AQ Name: Loki
AQ ID: 82945328
Note: If the weapon does not scale, please use this character instead:
AQ Name: Inficius
AQ ID: 47822245
Either way, I hope you enjoy the story! :D
Hiding in The Shadow Of A Child
Right, you want a story then? I don’t know many, certainly not many that could defeat the Truphma, but there is one tale that just might do the trick-if I may be so bold-the story of how I killed my brother, one of the greatest heroes in the history of Lore. By the way, I apologise in advance for the tales told in the old history books little Lopt used to read-they were enlightening, but they did possess a tragic tendency towards the dramatic-and much of what was written in them was but conjecture. I would just like to thank him here-he’s grown into a fine young man, one of the greatest I’ve ever known, and it is only with his consent and aid that I share his tale with you.
(OOC: Lumer is NOT the hero of DragonFable, just a very popular, very powerful hero who went rogue. Telum is the AQ hero, and Lopt is one of my alts)
Part 1: Cyrin Village
The first time Lopt saw the Guardians, he was seven, and small for his age. They were tall, too tall, and he remembered all too well the vivid fear that he had felt when they approached him, eyes sparking in interest. The tallest of them all, the one they called Nimrod, had saluted to him respectfully, and inquired politely as to his health. They called him funny words, like Paragon, and Hero, and (with just a hint of distaste, which confused him somewhat) the returned. He had stood, petrified, as they talked at him endlessly, asking him whether he remembered Twilly, or Yulgar, or Artix. The first two names meant nothing to him, but the confused child had brightened when they mentioned the last; Artix had saved the neighbouring village from a Lich a few months back, and ever since then the inhabitants of Cyrin had struggled to explain to their children that no, Timmy, Paladins don’t have fun all the time. Nimrod seemed pleased, at first, when he noticed Lopt’s sudden enthusiasm, but that enthusiasm seemed to fade when he realised that all of Lopt’s knowledge was second hand. The men had left soon after, and it was then that the nightmares started.
They were always the same, fragmented visions of a shadowy figure stepping slowly towards him, hand outstretched. As the figure drew closer, it would be joined by a host of others, each of them calling the same name, over and over. Lumer, Lumer, where are you, Lumer? Sometimes, Lopt thought that he could make out a face behind the darkness-once he spotted a rotted, grey-skinned figure with blood-red eyes and scars all over his decomposing face-that one had given him nightmares for weeks-another time he fancied that he saw some manner of demon, all forked tongue and orange horns. He began to grow ever so slightly obsessed with his nightmares, fancying that they were trying to tell him something, if only he could just listen. His parents were nonplussed when their only son, who had always been a cheerful, energetic child with a neverending smile, began to withdraw into himself. He stopped attending training sessions with the other children, choosing instead to hole himself up in corners with spellbooks or historical tomes. Lopt had always been popular with the other children, but after he shunned his friends for what seemed like the fifteenth time in a week, they began to give up on him. One by one, they stopped asking him to attend battle practise with them, stopped asking him to go out hunting or looking for treasure-and he didn’t even notice. He just read, and read, and read, until at last he saw him.
Nurvei, the book read, one of the greatest Necromancers in the history of Lore. His face tragically disfigured as a youth in a failed magical experiment, the once promising mage descended into madness until he was finally defeated and stripped of his powers by the mighty Paladin Artix and his good friend Lumer (see page 169), one of the greatest heroes of Lore and a renowned Guardian. For the last twelve years, Nurvei has been suspended in Never-Dimming Light to keep his fearful powers over darkness from manifesting themselves once more. Lopt read on, his face pinched with fear as he saw the detailed illustration of Nurvei's corpse-like face, almost identical to the horror in his dream. Terrified to continue, but too drawn in to quit, Lopt flicked ahead to page 169 with shaking hands, only to freeze as his eyes took in the image that lay before his eyes: a tall, crimson-clad man, with a dragonlike mask and a sword the colour of blood. The man stood tall against a stormy sky with a great dragon flying above him and a heavy shield clutched in the hand not gripping the great blade that he wielded. Behind him stood a green-garbed woman with a longbow, a silver knight with a great golden axe-surely not Artix?-and a mage with white hair and a staff that swirled with powerful magics. The caption read Lumer the Defender, Hero amongst men.
