Prologue: My Friends. My Family. My Comrades
Tep sat down and started writing in his research journal on top of the Guardian Tower.
There's a war coming and it has been a long time coming. Two groups were formed ever since hints of the war were recieved, the PalaPacts and the NecroLegions. It has divided our friends, our comrades and even families, whom we struggled together against enemies of Lore that threatens our very lives. Now we must face each other on this final battlefield between the Paladins and Necromancers.
My older twin brother, Artimix, has taken the side of the Paladins and seems to be ready to fight to the end. It looks like he's much more determined now that Cataclysm has joined the Paladins' side. Though it seems Artimix has taken my supplies of Holy Hand Grenades for this war...at least he left my PomPom Grenades alone. My brother also has his serious face on, one that he rarely has on since all he does is blindly charge into the opposition and maul them into oblivion. It seems he intends to fight with all of his wits, instead of blindly lashing out at anything that stands in his way, and fully focus on the Necromancers.
My younger sister, Rixi, has followed after Elryn to the Necromancers' side, even when she swore to fight against him on the opposing side when the war begins. She told me "What's the use competing against him if I can't compete side by side with him on who can defeat the most enemies". She also took my supplies of Unholy Boomerangs, and they haven't been tested yet. This could be prime time to gather data on them if the Necromancers use it against the Paladins. Scientific curiosity aside, my sister seems to be going into this war half-heartedly and that is something I'm concerned about. Those that are not prepared for war will find themselves full of regret and guilt. I hope she finds the reason why she's joining this war, before it breaks her.
Our close frienemy, Zombay, has been missing ever since Frostval and I'm unsure if he will show up to support a side when this war begins. If I know him well enough, there could be a chance of him attacking both sides because the option is there, just to cause havoc. Until then, I cannot be certain as to what he will do.
As for me, I'm one of the few that decided not to choose a side in this war as I cannot bring myself to fight against my friends, family or comrades. Instead, I will write down what I observe from both sides on that battlefield...I can only hope that the battlefield will not be a sight of carnage, despair and desperation, I can only hope until then...
Tep closed his journal and gave out a heavy sigh as he turned his gaze upon his brother and sister as they prepare for war, far away from the other.
"Hey, Artimix, Rixi, must we really do this?" Tep broke the tense and suffocating silence at the dinner table, which was the largest table so both Artimix and Rixi could eat as far away from each other as possible.
Both Artimix and Rixi stopped, with spoons near their open mouths. They looked at each other then back at Tep, who had hardly touched his food, and placed their spoons down to their plates. Artimix was the first to speak.
"It's not something we must do but-"
Rixi cut in immediately, "It's something we can't help but do."
Artimix shot a glare, baring his teeth, at Rixi as she shot back a smirk with her tongue sticking out, spiting him.
The large explosion shook the entire place and had both siblings jumping in response. They both turned their head to the cause, a silent Tep sitting on his chair, and saw that his portion of the dinner table was missing, along with parts of the floor. Chills ran through both of their spines causing them to stop their little back and forth.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt you," Rixi sighed regretfully as she looked to Artimix.
"Likewise, I shouldn't have tried to start a fight over that," Artimix awkwardly smiled at Rixi then turned to Tep.
"But as I was saying, this war isn't something we can stop as both sides are intent on finishing this. I've been a paladin ever since I started adventuring because I don't believe the dead should be brought back to life at the whim of another. Even after I was afflicted with the werewolf's curse, my beliefs still stand. Though I have met necromancers and undead who are more pure of heart than some in the Paladin Order, I must fight them should we meet on the battlefield because they have taken arms against us. I've resolved myself for the battle and as boneheaded as I am, I must join this fight."
Tep sighed after he heard Artimix's side and turned his head to Rixi, who was quietly eating. He kept his gaze on Rixi, waiting until she explained her reason for joining this war, which only caused her to down her entire meal within seconds then bolted for the door. Tep got up and followed after, leaving Artimix to continue his meal in silence.
* * *
Outside, Rixi sat on the rooftop of the Deren Mansion and viewed the glittering ocean under the half moon's glow. The ocean's breeze gently embraced her as if to calm her down.
She sighed at herself and started to ponder about the war. What was she doing and why did she join the necromancers when she found out that Elryn had taken their side. She swore she would be on the opposing side if he ever took part in the war, just so she could challenge him in a match of most battles won.
She pondered deeply within herself about her half-hearted decision to join the necromancers and how it was so insulting to all those that will take part in the war. Her hate of paladins were just in the heat of joining the necromancers in the war and nowhere genuine. Her own brother had already resolved to join this fight because of his beliefs, even if he must fight his necromancer and undead friends on the battlefield. She curled up and held her legs together as she continued to ponder.
"Y'know," Tep's sudden voice caused Rixi to jump 10 feet in the air and in battle position before she landed, "If you start making that face, you'll age to an old lady quicker." Tep was grinning at Rixi.
"Don't scare me like that!" Rixi slumped down to her knees as she relaxed, "You know that I'm jumpy whenever I'm in deep thoughts." She sat down and turned toward the ocean, pouting.
"I know," Tep laughed as he sat down by Rixi, "But I couldn't help myself with you looking so serious. After all, you're still finding your reason as to why you joined this war, are you not?"
Rixi looked away embarrassed, thinking that she must have thought a bit too hard about the matter if the airhead of the family could realize what she was thinking about.
"For now, you shouldn't think about it that hard. Try to find your reason in this battle. Though I don't encourage this war, or a fan of it, I already realized that I can't stop it. The best I can do is record what happens in that battlefield, from the necromancers' and paladins' side of the fight," Tep spoke as he sighed heavily, "Though I will never join this war, I can only record it so that other may learn from this. I hope."
Rixi smiled as she got up, "Thanks for cheering me up." She jumped off the roof and landed in front of the house, only to see Tep already in front of her, "Hwah?! How did you get in front of me so quickly?" Tep's lips started to form a smile, but Rixi knew better; this smile was his smile whenever he was angry and it was the most sinister and dangerous smile in all of Lore.
"Y'know, before I forget. There's the matter about you and Artimix stealing my supplies of experimental items for the war," his words caused her to have goosebumps that jumped at every word he spoke as she realized what his anger was about, "Come now sister, both you and Artimix needs to reflect on what you two did before going to the battlefield."
Rixi tried to run away but Tep had the guards form a circle around her. After leaving her with no escape, he started dragging her into the mansion as Rixi had a face of defeat, with tears streaming from her eyes.
That night, not a single critter in Deren was uttering a noise.
* * *
At dawn, Artimix had already donned his armor and took all the equipment he needed for the war against the Necromancers' Faction, including a cart full of Holy Hand Grenades. His equipment had all been dutifully cleaned and taken care of the night before. He took off in silence towards the Paladins' Order with a face of valor and determination as he left Deren on a tortress's back.
Rixi had been in the house when she saw Artimix leaving. She put on her Ring of the Sun(made by Tep so she was able to walk in sunlight and live with the twins in Deren, despite her being a vampire) and proceeded to pack her Wizard's robes, spell scrolls and equipment, along with the bags of Unholy Boomerangs, then rushed out of her room. As she passed by Tep's room, she slowed down before dashing down the stairs to catch the boat for the mainland.
Tep had been on the rooftop watching all of this with his research journal out and started writing when the boat left the port.
Artimix has left Deren and prepared for when the war begins. He didn't get much sleep last night because he had been taking care of all of his equipment in his room. He even left his little companions at home to prevent them from joining the battlefield, even the little undead archer was left behind, I guess he didn't want his little friend to become a target for the other paladins or controlled by the necromancers.
Rixi left after Artimix and took the boat to the mainland. Her robes and items packed when she left the house. At least she seems to have a better grasp of why she'll be taking part of this war. That's good because a lady should never wear such a face, even if she is my sister. My only hope is that she finds her reason in this war, of why she's joining the necromancers and, hopefully, she will be able to fight without being distracted like last night.
As for me, I could not sleep nor did I want to. There was too much on my mind about the war and my family's reasons for joining. My heart is heavy right now but I'm certain that both Artimix's and Rixi's hearts are just as heavy as mine. Today's the day of war, of an ancient rivalry between Light and Darkness, Holy and Unholy, Life and Undeath, the Paladin Order and Necromancer Faction. This war will leave a permanent mark on this world and in history.
I pray that it won't take a harsh turn for the worse. I hope Artimix and Rixi return home safely.
I should get going and be ready to record what happens in that battlefield.
Tep closed his journal and safely tucked it in his person then teleported to the battlefield. The Itaki mansion stood silently in Deren. The house guards were still asleep and Artimix's small companions soundly dreaming.
Storm of War
After his seventh attempt at teleporting, Tep finally succeeded when he appeared at the battlefield, only to find himself immediately ducking and dodging every magical spell and swords as he weaved his way through the undead minions and paladins that he came across.
"Agh! This is so not cool!" Tep complained with a flustered face as he kept running towards the open field, while continuing to dodge any and all attacks at him, "Teleportation may be convenient but it has way too many variables to keep track of. I really do wish that Warlic would teach me how instead of me having to figure and test it out for every minuscule location. Long distance travel sucks!"
Tep finally reached the open plains where there were no paladins or necromancers in his way. He gave a breath of relief then turned around to face the mass of fighters in the battlefield.
Paladins, necromancers and undead were fighting against each other, but something was off, they were fighting against their own allies! Paladins attacking paladins, necromancers turning their undead on other necromancers.
Tep watched in horror as he saw the carnage that was unfolding before his eyes, unsure of why this scene of betrayal and bloodlust was unfolding before him. Then, from the corner of his eyes, he saw his brother and sister, standing next to each other, watching the carnage together. Tep quickly approached them.
"Artimix! Rixi! What's happening!? No, why is this happening!?"
"Ah, Tep," Artimix waved as Tep came closer, "You see, after hearing the reason of the war from Artix's very mouth, there were some paladins that didn't agree to that and defected to the necromancers' side."
Tep listened intently.
"Now, here is where it gets interesting, a handful of necromancers didn't take too kindly to accepting the paladins as their allies and couldn't sway their peer's decision so they broke from the mass. There were some necromancers who planned to used this war as a way to finally obtain the secrets of the Paladin Order when they defeat us. Some necromancers who didn't agree also broke off into their own group. When the battle began the necromancer groups focused their attacks on the other necromancers and the paladins who works with the necromancers, are now targeted by their very order. Even they targeted their own allies."
"Not only that," Rixi interjected, muttering, without turning to face Tep, "But it seems that everybody has been placed under an illusion spell. That's the main reason why all of them are attacking their own allies."
"If that's true, then why aren't the two of you affected by it?" Tep tilted his head in curiosity. However, what got him really curious was Rixi's strange behavior.
"We are," Artimix sighed as he showed Tep a tiny marking on his neck, "It seems that somehow, everybody in that battlefield was inflicted with this. We chose not fight because something seemed off about the opponents we were fighting. We're not the only ones who stopped fighting when sensing something was amiss."
Artimix pointed to the others waiting in the plains, watching the battle. "The reason why I stopped was because I smelled the flesh of the living with my undead attacker. Not a single stench of rotting flesh coming from it."
"And I sensed no life within the paladin I was fighting," Rixi muttered as she continued to stare at the mass of confused carnage.
Just as Tep was about to open his mouth, Artimix quickly remarked, "You should know better than to ask that. Who else could make my skin crawl when I'm near them?"
Tep sighed, he was right about that. There's nothing like your family that can make you feel comfortable and uncomfortable at the same time.
After his breath of relief, Tep noticed the markings on Artimix's and Rixi's neck had been constantly getting smaller until it disappeared altogether. At the same time, the noise of metals clashing and spells casting stopped.
