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  1. #1
    Senior Member Martin JF's Avatar
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    Fanfic: A kingdom of Ashes

    So, as we all probably know there was a fanfiction contest! The 5 possible winners were selected, and I was not among them. I'm going to post it here anyways though And who knows, maybe I'll actually go and finish my other fanfic one of these days :P

    Part 1: Midnight
    Ventar could feel the cold hands of the Vozitian midnight attempting to put a chill into his spine, and so he hurried into The Swimming Drake, the tavern where he had tended to spend most of his nights ever since he arrived at Eldrest. Inside he was met by the familiar smell of sweat and alcohol you quickly got used to when visiting establishments by the docks. He gave the tavern keeper a polite nod and began looking for a decent place to sit. There were more people than usual tonight, but there were still plenty of space. The Vozitians were mostly friendly, but they were also known to be treacherous and stealthy, so he made sure to always keep his back against a wall. He sat down at a table that filled the requirements and shortly after the fat tavern keeper came over with a pint of Eldrest Mead, which the tavern keeper knew Ventar had taken a liking to. Ventar rewarded this gesture with a smile and the man left to take care of the other guests.

    He took a sip of the mead and felt a great warmth flow through him. He sat there for a while, absorbed in his own thoughts. He was so lost in his thoughts that he did not notice the two men before they sat down at his table. He stopped staring into his drink and looked up. “What do you want?” he asked, in calm but skeptical tone. The two men smiled to each other. The fair haired one pulled out a book and a quill from under his cloak. “My name is Talvor of Lyth,” he said with a huge smile. “And this is my good friend, Bathor Dreamsinger,” He continued, pointing at the black haired man next to him. “We collect stories, and you look like someone who has a story to tell.” Ventar was about to tell them to go away, but before he could do that Talvor pulled out a bag of coins and put it on the table. “And if it is a good one, we would love you to give you good coin for letting us write it down.”

    Ventar opened the bag and stared down into the pool of silver and gold. While he did not especially want to think back at the evens that brought him to Vozit, the promise of coin was too tempting to resist. He sighed, preparing himself to relive the unpleasant memories. “Alright, I’ll tell you my story. But I’m going to need quite a bit more to drink.” This made the two men laugh furiously. “Ah, so it’s that kind of story,” Bathor roared as he scratched his unkempt beard. They both waved the tavern keeper over. “Keep the mead flowing! We are going to hear a story tonight!” It didn’t take long before three new pints of mead were at the table. Ventar sighed once more to gather his thoughts before he started. “I am sure you have all heard about what happened in Tycer during the celebration of the harvest,” Ventar almost whispered. Despite this, the rest of the locale seemed to pick up on the mention of the Tycer Celebration and started coming closer. He decided to ignore this. “It is there my story begins”

    Part 2: Flames

    The Tycer Harvest celebration that year was a wonder no one had seen since before the Last War. People came from all the corners of the world to see the dancers and the musicians march through the city and taste the foods. Farmers brought their families to the city to sell their crops and buy supplies for the winter, and I looked after the little shop I had inherited from my father. My wife Wendith had joined the crowds, so I was alone. It was obviously busier than usual, but I managed just fine. As the light coming in through the window grew dimmer, a lady in a blue cloak decorated with gold entered. She started looking around. “I’m sorry, milady, is there anything I can help you with?” I said in the same polite manner my father had taught me. I could feel the air getting colder, and I started to shiver. I recognized this kind of magic instantly. My uncle Kelvin was a mage as well. I did not see him often, but the temperature tended to drop quite dramatically whenever he was around.
    “I am looking for someone,” she said. Her voice was cold as ice and sounded almost distant. “A woman. Ash grey skin, pointy ears, beautiful, silver hair. If she had been here, she would be impossible to miss.” I simply shook my head. The woman sighed. “Well, thank you anyways. If you see her, go find me. My name is Eladwen.”