As Lopt read the lengthy chapter, he found himself in awe of Lumer’s many exploits, from his many epic battles with his arch-rival, the mighty necromancer Cavon, to his terrifying, but mercifully brief, encounter with one of the most fearsome warriors to ever walk Lore: The Doom Knight, Sepulchure. He gasped when he read of the Sword of Corruption, a cursed blade that offered the wielder immense power, and how Lumer was able to steal it from Cavon’s own castle, shuddered as he read of the sinister Lich Master, and his undead horde-the only battle that Lumer and his staunch ally Telum-(some said he was Lumer's brother, all knew that the only warrior great enough to match Lumer himself in single combat) ever lost-and oh, what a satisfying moment it was when he read of Lumer’s final defeat of the Lich Master, using the Sword of Corruption to devour the soul of the unstoppable Lich. The following chapters detailing Lumer’s adventures were just as lengthy, and just as enthralling. By the time Lopt got to the final paragraphs, it was too dark to read. Conjuring a green flame in the palm of his hand-a self-taught spell learned from one of his many tomes-he read the final part of Lumer’s tale:
No-one knows what happened to Lumer that day, whether he fell from the cliff where he began his adventures or simply flew away, seeking a new life. All we know is that the world is a darker place without him, and his legacy will be one that lasts throughout the ages.
As he read the last few lines, Lopt felt a strange amusement flow through him, as if he was in on a joke that the author of the text was not privy to. The feeling disappeared quickly, however, and once it did he remembered it not...
As time passed, so did the fear, and after the nightmares stopped and the months passed, Lopt slowly began to dismiss, if not quite forget, the stories of Lumer and his friends. He began to spar once more, even if he now fought more with spells and spears while his peers favoured blades and bows. He knew peace for a time, and slowly but surely he began to sink back into the relaxed, cheerful lifestyle of a typical eight year old. He began to look forward to the day that he would be presented with his first real sword, the day that he would be inducted into the Guardian Order. His dreams were no longer of shadows, but of the light-until the day that the Guardians returned. This time, they made no attempt to contact him; instead they simply sat back and observed the children spar-the thought crossed his mind that this was rather strange of him, but he was quickly distracted by the sight of Kelf bearing down on him with a great axe. Dodging the heavy swing nimbly, Lopt spun around and struck Kelf lightly on the back with his blunted blade.
“Another win for me, Kelf. You really would do much better if you used a lighter blade, my friend.”
Kelf grunted, unwilling to concede defeat to his slightly arrogant friend. “Hah! We both know that one tap from my axe here and you would have lost the match.”
Lopt laughed cheerfully. “If you say so, Kelf, if you say so.”
Kelf shrugged grumpily and wandered off to clean his treasured great axe. Lopt made to follow him, only to find his path blocked by three of the heavily armoured men. They weren’t quite as tall as he remembered, and their faces bore scars that hadn’t been there the previous year. The shortest of the men, dressed in grey-and-gold armor, grabbed Lop suddenly and began to shake him furiously, hateful grey eyes fixed on Lopt’s wide, suddenly terrified, brown ones.
“We are SICK of your games, you depraved monster!”
Lopt swallowed audibly, barely managing to choke out a brief response:
“W-what do you mean?”
The man laughed grimly, voice tinged with a hint of bitterness.
“What do I mean? WHAT DO I MEAN!? I mean, Lumer, that if you don’t stop playing this depraved game, I will end it for you.” With a snort of disgust, the man dropped Lopt to the floor, while his companions sneered cruelly.
“Geralt, what do you think you’re doing!?” demanded a taller man in black robes, who was gripping a golden sceptre tightly. Lopt’s attacker sneered at the mage, ignoring the question and sauntering away with his friends. The mage looked pityingly at Lopt, but his gaze too held a mild hint of revulsion. Finally, he spoke, in a disapproving but still somewhat friendly tone:
“I hate to say it, Lumer, but Geralt is right. Let go of the past, my friend. This hiding shames you and sullies the child’s innocence. If you do not see sense soon, I fear that the Guardian Order will move to have the child exorcised by a Paladin…”
Lopt laughed suddenly, a cold, mocking laugh quite unlike his usual undignified snorts. Then, to the young boy’s horror, his lips began to move, speaking in a cultured voice entirely different to his own.