To their horror, they found out that they had been fighting against their own allies. One paladin stopped his axe short of another's neck. A necromancer called off his undead servant and helped up his necromancer ally. Realizing what had happened everybody backed off and went back to their encampments to regroup.
"That's our signal," Rixi muttered again as both she and Artimix started to walk toward their designated areas.
"Wait!" Both siblings turned to face their brother, "What about you guys? Why are you still following your side after you discovered your group's intentions?"
Rixi left without saying anything. Artimix continued to his destination but remarked as he was walking, "Because, if I'm not there to stop the ones with blind ambitions, the blood that would shed will be immeasurable." He then pointed to Rixi, "I'm sure the same goes for her, too."
"But I don't think that's it. There seem to be another reason why she's staying with the necromancers," Tep mumbled with pained expression as he looked to Rixi's location, "And it seems to have swallowed her up."
After hours of sitting on the soft grass of the plains and writing into his research journal about what he observed of the fight, Tep decided it was time to ask both sides their reasons to participate in this war and find out how it all started. However, there was a problem. Which side was Tep going to first. He could go to the paladins' side and find out why they started this war, or, head to the necromancers' side to find out why they gathered almost every necromancer on the world of Lore to fight against the paladins.
"Argh! I hate this!" Tep groaned as he cradled his head in frustration. "Should I go to the paladins' side and find out what was it that Artix said that caused some of the paladins to defect to the necromancers' side? If I head to the paladins side I could also talk with Artimi-"
Suddenly, Tep remembered his meeting with his siblings after getting out of the cluster of fighters he had teleported into. He remembered Artimix was unscathed and stood with both hands on top of the handle of his sword, with the tip of the blade gently on the ground, like the statues guarding Awethur's tomb. Artimix wore a serious but, at the same time, gentle face, which was strange to Tep as he never saw Artimix with such a look before. Annoyance? Yes. Half asleep? Every time. Until this war, Artimix never had a look that came close or similar to the one that Tep saw. His change in attitude was something Tep had observed the day before and earlier at dawn.
The change that Tep was unfamiliar with, however, was the one he saw in Rixi. She was completely different from what he saw last night and early this morning. Something happened, when he didn't see her, to cause her to lose the light in her eyes and the soul in her voice. Even her vampiric skin was paler than usual.
The memory of Rixi's appearance and behavior bugged Tep so much, his mind was set. Tep would head to the necromancers' side of the battlefield and he would ask them why they're participating in the war. Also, he could check up on Rixi and possibly find out what happened after she left Deren without arousing too much of her suspicions. Two birds with a flying pen.
Tep got up, looked to the necromancers' side and dashed towards their encampment. Getting there without grabbing some unwanted attention was next to impossible as several necromancers had took notice of him sprinting at full speed towards their base.
The necromancers, thinking he was with the paladins and came to attack their base, sent their minions to stop the threat. Tep, with thoughts of his sister's well-being running through his head, continued dashing toward the necromancers' base without so much as a glance or acknowledgement to the incoming wave of undead coming to intercept him.
Three undead spellswords and archers locked on to Tep as they readied their shots. At the same time, death knights, banshees and zombies(even a deer, carrot and couple of corns) came to attack and stop him from coming closer.
"My friends and comrades, open the way so I can reach my sister," As soon as the last muttered word left Tep's mouth, twelve beings jumped from behind Tep and intercepted the undead in his way. As Tep passed his little companions, he thanked them for their help and instructed them to find someplace safe to gather until he left the necromancers' base. They gave their signs of acknowledgement as Tep rushed on.
Moments after ducking and weaving through the crowds of necromancers, Tep finally reached the encampment, only to find his way blocked by more necromancers and undead minions.
"Stop right there! State your business paladin!" One of the necromancers barked as he readied his spell towards Tep. With this, Tep sighed as he placed one hand on his hip and rubbed his temple with the other.
"I'm not associated with the paladins. I'm here to..." his mind started to quickly think of a way to get past this wall without force, "join your cause. I do not agree with Artix's methods. However, while coming here I was attacked by your soldiers."
"Ah, I see," the necromancer guard eased up as he heard this, "We'll be more than happy to get more people on our side in this war." The guard gestured the others to return to their positions, "I'm sorry for the rough treatment you came under but we needed to be wary for any attacks by the paladins."
Tep entered and started looking around the camp for where Rixi might be as the necromancer walked with him and continued to talk.
"Although there are ones that came to our side. We marked them with a rune that lets us identify them when they come within three meters of our base. You'll ne-"
"Excuse me," Tep interrupted as the necromancer turned to face him, "Do you know of where a girl named Rixi might be? She's fighting for your side and I was wondering if you could be so kind as to show me her location."
"Rixi. Rixi...No, sorry, I don't know that name. I've been busy helping out with guarding the supplies that come in and discussing strategies to use against the paladin forces." The necromancer then pulled his hood down to reveal a wolf's face. Tep was taken aback by this as he never knew a werewolf could be a necromancer. "I know what you're thinking but I'm a dracopyre. I chose to assume this wolf's form. My name's Ubear. What's yours?" Ubear extended his hand towards Tep.
Tep shook it back and smiled, "Mine's Tep. It's nice to meet you Ubear. Curious name, that."
"It's a long story and has to do with my favorite equipment and becoming a bear." He remarked as they both laughed. Suddenly, Tep remembered one of the reasons he came to the necromancers' side in the first place.
"Excuse me, Ubear, but what is your reason for joining this war?"
"Me? Because being a goody-goody paladin is just not my style. Besides, you ever see a friendly bear?"
One of the necromancers that dispersed removed his hood, grinned and shouted "I have! I've been to a circus!"
"Wild bears, Drakeh! I meant wild bears!" Ubear shouted back before turning his attention back to Tep only to find him gone, "What abo-"
He was rather dumbfounded that this fellow asked his reason to join the war then left after hearing his answer. Ubear then remembered that he had forgotten to place the rune on Tep's arm so that other necromancers wouldn't attack him when he returned to the base.
"Shoot, I hope he doesn't get in trouble here. He sure was rude, though," Ubear sighed as he returned to his post but paused and looked back, "Wait, why did he have that on his head?"
* * *
Tep continued to scan the place to find Rixi to no avail. The encampment was larger than he had expected and it would take Tep at least a day to cover every ground just to find his sister.
"C'mon, Rixi...where are you? I have to know what caused you to look so broken," His voice strained with concern as he continued to look around. Though- he did not find Rixi, he did catch the attention of another necromancer, who thought he was acting suspiciously.
"You there, what are you doing frantically going back and forth like that?" The necromancer that asked the question had a royal aura surrounding him yet it was humble at the same time. He stood tall as his dark blue skin seemingly soaked a bit of the light surrounding him. Tep turned to face the necromancer while trying to hide his embarrassment.
"Ah, I was trying to find my sister but I couldn't find her anywhere."
"What is her name? I could get some of the troops to look for her," The royal-like necromancer proceeded over to Tep's location as he talked.
"Rixi. Rixi Itaki. She's fighting for the necromancer and I thought I should drop by and give her a hand and a family styled greeting," Tep replied sheepishly.
"Ah, her? You're in the wrong area. This is the southwest area, she's currently in the northeast section behind you."
"Ah, really? Thank you sir..."
"I am Lord Scorpio. Just call me Scorpio," Scorpio paused for a second, "You should know who I am as I'm one of the generals in this battle. Who are you?"
"Ah...I'm a new recruit. I just came today." Scorpio simply stood and stared at this new recruit as he was explaining himself, as if to determine whether he was telling the truth or not.
"Hmm...Well as long as you give your best against the fight with the paladins. We could always use more support."
"Thank you, Scorpio. I'll be on my way then," Tep rushed off and just as Scorpio was about to say something, Tep turned to him and asked, "Before I forget, what is your reason for joining this war?"
Scorpio was taken aback by this abrupt question but with a solemn face, "I fight because Darkness has been stigmatized and oppressed for far too long. This attack was the last straw. Until Darkness is no longer ostracized, I will fight. The harsh Light will rule no longer."
"Ah, thank you for telling me. If you will excuse me," Tep bolted towards the location of his sister's general area.
"What a strange recruit. I hope he'll be useful in the battlefields against the paladins," Scorpio sighed and started walking before stopping to look in the direction the young man ran, "Why was he walking around with such a thing on his head? ....No matter, it's time to get back to the meeting." With that he left in the direction towards the center of the encampment.
* * *
After making a mad dash to the northeast side, and getting stopped by a few necromancers along the way, Tep had arrived and was already looking for where Rixi could be. He looked left and right, and at times, peaked inside a tent or hut. There were few empty ones with belongings of the one that stayed there and those that were occupied, had people sleeping inside.
After searching for awhile, Tep came across an undead archer guarding a tent, causing him to stop and stare. From within the tent emerged another necromancer, who, was still engrossed with a letter. He was a peculiar necromancer as he was cloaked in a white robe with green accents. He had long yellow hair, with a streak of silver in the front. Tep approached him in a careful manner.
"Excuse me," The necromancer looked up from his letter to face the speaker, "Do you know where a girl name Rixi is located at? She fights with you guys and is my sister."
"She sounds familiar. Does she have pale skin, blue hair with red highlights?"
"Yeah, that's her."
"She's just about 8 tents down that way," the necromancer pointed to his right, "it's the tent that has the words 'No Boys!' written on both sides of it."
Tep laughed weakly, "That's her alright..." He then looked at the one who helped him, "If you don't mind me asking, why is it that you joined this war?"
The necromancer took the letter completely away from his face this time and smiled at Tep.
"I have a natural affinity for darkness magic and believe that necromancers can be good people, while the paladins are over-zealous in their current campaign. I've never been able to keep my nose out where conflict is concerned, which seems to run in the family," he laughed at this, "More specifically, my mysterious necromancy teacher prodded me into it. Name's Storm Silverwing. Yourself?"
"Tep. Tep Itaki. Thanks for the help," Tep offered his hand and Storm gladly shook it in response.
"You're welcome. Good luck with your sister."
"Thanks. Bye," Tep grinned as he took off again and Storm lifted up the letter to his face but stopped halfway to face his undead archer.
"Isaac, did you.."
"Yes master, I did indeed see what was on his head," The skeleton archer responded to his master's unfinished question.
"Good, I thought I was seeing things." With that he finished reading his letter and headed for the gate.
* * *
By following Storm's directions, Tep immediately found Rixi's tent.
"'No Boys!' Just like he said. Rixi, I know you're a high-maintenance girl but this really takes the cake," Tep sighs as he massaged the area between his eyes before proceeding into the tent.
As he entered, ignoring the text on her tent outside, he had found that there was nobody inside. The only thing he found was a pile of some of her equipment, spell scrolls, most of her wizard robes and the all of the Unholy Boomerangs that she had taken with her.
"Aw poms! Where could she be? She might have left for the the battlefield when I was looking around for her," Tep concluded before realizing that all the stuff were untouched since morning, "No, she never came back and I didn't see her on the battlefield when I was observing it or when I came over here. Where could she be? ...Tch, standing here won't make her appear judging by what this tent say. I'll ask her later when I see her, now I guess I'll head to the Paladins' side." With that, he left Rixi's tent and started towards the gate.
* * *
Before he reached the gates of the encampment, Tep came across a well dressed man with a skeleton bandana, with a cloak wrapped around him, wielding a bloody scythe in hand and a rifle on his back with a little skeleton in a large cloak, wielding a scythe as well, following him.
"You're dressed quite sharply," Tep remarked as the one with the skeleton bandana drew closer.