    “I am right here, Frostmire!” It wasn’t especially loud, but the soft spoken message could be heard through the entire city. I could hear lightning strike down right outside of my shop, and I could see the windows shatter, and I was knocked into the wall from the shockwave.
    It took me a minute before I managed to get back on my feet. I first considered running into our basement to hide, but the constant sound of explosions reminded me that Wendith was still out there somewhere. I gathered the courage to stand back up and run outside, and was overwhelmed by a wave of heat as I opened the door. Eladwen was standing in the middle of the street facing a stunningly beautiful woman with skin as grey as ash. I ended up staring at them for a while. They looked at eachother for what felt like an eternity until they both unleashed a flurry of spells. The streets lit up in an explosion of fire and ice and as the sound died down I heard a shout.
    Majiya, you are not welcome here!” Eladwen’s voice was no longer distant, but angry and determined. “Leave Balor, go back to your world, or I swear, elf, I will kill you like I killed your brother!” It was obvious this was meant as a taunt, but Majiya’s response was not as expected. Instead of getting angry, she started laughing. “Your ignorance is adorable, Eladwen. We want the same thing, you and I. We both crave knowledge. It is the reason that we both exist. You cannot kill me! “You would never give up the chance to know the things I know! And as for my brother, he very much enjoys being dead, isn’t that right, Gravebone?” A skeleton wearing nothing but rags stepped out of the shadows behind Majiya. He laughed the most horrible laugh I have ever heard, and I hope to never hear it again. “There is something in this city we would very much want to have,” he said in a voice as terrifying as his laugh and even Eladwen seemed to get uneasy. “A farmer found something in his field, and he came here to sell it. Just let us search for it, or we swear we will burn everything here to the ground!”

    Behind him figures started to appear, as if they had always been there and had just now decides to step out of the shadows. I almost threw up. They were all just bones. Some had pieces of flesh still attached to them. Eladwen shouted something I could not hear properly because of the screams of the people who were trapped within the burning buildings. A dozen armed men and women arrived behind Eladwen, and while I couldn’t see all their faces I am sure at least one of them had visited my shop earlier that day. Then both ran toward eachother. Eladwens friends soon overwhelmed the walking corpses with quick strikes. As they stepped over the bones they just had defeated, slowly approaching the grey woman, she smiled as if it was her troops that had prevailed. It was then I realized I had completely forgotten why I had left my shop in the first place. I started running. I saw the sky light up in flames. And as if the sun itself was brought down on us, we were all surrounded in flames.
    I AM THE FRICKIN' ARCH-MAGE OF THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE!!
    Have a sword in your face!

    God damn these facts getting in the way of my succes!!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Martin JF's Avatar
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    Part 3: Interruptions

    Ventar took a sip of mead. Bathor looked at him with wide eyes. “Surrounded by flames you say… But you are still here, are you not? How is such a thing possible?” Now every visitor to The Swimming Drake had gathered around their table to hear his story. “I don’t know,” Cretor answered. “I can make many guesses, but I doubt I will never know for sure. I passed out and did not wake up before the inferno had come to an end” He took another sip. “Why did you just stand there?” a man in the back blurted out. “Why did you stay there for so long?” Ventar considered this for a moment, but then he just shrugged.
    “I guess in the end everyone is obsessed with destruction in one way or another.” Everyone seemed to consider this for a moment, and when Ventar realized that answer would not satisfy, he continued. “Honestly, I think I just wanted to say how it all would turn out. I am sure you all can relate in one way or another.” This was met by nods of approval and the crowd started muttering among themselves.
    “That’s enough questions!” Talvor said in a jolly roar, still in his thick Lytheni accent. “I have a feeling you’re not done telling your story.” Ventardrank the last of the mead, and seemed to consider leaving it at that. He had more than earned his coin, judging by the size of the crowd. But something in him made him go on… “You’re right. My story does not end there”

    Part 4: The survivor

    I woke up among the ashes of my home. The dim moonlight showed me that about half of the city was gone, but now the fire was gone. It was almost completely dark except for the embers among the ruins. The air was filled by the foul smell of burnt flesh. Every muscle in my body ached, and I started coughing violently after swallowing a handful of ash the wind had whipped up. I cleared my throat enough so that I could breathe and finally gathered enough strength to stand up. It was then the shouts broke the silence. “Survivor! There’s a survivor!” I started looking around franticly. The light from the lantern blinded me and prevented me to from seeing who they were, but I felt safe.

    They lowered their lantern and I saw the five armed men. They were obviously soldiers, though at the time I could just see dark shapes through the darkness and the ash the wind had kicked up. I could hear them discuss among themselves, but the howling winds swallowed the words and spat out sounds that were not part of any real language. I could see the shapes move, and it didn’t take long before they had surrounded me like hungry wolves surround a prey before they strike. I tried to speak, but I could not make a sound. The ash and the smoke had broken my voice completely. “Who are you,” I heard one of the shapes shout. I did not answer. I tried to show them some sort of sign that I was not their enemy, but there was no use. I heard the noise of quick footsteps approaching, and before I could react I felt a blunt object in the back of my head and the world went black.

