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Author Topic: Nightfall: World Crisis  (Read 2108 times)

Offline Archdemon Stu

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Nightfall: World Crisis
« on: February 08, 2011, 07:21:06 AM »
This one follows Sethir's journey after Jorumn escapes into the warp, and the heavy consequences the world suffers because of Jorumn's actions.  There are three parts I've written so far, and so that you don't get confused, the chronological order is: Destruction of Abdeel, Jorumn's History on his character sheet, then World Crisis.

Please feel free to leave feedback, comments, or constructive criticism.

________________________________________________________


A month after Jorumn disappeared into the warp, outside of the ancient forest called The Heart of Lumina....

"I'm sorry Ferana." despite her protests throbbing in his memory, Sethir Skybrand prepared for battle. He carved the heads of his arrows carefully and tested them, ensuring they would split into fragments upon impact, then applying a paralyzing venom.  He sharpened his throwing daggers with precision and care, and ensured they were balanced properly to fly.  He swung the Magus Blade about, an artifact recovered from his father's grave at the Cliffs of Ascendancy known to consume harmful magic directed at the wielder.  At his side was Starfall, a bow crafted by high elves-- Azureborn they called themselves-- long ago when Azurigal arrogantly waged war on the other dragon gods and their broods, having been fooled by Hassad's trickery.  In a silver lined scabbard under his sword arm, he had the finely crafted blade he earned from his very first life or death battle.  He donned his bandanna, a small shredded piece of a banner taken from a forward operating high elven base; it marked Sethir and Jorumn's first victory in their quest for revenge against Azurigal. 

Now, with Azurigal dead, there was still one more matter Sethir needed to take care of:  the Arch Druid, Zer Valenhal.  He walked steadily toward his horse, sighing as he recalled Ferana trying to reach out to him one last time earlier that night. 


"You selfish... brigand!" she chastised him.  "Zer is the chosen of Azurigal!  His powers will only grow with his master's death!  You can't hope to--"

"All the more reason to end him now." Sethir interrupted.

"I implore you... Sethir, with time, he can stand against Hassad's legions.  The undead Azurigal's powers won't last without Jorumn here.  Zer's the only hope we have anymore.   Don't do this... the world needs him..." the forest elf's eyes began to water as she put her hand on his cheek, gazing hopefully into his eyes, "...the world needs you."

Sethir leaned in, and snuck one last kiss from Ferana.  She was stunned, emotionally overwhelmed.  Ferana knew she had to stop him-- by force if necessary-- yet she could not bring herself to move as he turned and walked away.  "It was never about the world."


Leaning against his trusty steed, his head bowed in thought, he chuckled.  "Jorumn... what a mess you've caused.  You actually did it, didn't you?" With a single leap, Sethir mounted his horse, and patted her on the back.  "Well Molly, looks like it's up to us to pick up the pieces."  He drew his pipe, promptly lighting it and puffing as though it was his last.  "Care for a puff?" he asked Molly.  Naturally, the horse didn't respond.  "Nah... you're right.  Time's wasting." he amused himself with his dry humor.  With a tap on the horse's side, man and horse disappeared into the gargantuan trees of The Heart of Lumina.

Sethir reached an opening in the massive trees and dismounted.  Before them was a great disc of a smooth white stone.  It was lined with golden elven markings around its edges, and in the center was a wellspring of blessed water that glowed faintly, illuminating the opening in the forest.  Kneeling before the wellspring was Sethir's target... there was no mistaking the long silvery hair of an elder elf, and the decorated longsword carried only by the highest of elven royalty.  His cloak, made of a silk finer than any human traders would even know of, had the symbol of the Azureborn upon it.

"Zer," Sethir announced himself, "turn around.  I want to see your face when you die."

Zer turned his head slightly. "Your stealth is your greatest asset, Skybrand.  You should have utilized it."

"You're not like the others.  You wear your battle gown.  You knew of my approach."

The arch druid stood, and faced Sethir.  "Your father's last request was that I bury him with his sword on the Cliffs of Ascendancy." he bowed his head thoughtfully as he looked at Sethir's sword.  "I see now it was a place he knew you would someday return to, should you live... you now wield the Magus Blade."

"I thought it would only be appropriate for the occasion."