"Why thank'ya fer that. Ya don't look too shabby yerself neithe', 'specially with ta Peace Zard on yer head," the skeleton bandana man replied with much spirit and cheer. Tep then realized that his Peace Zard was still on his head ever since he came into the encampment. He noticed that the zard was already asleep on his head; apparently the rocking of him running around put it to sleep. Tep gently removed it off his head and cradled the peace zard in his arms.
"I had forgotten about this little guy on my head," Tep looked to the fellow with the skeleton bandana, "Thanks."
"Yer welcome, mate," the man with the skeleton bandana laughed as he listened to Tep's response, "Yer a strange one but yer alright by me. Death's Kid mah name, what's yer's?
"Tep. Tep Itaki. Nice to meet you," Tep smiled then looked flustered, "Um, I'd offer you a handshake but as you can see, my hands are full."
Kid laughed before responding, "s'alright, mah hands are soaked wit' blood anyways. So ya heading out to ta battlefield?" Pointing behind as Kid continued to look at Tep.
"Yes, it's about time for be to get going, but before I go, I want to ask you your reason for joining the war," Tep smiled as he asked the question.
Kid took a deep breathe before answering, "Ah don't agree with ta Paladins' reason fer startin' this war wit ta necromancers. Seems tha' Artix an' Halenro hav' lost ther way...and Ah fear tha' a Paladin victory will send ta entire Order marchin' down ta same path. Fer ta sake o' preservin' ta values that ta Paladin Order was founded upon...Ah must cut 'way ta blinders. Ah must cut 'way ta weeds so that ta flowers in ther ranks can blossom. Ah am concerned as to ta consequences ta Paladins may suffer if they are successful 'ere. They look to eliminate Necromancy, yet ta Lady of Light, who granted them much o' their power, has many loyal subjects who are amon' ta Undead ranks. Likewise, if ta Necromancers go mad wit' power, we can vanquish them wit' ta tools at our disposal. But, we cannot brin' back the legions of peaceful Undead we stand to lose if ta Paladins have their way. Worst of all, Artix's intentions seem to reach even ta creatures of Darkovia, even ta benevolent ones. A Paladin win would brin' even more war, an' do damage that could neve' be undone. Ah cannot, in good consciousness, allow this current course o' action to succeed. Hence, Ah fight against them."
"Ah really? Thank you for telling me so much and so detailed," Tep nodded as he listened intently to Kid's explanation.
"An' what's yer reason to be in ta war?"
Tep paused for a moment then looked to Kid, "The reason why I'm here is because I want to record what's happening here and to learn the truth behind this whole fiasco. Something doesn't seem too right," Tep paused and thought about Rixi, "There seems to be too many unknown elements in this war that aren't accounted for."
Kid silently stood as he somewhat agreed with Tep's words, "Ya may be right, but right naw, ta Paladins' ta one who started it."
"True. Well I have to get going, it was nice talking to you Kid."
"Nice talkin' ta ya, too. Good luck out thar."
With that, they both departed from each other. Kid, into the necromancers' encampment, and Tep, into the battlefield where his small companions were located at. Tep place the zard back on his head so he could take out his research journal. He opened the pages to a blank spot. He started to write as he walked about those who he met on the necromancers' side and their reason for war, be it something quite simple or about the strong emotions and connections they had with this war.
It seems that this war has extremely deep roots with everybody, like I had figured when I had heard about the coming of this war from Artimix. From the necromancers' side, I gathered, from Kid, was that Artix was the one who started this entire thing and from Storm I learned that the paladins have been getting over-zealous in this war. From Scorpio, I found out one of the reason why the necromancers fought back. It's because Darkness has been stigmatized and oppressed for too long and they plan to make sure Darkness is never ostracized again by Light. However, there were some who also fight in this war because they are loyal to the necromancers as well like Ubear. I think he might be the friendliest one of those who fight for this reason.
I've learned a lot from the necromancers' side because I was lucky enough to find a few of the necromancers who were willing to talk with me. The other necromancers I met weren't in such a talkative mood and outright attacked me because I was acting suspicious...However, it seems that even in war time, some people still act like they usually do at home in their base while others also bring the mood of the battlefield back with them to the base. At least that's what I've observed.
I wonder what I'll learn from the paladins' side and if the situation at their base is the similar to the necromancers'.
Also, Rixi has been acting strange ever since I came here. I haven't seen her in the battlefield nor at her quarter in the northeast side of the necromancers' encampment. She hasn't been back to her tent ever since she left her stuff there. I hope I find her soon.
Tep closed his journal and entered the small cave where his small friends and comrades were located at. They all happily pounced on him as soon as he stepped into the cave. Tep smiled as he decided to stay the night in this cave and head over to the paladins' side in the morning. After all, this whole day was quite tiring.
* * *
As Tep was preparing to spend the night in the cave, there was something strange happening within the battlefield. Rixi, with tears in her eyes, was mindlessly attacking anything that came close to her with powerful spells, mauling them before they get the chance to come closer. This magic, however, forced even her necromantic allies to steer clear of her as it attacked both friends and foes alike. Her form began to twist as her tears slowly turned red. She was becoming more of a monster with every use of the evil spells.
The sounds of steel, cries and spells roared constantly through the entire night, even as the sun peeked over the horizon to light up another day. It's rays permeated into the cave where Tep and his twelve small yet faithful animal(with the exception of his Fairy Godmother and his undead archer) companions nestled through the night. As the sun's ray gently yet slowly crept up on the small group to let them know morning had come.
Tep slowly opened his eyes along with the rest of his little crew to the bright light and warm embrace from the sun. A slow yet gentle awakening was immediately disrupted by the sound of a large explosion, followed by cries of battle. Tep got up, had a horrendous case of bedhead, and, from his magical pouch on the right side of his belt, pulled out a large cloth along with an excessive array of food.
Tep's little companions started feasting on the food as soon as it laid on the cloth. PomPoms, his eccentric gween, immediately went after the candies that was on the cloth.
"Oh no you don't little fella!" Tep dived and snatched the candies before PomPoms could gobble them up. "These are for RainPeace for helping me out the rest of the way yesterday. You're eating healthy again." Tep lectured as he gave the lax little Peace Zard the candies. PomPoms pouted and went to munch on corns, carrots and the likes with Le Poms, a dutiful armored Pomeranian, and Warcon, a rough-around-the-edges warboar.
Tep sat down as he watched his little crew feasting on the delicacies in front of him. Marylynn, his fairy godmother, sat next to him, eating in a lady-like manner. Archie, his silent undead archer, however, stood guard by the cave's entrance to fend off any intruders that would disrupt the morning feast. He had no need to eat as he was a skeleton.
Yuki, his mischievous nerfkitten, was doing a four way tug-o'-war with a meat pie against Spiriza, his playful wraithzard; Dracon, a devilish nightmare vampragon; and Beturker, a rough and wild maple leaf turkey(who would throw everything including the kitchen sink). This was interrupted when R. Twilly, who followed after Tep to the present from the past; and KenChi, a chicken of holy ancestry, blindsided the four by stealing the meat from under and ran away with it.
Tep laughed as he watched the scene unfold on the little breakfast battleground. He smiled as Marylynn handed him a plate of food and utensils to eat.
* * *
Tep emerged from the cave, yawning and stretching, still embraced by the sun's gentle and warm light while ignoring the noisy battlefield. After finishing his morning stretches, he looked over to the paladins' side of the battlefield.
"Welp, time to get going," Tep yawned as he sluggishly pressed on towards the paladins' base, "Information won't just fall on your lap. Though wh-" He didn't even make his third step when he fell forward to meet the ground, snoozing on the way down.
* * *
"..y....ey.....Hey!" Tep jolted up to a form a defensive stance but smashed the back of his head into something on the way up. "Aowh! Ai vih mai thung!" Tep was in the fetal position as he was cradling his poor head before looking up to see who had woke him up and who he hit.
His eyes lit up, like a child who saw the presents under the tree on Frostval morning, as soon as he saw the person in question. It was Artimix! He was crouched down holding his mouth with both hands, facing away from Tep. Tep noticed that he was in a tent and on a floor bed. He looked to Artimix, who stopped holding his mouth, and figured his own brother brought him back to the Paladins' base.
"Hey," Tep waved at his brother, who turned around, with the most serious of faces as he sat up, which only made Artimix laugh.
"Hey to you too, Bedhead Sleeperson," Artimx remarked as he ruffled his brother's hair, "I mean, here I was, just fighting against the undeads and necromancers while making sure the paladins don't try anything at the same time, and what do I see in the far distance? My younger brother, walking like a zombie and plopping back down to earth after taking a couple of steps. So I went and did what any good brother would do. Slay a couple of undeads in my way, punched a paladin, or three, in the face when they were getting out of hand, and prodded my sleeping brother with a stick before hauling him back to the paladins' base. You may also want to look in a mirror later little brother."
Tep's stomach turned at Artimix's last line and immediately took out a mirror from the magical pouch on the left side of his belt.
"By my Pom-poms of Lore!" His hair looked like Dr. Boom's erratic hair, only without the white, but that wasn't the issue. As he looked into the mirror, it was clear Artimix had fun "decorating" Tep's face with items of the food and sticker nature. "Ar-ti-mix!!!!" Tep quickly washed his hair and Artimix's mischief with water magic. Artimix was howling in laughter the entire time.
"Well, it was funny while it lasted!" Artimix's laughter finally died down as he wiped away the tears from his eyes, "now, back to business."
Artimix's voice changed and his face returned to the serious one Tep saw when he arrived on the battlefield yesterday, "You are free to roam around the camp and mingle with the other paladins, Artix gave me his consent to you staying with me under the condition you help out on the battlefield later on. Just make sure you have this pin to show you aren't an enemy."
Artimix pulled out a small pin of a wing on a helmet and placed it in Tep's hands. "Just...watch out for the overzealous ones. There's a chance that if you act or seem suspicious around them, they will attack you without warning, pin or not. Okay, maybe there might be some screams of 'Die spy!' before they attack."
Tep nodded as he placed the pin on the collar of his sky blue coat with pink lining. After he placed the pin, Tep remembered what Artimix explained the other day, "Oh Artimix, what was Artix's reason for starting that war that had some paladins defect to the necromancers' side?"
"Artix saw how there were so many necromancers popping up everywhere and decided to put an end to necromancy since so many use it for evil. The ones who defected took Artix's words as 'the paladins will march and wipe out all undeads on Lore' after this war. The possibility of harm coming to those innocent in Darkovia and Alnaphar did it. Not only that, they thought the order would come after every necromancer in the world, whether they're good or evil because of Halenro's words and Artix's improper example of when Coueraservi was almost forced to serve Donovan. Seems many misunderstood Artix's use of the word 'purge'."
Artimix sighed as he got up, "I stayed to fight for the paladins because I realized Artix didn't truly mean what others thought he was saying and Artix just needs to remember the true ideals of the Paladin Order when it was founded. He's not evil or going for genocide, just a little misguided from fear."
Tep nodded as he watched Artimix leave the tent but stopped for a short second.
"If you're still here when I get back from dismantling undeads and knocking some senses to overly zealous paladins, let's have a chat of what you did the entire time yesterday and...something else." Tep sensed the something else was something dire, judging from his brother's tone of voice, as he watched Artimix leave.
Tep got up and started stretching again and gave a sigh of relief, "Guess it's about time to get going. I'm already behind schedule!"
* * *
Tep's walk around the camp revealed that the mood at the paladins' base was also similar to that of the necromancers'. He had met, and chatted, with friendly paladins and ran from overly, and possibly crazy, devoted paladins that attacked him because they thought he was suspicious. They even failed to notice the pin on his collar.