    Part 5: Captured

    I was woken by a shower of cold water. Without even bothering to think about where I could be I started franticly attempting to swallow some of the cold water. I managed to get a few drops down before the man with the bucket dragged me out of my dark cell, put me in a chair and chained me to it. “Why am I here?” I muttered. My throat still hurt, but at least now I could speak. “Why have you taken me here? My wife… Is she alive?” The man answered by punching me. It wasn’t an especially hard punch, but it was enough to make a real impact on my weak and aching body. “I am the one who will ask the questions, not you,” he spat at me. I recognized the type of person he was instantly. Someone who was obsessed with the concept of having power over another human being usually got a job like this. “Do you understand what I’m saying?” He pretty much spat the words at my face. I answered with a simple nod. “Good. How did you survive the fire?” Judging by his accent, I was still in Ellos. I considered the possible things I could say carefully, though I will admit that my mind was scattered. “I do not know. An act of the gods, perhaps.” The answer did not seem to satisfy him. “The gods, eh? Why would they save you? I say you caused the fire!” The accusations hit in the face harder than his punch had. “Someone who causes fires like that would probably know how to live through it, don’t you think? And you were the only survivor!” No other survivors… Tears started crawling down my cheek. He punched me again. It was a harder punch this time, and my vision started getting blurry. “Tell me you bastard! Why did you do it?” He roared, and I looked for an answer that would give me a chance to be free.
    “I didn’t do..” Another punch to the face. “Answer my questions, scum! Why did you do it?” He roared at me. He didn’t have any interest in listening to me. There was yet another punch, and then I lost my temper.
    “No, you listen to me you dimwit!” At least this seemed to get his attention. “I was caught in the fire just like everyone else! I saw two women talk in the streets. They fought. One of them caused this. Now, fuck off and find someone who has more intelligence than a rock or your superiors will never hear the things I have to tell them.” The man seemed to consider punching me again, but at least there was hesitation now. “And if you punch me one more time I will do everything in my power to see you hang!” The man took the light with him and left me in the darkness. Luckily the man was not bright enough to realize that I had no power whatsoever.
    I AM THE FRICKIN' ARCH-MAGE OF THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE!!
    Have a sword in your face!

    God damn these facts getting in the way of my succes!!

  3. #3
    Senior Member Martin JF's Avatar
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    Part 6: The Mission

    “I am so terribly sorry,” High Lord Wymer of Ellos said while obviously faking the apologetic tone of his voice. “But you must understand the reasons we did as we did, considering the circumstances. I hope the servants have done their best to make it up to you, though I do apologize for our interrogators behavior. We will make sure he is disciplined appropriately.” I nodded. The servants had taken good care of me indeed, and I could hardly feel the pain at all. “It is all in the past, my lord,” I said as politely as I could. This was the best way to treat this kind of person. You couldn’t be blunt, you had to be soft spoken and slowly get to the point. “I expect you’re going to let me go, then?” He answered this with a smile. “I am afraid that it is outside of my power to do so,” he answered. It was obviously bullshit. If he wanted to he could let me go on my merry way on no one would dare to question his decision. “I want you to go to the ruins along with some of my men and look for whatever the elf was searching for. And what you have told me seems to be true. Scorched corpses have been seen walking through the ruins. Some say they seem to be looking for something. A weapon, perhaps.” Wymer seemed excited. Possibly because of the chance the army of Ellos would get a new toy to play with. “And you have the most experience of anyone dealing with these matters. Make sure you find whatever it is before they do.” There was an unspoken threat there. If our little mission failed, Wymer would not hesitate to see me with a noose around my neck. I sighed. “I guess I’m going back to Tycer then”

    We rode from the fort they had kept me. It didn’t take more than an hour before we could see the remains. The entire city was abandoned now, even those who lived in parts not harmed by the fire had left to avoid the deadly ash winds. It gave us a lot of alternative in the choice of headquarters, and the other men did not hesitate to grab food and valuables the previous inhabitants had left behind in their panic. I considered protesting, but decided it wouldn’t do any good. They would steal and loot no matter what he said, and I was just a glorified prisoner after all. We spent most of the first day for reconnaissance and strategizing. The scouts had confirmed the existence of the walking dead searching the ashes, and the soldiers were eager to start fighting. They wanted to be known as heroes, saving Ellos from an army of corpses. They wanted to prove themselves to Wymer, so he would promote them to the rank of Lionheart, the highest rank a soldier in Ellos could ever hope to reach. They were a bunch of loud brutes, and I was hardly noticed at all. On the upside, I ate better than most of them. Wymer wanted to keep an eye on me at all times, so I ate at his table. He kept on bragging on how he had risen from a poor farmer to a Lionheart and then become a High Lord. He must have told me that story a dozen times that night, and it became more and more ridiculous each time he told it. Then it was time. As the sun had completely gone below the horizon we had finished our meal the scouts came in shouting. “I think they found something! We need to act now or it might be too late.” It was obvious Wymer had expected at least another day before things became urgent. “Alright, tell the men to get ready. We will attack as soon as we possibly can.” He left the room to get ready, and I did the same. I had hoped for daylight, and the ash winds would be especially harsh right now, but it was going out there or going to the gallows.