“Crys, my friend. It’s been far too long. How is the family?”
Crys started, before answering begrudgingly. “Poorly. It’s been a long year, and the crop yield has been poor.”
Lumer grinned. “Such a shame, such a shame. I don’t suppose they’d let me visit?”
Crys’ posture shifted, and when he spoke his tone was altogether more vicious.
“Listen to me right now, Lumer! You are being a cowardly fool! Stop running from your past, before it consumes you entirely. You made a few mistakes, but that doesn’t take away from who you were-who you are. Let the child go, my friend, face justice. The Guardians will be merciful to such a great hero as you, I know it.”
Lumer cocked his head to the side, considering Crys’ words. For a moment it seemed as if he would accede to the man’s request, but after an agonising wait he shook his head slowly, almost regretfully. “It’s too late for Lumer the Defender, Crys. His sins are many, and his hands are stained with blood. As the child, I will be free to do so much more good! His magic is more potent than mine ever was, almost as potent as Warlic himself-you remember the power Warlic could shape, surely? Even at his weakest, his power was so great it was almost tangible-one day, as Lopt Mendasson, I will equal and then surpass him. Imagine what glory we could win for the forces of good with such power!”
Crys shook his head sadly, raising his hands in a spell that caught Lumer unaware, freezing him mid-speech in a sphere of perfect ice. Kneeling to put his face level with the possessed child, Crys spoke sadly, words filled with regret. “I’m sorry, Lopt. Truly, I am. I promise you, when we return to Battleon all will be explained to you."
Part 2: The Guardian Tower
The Guardian Tower was all that Lopt had ever imagined it to be, tall, bright, shining and beautiful. Admittedly, in none of his childish fantasies had he ever considered the possibility that he would be taken to the tower in chains, with magic-draining crystals pulsing gently all around him, which rather took the shine away from the situation, but Lopt didn’t mind particularly. He still didn’t remember how he was taken here, or why, except that he had felt extremely cold upon waking, so he told himself firmly that it was all just a big misunderstanding, and after the Guardians realised this they would politely apologise, and with a big smiled he’d forgive them, and ask them if he could borrow a Guardian Blade to show his friends. His childish resolve didn’t fade, not until he was standing in the Guardian Arena, surrounded by shining warriors and powerful mages. He could make out amongst them the faces of Nimrod and his attacker, Geralt, as well as a guilty-looking mage who seemed somehow familiar.
Only then did Lopt begin to cry, feeling horribly humiliated as he did so, a small child weeping in the presence of his heroes. The reaction to his grief was oddly mixed, with half of the guardians seeming horribly guilty, and others seeming disgusted by his tears. Finally, a man in a different type of Guardian armor walked forward, in heavily spiked armor-one of the fabled Ultra-Guardians, some of the greatest of Lore’s defenders. The man was old, with silver hair and a ragged beard that did nothing to take away from the aura of power and confidence he exuded.
“Lumer, son of Iurnes, the Guardian Council would speak with you.”
Lopt shuddered horribly, tears still streaming down his cheeks.
“I’m not Lumer, sir. I’m just Lopt. Could…could I please go home?”
The old man softened a little, but his hand remained on his Guardian Blade.
“Young man, on behalf of the Guardian Order I apologise for the horrors that you have been subjected to. I assure you, we bear no ill will towards you, my boy. We only wish to speak with the one who shares your body.”
Lopt looked up suddenly, as if struck.
“W-what!? Who shares my body, what do you mean?” he cried, feeling his body go cold once again.
The old man sighed, and when he spoke next the words seemed forced, as if it physically pained him to speak them. “Child, do you know of the Hero, Lumer?”
Lopt nodded, and the old man continued.
