Hey folks. Finally got the time to fire off a couple new chapters for this and Revolver. Don't got much to say except, if you read something, doesn't it make sense to review it, whether you liked it or not? Just a thought. I'm just getting tired of all these hits and no reviews. Anywho, 'nuff bitchin' on my part. Enjoy the chapter.
The Saga Of The Isdrian Book
Book One :
Pages Of Nightmare
Chapter Five : Escape From Isdri
Tahl was unafraid as Shadorsis stalked into the room, even at the sight of the great bloody blade clutched in the Malidant's fingers. Only four clawed fingers and a thumb needed to support such a monstrous weapon. He had never seen the like of that zweihander, though he knew of it. A darksword, as it was called. There were three apparently, but Tahl had never wanted to encounter one. For hadn't he dreamed of this? Yes, he thought he had. The great feeling of dejá vu sunk into him, and Tahl had no regrets. Did that not mean one was on the right path?
Shadorsis halted before the fat king, a good six metres away. He seemed to scoff, and Tahl did not blame him. What was he at now, perhaps 250 rocks? Needless to say, he was not an impressive sight. Shadorsis' eye happened upon the exquisite rapier in Tahl's hands, and the respect came. The sword was almost as old as Tahl was, and Tahl prided it. It was not really a rapier, it was more of a sabre. It possessed the protective cup around the handle as rapier's had, but there the resemblance ended. The blade was long and flat, with a razored edge along the front edge and small spines along the back, for deadly gashes and defensive purposes.
Shadorsis nodded his approval to the king's blade. "Looks a good sword." The Malidant said simply.
"As is yours." Tahl complimented in return. Shadorsis smiled and looked at ArcaneFarewell.
"This? Yes, it has been with me often. More than I'd have liked, at times. Would you challenge it?" Shadorsis asked, and pointed the darksword's glittering arc at the elf. A single drop of crimson expanded on the underside of the blade and fell to the ground witha faint plop. Tahl recognized Shadorsis' face. He had seen the same burning rage and intelligence in the paintings of Mortrit Cevalion, the the Malidant king who had waged war against Zeideroth when Tahl's father was young.
"I may." Tahl said. "But first I would like to hear why you are doing this."
Shadorsis sighed in frustration. He had explained this too many times today. The next fool to enquire such of him would join the rest who had asked. "I want a book, King. That was all. A tiny harmless book. Are you all so willing to bleed for that?" He snapped.
"Are you so willing to shed blood for that?" Tahl asked innocently.
"Not for the book, King. For the insolence of you and all your kind. You think me a bloodthirsty monster? Then that I can be, but it can end. The book I need is black-"
"I don't need to hear what your book looks like, Shadorsis. You're not getting it either way." Tahl stated bluntly.
Shadorsis twitched momentarily and spoke again. "It does not matter if you try and stop me, I will cut through you and find-"
Tahl again cut him off. "I'm not going to try and stop you, Malidant, but you will not get what you want here."
Shadorsis swallowed and controlled his shuddering rage. "And how is that?" He managed through his gritted razors of teeth.
"Like this." Tahl said, and before Shadorsis could ask Tahl what indeed he was doing, crimson flames burst from the elf's body and sprayed in a massive arc, Shadorsis raised his barrier with a smile, but then realized the flames were not going towards him. They were going towards all the books.
"No! You bastard! You pointy-eared arrogant, dog-in-the-manger elf!" The Malidant King roared. Tahl's spell ended and the elf crumpled, sweating buckets of green fluid. The flames caught on the papers and fed hungrily. The ancient books fuelled the fire astoundingly, and within five seconds the Great Isdrian Library was an inferno. With sick shock Shadorsis noted whatever type of flame Tahl had used, the obsidian was catching fire as well. He sprinted to the elf, who lay motionless in a pool of Magirust. Shadorsis saw his eyes move as he drew near and launched a vicious kick into the fat king's gut. Tahl rolled over wordlessly, beyond pain.
Shadorsis kneeled over the king and grabbed him by his regal shirt. He shook him heavily. "Reverse it!" He roared into Tahl's dying face. "Do it now!"
"Even if I could I wouldn't." Tahl coughed. "Do what you will, monster." Tahl died smiling.
With a scream of rage, and perhaps fear, Shadorsis clutched the hilt of Arcane Farewell in both hands, drew it behind his back, and drew it down in a singing arc to the throat of the dead elf.