    Part 7: The Discovery

    We saw the group of undead way before they saw us. They were standing in a circle around an object that gave off a faint glow, just bright enough that we could see them through the ash storm. I realized they were guarding it. Waiting patiently for their leader to come and collect it. Wymer made a gesture, and the soldiers approached the circle of skeletons obediently. I stayed behind and simply observed as the soldiers prepared to strike. They all attacked at the same time, and within moments there were only a pile of bones left. The soldiers stared at the object. Wymer made a gesture to tell me to go over there. I realized he wanted me to pick up the object, so if it was anything dangerous it would not hurt his men. I went over and looked at the object. A beautiful dagger, with a white blade which looked like as if it was made from the tooth of a great beast and a handle adorned with a glowing green gem. I picked the object up, and could feel a tingling sensation run up my arm. Wymer let me hold to it for a second to make sure nothing bad would happen before he made me hand it to him.

    Suddenly there were screams. A soldier burst into flames and the others were scattered in panic. There was no longer any sign of the discipline they had shown just minutes earlier. Wymer tried to shout something to calm them, but his voice could not be heard over the words carried by the storm. “Drop the artifact,” the voice said. Majiya was here to collect the dagger. “Or I swear you will die screaming!” Wymer dropped the dagger but only in order to grab his own sword. He looked around franticly and saw the grey skinned woman in the distance. He charged towards her. She gathered fire in her hands and threw it towards him, but she missed. The storm raged even more furiously now, and I saw an opportunity to get away. I grabbed the dagger, and I am not ashamed to say that I left them all to die.
    I AM THE FRICKIN' ARCH-MAGE OF THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE!!
    Have a sword in your face!

    God damn these facts getting in the way of my succes!!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Martin JF's Avatar
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    Part 8: The Darkness

    The crowd was speechless. Ventar had stopped talking now, but it was obvious that they wanted more. “What happened next,” a boy that was way too young to be in this kind of establishment said. Ventar smiled a bit. “I’m afraid that is nothing too exciting. I stole one of the horses and rode for several days. I stopped in Shold, sold the dagger and took a ship to get here. That is all.” They all seemed satisfied by this, and none more than Talvor and Bathor. “By the gods, that’s quite the story!” Bathor roared. “You gave us a story, so it is only fair that we give you your payment!” He handed Ventar a handful of gold and silver. He had only begun counting his new riches as the entire Drake went dark. There were screams, and then one by one they were all silenced. Ventar felt something hot get in his face. Someone grabbed him, and he could feel the cold steel on his throat. The blade did not cut through his skin, however. Instead, they put him into a barrel. He did not scream, as he knew that if he did they would not hesitate to kill him.

    He felt dizzy. If it was from the mead or being rolled around in a barrel, he did not know. He settled for a little bit of both, but was nevertheless relieved to be out. He could hear the sound of waves and he felt the ground move beneath him. The attackers had taken him to a cabin in the ship without ever saying a word. He looked into the mirror and suddenly felt sick. He grabbed a piece of wet cloth from a bucket and tried franticly to get the blood off his face, but he could not quite do it before he threw up. He gave up, and instead just decided to lie down in the cabin bed.

    A woman holding a bloody knife entered the cabin. If he had any energy left, Ventar might have tried to attack her. “You…” Ventar struggled to say the words. “You killed them.” He felt sick again. The woman looked sad. “It had to be done. When I heard you mention this weapon… We want nothing less than peace, and preventing something like this to reach the hands of an opponent is critical.” She sounded genuinely saddened. “In the end, their lives might have paid for countless lives across all of Balor. We just could not risk anyone else having knowledge of this.” This didn’t make Ventar feel better at all. “So what do you want, huh? Know where I sold the dagger so that you can slit my throat too?” The woman was about to answer, but was interrupted by someone else entering the cabin. “Lyra. Leave,” the man said. “But Lance, I…” The man did not seem angry, but determined. “Leave.” Lyra did as he said. Lance wore a mask, so he could only see his eyes, but there was obvious sadness there. “You have my word you we will not hurt you. We would not have killed anyone if we did not think it was necessary,” Lance said. “We need to get this dagger to prevent any more incidents like Tycer. You of all people should understand.” Lance did not even wait for a response before he left the cabin. Ventar threw the bucket at the wall in anger.