"...Won't you reconsider?  The world is in chaos, thanks to your friend, The Defiler.  Hassad's cults run rampant now, no longer afraid of Azurigal's wrath." he paused momentarily.  "But... the Azureborn... we can still stand against the cultists." He briefly raised a hand and pointed toward Sethir.  "I also understand that you have quite an army yourself, Bandit King.  You have allies in the barbarians to the north as well."

"Solid intelligence."

"Indeed.  But even with all of those combined... we are outnumbered, and now, we lack a god to lead us into battle." He drew his longsword, and cast it to the ground in front of Sethir.  "Should we stand divided, the world we know will be shattered under Hassad's grasp."

Sethir didn't budge.

Zer continued.  "My powers are needed against him.  The light of Azurigal has always been the bane of Hassad's terrible power.  Now, it flows within me... trying to grow... with time, I shall become a demi-god capable of facing the demon.  With our forces united, and Azurigal's light reborn... we can save all that exists within this world."

"...You say you can one day face Hassad, then?"

"I can.  Please reconsider your position."

"Surely, if you can face The Legion himself, then a mortal bandit lord should be no issue." Sethir raised the Magus Blade.  "Now, pick up your sword, or I shall come at you unarmed."

"Come to your senses!" Zer shouted angrily. "Is petty vengeance so important to you that you would watch the world burn?!"

"...Yes."

Sethir dashed toward Zer, making good on his threat.  He swung the Magus Blade at the arch druid, only to have him narrowly duck the blade of the sword.  As the elf brought his head down, his face was met with Sethir's upward flying knee.  Zer recoiled in pain as sky blue blood dripped from his nose; the blood of Azurigal.
Zer's sword was now behind Sethir.  Though he could not harm his assailant directly with magic as long as he wielded the Magus Blade, there were alternatives.  Zer raised his hand quickly, channeling his sword to come toward him, and impale the intruder.  It came swiftly, but Sethir was a step ahead.  In one quick motion he turned and parried, dancing around the blade effortlessly, causing it to spin violently toward its master.  The arch druid skillfully caught his long sword by its handle, but it was too late.  Elven reflexes allowed him to avoid a deadly blow, but a deep chest wound opened as the Magus Blade passed through Zer's flesh.  He stumbled backward into the shallow pool behind him, his blood creating a misty cloud within its glowing waters.
Zer clenched his teeth at the humiliation he was enduring.  His vehemence burst forth. 

"Very well, Skybrand..." Thunder clapped as the elf within the wellspring lit up the night sky.  Electrical power shot from the clouds and blasted the radiant pool with surging power.  First, two great wings emerged from the pillar of light, then multiple talons that crushed the stone beneath them, then a beak as black as obsidian.  The beast's many eyes flared brightly with apoplectic rage.  "...I will do what my brethren could not!" its voice boomed as it took to the sky with one mighty flap of its wings.

Sethir chuckled quietly.  His suspicions were correct:  as long as he had the Magus Blade, the arch druid would avoid fighting him on the ground.  He ran to his steed and mounted up, "Let's go girl."  Man and horse darted swiftly into the thick of the trees.  Sethir drew an arrow, and cocked back Starfall's "string", magical energy from the enchanted bow lightly humming as it reacted to Sethir's fingertips.

Above, Zer's thunderous eyes could make out the human's location despite the trees below that would obscure any other being's view.  The mortal had the Magus Blade on his back, ensuring that any direct lightning from above would be rendered useless.  In his rage, Zer committed an unspeakable blasphemy against elven kind, and breathed lightning into the trees of The Heart of Lumina, burning them to their roots.  Another, and another lightning bolt struck the sacred forest from the sky.  Burning branches and embers rained down on Sethir, but his steed was quick, and his concentration on aim did not falter.  One more wrathful flash of light peered between the leaves of the forest as the thunderhawk let loose again, several more trees falling into the flame...

"There!"

Sethir let loose an arrow.  It cut through leaves and branches alike, Starfall's ancient enchantments allowing the arrow to pass through, true only to the wielder's target.  It traveled swiftly, so much so that even Zer's eyes could not track its movement quick enough.  The thunderhawk screeched in pain as the arrow embedded itself deep in the shoulder of his wing.  The arrow's head split into three pieces, shredding muscle tissue while the venom traveled quickly through the beast's bloodstream.  Zer fell violently to the earth below, unable to use his left wing any longer. 

