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(AQ) Manifestation: The Coming Dark

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7/9/2008 15:28:51   
Legendary Loremaster


Topic author: Falerin
Subject: Manifestation: The Coming Dark (New Chapters)
Posted on: Oct 13 2003 23:49:26

Prologue: In the Chamber of the Gods

Lorithia stood in the chamber of knowing and gazed at the world in sadness. The path that the creation was taking was not one she would have chosen. Yet, she remained fixed. To intervene directly would go against everything she stood for. It would undermine the purpose of creation. If creation could not stand on its own then it would pass into the Darkness. If her work were not strong enough then the end would come. That her Lover The'galin should be the instrument of it's destruction pained her beyond saying. He feared creation though he was a part of it.

"Does he not realize that its destruction would be his end as well?" She sighed.

"He knows" The Water Lord Responded "He knows and he does not care. He is lost in his hatred and his jealously. You cannot change him try as you wish. He is the Dark Reflection of your creation"

"It would hurt less if I did not love him"

"Love is the source of the greatest pain..." The fire lord said rising from his posts, "It is the easiest way to be burned"

"This is true," the Light Lord interjected "but let us not forget, it is also the source of the greatest strength."

"It is easier to corrupt good then to purify evil," The Darkness Lord said drawing his mate close in fear. "Our time here may draw to a close"

"I should have never taken him in. I should have taken communicants sooner..." Lorithia sighed bitterly.

The energy lord tossed a crackling ball of electricity to the ground allowing it to burst upon contact. "You can debate what you should have done for endless ages Lorithia. What has been done has been done. The cycle continues. If what we have made is strong, it will persevere somehow. It will stand against even this..."

"It may stand" The Ice Lord said with a shrug "But it will change..."

The earth lord stood and spoke to the surprise of the group. He was very much involved in the affairs of the world but seemed to say the least. "Change is what drives creation"

"Indeed" The Fire Lord concurred gazing below "It is the capacity to change that has enabled them to resist as well as they have..."

"What cost do the people pay for that change?" Lorithia Protested, "I grow weary of this... Why must creation be tested to its breaking point? Once The'galin feared creation, that can no longer be said this is not about fear but Malice"

"Emotion is not reason. Emotion is emotion. Yet it is real...."

This said it all and in silence, they waited and watched.

Keeper of the Lore
"I don't know what evil is but whatever it is I am For it 100%"

"Evil is as evil does. ...and no one does it better." -Wolfpac


Falerin, Oct 13 2003 23:50:12

Chapter 1: How this tale has come to be.

Memory is a funny thing, fickle. Often I struggle to recall a name or face for hours to no avail, only to have it come to me unbidden when I am thinking of anything else.

The lost memories of youth can fill more pages I am sure then the memories we do recall. We forget more in one lifetime then a thousand men ever remember. Yet, we struggle against this loss of knowledge fitfully. Something about forgetting terrifies. While the darkness of forgetfulness can be a blessed escape, the unwilling stealing of our experiences, of our own pasts, scares us deeply.

Perhaps it is because we know that if we forget we do not learn. We lose something of ourselves when we forget. It is with this in mind that I sit determined. What I have to say must be recorded, if only for own recollection. If only so that in days to come I have something solid to show that it was real. My experiences were not imaginary.

Telling my experiences will not be easy. Often I have started only to stop midway. After a struggle, in starts and fits, I recorded what has come before. That however was in a different language and style entirely from what I know employ. Much of that has to do with being on the outside; some of it has to do with fear.

I can only begin to think how this story will go. I have no doubt that it shall come out in a mix of voices and tenses. It shall not be polished, not professional, but it will be mine and I shall finish.

Some things the reader, even if only myself in some ages hence, will come to wonder how I came to know, things outside of my own direct experiences. Yet, I have had time to put together their tale, to record, so that it may not be forgotten. In the time that I had, I was able to ask the need questions and fill in the gaps. Some of the information gained was quite expensive, but it was acquired.

So now, I have only to record the tale, to begin. For all my talk about loss of memory being fearful, this task is somehow even harder. I am filled with trepidation. Yet I must do what I have started, s what I have started, so bear with my fitfulness as I take you to the tales beginning.

