exact duplicates, their shapes and abilities were varied but it made them no less deadly. They were thankfully easier to dispatch, and Gwen had used a number of the stragglers to power the healing properties of her bow, meaning she could once again keep up the pursuit.

    “By the Gods, so many dead.” The man standing next to her said. He was the village priest and one of the few still standing, thanks to his holy magic. He turned to Gwen, his eyes filled with sadness. “What did we do to deserve this?”

    Gwen looked at the ground and sighed. The man’s expression reminded her too much of her own after the Wulven had destroyed her village. “Nothing.” She whispered. “But I shall avenge these senseless deaths. Somehow.”

    The priest looked at her arm and frowned. “You’re wounded, you need to rest. Besides, you have done enough for this village already.” He muttered a quick incantation and the burned flesh on Gwen’s arm began to recede. “Without your intervention, I have no doubt we’d all be dead, and our souls devoured.”

    “What do you mean, souls devoured?” Gwen asked.

    “I suppose you cannot feel it.” The priest sighed, pointing to one of the many corpses strewn along the street. “All those that died did not just die of their wounds. They were purged of their souls to feed the monster. The smaller monsters were what he made with the excess energy.”

    “I see.” Gwen frowned. “So he’s getting stronger with every person he kills.”

    The priest nodded. “No doubt. I fear it won’t be long before the monster is unstoppable.”

    With nothing more she could do and with Zaladar rapidly moving away, Gwen had no choice but to continue her pursuit. She bid the priest farewell and left the village as quickly as she could, and before long she once again caught sight of the elemental. Zaladar had indeed grown bigger since the attack, and Gwen guessed he was gathering his strength. The problem was not so much that as when he decided to use it.

    Stalking through the forests Gwen noticed the tell-tale roar of lightning begin to fade. Quickly climbing a tree in the hopes of getting a better vantage point, she watched as Zaladar began to dissipate, retreating back into the storm clouds that mirrored his every movement and leaving Gwen without her quarry.

    Well, that was new.

    -----------------------

    Far from civilisation and with the sun quickly setting, Gwen decided it was time to bunker down for the night. Moving quickly, she gathered as much wood as she could carry and put together a fire, lighting it with one of her phosphorous arrows. She sat down next to it, allowing the warmth to sooth her weary muscles.

    As she rested, a bright light in the forest caused her to reach for her bow. It was not Zaladar or an elemental minion however, it was a woman utilising a Portal. Walking over to Gwen, it became clear the woman was none other than Eladwen Frostmire.

    “How’d you find me?” Gwen asked as Eladwen sat down opposite her, raising her hands to the fire to warm them.

    “Simple, I led you here.” Eladwen replied with a hint of a smile. “It was my mental prodding that brought you back to Ravendark.”

    “I thought mind tricks were Serena’s thing?” Gwen replied with a raised eyebrow.

    “Well, I’m not as good as her, but my magic allows me some influence.”

    “So why me?” Gwen asked. “Why send me after Zaladar?”

    Eladwen shrugged. “Well, you’ve defeated him before; you have the knowledge and the power to do it again.”

    Gwen rubbed her arm and looked away. “Not this time. I couldn’t even make a dent in his new form.”

    “Granted he has gotten more powerful, but so have you. And I’m here to help you.” Eladwen stated reassuringly. “So now we just have to catch him.”

    Gwen pointed up to the sky. “That’s… going to be a problem. He vaporised into the clouds a few hours ago. He could be anywhere.”

    “Perhaps. But I think I know where he’s going.” Eladwen said. “We shall pick up the pursuit in the morning, for now you need rest. Get some sleep, I will keep guard.”

    Grateful, Gwen climbed into her makeshift tent and fell into the deepest sleep she’d had in a year.
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    DP Visionary Preybird's Avatar
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    Infiltration

    Gravebone cast his gaze over Majiya, looking down at her from King Dinear’s old throne. He wasn’t the only one paying attention to her; a number of the human mercenaries in the room were also making eyes at her. Standing next to the throne was his lackey Thaddeus.

    “Seems you’ve got some admirers.” Gravebone said, glancing over at the mercenaries. “Depending on how this goes, they may or may not get to know you better. Now, what do you want Majiya?”

    Majiya held back a venomous retort, it wouldn’t do to antagonise Gravebone…. yet. “I’m here to join you.”

    “You mean pledge fealty to me.”

