A/N: So here we go... Another try at this tome. I'll say right now, there are going to be HUGE breaks between chapters, as I'm putting heart and soul into this, to make it the best that I can. I've done too little of that in my time, settling for half of what I want, simply because I didn't know what that was. Now I do. I want action, I want blood, and I want this. This story has been my goal, haunting my dreams, and occasionally my nightmares. With some help from fellow authors, and a lot of good advice, I feel I can try to tackle this again. One of the most helpful reviews I got when this last existed would appear negative at a glance, and even disheartening. Now, I'm thankful for it. It was probably the best review I've ever recieved, as it gave me the insight I needed to do better, and the drive to make this what it's going to be.
Another revision. Heh, made a minor error in the semi intro thing that goes at the beginning of every chapter, under the title. Lisa pointed out that it would work more with semi-colons to prevent confusion, so that was a big help. (Thanks, Lis.) Anyways, I'm hoping this is the last time I have to do this, (For this chapter, at least.) But I won't cross my fingers on that.
The Saga Of The Isdrian Book
Pages of Nightmare
Prologue: Bogs Of The Mind
A one-eyed leader, looking to free his race from the fear that surrounds them; A lowly goblin footsoldier, desperately looking to find meaning in this life; Two dragonman brothers, One with a grudge on the past, and another who is fearful of the future; A hulking armoured beast with the strength of twenty men who simply desires an end to the chaos; A massive frozen wyrm whose only goal is the protection of the nation that spawned it; A mysterious figure, who's intentions will rock the entire planet. The opposing will of several protagonists, and the secret desires of a mystery antagonist are all bound to one thing: The Isdrian Book, and the secret to magic itself.
Alive with the buzz of life, the abandoned citadel seemed out of place in the sunken bog. It stood on a lonely patch of solid ground, surrounded by swaying reeds and calm, foreboding water. Occasionally, a frog would croak out his song to the moist spring air and then depart back beneath the rippling surface. Inside the church was not so different than the outside. Overgrown with vines and swamp flowers, the interior was as magnificent as the area around it.
It had once been a great place of worship, as was obvious. Stained glass windows depicted the stages of the moon, and the wooden pews sat in silent observation of a nonexistant service. Then, a noise was heard from the upper corner of the room, and a figure that had sat as silent as the pews themselves shifted his weight.
He let out a sigh of irritation before getting to his feet; a movement which caused his regal armour to lightly protest it. Shadorsis stood in the peaceful center of the holy place, his single eye upturned and in close observation of the sunlight filtering through the glass. He turned his cycloptic gaze to the large altar upon the dias before making a brisk stride for the double doors.
It was then they creaked open, and the bedraggled, cloaked figure entered. Shadorsis, two metres from the door, paused to scoff. "Really. Do you lack the fortitude to come to me as you are, and not in the shell of another?" The towering being demanded, crossing his powerful arms across an equally formidable chest. "Perhaps you would earn my respect more with an ounce of decency."
The man in the shroud stared blankly ahead, but his voice rung out nonetheless. "I do not fear you, Malidant, but I have much to attend to. Suiting your needs is none of my concern." The man reached into the cloak and withdrew a scroll. Without a flinch he handed it to the eight foot beast, who snatched it from his hands.
The creature's head darted back up as he finished scanning over the words, and caused the four spines atop his skull to sway lightly. "You wish me to raid an ancient city to collect you a book?" Shadorsis practically spit. His yellow eye lost it's dignity, and began to make him look as one of his appearance usually would seem: Quite imposing.
Again, the man did not move, even in the face of the armoured monster's rage. "Indeed. That is exactly what I want. You will collect it, kill however many you like, and bring it to me after the shock dies down." The man took his scroll back from Shadorsis' hands. "Besides, your grudge with the elves is not unknown."
"My grudge with the elves?" Shadorsis roared, and his right arm arched forth, rocking the smaller being with a backhand. "You generalise our race, belieiving that just because my forefathers waged war with those of elven-kind, I should do the same. You have shown me nothing this day that would make me assist you. All I have seen is a stereotypical outlook upon a carnivorous race."
The cloaked figure sighed, as if not even scathed by the violent strike."You're only making yourself fall victim to the stereotype by becoming angry. Now, there are bonuses to doing this. I will strive to make the Malidant a distinguished race, and maybe this seclusion and alienation can end for your... People." The man placed an arm on the large wooden doorframe. "You're bound to it, I can see this. No matter how much pride you hold; You have no choice."
Shadorsis shuddered with violent anger, but quelled it. When he spoke, his voice was low and forced. "I have worked so hard upon obliderating the fear and hatred of our race. We have averted our tastes from human flesh to smaller animals, and have taken steps to cook and prepare the food. All under my rule. I have worked my whole life to mingle into the races of Terras, and I see no reason to waste all that effort by accepting your bribe."