Keeper of the Lore
"I don't know what evil is but whatever it is I am For it 100%"

"Evil is as evil does. ...and no one does it better." -Wolfpac

Falerin, Oct 13 2003 23:53:46

Chapter 2: Promotion

I walked through the corridors of Castle Deren distracted. The King's absence from the castle was disturbing to me. Cerin and Myr did little to enlighten my questions only relating that he had left in a hurry and had left the Knight in charge temporarily. Giliara was as surprising to them as Tralin's absence was to me. I could relate to their confusion, the people of Deren had been shocked as well when the king had Sent Giliara and I to Neld to open the temple of Light. I myself was not without my reservations, about not only the redeemed Brilhado but about the King's plan as a whole. As the commander of Deren's military I felt my presence should have remained in the Castle, but Tralin was hardly unaccomplished himself and he was the king, and his will was not to be denied in this matter.

In truth, the unflagging nature of Tralin's will was concern for me as well, but though I often doubted his methods, I had come to trust his motives. He had a way of winning those who doubted in him. He would never be the same king that Draynor was, but he was still a great ruler, Draynor knew this he had not chosen badly.

Still upon arriving and discovering not only that I was absent from the city, but that the King had been missing for several weeks as well, I felt a resurgence of doubt. What could have been so serious that Tralin had left his position so abruptly? Surely he was aware of the danger in doing so, especially so soon after Draynor's death and his own assumption of the throne of Deren. That Tralin had always planned to travel to K'eld Ner did not alleviate my concern. It was not the destination that was bothersome to me but the timing.

There was an irony in this grave concern over the affairs of Deren that did not escape me. Less then a year and a half prior I was embroiled in plans, of my own devising, to take disrupt Deren's political stability. Less then a year ago, my home nation of Vandar was battling in a bitter war with Deren. The cause of that war seemed so remote it was incomprehensible to me now, Ideological differences. Deren was a hereditary Monarchy and Vandar a militant representative democracy.

Blind and Deaf to the feelings of the nations we conquered Vandar enforced its democratic form of rule on the nations it conquered. The unfortunate fact however was that as often as not Vandar disrupted peaceful and thriving societies based on an obsession with democratic rule.

Admitting this now, even to myself was bitter sweet. For the events that had come to show my obsession for what it is and the events were terrible indeed. The world had changed from what I had known nothing was safe. What was to come from here I could only imagine and my imagination was not a pleasant thing.

My disturbed thoughts were interrupted by Cerin's arrival in the hallway. Cerin was officially acting in control of the city in the Kings absence but since my return, he had been acting in deference to me. I myself was not precisely comfortable with this situation. While I was the commander of the Military, the King had placed Cerin in charge pending his return. He did not leave instructions regarding my own return. Of course given the situation my return was likely not driving his decisions.

"Commander Darin, please report to the audience chamber," Cerin said with directness. He left almost as quickly giving me little time to respond. This was unusual enough that I followed immediately. I should have in any case, after all had I not just been thinking that Cerin had to exert more control over the city. I entered the council chamber and assessed those who were present. In addition to Cerin, and his uncle one of King Draynor's close advisers, Myr and Giliara were also present. Giliara surprised me, Cerin seemed uncertain about him since his arrival despite the fact that he was acting as an Agent of the temple of light.

"What is it?" I asked, deciding that in this instance the more direct approach was best.

"We have just spotted an Army of Drakel marching from K'eld Ner. They make up a considerable force. It is possible, given his Majesties warnings that they come to make war on us. However, Giliara, who has scouted the way, has determined that they fly Deren's colors. It could be a trick... What do you think?"

"The Drakel have always been direct in their adversarial behavior in the past. This would be uncharacteristic." I said cautiously "Of course it would be foolhardy to underestimate the Drakel intelligence. Clearly, they have shown to possess a singular cunning. Giliara, what kind of Weapons do they possess? Do they have War Beasts with them? Siege Engines?"

I asked about War Beasts and Siege Engines because I knew that without them it would be difficult for the Drakel to storm the Castle Proper. Of course, they could cut of routes of supply, but it seemed unlikely. The Drakel seemed to be very anxious to advance their position quickly. I could not see them engaging in subtlety at this point.