-Four hours later-
Rahniliss struggled to keep up with Dragaurza, a little grudgingly. Elves were credited with agility and speed, yet the armoured dragonman was easily outdistancing him. The only reason Rahniliss was not lost was the fact that Dragaurza would occasionally stop for him, and he could see the glint of his armour easily. He wondered if they were anywhere near the coast yet. Rahniliss again caught up with the lean Commander and for the third time tried to stir conversation.
"Why do you suppose the Malidant attacked?" He panted, out of breath as he he struggled to match Dragaurza's pace. They had made camp two hours and had only left a few minutes ago. Even with the rest, Rahniliss quickly became worn out in his struggle to follow the Commander.
The black dragonman gave no sign of hearing him, when he finally spoke, Rahniliss was confused.
"Jump." He muttered.
"What?" Rahniliss exclaimed, and was promptly tripped by a fallen log. He hit the earth face first and sputtered.
"I advise you spend less time talking and more time listening." Dragaurza pointed out and one ebon arm reached down to pluck the elf to his feet. Rahniliss scowled at the Commander's words, but Dragaurza ignored him.
"Where are we going after we get out of these woods, Commander Blackgate?" The prince asked. He acknowledged the importance of making tracks, but he felt he had to know.
"Didn't you hear me?" Dragaurza growled, but went on before Rahniliss could respond. "Lostrinz. I know somebody there."
"And this somebody can get us back to Zeideroth in one piece?" Rahniliss asked skeptically.
Dragaurza's eyes clouded momentarily and he shook his head. "I doubt it. But he could provide us with a roof and food. Might provide us." Dragaurza added as an ominous afterthought.
"Wait, what do you mean might! To get to Lostrinz takes a day's walk southeast! If we get turned back so far out of our way, don't you think it may be an inconvenience?!" Rahniliss almost shouted.
"Shut up!" Dragaurza snapped at him and Rahniliss recoiled insulted.
"Oh, amazing! Now you're insulting me. I can see how well this trek is going to-"
"For the sake of the Three Dragons, shut you're fucking mouth!" Dragaurza hissed and motioned towards their right. Rahniliss silenced and he heard the steady cracking of branches. This was new. On the way in, only the birds had been singing. There was very little signs of other animals. Rahniliss had seen some deer tracks and feces, but no sign of any of them. The Black Woods of Isdri were ancient, and the animals shied from them.
Now Rahniliss could only imagine what horror awaited them now. He drew his rapier, aware of how little it would do against some great beast. "Hold off, friends!" Came a voice with an accent Rahniliss faintly recognized. Three men came from the bushes, but they were not men, exactly. Their skin was a waxy green color and their hair was long and black. Goblins they were, and Rahniliss realized with relief these were the guards that his father had requested from Goblazea. Three? Thought Rahniliss. Three goblins to defend us? It seemed rather ludicrous to him.
The one in front was about six feet tall, average height for a goblin, and his eyes were a smokey blue. Fine black stubble covered most of his chin and cheeks, and his lank hair was tied back in a pony-tail. He raised his right arm and placed his index and his middle finger beneath his chin in the suit of the Irin army. "Hail, Prince Rahniliss. My name is Gorith Svenza, Vriekti in the Goblin army. With me are Goula Grey and Rekrig Sigli, Blazkern, or elites."
"Hail." Rahniliss said and returned the salute. "I am the Prince, and this is Commander Blackgate."
Dragaurza nodded and observed the trio in amusement. He knew the goblin terminology. Blazkern was in fact elites, yes, but Vriekti was goblin for pawn, and was used to rank footsoldiers. Yet this Vriekti was clearly the leader. One could not stand in the presence of the hazey eyed goblin and not feel his intelligence and charisma. He felt he would find out the specifics later. "Very well, Gorith. We may make camp, if you're tired. No offense, but you three don't look exactly fresh." Dragaurza indicated.
They really didn't. Cuts and scratches covered their eldritch faces and their hair was matted with sweat. Dragaurza was surprised when all three responded with urgency. "No camp!" Gorith almost howled. "We have to get out of these woods! Now!"
Dragaurza eyed him. "I understand the importance of escaping the Malidant, but we have a significant head-start. If he were to follow-"
"Fuck the Malidant!" The tall lank goblin called Goula screeched and raised his arms skyward, a motion that caused the numerous steel orbs on his belt to ring together pleasantly. "It's the dragon we fear! That ice-wyrm!"
Dragaurza jolted violently, remembering the picture in the book that was still clasped in his right hand. He remembered the sheer size of the beast in comparison to the city below. No, nothing like that could possibly exist... Could it? "Ice dragon?" Dragaurza managed.