    Part 9: The Promise

    Lyra came early in the morning to wake Ventar up. “We have food.” It seemed like Ventar did not hear her at first, but followed her out of the cabin nevertheless. “I am sorry we could not meet under better circumstances,” Lyra said. “But it was necessary.” This was too much for Ventar to take. “It was necessary to slaughter dozens of people like pigs? Fuck you, and fuck whatever twister moral code you follow!” He pretty much roared at her. “You couldn’t even look them in the eye! You needed to hide in the bloody darkness, not even giving them a damn chance!” Now there were tears. They both started crying. “We would not have done it if me and my owls thought it was not for the greater good,” she said, trying her hardest to keep back her tears. Ventar did not even try. “Can you please just shut up and show me were the food is?” His voice was trembling now. “I am sick of death. I just want to show you were the damn dagger is so I can be left alone.”


    They arrived in Shold a week later. “We just need you to show us where you sold the dagger. Then we will let you go and give you your payment for the story. In addition we will give you a gold coin for each life lost inside The Drake,” Lance said. Ventar had started to like Lance. He showed the way through the streets until they found the shop. Lance went inside, well Ventar waited outside. He could have tried to run, but he knew that Lyra’s owls were watching him. Lance left the store with an aura of disappointment surrounding him. “He has already sold it.” Ventar could feel that there was something Lance didn’t tell him. “Did he tell you who he sold it to? Maybe you can track her down?” Ventar didn’t say this to help, but because he wanted to get out of the mess he was in. Lance sighed. “He said he had sold it to a lovely young lady with grey skin…” They both knew exactly what this meant. “Having that dagger might have been enough to keep Vozit out of this mess.” They both started walked back to the ship. “So what happens now?” Ventar asked. There was tension in the air. “Now,” Lance said. “Now Vozit needs to prepare for war”

    “Hand. I bring you grave news.” Lance had not looked forward to saying these words. “The Shadow forces have gotten their hands on the Tooth.” The Hand seemed to consider this. “I will make sure to inform the King. And what about the man who informed us of the whereabouts of the Tooth? You made a promise, did you not? That you would not harm him?” The Hand said. A shadow fell over Lance’s face. “I did make him a promise. I had to break it. What he knew would endanger Vozit” The Hand smiled. “Good. The more factors we can eliminate the better.” Lance left when he hear this. Hearing Ventar yell at Lyra had made him think. He needed some time for himself now. What he had done had been one of the hardest things he had ever done. Peace at all costs… But what good is peace if it comes at the price of the blood of the people that the least deserve it.
    I AM THE FRICKIN' ARCH-MAGE OF THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE!!
    Have a sword in your face!

    God damn these facts getting in the way of my succes!!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Martin JF's Avatar
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    Epilogue: Ashes

    Majiya handed the Dragon’s Tooth to the Man of Shadows. “You disappoint me, Majiya. Tell me, how did those puny humans manage to delay you so much?” Majiya did not show her anger. “Frostmire has managed to get her hands on a crystal. And the Lionheart only distracted me enough so that one of his friends could run away. It doesn’t matter anyways, now does it? We got Rothem his new toy. I expect that you will keep your end of the bargain.” The Man of Shadows seems to be amused by this. “You know I always keep my word, Majiya. Yes, I will tell Rothem to let you access the Library.” Majiya seemed pleased by this. “However,” The Man of Shadows continued. “I expect you to take care of any other human who possesses the crystals. They continue being troublesome.” This time it was Majiya’s time to be amused. “Do you doubt my powers? I swear, I will only take care of them. What I did at Tycer was just the beginning. When I am done, all of Balor will be nothing but a Kingdom of Ashes.

    The end
    I AM THE FRICKIN' ARCH-MAGE OF THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE!!
    Have a sword in your face!

    God damn these facts getting in the way of my succes!!

  6. #6
    Senior Member Jo3yb0i's Avatar
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    Great story bro. I like the storyteller's point of view. =]
    "Try and try until you die...or succeed...whichever comes first"

    Jo3yb0i - Knight of Dark and Light
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Martin JF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jo3yb0i View Post
    Great story bro. I like the storyteller's point of view. =]
    heh, thank you I wanted to try to do something very different from what I usually write. It didn't really work out this time, but I'm glad you enjoyed it :P
    I AM THE FRICKIN' ARCH-MAGE OF THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE!!
    Have a sword in your face!

    God damn these facts getting in the way of my succes!!

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