While exploring, and running away from crazed paladins, Tep came across a paladin who, fully equipped in a white armor with turquoise and gold adornments, was about to return to his tent to rest. Tep thought it was a beautiful armor as he was, and unknowingly, already in front of the armored knight.
The sudden appearance of the wide-eyed, childlike behavior of Tep caused the white knight to fall back in surprise before he could reach for his weapon.
"What in the name of the Lady of Light!? Who are you!?" The knight regained his posture and drew his sword at the still sparkling-eyed Tep. The knight then noticed the pin on his collar and stayed his blade before it it reached Tep's neck.
He turned to sheath his blade, "You shouldn't be going around and sneaking up on people after they're exhausted and still on edge from battle." The knight turned to thin air then realized the person in question was already inspecting his armor and jotting down notes in his little book. "H-hey! What do you think you're doing!?"
Tep snapped out of his little episode and realized what he was doing and apologized to the knight.
"It was just that your armor was so pretty I couldn't hep myself," the embarrassed Tep confessed. After hearing that, the knight sighed and took off his helmet, revealing his "up-righteous" white hair, golden eyes and shining smile.
"That's alright, I guess I should have realized there are many who are captivated by my armor. My name's Paul, my friends call me War." Paul smiled as he offered a hand towards Tep.
"Nice to meet you, Paul," Tep replied as he shook Paul's hand, "Do you mind if I ask you a question?"
"Normally, I wouldn't take the question of somebody who suddenly appear in front of me and so very rudely inspected me without my permission, but since you said my armor was pretty, ask away!"
Tep let out a snicker at Paul's quip, "So could you tell me your reason to join this war and why you fight for the paladins?"
Paul's face became bright and sincere as he looked straight at Tep, "Because I try to protect the good. Defend those who can't do so for themselves. That is my reason for joining this war and fighting for the paladins."
Tep nodded at this response and smiled, "That's a good reason to fight. Thanks for telling me. And I'm sorry for taking up your time when you could be resting."
"It's fine, I had a nice laugh myself."
"Well I leave you to your rest and I wish you a invigorating sleep."
"Thanks, you too. Oh, I didn't catch your name there."
"It's Tep, Tep Itaki." Tep smiled as he left.
"So that was Artimix's little brother, I knew he looked strangely familiar. Can't believe I didn't realize it sooner. Strange guy but he seems sincere and honest. Too bad there's already somebody stranger than him here," Paul yawned loudly as he retreated into his tent, "Now, time for a nap before I stay up for another 24 hours fighting." Paul paused, "Wish he was still with us today."
* * *
As he sang, Tep continued his exploration around the paladins' base.
"War! Huu! What is it good for!"
"Absolutely nothing, yo!"
This threw Tep for a loop as he looked around to find who was the one that shouted those words. A paladin in red, with black trims, armor came up from behind Tep and tapped his shoulder. Tep turned around and saw the culprit. With an inspection, the paladin was sporting a red beard and had a jolly roger hat that sported the same color as his armor. Tep was surprised to see a pirate paladin, especially one with a smile like a Cheshire cat.
"Sup," the pirate paladin in red cracked as he raised his hand in greeting and quipped, "But even when there's absolutely nothing good about war, I can't help but want to see how it will turn out. By the way, do you have two-fitty?"
"No, I don't, sorry," Tep was taken aback by this man. He clearly was stranger than Tep and Tep was successful at being the strangest, until now, "Your name is?"
"Kalle, got it into your memory banks?" Kalle grinned as he crossed his arms in, what seems to be, satisfaction, "And what about yourself?"
"Tep, Tep Itaki," Tep laughed, "I got your name memorized. If you don't mind me asking you this suddenly but why are you fighting in this war and for the paladins?
"Oh! You're Artimix's younger brother? How come I didn't see it! You two look so much alike! I'm good friends with that guy, we even compete with each other every now and then! As for your question, I already told you, I wanted to see how the war will turn out! I can't help myself whenever there's a war!"
Tep drew back a bit, he could clearly see Kalle was a war fanatic, "W-well, I got to get going but it was nice chatting with you. Bye!" Tep bolted but stopped when Kalle grabbed him. Tep turned around slowly at Kalle.
"When you get out there in the battlefield, don't do anything stupid. There's no sense in being gravely injured, or killed, because you weren't being serious," Kalle's easygoing face had turned dark and foreboding, "Promise me that."
Tep promised as he left.
"Well, I think it's time to start taking down some more undeads," Kalle grinned as he pulled out a heavily decorated golden axe, with a lion's motif, and rushed to the gates for the battlefield.
* * *
Tep looked back in the direction where he had met Kalle and thought to himself that there really were people that could be stranger than him and Kalle was proof of that.
Still deep in thought, Tep didn't realize there was a guy behind him when he crashed into the person.
"Ah! I'm so sorry!" Tep shouted as he frantically gathered his bearings.
"It's alright, here let me help you up," the stranger(of course, he was a paladin since this was a paladins' base, who else could be there besides pirates, knights or your werewolf brother?) helped Tep up and laughed as he remarked, "You've got to watch where you're going next time. I'm Golden Emperor, by the way, what's your name?"
"Ah, my name is Tep, Tep Itaki. I find it curious on how you came to call yourself Golden Emperor," as Tep replied, he took notice of Golden Emperor appearance. Golden Emperor was wearing a heavily decorated golden suit of armor in a motif of a lion, not knowing the design was similar to Kalle's axe. Golden Emperor's pale yellow hair was parted in the middle as both of his bangs defied gravity. Tep took notice of Golden Emperor's blood red eyes and marveled at how deep the color of it was.
"It's a long story, but everybody calls me GE. It's nice to meet you Tep. I should have realized you were Artimix's brother when you both look so alike to each other, with some minor differences. So, what were you doing running backwards and crashing into other people?" GE joked as he smiled.
"Just exploring. Oh and if you don't mind, could you tell me why you joined this war and your alignment to the paladins?"
GE's face became solemn as he heard this and a gentle smile was painted on his lips, "I fight for the paladins because we represent honor, justice and good. It's the main reason why I became a paladin."
Tep smiled and nodded, "Thank you and I'm sorry to do this but I do need to continue on exploring."
"Likewise, I need to get back on to the battlefield. I'm well rested enough."
With that, they both left for their designated locations.
* * *
It wasn't long before Tep found himself face to face with what seems to be a NightHunter member fighting for the paladins. He was wearing the standard outfit of all NightHunters, except he didn't wear the hat, and along with his black frizzy hair and black bandana mask; his whole attire screamed "Creature of the Dark!" not paladin.
"Who are you?!" the nighthunter barked as he drew his weapon, "I haven't seen your face around here before!"
"I'm with the paladins and this pin is proof that Artix acknowledges my being here," Now that he knew how to deal with such people Tep showed the weapon holder his pin. The nighthunter withdrew his weapon and apologized for his behavior. Tep realized this warrior was still high-strung because of the war, even when he's in his allies' base. "It's alright, wartime has that effect on everyone. I'm Tep, Tep Itaki, what's your name? Also, could you tell me the reason why you join this war?"
"My name is Flashbang and I joined this war because the undead are HUGE enemies! They were the cause of so much grief and destruction like the Dracolich war and when we fought against those Flaming undeads Zorbak made. Artix is right, we must purge Lore of necromancy so such things will never happen again! And with my training and skills as a NightHunter, I'll be easily able to dispatch those evil necromancers."
Another paladin came up from behind and shouted to Flashbang, "There you are! We have to return to the battlefield, the others are coming back for their break and it's our turn to get into position!"
"Ah, my bad Ulthair, I was just chatting with this guy here," Flashbang turned around and rushed towards Ulthair. The two dashed off to the gate leaving Tep to continue his exploration.
Ulthair looked back at the person Flashbang was talking to and thought to himself, "Wait, wasn't that Artimix? I thought he left for the battlefield a while ago. When did he come back and change into those clothes? ...Forget about it, the battle against the necromancers is a higher priority. I hope I find my teacher there so I can fight alongside him."
* * *
The moon was high and bright in the sky as Tep sighed heavily when he returned to Artimix's tent; the ducking and dodging of the fanatic paladins wore him out. He was ready go to sleep. Tep, as he slowly walked, pulled out his research journal and started writing.
I finally heard the reason why some paladins defected to the necromancers' side and the words that Artix spoke, thanks to my brother. Apparently, Artix wants to end necromancy because of their increasing numbers and many took it as end necromancers and all undead life. Genocide, basically.
After leaving the tent, I met up with some friendly paladins, whom, while still inexperienced, were fighting for good and the light. They followed Artix's command because they realized his words were right and that the necromancers were growing in numbers too large for the paladins to handle.
I also met some overly devoted paladins that thought I was suspicious and tried to make me into stir-fry. Coulda sworn one of them was brandishing a knife and fork as he was chasing after me...
Tep stopped to shudder and continued to write.
I learned that there were paladins who fight because they protect all that are good and those who can't defend themselves like Paul. I've also learned that there was somebody who could be stranger than me! I was so surprised when I met up with Kalle and when I learned he was a war fanatic. Though, now that I think about it, I never did get his reason as to why he fights for the paladins. I may have to ask him the next time I meet him.
Afterwards, I met a paladin who fights in the war to defend all that the paladins represents. Though I still wonder what Golden Emperor's story about his name is. Perhaps one day after this war. However, I met what seemed to be a zealous NightHunter after GE. Flashbang's reason for fighting for the paladins in the war was because it seems he views the undeads as enemies. He gave examples of undead wars we've face together, like the Dracolich war and fighting Zorbak's flaming undeads. At leas
Tep stopped mid-sentence as he saw there was somebody waiting for him in front of Artimix's tent. The person had a face that Tep had not seen for a long time, ever since Death "granted" that person his flesh-less face. Now his old face had returned along with his white spiky hair and forest green eyes. The person had gone missing ever since Frigidere's appearance. Tep dropped his journal in shock.
A smile slowly spread across Zombay's face.
Brother My Brother
Tep picked up the research journal and tucked it away into his person still staring at Zombay, who stood in the standard paladin armor but with a black cloak draping behind his armor; questions forming inside his head.
"Come now Tep, you shouldn't be walking around with your mouth open. You'll swallow a fly at this rate," Zombay's bon mot brought Tep back to his senses.
"Wher-, wh-when? Why? How, how?" Tep stuttered as he tried to regain composure.
"Let's discuss this inside Artimix's tent. We wouldn't want cause such ballyhooing where everybody can see."
Tep nodded and proceeded in first, followed by the smiling Zombay. Tep sat down on the floor bed as Zombay conjured up a stool.
"Magic at it's finest when it's being used to make stools to sit on," Zombay snickered as he sat down as well.
Both sides stared at each other, tension building up as silence loomed overhead. It got so dense that if somebody were to come in, they would would be crushed by the pressure between the two.
Tep broke the dense, melancholy mood, "Where have you been ever since Frigidere appeared? Why are you fighting for the paladin's side when we both know very well you support the necromancers and are one yourself? Did you even know Rixi had looked for you for weeks!?" Tep realized he had raised his voice and sat back down with a calm demeanor, "Just what were you up to all this time?"
"All in due time, old friend. But if you must know, I'm fighting for the paladins because I feel it is...for the best."
Tep grew uneasy with Zombay's reply. There was something off about the way he had phrased it. No, something else was off and it was something that needed to be addressed, Zombay's old face had returned. His old face that even Warlic's magic mirror couldn't restore and yet, there he was across from Tep, his face had their flesh and his head filled with white hair, spiked up like a certain super ape-like race from the planet named vegetables.
"Then answer me this, how did you get your face back? We tried everything when you ticked off Death and he 'rewarded' you by granting you that face. Tell me how?" Tep pressured as he continued to stare at Zombay.