"Face it, flesh-eater, you will never do this without my help. The reality; The Malidant are a ghost story to small elven children, a fireside tale of terror to human hunters, and the bane of our continent. Your only hope is my recognition." The cloaked magister gave a half-smile. The Malidant could be shown reason with his words.
It was then Shadorsis darted forward, the massive monster moved with the grace and speed of a being much smaller than himself. His great blade was in his powerful right hand, his wrist curled to swing the guillotine edged darksword in a sweeping arc. The cloaked figure cried out as the razored edge of the seven foot blade licked toward him, glinting with the promise of blood.
And as suddenly as the blade made it's deadly trip, it ended, bare centimetres from the neck of the small set man. The blank, staring eyes were wide, and they looked up at the towering Malidant with fear and surprise. Shadorsis was smiling, an intelligence and pride sparkled in his single eye. "I will assist you. However, it will be on my own terms. One of these, is you will not address me as a snarling, blood-thirsty monster. I have proved to you now, that I am not. I could have lopped off your thick skull and painted the floors with your blood, but I never intended to. I will kill only as many as I must, as I have just stated, I am no monster, as hideous as I may appear to yourself."
A rattled, stricken man attempted to regain his dignity. He had shown vulnerablity to the Malidant King, and forgotten that he was in the shell of another. The sight of ArcaneFarewell, that damnable blade shrieking toward him had made him forget his place. "It would have done you no good. This is a human puppe-" He began, only to be cut off.
"Tell yourself that, for you seem to have forgotten. I have told you, I will help. Now, my main condition. I can take whatever I want from the great library of Isdriash. Books, artifacts... Whatever catches my eye." Shadorsis smiled, aware of the subtle joke. "And another, if I do this, all I have strived for will be shattered; Malidania will be considered mutual enemies with all of Terras once again. Tell me why I should risk this."
"This is alright... Nothing else is of any signifigance to my purpose. Only the locked book." The scarecrow-like man whispered, still pale from his near decapitation. "I will make sure the blame does not fall on you, but this is mostly your decision. I mean, if there were any survivors to see what occured... I would not be responsible for what could be said..."
Shadorsis understood instantly, and while not pleased about the vice he had trapped himself in, did not protest. Instead, he wished to satisfy another of his questions. "Of your 'purpose'. I have yet to be told what this is. What is so important about this book you would have me kill for?" Shadorsis asked. He had his hands cupped over the end of his great darksword's hilt, the blade balanced upon the stone ground.
"Why, Shadorsis! What is more important than world peace?" The musical voice of the small cloaked man sung out. "Peace will only be achieved with the screaming of a thousand souls, King of Malidania. You of all people should understand this." Shadorsis' own soul gave a warning, a twinge of fear at the multiple meanings of what the being said so casually. However, he had no choice. To back out now would destroy everything. Besides, he had some plans of his own.
"I understand my task. Now get out of my marsh." Shadorsis raised an arm and pointed a single, clawed finger at the doors. The robed figure happily obliged, scurrying off into the sunlit bog, and vaulting himself into a small wooden boat. Taking an oar in hand, he began to row furiously. He looked back only once, to see Shadorsis' eye following him, an amused smirk had taken control of his features. The man shuddered. He noted that the whole time, the beast had held that great blade in one hand.
Nonetheless, he knew that the pride of the creature was the key to controlling him, as Shadorsis' mind was deeper than his brutal figure let on. The Malidant would obey the mage, however. He knew this. Shadorsis was concerned for his race, and would grasp any chance to help it, and these beliefs would be his strings to pull. And when the time came, he would quite literally pull the eight foot five inched Malidant King, by the mental strings. After all, a monster was a monster.
A/N: If I must say, this has been a tad more productive than the last time through this. I have a very clear idea of Shadorsis' character, not to mention the rest of them. Maybe Shadorsis' is the most indepth so far, the other appearing character shows a bit of depth. Considering nothing is known of him, besides he has a bit of an ego, nothing can be speculated much. I DO have plans for him; He's not just a faceless nothing.
Now, I won't promise to update soon. For as I said, I'm going to spend long periods of time on each chapter, making my characters believable, along with developing plot efficiently and doing the best I can at this. Thanks for giving my works your valuable time. Please, drop a review on your way out, but don't trouble yourself too much.
P.S: I notice there is a semi info-dump at the beginning... I apologise if it may off put readers, but I felt describing the scenery at least a little bit would help to create the mood. I'll try to moderate those as much as I can, but I'm a descriptive reader; I like to see that description, as long as it accompanies some form of plot, and isn't meaningless and out of place. At the beginning of a section, descriptions can be rather nice for opening up, but again, I won't try and kill you with them. Thanks again.