“He was a great man, one who sacrificed much to fight the forces of evil. In the end, he sacrificed too much, far too much. Do you know of the Sword of Corruption? Ah, good, I see that you do. Its power was great, but so was the darkness it housed, and in the end it proved too much for him. Lumer fell into Darkness, and became a force of evil as twisted and monstrous as those he once sought to destroy. He went on a terrible rampage, and he left a trail of corpses behind him that outweighed even the many lives that he had saved. The Guardians were forced to pretend that he had disappeared, fearing that the morale of our citizens would fall drastically if they discovered what their greatest hero had become-the demon that burned their homes and killed their brothers. In the end, eight of our mightiest warriors, led by Telum, the only warrior to have ever bested Lumer in single combat. However, with the power of the Sword, Lumer proved strong, even for Telum. The battle was long and bloody, but in the end Lumer fell into a vortex of darkness of his own making, after Telum was able to break Lumer’s blade.
At first we thought him dead, but then Sage Uldor, a mighty seer told us that he still lived, in the body of a newborn child. At first, we believed him to be mistaken, for we felt that Lumer, fallen as he was, would never resort to such depravity-but we were wrong. Nimrod and his men were sent to discover whether or not you retained Lumer’s memory, but their findings were…troubling. Before we located you, we thought that Lumer had somehow managed to Reset himself, returning himself to the body of a child, but once we found you we realised how much worse the truth really was-Lumer simply possessed the most powerful child he could find, attempting to break your mind and reshape you into the perfect host.”
Lopt shook his head frantically, beginning to hyperventilate. “No, no, no, you’re wrong. You’re lying, you’re lying! I’m me; I’m Lopt, not Lumer!”
The old man shook his head, face grave. “Yes, child. You are Lopt. But within you Lumer dwells, waiting for you to weaken. Tell me, boy, do you remember why you were brought here? No? I wonder why…”
Lopt suddenly ceased shaking, and something in his face changed, fear giving way to scorn, confusion giving way to a sudden cruel cunning that appeared bizarre on a child’s face. His eyes shifted, from their typical brown to a cold blue. Lumer watched the Guardians mixed reactions, an expression of fiendish delight on his face.
“Guardians…Commander Kethe, it’s been a long time. To what do I owe the displeasure of your company, may I ask?”
The old man, Kethe, slowly drew his blade.
“Lumer, so you finally deign to show yourself? It’s about time, coward. Leave the child’s body, before we make you leave it. It’s not too late, Lumer. You will face justice for your crimes, but you will take no lasting harm. It’s over.”
Lumer cackled madly, the sudden volume of his laughter startling Nimrod into raising his Blade of Awe and prompting Crys to prepare another ice spell.
“Justice!? I know too well your justice, Guardian. You would cage me for years, keep my power restrained and weakened-and throughout my torment, you would expect me to be grateful to you, just because you spared my miserable life. I think not.”
With those words, Lumer, hands impossibly freed from restraints, pulled a dagger from his boot and set to slashing and shattering the magical nullifiers stationed about him. As soon as they broke, he summoned a blood-red sword and unleashed a wave of fire that set the arena alight, forcing the battle-ready guardians to pause in their rush to incapacitate the possessed child. Kethe doused the flames around him with a wave of his hand, and rushed towards Lumer, blade ready for battle. Despite his tiny size, Lumer was unnaturally strong, and impossibly fast-but there could only be one conclusion to such a mismatched battle and, inevitably, Lumer was knocked to the ground. Kethe stood over him, eyes filled with regret, but path already decided. He raised his blade, only to stop as Lumer began to convulse, blue eyes darkening and body weakening. The sword fell from the child’s grasp and Kethe, cursing loudly, knelt to help the child up-only to be thrown against the wall by a magical force. Lumer laughed grimly as he got to his feet and picked up the Sword, which hummed slightly with magical might.
“You can’t kill me without killing the boy, Kethe. And we both know you’ll never kill a child.”
With a wave of his hand, the Guardians that had fallen to the magical flames began to get to their feet, dead eyes staring vacantly into space as they attacked their former friends. In the middle of the chaos, Lumer stood protected by a magical shield, laughing triumphantly.