Zombay sighed as he let out a small condescending chuckle, "You wouldn't believe me if I told y-"
"Alright. Well, after Frigidere appeared, I went out to look for one of his essences. I simply got lost on my quest."
"Why did you try to find one of Frigidere's essence?" puzzled Tep.
"I wanted my gift," Zombay laughed loudly, which gave Tep a shock, "But while searching for Frigidere's essence, I came across a way to return my face. Now I have to ask, what are you doing here on the paladin's base? You always claimed to be neutral but when such a war comes around, you can't help but pick a side, contradicting your beliefs, eh?" Tep sighed and shrugged off Zombay's chiding.
"I'm not in the fight. I'm just recording this war and try to get to get the true reason behind it, especially with Artix instigating the whole thing," Tep took a somber tone, looking at his feet as he went on, "But the strangest thing is when I arrived on that battlefield, everybody was attacking each other. Rixi told me that everybody was hit with an illusion spell at the start of war, causing them do such things. You should know what I'm talking about, you were there, weren't you?"
Tep raised his head to see Zombay and was startled by the widest grin that was on his face. Zombay's smile stretched from ear to ear as his squinted eyes seemingly gleamed despite the dark lighting.
"Oh? I was there alright. In fact, I was the only one not affected by the illusion spell."
Tep's face was mixed with shock and horror as he heard this. He shot up like a frightened cat after putting the pieces together and, without realizing, Tep was screaming, "You were the one! Why! Why would you do such a thing!? Don't you realize how many people died at the hands of their comrades because of it!? Answer me! Why!?"
Zombay's face convulsed as he roared with laughter, "Because, I wasn't looking for Frigidere's essences to destroy it, oh dimwitted one, I was looking to absorb it; and it wasn't just then I decided to look for a Lich's essence, I've been scouring Lore ever since death stripped me of my face to restore it. Though I could only commit a small amount of my time so not to arouse suspicion. I remembered about my knowledges of Liches and how they defied the laws of life and death; so what better way to restore my face than to use a little Lich magic?"
Zombay got up as he stood in front of Tep, "However, I couldn't find powerful enough essences and I almost gave up, until Frigidere appeared. I knew it was the chance I was looking for when I heard he was from a race of special undead, ones who was born into undeath. His special essence would fuel my magic considerably, along with the other essences I found. When I found one of the phylacteries containing his essence, along with several other Lich essences within the vicinity, I took it into my body and..."
Zombay gently brushed his face with his palm, "My glorious face returned to normal. And as intended, I also received a large amount of magical energies with those essences but with no way of testing how powerful it was against other beings."
"Until this war...." Tep was horrified at what his comrade and rival had become.
"But still, imagine my surprise when I saw little Rixi on that battlefield," Tep's face changed to a scowl as he heard this, "Doing her best to find the one who beat me in a contest not so long ago and diligently subduing all these paladins in doing so."
"How did you know about the war and her goin-"
"Because I attached a small parasite in her before I left," Zombay interjected, "This way, I would be informed about any news and changes in my absence. When I saw her across the battlefield..."
Tep grabbed Zombay by his cloak and threw him on the ground, his hands still clenching on the black cloak, and bellowed, "What did you do to her!?" Zombay smirked as Tep continued, "Answer me!"
"Now that's no way to treat an old friend, especially one as forgiving as myself."
Zombay appeared behind Tep, brushing himself off, and caused Tep to rapidly turn around to face him, surprised at his ability to teleport as he couldn't previously, "If I wasn't so forgiving, you would be dead when you touched me. Now, if you'll excuse me, this talk has turned sour so I will take my leave. I may as well take what I left with Rixi before I disappear again."
"Leave her out this," Tep's voice took a low and stifling tone as he warned Zombay, who looked back with a condescending face.
"Then I guess you'll be fine when she is taken over by my magic and eventually taken by death when her body can no longer handle it's powerful magic?"
Tep's somber face turned to horror yet again "As long as she continues to stay on the battlefield and is consistently using it like I how I instructed her to do; she should be taken over by it and turned into a black beast, sometime around the next hour. I can make it all go away and 'save' her, unless you have the power to do it, there's no way for her to survive my magic; And you can't, from what I've seen of your magick, so I'm your best bet to save her."
With that, Zombay disappeared into the shadows, with his laughter slowly fading, right as Artimix walked in to see his brother kneeling with one knee on the ground, faced away from the entrance.
"Ah Tep, good you're still here," Artimix stopped and realized something was wrong, his instinct was screaming it, "Tep, what happened?"
"Zombay was here...and...he needs to be stopped."
Artimix's face took a serious turn, "Understood. Tell me on the way."
Tep turned around and made a mad dash to the battleground with Artimix following behind. On the way, he told Artimix everything that he and Zombay had talked about and how Zombay was the cause of Rixi's change of behavior, even when Artimix didn't realize it, and the cause of everybody turning on their own comrades.
"Man, I thought he was bad before, he's really taken it to a whole 'nother level." Artimix bitterly remarked as he continued to run.
"Our first priority is to extract whatever it is he's left inside her and the parasite as well. The current me won't be able to do it but..." Tep trailed off.
"You'll have to unseal a small part of that power to do so, I know. Even if you hate using it, right now it's the only option left if you want to save our sister," Artimix reassured Tep, "Start the unsealing process as we head there. I'm certain we won't have time once we find Rixi."
Tep nodded and started making sigils into the air with both his hands as he chanted the words of a dead tongue. Both brothers rushed to their sister's side, ready to save her and punish the one who used her.
* * *
Elsewhere, outside the battlefield, two figures appear over the hill. One of the figure had a gecko helm, his face completely black and bits of green hair peaked out from under his helm.
The other was a red, pony-tailed, haired female, with two large red and gold accessory on either side of her head. The male was tossing and catching a cutlass while the female had a black shadow-like being coming out of her shadow to embrace her. Both of them with a dark smile on their faces as they looked at the battlefield.
"Time to begin the show, partner."
* * *
Tep and Artimix continued searching for Rixi as Tep maintained his sigil making and chanting. They thought they might never find her when they both saw a large amount of paladins being flung into the sky. Looking to each other, they both increased their speed to the source of the flying paladins.
When they arrived, they both were shocked and horrified at the sight of the black beast. It had four black spider-like legs protruding out it's back; it's arms and legs had erratic spikes coming out toward the rest of the limbs. Its body was covered an armor-like crust that extended from behind, seemingly as if there were claws holding onto the beast's body. Its long hair seemed alive as it moved whimsically in the air. But the thing that shocked them the most, was from its green eyes, as deep red tears streamed down its face.
As they both stared, Tep remembered Zombay's words.
...she should be taken over by it and turned into a black beast, sometime in the next hour...
"What!? That's Rixi!?" Artimix immediately turned to his brother with horror.
"This is what Zombay was talking about."
As if on cue, Zombay appeared besides her and strangely, Rixi's erratic and fierce appearance suddenly calmed as soon as she saw Zombay next to her. She looked to him like a little puppy, awaiting for it's master's command. Tep's stomach churned at the sight of it, to the point of almost retching in disgust, but Artimix's firm hand on his shoulder snapped him out of it and he carried on to unseal a portion of his evil power.
"Zombay!" Artimix bellowed, "You've fallen so far that I cannot call you my friend or comrade anymore. After today, if I meet you again, you best rinse your neck."
Zombay, paying no heed to the words by Artimix, raised his hand to his head and murmured. His arm glowed a sickly blue as he sharply, and painfully, extracted the evil essence inside Rixi, ignoring of her scream, and devoured it in a satisfying burp. Artimix, now filled with rage, charged and immediately appeared in front of Zombay, sword a-swinging.
"Rixi!" Tep, finally finished with his ritual, teleported to his sister's side, just in time to catch her as she fell over. Her face and body was reverting back to their original state as the black skin covering her evaporated. She started to hack up blood as cuts and bruises appeared simultaneously on her frame and her skin started to cling to her bones.
Tep wasted no time to use his magic to heal Rixi as he found and destroyed the parasite Zombay had placed. As he continued to heal her, Tep searched for more anomalies in her, had Zombay placed back-ups.
Artimix, in his fit of rage, continued to swing at Zombay, only to keep missing, as Zombay played around with him. Small cuts started to appear on Artimix's body, even pierced through his armor, as he continued to attack in rage.
Tep, seeing this as soon as he finished healing and purifying Rixi, shouted, "Artimix! Calm yourself and with intentions pure and true, strike!"
Tep's words opened Artimix's eyes from his rage as he looked to his brother and nodded. Artimix raised his blade in front of him and focused intensely at his true enemy. Zombay, taking full advantage of the chance, quickly appeared behind the surprised Tep as he readied his spell to end the little thorn on his side.
Tep's bewildered look turned solemn as Artimix's blade pierced and retracted from Zombay. Startled, Zombay disappeared and reappeared with enough distance between him and the siblings, his hand over his gushing stomach, gasping wildly, as he watched Artimix fall to his knee.
Tep caught his brother and healed his cuts and aching muscles, "Artimix, I want you to take Rixi to Warlic and see if he can reverse the damage done to Rixi by Zombay. I'll deal with him."
Artimix nodded as he picked Rixi up, princess-style, and dashed towards Battleon.
* * *
When he was already halfway across the battlefield, dodging volleys of spells and undead attacks, Artimix felt a hand grab him and he turned his attention to Rixi. His face convulsed with dread and sorrow as he saw how sickly her face was as her flesh clung closely to her bones. He could not hold back his tears of regret.
"Brother..." Rixi squeaked weakly.
"Save your strength, my sister, I will get you to Warlic so he can return you to your annoying little self again," Artimix spoke with tears streaming down his face, "I'm so sorry for not noticing your change yesterday. Forgive me, for I could have saved you from this predicament."
Rixi slowly shook her head in disagreement, "Artimix...I would have...refused you.....I wanted...to help my teacher so much...that I..." Rixi coughed up blood as she spoke.
"You can tell me later. Right now, save your strength and focus on surviving this," Artimix's tears stopped flowing down his face as his expression took a determined look, "when your life is out of death's grasp, tell me all about it. Just save your strength, I beg of you, I don't want my favorite sister to die."
Rixi's sickly face formed a fragile smile and retorted, "Dummy...I'm your only sister," before closing her eyes and letting go of her grip on Artimix's arm.
"Rixi? Rixi!" Artimix, now afraid he was losing time quicker than expected, gathered strength from every fiber of his being as he slowly but steadily, as to not break his fragile sister, sped up on the way to Warlic. "Hang in there, sister. I won't let you die. I still haven't gotten you back for freezing me in my sleep," Tears freely falling down Artimix's face, "I still haven't..."
* * *
Tep turned around after watching his siblings, "As for you," Tep said in a monotone voice as he faced Zombay, who felt a chill bolt through his spine when he saw Tep's unstable smile, "I will make sure you never do such thing again and revert your face back to its flesh-less visage. You are now my enemy and I will strip you of your newfound powers. And if I find you tormenting my-"
Tep stopped when he saw Zombay had ran away in the opposite direction. He used the time when Tep was rambling on to heal his mortal wound, however, it seemed as if he lost enough of his magical strength to teleport away.
"Guess the talk turned sour," Tep sighed under his breath as he departed after Zombay.
A Dire Situation
"Her conditions have stabilized for now but whether or not she recovers, remains with her," stated Warlic as he finished removing the residual impurities within Rixi, "There is nothing I am able to do as of now so it is best to let your sister get some rest. I will be in my shop if her condition worsens," with that, Warlic left the room to tend to his shop.