"None, at least not toward the front. Still I wonder why they mobilize in such number..."

Giliara was brought up short by a flash of light and the expelling of air in the Audience chamber. I recognized the hallmarks of magical teleportation rather quickly. This indicated that the incoming arrival possessed considerable magical energy, either a Mage or a Communicant, or both. We turned toward the light and even as it cleared, we recognized the king.

"You need not concern yourself about the army" Tralin said, "They march under my direction. They are comprised primarily of De'me'thar, outcasts from Drakel Society. They will be taking up residence here even as many of our people are escorted to their estates in K'eld Ner. This brings us to the issue at hand. As of now I have assumed control of the K'eld, it is part of the Kingdom of Deren. Lord Jano remains in the K'eld as our T'palo and cultural liaison but I need a royal governor to act as my voice in the city as well."

We looked about confused and stunned by the Kings statement, and looked one to the other wondering whom he could intend. He turned first to Giliara...

"Am I to assume by your presence that you are now the Light Lord's communicant?" He asked the Brilhado matter of fact.

"Yes Your Highness" Giliara responded but did not provide anything further. I could relate to his silence. I was very confused at that moment myself.

"Good. We have much to discuss then. Still we must address the issue of the Governor of K'eld Ner directly." He then turned to me and I felt a sense of panic. He could not mean me, surely.

"Commander Darin" Tralin said, "You are uniquely suited for the role of Governor. You are familiar with the Drakel language and have some passing Knowledge of Drakel Culture as well. These skills and your familiarity with our T'palo all speak in your favor. Further, you are a skilled military tactician. These skills may be vital in the time to come."

I was speechless. I had little to say in the matter regardless, it was clear that Tralin had thought about the matter at some length and already had chosen me for the position. Yet, the idea of acting as a governor of a conquered people had little appeal to me. I had left that to others. I was good at conquering but had little faith in my skill at bureaucratic drudgery.

"Your Will my lord" I heard myself saying in disbelief.

"Very well. I will send you directly. This cannot wait. Leaving the K'eld with out a leader for any period of time would be most unfortunate."

"I will gather my things..." I began but Tralin shook his head.

"No time, and no need. The people will be able to provide you with all you need. You will find they treat leaders, even foreign governors, and usurpers with great deference."

"Usurpers? Is that what I am?"

"Some will consider you that no matter what happens Darin." Tralin Sighed, "What is necessary is necessary"

"Very Well" I sighed bracing for transit "Lets finish this"

The light surrounded me and I felt a rush of air and a stomach heaving sensation even as I ceased to exist in Deren's capitol and arrived elsewhere.

Keeper of the Lore
"I don't know what evil is but whatever it is I am For it 100%"

"Evil is as evil does. ...and no one does it better." -Wolfpac

Falerin, Oct 13 2003 23:55:56

Chapter 3: Arrival at K'eld Ner

I do not know what I expected the inside of a Drakel city to be like. Certainly, no amount of imagination could have prepared me for the reality of it. My arrival, despite its ostentatious nature, went thoroughly unnoticed by the people. The small, comfortably furnished room, into which the king had placed me, was unoccupied.

I wondered how I was to establish my authority, would my face alone be sufficient to substantiate it? Jano could vouch for me but I had no guarantee that he would be with the first group of Drakel I happened to encounter.

I looked about the room considerately and realized from the presence of windows on all four sides that this room, despite the lavish nature of its furnishings was the entirety of the building. I was stuck by the fact, not for the first time, that Drakel sensibilities were quite different then my own. By the standards of my culture, such a small building would have been considered a hovel; here it was clearly some sort of meeting and resting area.

Tearing my attention from the room and the furniture I moved toward the sole entrance. The area outside the room was remarkable. Steam driven carts were guided by wire tracks suspended in the air above. The vast expanse of the K'eld stretched before me. I noted dimly that the entirety of the city was built along the side of a great mountain. Though my view was unhindered, I could not begin to see where the city began. I was somewhere in its midst. I noted that the cabled tracks that served the carts were less tangled near me. This corresponded with a decrease in building density here as well.