Sethir smirked as everything seemingly fell into place as he had hoped; it would not last long.  A burning tree came crashing down in his path, his horse halting immediately in a startle.  Its branches were broad, cornering the Bandit King and his steed.  Behind them, the arch druid slammed into the ground.  Though he was poisoned and crippled, Zer dug his talons into the vines on the ground and slowly forced himself upward.  Smog and embers poured out from between the trees, yet Zer's angry eyes shone brightly amongst it all. 

Sethir quickly dismounted Molly, and gave her a pat on the side, letting her know it was time for her to leave.  The horse enthusiastically obeyed, and quickly galloped between the scattered flames and branches, leaving man and high elf in a tense face off.  They eyed each other, and though neither would admit it to themselves, both were uncertain of their fates.

Suddenly, Sethir readied Starfall once more, and at the same time, Zer lashed his tail and whipped forward.  The arrow tore through the demi-god's chest, blasting a sizable hole in his ribcage and stopping his momentum with sheer force, making the beast stagger backward.  However, it was not Zer who lost the encounter.  In the thunderhawk's beak it held the very sword that had been preserving Sethir's life until this point:  the Magus Blade.  Only narrowly missing Sethir's head with his beak after the arrow from Starfall let loose, Zer took the next best thing.

Sethir glanced back at his empty scabbard, and quickly readied Starfall again. "Damned elf."

Zer whipped his neck to the side, casting the ancient sword into the thick of the burning forest.  His wings lit up, increasing in intensity as he gathered power in his ebon beak, then letting loose a lightning bolt before Sethir could take aim with his cumbersome bow.  Sethir fell to his knees with a scream, and Starfall joined him. 

Poison coursed through Zer's veins, restricting his movements, however, his body was recovering quickly.  The wounds in his chest and shoulder were nearly mended, and the poison would not restrict him for long.  It was time to end Benedict Skybrand's spawn once and for all.  The arch druid spread his mighty wings once more, and they began to glow, electricity coursing through his feathers. 

Sethir looked on, memories of the destruction of Abdeel rushing back to him, clear as day.

"Jorumn, I was so angry... so furious when you'd told me it was you who stopped me back then..."

Electrical energy hummed as it gathered at the creature's maw, its wings becoming brighter still.

"Truly, it was you who saved my life then... saved my life so I could one day have a chance to avenge my father..."

Only a moment had passed, and the charging was complete.  Zer's beak opened...

"...this one, fleeting chance!"

In one instantaneous movement, Sethir slung throwing daggers from his sleeves at the arch druid.  Lightning surged from the beast's mouth, only for the electricity to attract directly into the soaring steel blades.  They flew true to their target while protecting Sethir from the arch druid's wrath, the first landing in the back of Zer's throat, and the second became lodged between his ribs.  A high pitched screech of agony came from the thunderhawk as the energy in his own body went rampant.  Zer struggled to contain it as he thrashed about in pain, but it was too late.  The daggers turned a fiery golden color from the sheer amounts of heat the energy generated.  They exploded, blasting out the back of Zer's skull with shrapnel, and the vitals in his chest were tossed from his ribcage.

Sethir struggled to his feet, burnt and bruised, barely able to move.  He limped toward the body of Zer Valenhal, the mighty arch druid that the elves worshiped as a demi-god, and a chosen of Azurigal himself.  He had to make sure the beast was not regenerating yet again... but, at this point, it was naught but paranoia.  Azurigal's blood seeped into the thick roots below, and the various feathers and innards scattered about were still.

Sethir couldn't believe it, but there it was in front of him.  Arch Druid Zer Valenhal was dead.  He smiled, unable to stifle the ascendant feeling of completing one's lifetime journey.  The demon that haunted his dreams for so long lay limp and lifeless at his feet... it was finally over.

In his blissful daze, he had nearly forgotten his father's keepsake, the Magus Blade.  Branches and embers cascading from above like a torrential storm, smoke billowing from between the trees, Sethir ignored the hazards and ventured deeper into the dangers of the burning forest in search of his favorite sword...

"Thank you... Jorumn..."
« Last Edit: February 08, 2011, 07:26:22 PM by Jorumn Fargazer »