"Thank you Warlic," Artimix bowed deeply in Warlic's direction then proceeded to his sister's side, kneeling. He grabbed his sister's delicate hand with both of his and squeezed them ever-so-lightly as he prayed for her safe recovery.
A day had gone by since Artimix arrived late at night in front of Warlic's shop with his sister in his arms, his sweating face painted with fatigue and despondency. Warlic quickly responded and instructed Artimix to get inside, even when he arrived so late in the night.
Under instructions, Artimix had gently laid her down on a bed Warlic had set instantly and proceeded to watch as Warlic did his best to cure Rixi. Rixi was screaming in pain as Warlic applied his treatment. Artimix fought every cell in his body as they screamed for him to stop Warlic, letting Warlic cure her of whatever it was Zombay had done.
"Artimix..." Artimix's head shot up to face his sister.
"Rixi...Thank Lorithia, as well as Warlic, that you've returned from Death's domain," Artimix sighed a breath of relief, "Please, don't do such dangerous things again. You cannot trust Zombay anymore, not after what he put you through."
Rixi pulled her hand away from Artimix and shook her head, vigorously in disagreement, "No, you're wrong. My teacher is not as evil as you think. He wasn't himself."
"But Rixi, what he d-"
"He wasn't himself!" Rixi screamed at the top of her lungs only to proceed to cringe from intense pain as she took a fetal position.
"Rixi!" Artimix tried to help his sister only to get repelled by a barrier. He flew into a wall as the barrier denied him from Rixi. Warlic, after hearing all the ruckus, enter the room to find Rixi, trembling profoundly in fetal position, and Artimix, slowly getting up and revealing a small hole in the wall.
"Artimix, I do not wish to separate siblings but alas, the situation calls for it. You must leave Rixi in my care. I give you my word she is in good hands."
Artimix got up slowly, shaking off the shock to his head, looked at Rixi and clenched his fist exorbitantly as blood dripped down from his fist. Warlic, without looking, cast a healing spell on Artimix.
"Do take care as you leave, anger shall not make your sister recover any faster," Warlic's voice was monotonous as Artimix left in silence. Rixi opened her eyes, revealing sorrow and regret, as she caught her brother leaving. "As for you, young one, you must rest. No more outbursts like the one before or you may never fully recover."
Listening to the wise mage, Rixi closed her eyes as she felt a soothing warm aura surrounding her, as it lulled her into a peaceful sleep.
* * *
Artimix stood outside, the rising sun gazed upon the fifth day of war, depression and rage filled him entirely as he stared into the battlefield. Thoughts of what occurred the past handful of days went through his mind. Of the little fights he and Rixi had when they both picked a side in the war and found out the other's decision.
For an entire week leading up to the war, they proceeded to pull pranks on each other and of the like nature. Then, when he had met up with her, and confirmed her presence through scent and instinct, outside the battlefield when he was still under the illusion spell, she did not even look in his direction. He remembered how she was so cold and distant she was when he greeted her, he dismissed it as her own way of showing her resolve and left it alone when he asked her what happened on her side.
"The illusion spell...Rixi's strange behavior...Zombay was the one behind it all," Artimix remained motionless in front of Warlic's shop as he mumbled on, "then he goes and pulls that thing out of Rixi, hurting her in the process." Smoke started to slowly seethe out of Artimix's skin as he clenched his teeth in a growl, revealing his canine fangs, "And yet, she still defends him."
Sheathing his sword and shield behind his back, Artimix started moving toward the battlefield, his purple cape fluttering in the wind.
A step: His arms exploded in dark oak fur, the armor covering his arms flew, as his hands burst into claws, ready to mutilate.
Another step: His legs turned into a wolf's legs that erupted with even more fur, boots peeled like a banana, and from his pants, a tail shot out.
A step more: His torso bursting as bristles of fur lashed outward, the dark blue armor with mahogany trim remained.
A step further: Artimix's long purple braided tail pulled itself out of the armor to fly in an ethereal manner, his head had transformed into a ferocious wolf.
Artimix's anger had transformed him into a dark oak werewolf.
"Zombay!!!" His shout roared through the heavens as he took off.
Hell may have no fury like a woman's scorn but even that scorn is no match to anger when family is involved.
To Each Their Battle
"Che! The wait is killing me!"
"Zip it gecko head, patience is our virtue and advantage."
"But it's been days! Those dark looming clouds don't help make waiting comfortable either."
"I told you to be quiet! Listen, I don't care what those clouds do as long as it doesn't interfere with the mission."
"Yipe! Did that lightn-"
"Hey! Be like the gecko helm you're sporting and stay silent! You'll give away our positions!.....!!! Quick, hide yourself and your presence, he's headed your way."
* * *
Rixi laid in bed, staring at the ceiling. It had been three days since Artimix left Warlic's shop, three days since their fight. Her mind, racked with guilt, on the events of that day. She knew Artimix was right about Zombay and he was only trying to look out for her, yet she rejected him in the most violent way possible. She could have taken a more reasonable turn in her explanation and yet somehow, she chose the worse possible way to respond.
She bit her lip, unable to rest in a comfortable position. Irritation got to her as she got out of bed, ready to head into the battlefield, only to find her legs could not support her weight as she fell, face first, into the ground. Rixi struggled as she sat in an upright sitting position. She started to rub her nose as tears welled up in her eyes.
"Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow....That huuuurts!" tears trickling down her face as she attempted to ease the pain. Warlic, after hearing her fall, came to check on Rixi and found her sitting by her bed, rubbing her nose.
"I see you tried to escape while you've not recovered. I cannot let you do that as I've promised your brother your well being. You must continue to rest young one, as you are now, you should not participate in the war or any battles for that matter. The side effects of the evil magic still remain within you. A long, healing rest will purge them from your system and your body will recover to its previous state before said events."
Rixi, ignoring Warlic's speech, slowly got up on her two feet. She stood pigeon toed as she flailed her arms to maintain balance. Warlic, seeing this, used his magic to force Rixi back to bed.
"As I've stated before, I cannot let you do that. Now, rest up."
Rixi gave a sigh of defeat as she knew she could not escape, not with Warlic watching her. Warlic, after seeing that she had finally resigned to get more rest, returned to his shop.
* * *
Later that night, Rixi tested her limb's strength and figured they were strong enough to support her weight. She got out of bed, this time using the bed as support to make sure she didn't fall again. Silently, she crept out of Warlic's shop when he was sleeping and rushed toward the battlefield.
"Sorry Warlic but I have to find Elryn and my teacher. I need to apologize to my brother as well," Rixi huffed as she ran, unbeknownst to her that Warlic was standing at his door, watching her leave.
* * *
Out on the battlefield, Artimix's feral rage was unleashed upon the unsuspecting undead soldiers. His figure was beyond a monster as smoke came out of his body. His claws dismantled the skeleton soldiers limb from limb. His overbite cleanly separated a zombie's body from its head. He still had enough of his senses to not attack any paladins in his path, as long as they did not foolishly try to attack him. Luckily, there were none as he left dismantled bones and zombie corpses in his wake.
"Zombay!!" His roar sent chills through both the paladins' and necromancers' back. They knew then that this mighty wolf was looking for somebody and the paladins were grateful he was on their side. Artimix continued his rampage as he swiftly ran through the mass of flesh, bone and steel.
"Foul beast who runs amok in the battlefield, cease your rampage," A wall of undead soldiers rose from the ground and stopped Artimix in his tracks.
"Who...are...you," growled Artimix as he slowly forced his way through the wall.
"My name is Drakeh and you are ruining my plans to use those undead to create more servants," Drakeh walked forward, surrounded by undead knights and spellswords. His pitch black cloak hid his face as it covered his black armor with red trim. A smile seethed through darkness of the hood as he summoned more minions to deal with the feral wolf, "Hmm...through a closer look, you seem to be a prime specimen, worthy to become my servant. Yes, you will do nicely."
Drakeh summoned more minions from the corpses of paladins and zombies to subdue Artimix.
Artimix was brought to his knees by the weight of the the undead dog pile on his back, legs and arms. He could not move and saw the necromancer brandishing a dark blade, its blade aimed at Artimix's heart. He tried to free himself from the annoyances as he roared in anger at Drakeh, who was inching ever closer until he was standing in front of the subdued wolf.
"Raise his chest to me."
Upon command, the undead mob lifted Artimix up to face his death. Drakeh's seething smile showed itself once more as he raised his blade to strike.
Drakeh drew back his repelled blade and was immediately surrounded by his undead minions. He looked at the one who interrupted him. A paladin stood between him and the wolf. The person was clad in traditional paladin armor as his white hair seemingly shone, despite the dark clouds hovering over the battlefield. His movements was not wasted as he dispatched the undead, without looking, on top of Artimix before raising his sword to the necromancer.
"Who are you?" Drakeh hissed as he prepared a spell to take care of this intruder, as well as killing the wolf in the process.
"Ulthair. You best remember that as I will stop you necromancer," Fury flared in Ulthair's eyes.
"So you think you can stop me!? Try it!" Drakeh flung a dark lightning bolt at Ulthair, who deflected it with his sword.
"Artimix, I don't know why you're in that form but I do know you're searching for somebody. Go now and I'll deal with this one," as soon as Ulthair finished, his free hand shone with light. Artimix shook off what little undead pieces that were on him as he disappeared into the mass once again, undead body parts flying in his wake.
"So you believe you're my match? I'll gladly show you the errors of your way," Drakeh grinned widely, preparing his greatest spell, as his undead minions stopped Ulthair from reaching their master.
A bright light resonated with Ulthair as he dispatched the undead in his way to Drakeh. His sword was inches away from Drakeh's neck when the both of them were engulfed by a large black sphere, only small instances of light inside the sphere revealed the two locked in heavy combat.
* * *
Rixi had better control of her limbs than before as she continued to run. As she ran, she looked for Elryn's large figure in the crowd of paladins, bones and rotting flesh while sending paladins flying with spells of darkness, persevering through the intense pain of each cast.
In what felt like an eternity to her, she had found Elryn, moving to disable both paladins and necromancers then proceeded to send them through a sort of portal with gears.
She knew she had found Elryn when she saw he was wearing a cloak with no sleeves as silver chains held the cloak at the level of the collarbone. His robes was deep sea blue as it contrasted patterns of silver with a faint moonlight glow as they appeared on the borders of his cloak: the bottom, the inner folds tied by the chains and the contour of the hood. She saw two crescent moons of the same silver on the bottom end of the cloak and on each shoulder as twinkling stars dot the rest of the cloak.
But the main thing that said told her it was Elryn was his massive figure and the hood that was concealed in darkness; within it, two grey eyes swirled like a tempest.
Elryn turned his head to see a young, small girl(compared to the 7'6 giant) running to him. He saw she was limping as she ran towards him. Her blue hair contrasted with her red bangs as her pale skin showed her half vampire nature. Her black and purple robes did little to hide her wounds as they themselves were battered.
"Elryn! I want to challenge you to a race of who is able to defeat more paladins! Me or you!" Rixi shouted with a smile as she wheezed.
Elryn ignored this and proceeded to question her, "Little one, why are you in such a state?"
"That doesn't matter! I want to have a race against you, the one who defeated my teacher, Zombay, in a race!" She shouted again, this time she pointed to the giant.
"You stubborn fool..."
"Stubbornness runs in our family af-" Rixi was cut off as Elryn bear-hugged her suddenly. Flustered, she tried to get out of his grip, "H-hey! Let go! Le-"
"Did you honestly believe I would take on your challenge when I care deeply for my friends? Especially when you would be risking yourself in the race with those wounds?" Elryn's pained voice took the fight out of Rixi as she silently stood in the arms of the giant. Then, Elryn struck Rixi surreptitiously on a nerve in her neck, causing her to lose consciousness, "As for your statement, stubbornness runs amongst the warmongers, child."