I looked around for life and determined that in this area of the city population was sparse. However, a female Drakel, who was at my exit animatedly talking to another, detached herself upon seeing me and quickly began to cross the distance between us. In a moment, she was beside me and I could take in her full measure. She was beautiful in a way that transcended racial considerations. Her fluid movements spoke both both of lithe athleticism and the grace of a trained dancer. I was reassured by her deferential manner, I was not to be arrested on sight after all.

"I can state my case", I thought with considerable relief.

"Lord Governor" she said melodiously "I am Kithia, My Husband told me he would be sending you directly"

"Your Husband?" I asked, more then slightly confused by this announcement. I felt as if I had been cast as a pawn in some unusual play, to which I had never been shown the script. Who was her husband? What else do I not know? What else should I have been told before my abrupt transfer to this alien environment? Such were my thoughts in the brief moment it took her to register my confusion and offer an answer.

"Lord Tralin, The King" She supplied.

Given the means of my arrival I should have expected this answer. Indeed, in the current circumstance, it was the only really sensible interpretation. I was nonetheless taken by surprise. When had Tralin had time to marry? Theirs was not a political marriage surely. Even state marriages would be involved in the long and elaborate rituals of Drakel courtship. Divorce, from what I knew of Drakel culture, was a nonexistent concept. Monogamy was the norm, but it was not dictated. In the cases where polygamous relationships existed by Drakel law all of the people were married to each other, it was consensual. Drakel ideas of family obligation were the core of the society. A family would feel the guilt for any of its member's transgressions. A marriage would not be the sort of thing that Tralin would enter casually. The only available conclusion was that he and Kithia were wed before he himself came to Deren nearly 20 years prior. A few seconds later I realized that though she had not been officially received in Deren's courts Kithia was its Queen.

"Your Highness" I stumbled realizing my lack of appropriate courtesy "Forgive me. It is just that... Well Tralin never told me he was married. Even in sending me here, he did not tell me to expect the Queen to greet me."

"There are numerous reasons for my husband to have not informed you Lord Darin. Chief among them is that time is precious. From what I know of you from my Husband and Lord Jano, had you been informed you surely would have pressed for more information. From his brief descriptions of you I gather you are not only extremely inquisitive but also extraordinarily..." She paused and a smirk crossed her face eventually broadening into a full smile. "...Eh Persistent"

"What you mean to say is Obsessive" I replied with a grin in spite of myself. The queen was not only beautiful but she appeared to be very observant and highly intelligent. More then that her face was as expressive as her husbands was normally inscrutable. Theirs must have been an interesting courtship, unless of course the King's stoicism was an affectation of age. Perhaps it was a result of his gender, many of the Drakel I had known in my service to the Water Lord showed similar personalities. The deadpan mien was hardly universal though; I had known Drakel who were extremely expressive.

"If you yourself deem it thus" She quipped, "How can I argue my lord. I will show you to your estate and then we shall meet Lord Jano. We have much to discuss."

She moved to a still cart and I followed hesitantly, looking out to the expanses of the city. The world into which I had been thrust was thoroughly alien, and at the time completely terrifying. Later however, I would have cause to reassess the emotion, compared to what was to come my feeling at that moment was one of mild apprehension.

Keeper of the Lore
"I don't know what evil is but whatever it is I am For it 100%"

"Evil is as evil does. ...and no one does it better." -Wolfpac

Falerin, Oct 13 2003 23:58:01

Chapter 4: Journeys and Reflections

I found traveling by the Sky Carts to be a disconcerting experience. Never before had I been in such a heavily mechanized means of transport. The Cart hurtled through the air, at times more then 100 feet from the ground, at incredible speed and at times I was certain that the thin guide cables would snap and I would plummet to the city streets below and my certain death.

When the cart finally pulled up to my estate, I was breathless and alarmed. The estate itself settled my alarm but did nothing to abate my breathlessness. The grounds and buildings were considerably vaster then even the palace at Deren. A Single gate lead through a wall built from mortared mountain stones. Immediately beyond the gate an immaculately manicured orchard stood. The trees were carefully planned so that even as some were laden with a rich variety of fruits, the likes of which I had never before seen, others were just beginning to blossom.