    Majiya bit her lower lip. To even utter the words made her feel dirty. “Yes, to pledge fealty.”

    Gravebone stared at her. “Do it properly.”

    Majiya took in a deep breath to control her rising rage before dropping to one knee. “I, Majiya, pledge fealty to you, until such time as I can no longer draw breath.”

    “Good.” Gravebone said. “Stand.”

    Majiya slowly rose. “Yes…. my Lord.”

    “Now that I am assured of your loyalty,” Gravebone began, “I have a very important job for you. Draconia needs food and supplies for our living troops, as well as the forces that trickle in every day. I have a strong band of mercenaries waiting for your ‘unique’ form of leadership.”

    “I shall see that it happens.” Majiya said simply, turning and leaving the room as quickly as she could.

    Once she had gone, Thaddeus leaned over. “You realise that any pledges she makes are worthless? She will betray us.”

    “Of course, which is why I’m sending her far from the main works.” Gravebone replied. “I’m sure she’ll enjoy the company however.”

    -----------------------

    “Oh my Lord what have we here?” The mercenary exclaimed to the sound of wolf whistles as Majiya entered the camp. “We must certainly have pleased Lord Gravebone to have him send us such a juicy piece of meat.”

    “Oh dear, you misunderstand.” Majiya smirked. “I’m not the entertainment, I’m the taskmaster.”

    “I think you misunderstand milady.” The mercenary smiled, staring at her chest. “I’m the leader of this group, and I don’t take orders from lasses. There’s only one thing a woman’s mouth is good for, and it ain’t giving orders.”

    “You have no idea who I am, do you?” Majiya snarled in response, firing a bolt of lightning from her fingertips. It connected with the mercenary but harmlessly dissipated.

    The mercenary smirked. “Oh I know who you are, which is why I came prepared.” He tapped his bracers. “Now, how about a kiss for old Jakar, to apologise?” The mercenaries around him burst into laughter.

    “How about you show me to my lodgings?” Majiya replied sternly.

    Jakar smiled. “Of course milady. We’ve prepared only the best for you, follow me.” He headed off, casually glancing back to make sure Majiya was following him.

    He led her to one corner of the camp and to a makeshift barn. Opening the doors he waved her inside with a grin. “Here you are.”

    Majiya looked around. There was no bed, and no other facilities of any kind. The floor of the barn was covered in pig droppings and there were a few of the offending animals in the corner, happily grunting away.

    Jakar came up and patted Majiya on the behind before pointing to one of the pigs. “Watch out for that one. He gets a bit frisky.” He said with a grin. “There’s a shovel over there, so you can dig yourself a toilet.”

    “I will kill you.” Majiya snarled.

    “Oh I don’t think so.” Jakar replied as he turned to leave. “But if you want somewhere more comfortable to stay, my bed is always nice and warm.” And with that he left the barn laughing.

    -----------------------

    Serena wrapped the cloak around her tightly as she slowly navigated her way through the mountains. As her teeth chattered in her mouth she once again cursed Lance for talking her into doing this. But he did have a point; Majiya was not to be trusted, and if they were even going to attempt to use her Portal she needed to be kept under control. Plus like Lance she was never one to put her faith in magical bindings.

    At least she was coming to the end of her trek. In the distance lay Draconia and she could see her way out of the mountain ranges and into the camp. Then it would be a case of blending in with the human mercenaries and finding Majiya. Her natural abilities should help with that.

    Closing in on the camp Serena spotted a number of undead congregating around her chosen entry point. Frowning, she reached out with her ability and touched their minds. They felt diseased, like a swirling cloud of pox. It almost made her physically ill to be in contact with them, so she worked quickly, violently tugging at them and causing the undead to lose consciousness. As they fell she quickly dashed past them and into the cover of some of the outlying buildings. Looking behind her she could see them groggily come to after a few minutes and continue their patrols. Without wasting any more time she moved towards the main city.

    Let the hunt begin.
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  9. #9
    DP Visionary Preybird's Avatar
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    Ride the Lightning

    The skies cracked as Eladwen unleashed her arcane might on the advancing horde of elemental beasts. The population of the town had been eradicated, which meant she didn’t have to hold back and entire streets burned as a result of the forces she commanded. Dozens of the gibbering constructs were blasted into their constituent pieces with every spell, and those that somehow survived the onslaught were ended with strikes from Gwen’s bow.

    But still they advanced.