Elryn opened the gear portal and sent her though to Yulgar but not before telling Yulgar to make sure Rixi cannot escape back into the battlefield during her stay.
"Now, where are you old friend?" Elryn mumbled as he continued onward.
* * *
Artimix had gone through waves of undead, and several foolish paladins, in his rampage as he continued through the mass of fighters. Eventually, he reached the edge of the armies where he met face to face with Cataclysm, who pointed a claymore in Artimix's direction from a sitting position.
"Calm down my friend. Rage will do you no good here," Cataclysm pointed out to the wounds and cuts on Artimix's body.
Artimix was silent as he stood there with the claymore to his neck. As if to agree, Artimix's dark oak fur changed to a golden yellow as his rage subsided, the smoking coming from his body disappeared. Cataclysm pulled back the claymore from Artimix's neck. Artimix sighed as he gazed upon Cataclysm's appearance.
He was a rather large warrior, approximately two meters in height(about the same height as Artimix in his lycan form) as he wore full plate mail(no helm), unadorned. Artimix knew Cataclysm well enough to know why; armor is to protect, not to look fancy. Cataclysm's hair was cropped to a length just above his eyebrows and Artimix took noticed of how stark white it was, especially for one as young as him. The claymore, Cataclysm's signature weapon, was of ebon metal, two meters in length, with the hilt extending another half meter.
"Thank you for calming me down my friend. While I have you, Ulthair has been looking for you. Don't you think you should at least let him know where you've been? Or is it something I shouldn't be meddling in?"
"Ulthar can handle things on his own. He's received his orders, and would be wise to follow them." Cataclysm calmly responded.
"Alright, I understand," Artimix turned around and left to the battlefield, but not without leaving another comment, "Even if he's fighting relentlessly against a pretty powerful necromancers huh?"
"He's received my orders to abide by the Paladins' orders, now there is no need to bring it up again Artimix," Cataclysm got up as he brandished his claymore once more.
"Sorry, stubbornness runs in the family," Artimix chuckled before putting on a serious expression as he disappeared into mass once again, this time in full control of his emotions.
"Time to go," Cataclysm stated as he started toward the fray once more, "Shall we meet again, dear friend?"
It had been nearly two weeks since Tep lost Zombay's trail and was on the path back to the battlefield. He was exhausted after searching throughout Lore for Zombay. Tep took out a small bottle from the magical pouch on his right, its content of glowing turquoise liquid, and chugged it down. He returned the bottle back to its pouch before reaching for his journal.
He began writing as he slowed down his pace.
After learning Zombay was the one behind everything and seeing him extract a strange black and blue orb from Rixi, Artimix confronted him as I healed her. In his confrontation, Artimix had manage to deal a severe wound to Zombay, causing him to put some distance between us.
I told Artimix to take Rixi to see Warlic and after seeing that he got through the mass of fighters, I turned my attention to Zombay. I wish I didn't start to jabber then because he took that time to heal himself and run. I followed after him, of course thinking it was going to be easy, but I found out he had enough magic to increase his speed. Thinking of having my fun and applying despair upon him, I kept my distance as I chased him outside the battlefield. It lasted for 3 days.
On the 3rd day, he immediately ran into the fray. Right as I entered and caught sight of him, he disappeared and I was met with an array of darkness spells and swords. I thought about blocking it when all of a sudden GE came in between me and the attacks. He had deflected some of them but the rest met their destination as they went into him. I was horrified as he coughed out blood, only to ask if I was alright.
Without even waiting for my answer, he went back into the battlefield screaming, disappearing into the mass of undead....I pray that was not the last time I saw him.
After shaking my mind from the sight, I teleported after Zombay, only to end up in Kyrie's heartbroken arms. Apparently she had a date with Galanoth and it had ended badly. Unfortunately for me, I ended up being the first guy she saw after the failed date. I ran for my life...I think this lasted an entire day before I lost her.
Note to self: Avoid Kyrie as much as possible. Artimix wasn't kidding when he said she had screws loose.
Fearing that another failed teleport would take me back to her or worse(though I can't imagine what's worse), I decided to search for Zombay by foot, after getting off Deren and back to the mainland. I scoured as much of Lore as possible but to no avail, even when I tried to locate him through magical dowsing. Zombay had completely disappeared.
Currently, I am heading back to the battlefield, and I'm close, so I can record more of what happened in the battlefield. However, from where I am, I can see dark clouds hovering over the location of the conflict. It's multicolored lightning strikes are the strangest I've seen. I pray this doesn't end too badly. I can only pray.
Tep closed his journal and placed it inside his lab coat as he ran back to the battlefield.
* * *
On his way back, he saw Cataclysm and was about to rush over to question him about his reason for joining when he also saw Elryn on the other side, coming close to Cataclysm. Immediately, Tep remembered they were both on opposing sides. He saw their grim faces and knew then they were going to fight as he rushed to meet the two titans, his mouth opened as he reached the two.
"Elryn! Cataclysm! Why are the two of you in this fight!? Why do you have to face each other, especially on opposing sides of the battlefield when you're obviously comrades of past! At least tell me this before you fight!"
Cataclysm was the first to speak, "For the same reasons I always do. I am a mercenary, and I have a contract.”
"I fight for the same reason I always fight. To protect my friends and kin from harm,'' Elryn uttered after Cataclysm's answer.
They both began to speak at the same time as they finished their sentences.
“When I accept a contract, I always follow through, regardless of what it may mean.”
''That means I must protect them from themselves.''
As soon as Tep heard this, he saw a cutlass fly toward Cataclysm as a shadow being jumped out of Elryn's shadow to strike a mortal blow. Cataclysm had deflected the cutlass as he then turned to the direction of his attacker. Tep caught a glimpse of a gecko helm as the figure disappeared. Meanwhile, a red-haired ponytail female appeared behind Elryn with a dark grin on her face. Her grin disappeared as Elryn appeared before her, causing her to disappear into the shadows. Elryn turned to face Cataclysm.
''Tep,'' Elryn said aloud in a foreboding tone.
* * *
Elsewhere, outside the battlefield, after the failed attack.
"Che! That didn't work out like we planned," the gecko helm male sighed as he punched a tree.
"It's the least we can expect from such great figures," the red-haired female sighed as she put back on her red and golden accessories, "this mission was a flop and it showed how inexperienced we were." She bit her lips remembering Elryn's words.
"So what do we do now?"
"To wait for them in Deren. It's about time we introduce ourselves."
* * *
Tep had ignored Elryn's words and erected a barrier and a shield made of mana, with both arms outstretched, to shield himself from the shock wave caused by Elryn's condensed wind being split apart by Cataclysm. It took all his might and magic not get blown away like the rest of the paladins and necromancers, even his long braided tail was blown outside his lab coat. Tep had resolved himself to watch the battle between the two titans that unfolded before him and nothing was going to stop him from watching it.
Elryn had taken a battle stance as his cloak turned grey in color and shade. Tep did not know what was about to happen as Elryn's right foot met the land in a booming sound. Immediately, a wall of small mountains shot up around them and Tep as he watched the wall form behind and around them. However, as if Elryn wanted to get him out, the ground where Tep was standing on suddenly jutted upward to the sky, a pillar as tall as the wall. Tep, losing his balance and about to fall off, had no choice but to teleport back down to the fight.
* * *
He had found himself face to face with Kyrie once again and already was to running in the opposite direction. Irritated that he could not watch the battle between the two titans and that his teleportation magic landed him in front of Kyrie once again, like he feared, Tep started screaming at the top of his lungs.
"OH FOR THE LOVE OF POM-POMS!!!"
Author's Note: Look to Elryn's and Cataclysm's story for the continuation of the fight.
Tep had finally returned back to the battlefield a couple days later, only to be greeted by a multicolored lightning bolt. Tep leapt forward, barely dodging the strange claw-like lightning. Sighing loudly, he got up as he looked at the dark looming clouds above him. The storm's intensity and density had increased dramatically in the past two days and the reason was clear when he gazed upon the battlefield.
The fighting had gotten more violent and vicious as the paladins pushed back the necromancers into Battleon, with Artix leading the charge. Wasting no time, Tep rushed to get closer to the middle of the battlefield.
The necromancers made their last stand in Battleon as the paladins rushed them, pushing back the necromancers as more paladins came up from behind. Artix took the lead as he demanded for the leader of the necromancers to be brought to him.
He saw Kaley being brought to Artix as they both started talking. Something about locking up the necromancers up and finding a way to rid Lore of necromancy for good but Tep's focus was on something else; he had saw his brother, Artimix, standing beside Artix.
Artimix was in his golden lycan form, his dark grayish blue torso armor with mahogany trim still on him, as the braided tail that was attached to his head was floating in an ethereal way. He stood with determination as his purple cape flowed down his back, almost touching the ground. Next to Artimix was Rixi, this shocked Tep as soon as he saw her. Her robes were battered as she leaned against Artimix for support, who made sure she had it, and her state still revealed she should not have been up and about.
"When this is all over lil' sis, I'm making sure you get some rest," Tep mumbled as he continued to watch.
Suddenly, the storm started to pulse in energy as it unleashed multiple lightning bolts around the area, hitting necromancers and paladins as it sent them flying. Tep could not dodge the strike and was hit dead on. He felt a strange tingle throughout his entire body as he slowly got back up.
After shaking off the shock, Tep saw that Rixi had been protected by Artimix as he got the full brunt of the lightning strike, as well as Artix and Kaley. He ran to his brother's and sister's side when another lightning struck right in the town. A strange muscular being had appeared; its entire body had lines on it like a grid as its body continued to change color like the lightning sparks coming out of it.
Artix and Kaley tried their magic but failed just like all other spellcasters in the area. Halenro was the first to go against the being and was blasted away, followed by Artix and Kaley. Several paladins and necromancers took up arms against the being, Artimix included as Tep held Rixi back from joining.
"My friends and comrades, help those brave people against this mysterious beings," even though Tep uttered the last words, his companions did not appear. Tep was shocked as he turned to look at the compartment on the back of his belt, hidden by his pom-poms(from left to right: blue, pink, red and purple) and realized in the presence of this foreboding enemy, no magic could be used.
As Tep turned around, he was sure everybody else had realized this as they all fought against the being using physical means.
* * *
The dark clouds above Battleon grew darker as the multicolored lightning bolts started to strike more frequently, hitting many buildings and already injured soldiers. It was as if it was setting the stage for the showdown between the being and the many that came to attack it.
The strange multicolored being seemingly glided, leaving afterimages of itself, through the attacks of both the necromancers and paladins.
"Quickly! Form around him and attack!" Artimix shouted loudly as he rushed after the being, only to have it materialize behind him with its fist aiming for his neck.
"Hey! Behind you!" A golden ax flew to intercept the hand. The being disappeared and reappeared with a flash in front of the paladin responsible for the ax, Kalle. Artimix lunged toward the being's back, claws ready, as soon as it manifested in front of Kalle, who resorted to using his fist to meet the multicolored fist.
"Why won't my spells work!?" A necromancer yelled as he tried to blast the being with magic.
"Don't bother with spells," Ubear revealed as he rushed pass the necromancer, "It looks as if he's able to block any form of mana induced magic."
"Just use any physical means of attacking it!" Paul shouted as he pushed onward to the being with a large white lance, catching it off guard as he impaled it.
The being jumped away, leaving trails of afterimages, as it raised its hands to the dark clouds above. Everyone took the chance as they surrounded it once again, their weapons aimed.