Beyond the orchard, the estate proper began. To the west, sloping manicured lawns lead to a vast flower and vegetable garden replete with Statues and fountains and a series of unfamiliar structures that Kithia informed me were windmills. To the east, a similar lawn lead to a wooded area, which Kithia assured me, was an elaborate hedge maze. Directly north beyond a series of terraces stood the Main house, a long three story center area and two attached two story wings which terminated in tall towers. The house seemed to be constructed of the same stone as the outer wall but the architecture was like none in Vandar or in Deren.

I was eager to explore the house but given my deadline was shown only my private rooms, by all rights an estate all their own, and the main dining area, as we passed into the rear yard I took note of a vast library stocked with shelves and shelves of books, many of which seemed to be many hundred years old.

The sloping rear yard was if anything more vast of the front and was given to entertainment even as the front was designed for relaxation and meditation. A series of interconnected terraces containing any number of tables and out structures led down the mountain to bodies of water. The first was a large man made pool, with sparkling waters. Used for both swimming and fishing the pool was fed by a mountain stream that lead to and from the Far East and west walls. The other body bubbled rapidly and the stream rising from its surface suggested the water was quite warm. Inspection could not discern an obvious source of the water and Kithia told me that the bath was heated by a natural hot spring and fed by a steam driven pump in one of the out buildings closest to the manor.

My revelry was short lived as Kithia reminded me that Jano awaited our arrival.

"Your responsibilities as Governor shall be extensive" Kithia said "Especially as this society has never had such a position before, but you will have large latitude in your work space and time management. I assure you will have a long time to explore the pleasures of your estate once we have begun but now more pressing demands exist. If order is not enforced here soon Tralin's work will prove fruitless. There are many who would have this society return to its ancient roots and prejudices."

In what seemed like a blink, I was ushered out of my estates and back into a sky cart that rocketed me toward another a far section of the city. Jano's residence was somewhat smaller then mine but if anything better apportioned. I noticed immediately the one thing Jano had that I lacked, people. His estate was filled with Drakel of all ages. Groups of children were engaged in a complex game involving a ball on the front lawns. I noted dimly that both genders actively were involved in the sport, while in Vandar, and even in Deren, such a game would almost certainly have been dominated by the males.

"Lord Jano Enjoys having the children and staff living directly on property. He says they bring life to the estate." Kithia commented seeing my interest.

"That's very much like him. He was always a people person, an expert observer too, it was why he was such a good spy." I said without thinking and then was at a loss to take back the comment.

Kithia laughed seeing my discomfort and I recalled that Jano's skill at espionage had been a selling point with the Drakel people. Emissaries to other cultures were expected to possess the talent it appeared.

"I have a hard time seeing your Husband as a spy. Though he must have talents in that direction from what I overheard."

"Have you?" Kithia asked with a laugh. "Why lord Darin I would think my husbands skill at gaining the confidence of those in leadership would be self evidence. He has been made Deren's king!"

I considered this briefly and laughed aloud for indeed, what he said was true. "What I mean is I cannot picture him gaining information and trading it to an enemy for his own advantage"

"The best spies are often those who have no love of using the art for malice. I gather from what I have learned that Jano too shared a certain reluctance in that regard"

I reflected back on how I had used Jano in my plans to further my position and recognized the truth in what she said. In the end, Jano had even gone to Tralin and King Draynor To reveal my plans. The odd thing was that in spite of all that Draynor had taken me into his confidence and made me a commander in his military. Further, after Draynor's death fighting the Brilhado Tralin had placed me in charge of the entire military. For all intents and purposes, I was no longer a Vandarian. In a blessed irony, I had become not only a Derenian but also a leader in a social structure I had once strongly opposed. Once the militant force for democracy I was now an agent of the very crown I warred most strongly against. It was disconcerting for me, while I regretted the effects of the assault of the Devourers forces on the world, I could not say that I would want them undone. Certainly, I would like it if Draynor had not died, if many people I cared for had not suffered for that matter, but had they not come I would still be lost in my own machinations. I had thought I was free but in truth, I was a slave to my dogma.