"Yes! The creature crawled from the ruins of Isdriash when we came to it. It was twice the size of the blazing library..." Rekrig shuddered convulsively and seemed to calm himself. He looked quite young, but was very soft-spoken and calm. "I've seen dragons before, Commander, but none so sheerly immense. It was as if a God had awoken to smite the very Earth."
The picture that was forming in the minds of both Dragaurza and Rahniliss caused the shudder to spread. The Isdrian Library was easily the second tallest structure in Terras, next only to the Archage Tower, the citadel of magic itself. Any creature that size... Would be truly terrifying. "What do you mean by ice dragon, and how did you survive an encounter with it?" Rahniliss asked, confused and a bit frightened.
Gorith spoke again, his face gaunt and pale. "It was a bright, blinding blue. Chunks of ice grew from parts of it's body like the spines of regular dragons, except five times the size. It was as if icebergs sprouted from it's very flesh." He looked skyward in terror as a bird fluttered overhead. "How we survived?" He chuckled then, a cold, dead noise. "Prince Rahniliss, we ran, and ran, and fucking ran."
Heeding the goblin's warning, they moved on quickly. Tired as he was, Rahniliss had little trouble keeping up with the group now. Mostly because Dragaurza had slowed his pace to accomodate the goblins as well as Rahniliss. He still remained at the head of the pack, of course. Rahniliss had the feeling Dragaurza would remain ahead of everyone else for most of his life. It was one of the reasons he was one of the only two non-elves to be appointed to such high positions.
The first of these non-elves being the most powerful man on Terras, the half Shaded elf Henrit Umbrin. Dragaurza was a known face amongst the people of Zeideroth, but not everybody liked having a dragonman rank above them. Elves had always been an elitist race, shamed as he was to admit it. He himself was prone to arrogance if he didn't stop himself and reflect upon his actions every now and then. So, while most of his kind would be bitter about following behind the Commander, Rahniliss took it as a compliment.
He was able to acknowledge that what Dragaurza had achieved was real. He had not bought his way into the Zeideran Forces. He had come from the virtually nonexistant town of Lostrinz and worked his way up through the ranks. This combined with his being dragonman, was a real feat, and if one could not respect at least that, their heads were likely quite far up their own arses.
Dragaurza suddenly halted, which caused the tall goblin, Goula, behind him to nearly stumble into him. Rahniliss had not yet decided what to make of this crew. Goula seemed bright, if not a trifle eccentric. His eyes were constantly twitching about as he observed the forest around him, but he seemed to be imagining rather than studying. His eyes were those of a creator, not a warrior. Like an artist or a musician. His hair was shorter than the other two, coming to rest at the nape of his neck as opposed to his shoulders. He was taller than Gorith, maybe being 6'2 or 6'3.
He was a comical figure, no doubt, and the devices he carried with him struck Rahniliss as mysterious and strange. The steel orbs tied to his belt, the strange spiked steel bits that were attached to a belt around his chest, and the odd-shaped steel object protruding from a small sheathe on his belt. He assumed it was a dagger, but it was a very odd shape, and the sheathe gave no evidence that it ended in a blade. Goula caught him looking and smiled.
"Like her?" He asked and used a finger to tug the device free. He flipped it about his finger and Rahniliss noted it was not a dagger at all but something entirely different. It came to a rest, a long cylindrical tube pointed forward. Behind it was a large cylinder casing. "She's a Malstri Ender. Standard revolver. These babies are top of the line. Also top-secret. Only a few merchants and lords have 'em."
Gorith rolled his eyes and made a noise in his throat, while Regrik simply stared ahead, apparently tuning out the voice of Goula. Dragaurza had turned around to listen, but appeared perturbed about something. "If it's secret why do you have one?" The dragonman asked, out of politeness, Rahniliss guessed.
"Because my friend, I have the connections. I love these new fangled toys. Killing machines that work like a charm. Blast one of these things at someone, and they don't get up." Rahniliss and Dragaurza looked at him, confused.
"So how exactly does it work?" Dragaurza pressed.
"Well, think crossbow. You had your trigger, and when depressed, pressure built up would release the arrow. Now, with this sucker, we have these bullets," Goula paused to hold one up. "You put them in the cylinder, and you lock and load. After that you simply pull the trigger, and the gun does the rest. It uses small scale explosives to drive the bullet forward and it's goobye whoever the hell's in your way."
"Amazing." Rahniliss nodded, impressed.