“So, Guardians of Battleon, this is how you fall? Undone by an eight year old? Pathe-"
Suddenly, Lumer fell silent, struck dumb by the familiar sight of a dark figure slowly entering the room, gripping a flaming spear in a black-gauntleted hand. The figure was silent as all eyes fell upon it; the implacable form simply stood and watched the scene unfolding before it. The Guardians outmatched their undead foes in strength and skill, but their morale was severely damaged by the prospect of fighting their deceased friends, and every time a Guardian fell Lumer’s forces were added to. To make matters even worse. Lumer’s sheer magical strength gave the undead abnormal willpower-the magical force animating them was so great that the only things that could permanently halt the corpses were decapitation and the most powerful fire spells. In short, things were not going well for the Guardians.
Lumer made his way slowly towards the figure, a pulsing energy glowing in his free hand.
“Telum. What an…unpleasant surprise. I was under the impression that you had left the Guardian Order to become an adventurer?”
Telum remained silent, although his eyes narrowed slightly.
“Surprised, Telum? I am more aware of worldly events than you might think-word travels, even to the small village of Cyrin.”
Telum spoke, at last, his voice calm and measured.
“I care not of what you know, Lumer. Release the child, face me like a man.”
Lumer stopped, looking as though he was considering the request, before chuckling merrily.
“Nice try Telum, but I don’t think so. This body offers me…protection.”
Telum growled, raising his spear aggressively.
“So be it, Lumer. You leave me no other option.” With those words, Telum launched himself towards Lumer with a cry of war upon his lips. Cutting through Lumer’s forcefield rapidly, Telum knocked the boy down with a powerful thrust with the blunt end of his spear. Lumer, face down on the floor, managed a grim, taunting, chuckle.
“Such a glorious victory, Telum. Hail, the conquering hero! Hail, the child-killer! Which monster shall you battle next, O, Mighty One? An old woman? An ant?”
Telum snorted, free hand rummaging around in his armor, searching for something.
"Old women? I've fought grannies with more fight than you-and as for ants, I've fought so many Fire Ants that I'll never be able to have a picnic again."
A battered guardian, fighting two undead at once, saw the two conversing, and screamed out frantically:
“Just kill the monster, Telum! Kill him the way he killed Kethe!”
At this, Telum stiffened, eyes flashing dangerously.
“You killed Kethe!?”
Lumer shrugged dismissively.
“I wish. The old goat’s far too tough for me to put down.”
Telum, finally finding the object he was searching for, triumphantly drew a small green bottle.
“Do you know what this is, Lumer?”
Lumer squinted, struggling to read the label. As he did so, his eyes widened in disbelief and wicked delight-
“Is that wasabi?”
Telum smiled smugly. “Not any Wasabi, Lumer. Artix’s own Holy Wasabi-incredibly effective against the undead, or so I’m told. I wonder, Lumer, do you think that a spirit possessing a child, a spirit who gave his soul to evil and necromancy, counts as an undead? I certainly do-and the best part is, it won’t have any effect at all on the poor boy that you compelled into hosting you. Say your prayers to whichever God would want you, Lumer. Lorithia knows you’ll need it.”
Lumer’s eyes widened in fear, but it was too late to fight back-with a swift motion, Telum knelt and forced some of the spicy condiment into Lumer’s mouth, only for Lumer to spit it out again. Lumer laughed arrogantly, secure in his immortality.
“Fool, Telum! Did you truly think that I would swallow that which would bring about my end?
Telum shrugged, before magically restraining Lumer with glowing blue chains. He was quiet for a few seconds, and when he finally spoke his voice was heavy with pain. “Why, brother? Why would you do this? The weapon changed you, this is not my brother. Look at yourself, please, truly look. Do you like what you see brother, do you like what you’ve become? Do you enjoy the pain you cause those who loved you, the torment that you have subjected us to? I don’t think that you do.”
Lumer flinched as if struck, his cruel smirk fading into a pained grimace. His narrow eyes widened, and for a moment, if one ignored the position he was in, the destruction all around them as the Guardian’s, battered but victorious, began to repair the damage he had wrought, he seemed for all the world like a terrified, confused child who was being told off by an older brother. Telum wondered internally if the wasabi was having some kind of effect on the pull the Sword of Corruption had on Lumer’s mind.
“I, I did it for you, Telum. Always for you.”
Telum looked entirely nonplussed, mind struggling to comprehend just what Lumer meant.
“The murder? The possession? For me?”