I was brought short In my recollection by Jano's arrival from the main house, he was clothed in the manner of the Drakel and looked weary but more alive then I could recall in years. For the time period leading to Draynor's death he had served in Deren as the Kings Regent and the task had left him drained both emotionally an physically. While his current task had some similar responsibilities it was clear that he had found comfort in a niche here that he did not have while serving as the acting King in Deren.

"Gone Native?" I asked as he approached

"Darin!" He smiled and embraced me warmly "Just relaxing and fitting in with the locals like the old days when I was a Merchant. You know how it is."

"The thing is" I laughed, "You are a born actor and pretending your native is the ultimate role."

"I can definitely say that playing the Part of Deren's T'palo is rewarding."

"Gentlemen. I respect your desire to reminisce but we have business to attend before I leave to join my husband" Kithia says "That is if you wish your position to remain a rewarding experience..."

"Lead on My Queen" I said with a smile and followed her into Jano's house to begin my briefing as K'eld Ner's governor.

Keeper of the Lore
"I don't know what evil is but whatever it is I am For it 100%"

"Evil is as evil does. ...and no one does it better." -Wolfpac

Falerin, Oct 13 2003 23:59:18

Chapter 5: The Governorship

The meeting at Jano's house went smoothly, though I learned little I did not already know. Drakel culture was traditionally a strict Caste system. At the upper rung were the Citizens, Drakel who were members of the K'eld Society, Citizens served in all capacities of Drakel Life but were specifically separated from the lower castes by their access to the K'eld. Below the Citizens were the De'me'thar, De'me'thar were denied life in the K'eld because sometime in their pasts their ancestors had done something to cause their eviction from the K'eld. Drakel law was somewhat harsh in this regard, not only was the offender punished but so was his family, it was a somewhat effective deterrent but the large number of De'me'thar living outside the city walls suggested it was far from a foolproof mechanism of crime prevention. Those truly dedicated to causing harm, often had little concern for themselves no less their blood relatives.

The only way to escape from being a De'me'thar was to become a T'palo or a Bond Servant. If one became a Bond Servant, they had to forsake their family name all together to take a new identity inside the K'eld and form new families there. The act of becoming a T'palo was the only one that redeemed a De'me'thar nuclear family. Even marriage to a Citizen could not redeem a De'me'thar; on the contrary, such a marriage caused the Citizen's family to become De'me'thar instead. Such marriages had occurred but almost always with unpleasant effects.

Even below the De'me'thar in Drakel society were those Drakel who abandoned Drakel tradition to take allegiance to one of the Elemental Lords. The Drakel society was built upon the concept of elemental unity and taking the side of a single Lord was completely against Drakel Culture. In the ancient past when this universalism was first established many Drakel had rejected it and they became the elemental casters. All of the Elemental Lord's had Drakel in their service, though, for historical reasons, Water Casters were the most numerous.

King Tralin had been a Drakel T'palo and Kithia and Sithian had moved into the K'eld even as Tralin was denied return to serve in his diplomatic capacity. When Draynor died, Tralin had consumed Metanoia, a strong magical potion capable of converting life energy to magical energy, in order to avenge his death. The potent magical transformation caused Tralin's body to literally attack itself in order to scavenge and maintain its supply of magical energy. He had nearly died from the strain. I cannot say what Tralin experienced in that dark sea but when he regained consciousness, he had been changed. By the time we had returned to Deren from Stone Deep, in Vandar, he had announced that he had taken up service as a communicant of the Spirit Lord, a primal deity revered as the creator.

The announcement was confusing to many, for the Spirit Lord was not known to take communicants or to have an active church. In fact, outside the elemental temples it was little known that the pantheon contained another deity. When Tralin made it known to the Drakel that he was beholden to a temple they sought to act on their ancient customs and oust Kithia and Sithian from the city. When the king opposed them, they sought to kill him. Somehow, Tralin had come buy an ancient artifact that inverted magic upon its caster and several had died in his acquisition of the K'eld. Subsequently Tralin had opened the city gates and officially abolished the restrictions on the De'me'thar and the elemental casters.