    In the distance Zaladar was approaching to join the battle. Considering he was now taller than every building in the town he would greatly tip the odds in the favour of the elementals. Both Eladwen and Gwen knew this, and with their chances for survival dropping significantly if they fought on, escape became their only option.

    Unleashing a Supernova into the approaching horde, Eladwen used the purchased time to hastily craft a Portal and push Gwen through it. She leapt through just as one of the beasts attacked, its lightning claws singeing the edges of her cloak. Landing about two hundred metres away from the village, Eladwen quickly closed the Portal before any of the elemental troops got the bright idea of following them through.

    So the pair lay on the grass gasping for breath as Zaladar and his horde moved on, their quarry lost. It wasn’t until such time as the sounds of lightning had well and truly faded that Gwen sat up.

    “See what I mean?” She gasped.

    Eladwen propped herself up on her elbows and stared at that malevolent lightning as it moved toward the horizon. “Indeed, but what does Zaladar need all this energy for?”

    “No idea, but I don’t like this, not one bit.” Gwen said as she slowly got to her feet. Numerous burns all over her body sent pain shooting through her as she did so. “But you were right, he’s heading north.”

    Eladwen dusted herself off as she stood. “There’s only one thing in the north that Zaladar may be interested in.”

    Gwen nodded. “Draconia.”

    -----------------------

    One thing I will say about Gravebone, he’s industrious.

    Serena stared at the gargantuan construct from her vantage point in a nearby building. While she had been yet to find Majiya, the giant torus being constructed in the city square was certainly hard to miss, and naturally Serena was curious. So she had decided to take a slight detour.

    And she was glad she did. This was obviously what Majiya was talking about, a giant gateway to release some unspeakable evil. Considering how many unspeakable evils there were in this world, for Majiya to be scared meant this evil must be something truly special.

    Whoever it was, Gravebone was dedicated to its release. Hundreds of slaves worked tirelessly, all fearful of their Shadow overseers and a certain death should they falter. Shadow mages were carving runes of power into monolithic stone blocks, before handing them over to the foremen, who would have the slaves load them onto enormous trolleys and push them up the ramps to be placed. Serena had to wonder why the mages weren’t providing magical assistance, but guessed that the Shadow’s naturally sadistic nature had something to do with it.

    “Hey!” A gravelly voice shouted, causing Serena to spin around. Behind her stood a trio of Marauders, and none of them looked happy to see her. “What are you doing?”

    “Hey boys.” Serena smiled, standing up. “I’m having a look at what you’re building. I’ve just signed up with Lord Gravebone and am curious about your operations.” She knew the excuse wouldn’t wash, so she kept a hand close to the throwing knives at her belt.

    “I don’t think so, spy.” The lead Marauder snarled. “But we’ll check with Lord Gravebone once we’ve dragged your broken carcass to him.”

    Serena sighed. “So be it.” She said simply as she lodged the first throwing knife in the lead Marauder’s neck. Blood spurted from the wound and he collapsed without a sound, the knife severing his vocal cords. The other two came at her with their twin bladed swords, twirling and twisting as they tried to bring her down. In such a cramped space her whip was useless, so Serena was forced to dodge and weave to avoid their strikes. Rolling out of reach for a moment, Serena launched a psychic assault on the two Marauders, dazing them and giving her a chance to fight back.

    Closing the distance, Serena used her second throwing knife to slice one Marauder’s throat. Quickly grabbing his sword as he fell, she swung it behind her at the last Marauder, though he had recovered enough to groggily defend her blow. Knowing that every passing second was a missed opportunity, Serena pressed her advantage while the Marauder was still recovering, eventually finding her mark and gouging a deep wound in his torso. As he dropped to his knees she severed his head to make his demise quick.

    Frowning, Serena began to move the bodies into the room. She had hoped she would be able to avoid casualties. Dead troops meant security would be put on alert, and would make it harder for her to move through the camp undetected. Still, it would probably be some time before these three were found, time she intended to make the most of.

    She hurried out of the room, closing the door behind her. It was time to get her mind back on the mission, so she left the building as quickly as possible and made her way to the main troop encampment. Hopefully Majiya was still towing the line, and if not then Serena would take matters into her own hands.

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  10. #10
    DP Visionary Shadowborn's Avatar
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    Whose the Elder One? Scourge Collosus or Firesnake? :P
    IGN: A1 ShadowBeast

    I'm interested in seeing how you plan to kill a shadow

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