In a flash, the attacks were deflected as everybody was sent flying, electricity coursing through them as they slowly got up. Ubear was the first to get on his feet as he grabbed his green ax, with a skull motif, and swung at the being's leg, only to find it already standing to his right.
Flashbang shot a large net at the being, only to have it land on the ground as the being's multicolored fist connected with Flashbang's chest, sending him flying into Robina's shop. It immediately turned to Ubear as it grabbed his snout and slammed him into the ground.
Paul took the opportunity by stabbing the being in the neck, only to realize too late that it had grabbed his neck as it flung him to the Guardian Tower.
Kalle and Artimix approached it from both sides, fist and claws ready, but the being manifested itself behind Kalle and slammed him into Artimix. It grabbed the two off the ground, in both hands, as it raised them to the clouds above. Another multicolored lightning flashed as it struck the two, causing them to roar in pain.
After the screaming stopped, it threw the two into Yulgar's Inn.
The multicolored being stood there, in the center of Battleon, as sparks of aurora-like lightning came out from him. The other paladins and necromancers gazed in horror, their mouths opened, as the stronger ones were trounced like they were nothing. Some were about to turn and run when a shout echoed out at them in unison.
"DON'T RUN AND FACE IT!"
Paul staggered out of the Guardian Tower, his helmet was broken and started to break apart as he marched for the being.
Ubear slowly got up as he shook off the shock to his cranial, his green skull motif ax already brandished.
Flashbang came out of Robina's shop, donned completely in black shadows as long claws formed over his hands and bat wings stretched itself open from his back.
Kalle walked out of the Inn, cracking his neck and popping his shoulders, as he grabbed his ax off the ground.
A roar was heard as a blur of dark oak passed by Kalle and stood behind the being, arms crossed. Artimix had returned to his dark oak werewolf form, smoke seething out of his body.
Instantaneously, Artimix's claws swiped at the being, only to have it re-materialize away from him only to meet with Ubear's ax. It dug deep into the being before it disappeared once more, only to meet face to face with Flashbang's vicious claws as he pounced it when it reappeared.
As it glided away, Paul used his lance to send the being flying into Kalle, who took a low stance as he held his ax to his side.
With a mighty swing, Kalle split the being in half as it flew straight into the sharp end.
A cheer was heard as both necromancers and paladins shouted in joy. The celebration was cut short as they all gasped in horror when they saw the being reforming itself and standing back up, the multicolored lightning coming out of its body grew bigger and wilder as it recovered.
"THE TIME TO STRIKE IS NOW!" The loud boom of command shook the shocked paladins and necromancers out of their trance, all rushing headstrong at the being.
* * *
It was a long drawn out battle against the powerful being but with combined efforts, from both paladins and necromancers, it was defeated and everyone watched as it dissipated back into the air, the dark clouds disappearing as well.
Diviara came in and revealed how the fighting between the paladins and necromancers created it, more specifically, the magical energies of the two. He said he had been monitoring the storm and when it had reached full strength, the magical energies of the two opposing sides had disappeared. He went on explaining the connection to the storm, the magical energies and ley lines.
Tep could have sworn he heard somebody saying "I knew it!" in the crowd, however, he was busy tending to the wounded Artimix, who had returned back to his human form, and helping Rixi, who was bandaging up her brother.
Tep did listen to the part about how the lines to the magic that the paladins and necromancers drew from was irreparably damaged and irreversible. A smile formed on his face without knowing it as he thought about Zombay and how he would be struggling to use his newfound powers by now. Rixi noticed this and pointed it out to Tep, who turned bright red as soon as he realized then he continued treatment on his brother.
As he was tending to Artimix, Tep saw Kalle walk by and, without thinking, blurted out Kalle's name. Kalle turned around and saw Tep.
"Hey," his face was stern and not at all whimsical like when Tep first saw him, "I see you're still safe."
"I never joined the fighting after all," Tep stated as he shook his head, "I never really got an answer to my question the other day, about why you joined the paladins."
Kalle sighed at this, "Persistent aren't you?"
"Stubbornness runs in the family after all."
"So I realize," Kalle looked to the heavily wounded and battered Artimix, "I would say I liked a challenge and what would the point in fighting if one cannot say that one's actions did anything. But if I said that, you would keep pestering me wouldn't you?" Kalle saw Tep nod in acknowledgement and breathed out, "Between the two evils, I merely chose the lesser one. That's all there is to it."
Tep nodded at the answer, "And I won't hunt you throughout Lore for your answer now."
Kalle laughed it off as he walked off into the distance.
After Artimix was taken care of, Tep looked around battleon and saw a necromancer with a wolf's face, it was Ubear from back then, getting into a fight with another paladin, it was Paul in all his shiny(well, sort of) armor goodness; the argument was something about an Ep-pig being better than an Ubear. He continued to scan the area and saw Flashbang talking with another necromancer in a familial tone of voice.
As he scanned around Battleon, he noticed how Lord Scorpio, Storm, GE, Drakeh and Ulthair was nowhere in sight. Tep then thought about Elryn and Cataclysm and the combat the two were locked in before he disappeared.
"I hope those two finished their fight without hurting each other too much," Tep mumbled as Rixi looked at him.
"Who are you talking about?" Rixi looked to Tep with a curious look on her still, slightly, bony face.
"Whom and I was thinking about Cataclysm and Elryn."
"If it's those two, then you have nothing to worry about brother," Artimix sat up and chuckled, "They can survive The'Galin's uncreation and laugh in his face after the failed attempt. Besides, I'm sure they resolved their differences, after all, the bonds of true friendship is as close as ours."
Tep sighed and nodded in agreement, "Alright fair enough. But do you know what happened to GE?"
Artimix stayed silent for a moment before speaking, "I don't have the slightest clue. He disappeared from the battlefield sometime ago. Wherever he is, I wish him well."
"As do I..." Tep got up, helping Artimix up as well, as Rixi hobbled after, "Well let's head on home. This war has been draining and long."
"Agreed," Both Rixi and Artimix replied at the same time as they headed to their home in Deren, leaving the battlefield and the conflict of the necromancers and paladins behind them.
Epilogue: Another Story
"I mean, I was like literally stuck there in Yulgar's Inn most of the time! There were like even paladins and necromancers working together to make sure I didn't escape! I mean, can you believe that!?" Rixi was complaining nonstop, with full body movement to accompany it, on the boat ride home as Artimix, Tep and any unfortunate passengers that were nearby.
"Calm down Rixi," Tep chuckled as he sat his sister back down on her seat, "If they didn't, you would have escaped again and would have gotten hurt in the process."
"He's right, you're more thickheaded than me at times," Artimix smirked as he pointed to Rixi, who was fuming at this.
"What was that you dumb wolf!? I dare you to say that again to my face!" Rixi jumped up and glared at Artimix, who in turn growled back.
"Stop it! Don't just leave behind one conflict to start another!" Tep groaned as he had to step between the two again. He thought the fighting about necromancers and paladins would stop, it did, but he should have realized that the fighting between his vampire little sister and his werewolf twin brother was never going to stop. Tep sighed, "I really wished you two would drink the cure and get along already."
"Feh! With an older brother like him? Forget it! He'd still be the same old annoying guy, even if he was cured of his werewolf curse," Rixi sat back down with her arms crossed, Tep was sure he saw puffs of smoke coming out of her head.
"And I say the same with you, you fairy-sized pest!" Artimix roared as he took a more aggressive sitting stance.
Tep groan loudly as he slumped down, tears in his eyes. This was going to be a loooong boat ride home.
* * *
As the three siblings got off the dock, still arguing loudly as they followed Tep, the siblings went back to their mansion estate. There, they were greeted by two strangers.
Tep's mouth almost fell to the ground when he saw one of the figure was wearing a gecko helm on his head while the other was a red ponytail female. The male was wearing a light array of armor that matched his gecko helm, which didn't hide his eyes(which were entirely red like shadow beings). Underneath the armor, he was wearing pitch black clothing, or were they since Tep noticed a shadowy smoke coming out of his body. It was hard to tell his age.
The female had two large gold and red circular accessories adorned on both sides of her head as she sported a ponytail look. She was wearing a brown coat, the skinny sleeves wrapped around her arms, and black pants, which were tied with strings so they could hug her legs, which were tucked into her brown boots, also tied by strings. She wore black gloves that fit her snugly as it extended under the sleeves and up her arms.
Tep knew they were the ones who tried to kill Cataclysm and Elryn at that time and now they're standing in front of the doorsteps of the mansion.
"Hi, nice to meet you," the female was the first to speak as she waved to the siblings.
"Y-y-y-y-you!" Tep was jumping up and down as he pointed to the two, "What are you two doing here! Don't tell me you're after us next!"
The female laughed as she heard this. Artimix came up to the flustered Tep, "Hey, you seem to know those two. What did they do to have you jumping like Twig going after some fishes in the sea?"
"Oh, we know each other alright," the male replying in a deep voice as he crossed his arms, "and to answer your question Tep, no, we are not after you or anybody this time." Right as he finished, he jumped back when he saw Rixi's face close to him.
Rixi smiled mischievously at this, "Oh~! He's kinda cute." She was immediately brought back to Tep's side by Artimix.
"So, what business do you have here with us?" Tep glared at the two, the male regained his composure, as they came closer. Tep was in battle position, ready to deal with anything they throw at him.
"We're here to ask you if we could live here with you. Also we would like to train with you as well," The female's face was close to Tep's as she smiled. This threw Tep off as he pulled back.
"W-why would you want to stay with us? There are many other people you could ask."
"True, but you guys seem like fun to be around. Besides," the female pulled back as she wrapped her arms behind her back while she leaned back, "you're the only one on Lore who carries pom-poms on you everywhere."
"She's right about that," both siblings remarked at the same time causing Tep to grumble.
"So how about it? We promise to behave. Pretty please?" the female sweetly cooed as she fluttered her eyes, both hands grasping each other near her head. Tep, looking to his two siblings and seeing they had already decided to agree by the sparkle in their eyes, resigned as he hunched over, arms hanging loosely.
"Fine, you can stay. But," Tep stood straight up, "I don't want you to try anything like what I saw back there."
"Alright, I swear," the female raised her right arm while jabbing the male in the ribs.
"Ah, I swear as well," the male following the same fashion as the female, only to realize there was nobody on his left as he jabbed thin air.
"Alright let's head inside," Tep sighed as he motioned everybody to head in, "So what are you names?"
"My name is Caether Stract," the gecko helm male was the first to respond as he took the lead to walk to the mansion.
"I go by Tetra Crasher TC," the red ponytailed female giggled as the three siblings stopped at the same time.
"TC?" questioned the three in harmony.
"T-h-e C-u-t-i-e," Tetra spun around, giving a wink, to the, now shocked and gaping jawed, siblings before running to the doors of the mansion.
"Well, looks like the house is going to get even more livelier now," Artimix sighed as he looked at Rixi.
"Yup, who knows what might happen with them joining us," Rixi looked back at Artimix.
"Well Tep, you're on your own," they both patted Tep's back as they ran after the two new inhabitants.
"W-Wha?!" Tep, flustered by the betrayal of his siblings, stood there by himself as he tried to figure out what just happened. He stammered a bit before chasing after them, "Hey! Get back here! Who said I was cleaning up anybody's mess! Argh!! Answer me before I take care of you guys with my PomPom Grenades!! Hey! I mean it! Get back here!!!"
Special thanks to the
victimsvolunteers in my story:
The White Knight
And a special thanks to everybody who has read my war story. I hope you enjoyed it as I have writing it
Also, a special thanks to Trainz_07 for helping me correct a lot of my grammar mistakes.
< Message edited by Tep Itaki -- 2/28/2013 9:53:45 >