"Amazing if you're a coward." Dragaurza snorted. Gorith laughed heartily as Goula's face fell.
"Hey, now!" Goula tried to regain his composure. "They're effective! I'd like to see you complain about these babies if you had a crazed Armoroka chasing your ass!" Goula raised one of the steel orbs. "And lets not get into these. They can blow a hole through straight diamond, never mind someone's armour, and certainly never mind flesh."
"I can see how it would help, but at the same time, why not simply fight with your sword? At least retain your dignity." Dragaurza snorted.
Goula snorted. "My friend, with firepower like this, your enemies have no time to even say dignity."
"You do know there's no skill behind that." Dragaurza stated, his crystal eyes glinting dangerously. Rahniliss, sensing quite the dispute, decided to change the subject.
"So how close is the coastline, Commander Blackgate?" He asked, out of breath. Dragaurza gave his gold-plated shoulders a disinterested twitch before clearing the bushes and pointing.
"Fuckin' there." He grumbled, shades of his twin would cause one who knew Drazura to be struck full-on with deja vu. He was right though. Before them stretched the great saphire sea. As blue as the dragonman's own eyes. The waves gently lapped the beach and the sun was setting before them. To their left was the rest of Terras, as the Isdrian Peninsula jutted out a bit from the mainland. The great Dagger Mountains were visible in the distance, barely shrouded in fog and capped with ice and snow. Mt. Shaded loomed behind them all, silently keeping watch over all. Gulls flocked about, but only a few. Normally there would be more, but this day was dark, and the animals knew it.
"Gods in Worlds Beyond..." Rahniliss gasped. The trio of goblins and the apathetic Commander turned to witness the great plume of black raising into the sky like a great tower. It shifted and rolled in the twilight, an icon of despair. Isdriash did in fact burn. Dragaurza gave another uncaring shrug as they all looked on. His mind was on other things. He raised the obsidian book and flipped through it's withered pages, wondering what in the name of Omegas he had become part of.
So at the edge of the coast, with the waves to gently lull them into sleep, they made camp. The goblins, used to outdoor treks, had a fire started quickly from the bordering woods. Nearing exhaustion, the five warrior's gathered around the bonfire, while the smoke from a much larger bonfire blotted out the full moon. Rahniliss shuddered uneasily. There was something missing from the sky tonight. Gorith sat upon a large rock, his hazey eyes stared into those around him. At long last, he broke the crackling silence. "As we're all here, as well as the Prince, I may as well tell you what we came upon at the ruins of Isdriash."
He paused for a moment to take a deep drink from the flask at his feet, which was filled with something Dragaurza suspected wasn't water. He didn't blame the goblin; he looked as though he hadn't slept in weeks. Dragaurza had a feeling he was about to find out why. "As you can see, we were attracted by the smoke; Isdriash was aflame by the time we got there. Needless to say we were confused to say the least. I hate to brag, but with our experience combined, nothing could have slipped past us in those woods."
"Well, there are only three of you." Rahniliss seized the oppurtunity to point out.
Gorith nodded. "And there has been the whole time, but I'll get to that later. The first thing we noticed when we got to Isdriash was the Portal, or lack of. They'd been attacked, and I suppose a few elven soldiers who were exploring the rest of the city were still alive." Gorith sighed and took a deep swig of his flask. "They were gathered around the burning corpses of their fallen comrades, and we hailed them. They claimed a Malidant had attacked the city and departed before they could engage him, and that the King was dead, as well as General Croth."
Dragaurza's obsidian features darkened further, though he already suspected as much. Gorith studied him momentarily before continuing. "I only really took note of the body of the General. Even then, we weren't that close, we were just heading through the gate, and the elves were by the doors. Elven bodies were strewn about this area as well, and we found the gate."
"Yeah." Goula snorted. "Sticking out of the elves' guts."
"Bloody Omega..." Dragaurza groaned.
"I apologize..." Rekrig said simply as he glared at his lank companion. "Sensitivity and discretion have never been Goula's specialty."
"And I take pride in that fact." Goula chuckled. "My specialty is blood, guts and big fucking explosions."
"Shut up, Goula." Gorith said simply before continuing. "But he's right. These dead elves were killed by a barrage of shrapnel, namely the Isdrian Portal. As if this carnage was not enough, true chaos ensued." Gorith looked at the pony-tailed Rekrig, who nodded and picked up.