Lumer laughed, painfully and hoarsely. “No. I took the Blade, to save your life. Do you not remember the first time we battled the Lich Master? We lost that day-and you almost died. When I heard he was back, and stronger than ever, I knew what I had to do. I crept into Calum’s castle, and stole the sword that he had found-the one that destroyed my blade with a touch-, the only sword that could stop the Lich Master. I knew what it would do to me, but I just didn’t have the choice; it was lose myself to madness, or lose you to Death-and that’s just no choice at all.”
Telum’s eyes widened, and if a stray tear happened to wander down his cheek, neither of them noticed or cared.
“Lumer, Brother, I will always love you. But you must stop this, now.”
Lumer nodded jerkily, feebly.
“Very well, Telum. I will end this, for you. While my mind is my own, I will end this.”
Telum, hand shaking, dismissed Lumer’s bonds and passed the wasabi to his brother, averting his watering eyes as his brother gulped it down. For a few seconds, nothing happened, and a small, selfish part of Telum rejoiced that his brother lived still. Then, just as the treasonous thoughts took hold of his mind, Lumer let out one final, long, breath, and Lopt awoke. The child, dizzy and disoriented, struggled to his feet and took in the scene of carnage that met his eyes.
“You did,” Kethe growled as he made his way towards the child, limping and bruised.
Lopt looked aghast. “Me? No, why would you say that-that’s not funny! Who did this, and what’s wrong with me!?” The child swayed, almost fell, but he dug his heels in and managed to stay standing.
Kethe turned to Telum, his eyes holding an unspoken question: is he gone? Telum nodded, almost imperceptibly, and Kethe relaxed, the relief he felt almost palpable. He looked somewhat guiltily towards the frightened child he had just admonished, cringing a little when the boy drew back as Kethe approached. Kethe spoke gruffly, hating how scared the boy looked.
“It’s alright, boy, I-I’m sorry for startling you. I’m just-I’ve just…well, it’s been a long day. Nonetheless, I shouldn’t have acted like that. We were attacked by a powerful mage, and he nearly killed us all. Luckily, Telum there saved all our hides.”
Lopt looked slightly suspicious-Kethe and Telum couldn’t really blame him.
“Then what happened to me? Why was…Telum with me when I woke up?”
Telum stepped in to save the floundering Kethe with a few smooth words: “You were hit in the head by some flying rubble, Lopt-you must have forgotten. I was just healing you, you looked like you were in a lot of pain.”
Lopt smiled gratefully, doubts assuaged, for the time being at least. He stuck out his hand to Telum, an oddly formal gesture for one so young. Telum accepted it, inclining his head to the side slightly.
“Thank you for telling me this, Telum.”
Lopt then turned to Kethe, fixing him with a curious, vulnerable, gaze that made Kethe feel even more guilty (which in turn made him feel like a weakling-one did not become a Guardian-Commander by going soft over every small child they happened to encounter!) so he prompted the small child’s question by nodding at him gently, with a kind smile on his face.
“Er, Commander Kethe, do you still think I’m possessed by Lumer? Because I’m not, sir, really, I’m not!”
Kethe tousled Lopt’s already messy red hair, a self-deprecating smile on his aged features.
“No, child, you were correct. You are not possessed, and I apologise to you for what we have done to you here, and for the worry your parents must feel. But, while you’re here, boy, how would you like a personal tour of the Guardian Tower, conducted by the Hero of Battleon and the Guardian-Commander?”
Lopt’s eyes lit up, and looking at the childish joy contained within his guileless face, both Kethe and Telum felt a strange sense of peace. People had died, but all was peaceful now, and the tragedies of the day were finally behind them. One day, Lopt would learn the truth, but not now, not when he was so vulnerable. Things would never be quite the same again, especially not for Telum, but for the first time since Lumer fell through the vortex, Telum felt at peace with himself, and with the world.
It was painful sharing this tale, but necessary, if it has even the slightest chance of helping to fight the Truphma. Lopt and I wish you good fortune in your teaching and battles, Ms. Vox, and I hope you know that, should you need it, my spear arm is at the ready. ~Telum
< Message edited by Issa -- 6/16/2012 16:40:09 >