"The burning city began to shake. At first we thought the Malidant had returned, but then our eyes proved us wrong." He pointed towards the skyline. Rahniliss noticed what was missing: the great black spire of the library. He suddenly didn't want to know the rest of the goblin's story. If the dragon he spoke of toppled that tower, he didn't want to imagine it flying the Terrisian skies. "Before our very eyes the cobbles split apart and the great saphire monstority crawled out, born from the earth like a great hatchling emerging from a massive egg."
"The sheer size of it was enough to drive us to our knees, which we luckily did behind the sunwashed walls. The remaining elves were not so lucky. It's breath froze their very blood, as well as their flesh. They were like statues, covered in crystal stone. Their terrified expressions were magnified and we could see their eyes... Wide and oblivious. The abbatoir of the cobbles is probably still covered in a coat of frost, though it is the middle of Aprel." Sigli withdrew his breath and looked up. "I can only pray it has moved on, for our sakes."
"You have quite the way with words, Blazkern." Dragaurza acknowledged grimly. "You should be a writer."
"Thank you for noticing, Commander. I try." Rekrig Sigli shugged.
"Well then try harder." Dragaurza raised his blue gaze to meet the goblin's own. "You could be something besides one of the war-whores our leaders have made us." Rekrig shrugged and looked down. Gorith raised his eyebrow at the dragonman and prodded the fire with his short-sword.
Rahniliss suddenly stood. "We're going back."
"Bullshit." Dragaurza said calmly and flicked his tail. "You heard them. Everyone's dead."
"But we don't fucking know that!!" The Prince roared. Dragaurza sighed.
"Very well, my Prince, but our lives are now in jeapordy you understand. We'll depart in the morn-"
The dragonman was swiftly cut off. "No, Commander Blackgate, we're going now. If there's a chance my father is still alive, I'm willing to risk our lives." The goblin trio began to watch in growing amusement as Dragaurza rose to his feet. His eyes now blazed with rage.
"Your father couldn't survive a jog up the hill, never mind a Malidant mage and a seventy foot dragon! There's no point in going back to a dead city that's possibly even more dead because of you fucking elves!" Dragaurza finished, his voice shaking violently with barely controlled emotion.
Rahniliss' hand lept to his sabre, but he slid it slowly away. "Well fine, Commander. If that's how you feel, than I, quite possibly the last remaining lineage of the Zeideran line, will go alone." He spun on the heel of his buckled boots and started up the beach towards the ancient trees.
It was then, that Gorith Svenza stood. "Come back Prince. There's nothing but frozen death for you there."
The Prince did indeed spin, spitting with rage. "And what do you know, Vriekti?! A lowly footsoldier is all you are! Who are you to-" He was silenced as the two goblin elites behind Gorith stood and drew their weapons. Goula had cocked the revolver and had it pointed at Rahniliss' head. Rekrig had his sabre in his hands and was ready for combat. It was he who spoke.
"I would not speak of Gorith so, Prince Rahniliss." The soft-spoken goblin whispered dangerously. Dragaurza had his own cutlass drawn and was ready to defend the prince, but he was equally as surprised as Rahniliss.
"Why do you defend him like that?!" Rahniliss choked in anger. "He is below you! You outrank him by three-"
"We do not." Goula interrupted. "Gorith could take each of our heads off if he desired. It is of no fault in his skill that he is Vriekti. In fact, we consider him above our own IrinGruk, never mind you, Prince." The gaunt goblin leered.
Gorith raised a hand. "No, friends. Take your seats." The two begrudgingly obeyed him, sliding their weapons back into their belts. "I apologize for them, and I take no offense at your words, Prince. I am certainly not above you and humby beg forgiveness." Dragaurza breathed a sigh of relief at these words and replaced his own weapon.
"Take it." Rahniliss said, pale and shaking.
Gorith nodded. "Please heed me. Nothing could have survived the onslaught. The wyrm coated everything in thick ice. Even if your father lives, he is condemned to a sub zero fate."
Rahniliss looked at his feet bitterly. "Denying me hope then? Very well, if thats what our world has come to..."
"It's not a question of hope Rahniliss, it's a question of realism." Dragaurza soothed. "Hope can be a guiding light, but it can also be a ball-and-chain. It can weigh you down just when you need to run."
Rahniliss bitterly cast aside his sword. "So my father's possessions, and all the dead..."
"Are going to have to rot." Dragaurza said and placed a hand on the Prince's shoulder.
"Along with the knowledge of Isdriash, and the city itself." A deep, thoughtful voice rang out. The group whirled, weapons ready, as the hulking form of the Malidant King Shadorsis stepped from the bushes.