Unfortunately, even in the temple we did not have the knowledge of the Drakel, for if we did we might have behaved very differently long before the destructive wars that brought us to the point where Tralin took the Drakel kingdom by force. The Drakel knew what only a few of the powers highest communicants knew that there was yet another Deity, a part of creation yet opposed to it. The few communicants that knew of him referred to him as the Devourer, for the primal evil's purpose was nothing less then the utter destruction of our reality. His appetite was vast. The Drakel referred to him as the Uncreator for they viewed him as the natural antithesis to creation. The Drakel viewed him in an analytical and predictable fashion a natural force.

It was because of the Drakel view that they sought artifacts in the depths. They believed that with these artifacts they could influence the course of the Uncreator, and resist him. There were even Drakel willing to use such artifacts to appease him. They would join his service in order to avoid their own destruction.

I could not tell that such a course of action would serve the Drakel for long. The Devourer had shown that he considered his many pawns to be expendable, and in the end, they too were part of creation and they too would be destroyed.

"It would seem then that we are moving in the right direction" I said tearing my attention away from an elaborately woven tapestry made from some artificially synthesized material the likes of which I had never seen. "Certainly only a show of unification can resist the Devourer, a unified force."

"Unfortunately" Jano said with a glance toward Kithia, "The councilors that Tralin evicted from the city are not the only people that resist Deren's rule of the K'eld and the abolishment of the caste system."

"Prejudices die slowly," Kithia said.

"Undoubtedly but we can work with the Citizens. They may resist the De'me'thar now but they will become convinced in time..."

"Well it is not only the citizens who resist" Jano said, "Some among the De'me'thar fight us as well"

I considered this announcement with confusion.

"Why would the De'me'thar object to being liberated from millennia of oppression? Tralin should be a hero to them."

"You're thinking like a Vandarian." Jano said looking at me pointedly "And worse you are not even considering our own experiences. As often as we were lauded as heroes by those we 'freed from the bonds of oppression', we were curse for destroying a society and a way of life."

"But the De'me'thar cannot want to remain in exile, especially not when Humans are being granted what they are denied"

"The De'me'thar have often dealt with humans" Kithia responded "In fact they generally get along with the humans better then any of the other castes among the Kruatha'ri. The Citizens live aloof from the world and the Casters in fear and mistrust. Even so my husbands act, had it been only to grant the De'me'thar access to the K'eld, might have classified him as a hero. In fact many of the Liberal Kruatha'ri in all of the castes do. However, my husband has done more. He has lifted the ban on the casters."

"They oppose the basic right of the individual to worship as they wish?"

"No. They oppose the idea that those who serve the lords bring their divide into the K'eld"

"Then they DO deny them their rights" I snapped angrily "As surely as if they oppressed them directly. They make them choose between home and deity"

"Tell Me" Kithia said patiently "Would it be right for a Earth Communicant or Even more pointedly, since you are a Servant of the water lord, an Energy Communicant, to enter your temples Holy Space and do worship to their god there?"

"No. They have their own temples"

"I can see where this is leading" Jano said, "I suspect Darin will not like the implication"

"Go on" I said to Kithia giving Jano a pointed look

"So you deny them the freedom to choose their faith in your temple..."

"That's not the same!" I responded, "The temple proper provides for worship of all of the lords, and sets sanctuaries aside for that worship. It does not segregate them"

"Think about what you just said" Jano said and I realized with a sinking heart that he took Kithia's side as well

"The temple does segregate them." Kithia said, "In the temple I may worship anyone, but in your holy space I may worship only your god."

I had a hard time dealing with her sharp logic. Did I think the temples should be run willy-nilly without any sacred space? No! Yet, I could not find the flaw in her comparison.

"Tell Me," She continued, "Do you provide for those who do not follow one of the lords to worship together?"

"That's Crazy" I said feeling on more solid ground and realizing what bothered me about Kithia's comparison at the same time "Why provide religious space for those who hold no religion. That is the problem. We are speaking about freedom of religion. Yes, the temple does divide but not to restrict rights, but to provide a space for those who wish to worship in peace. It is not about oppression its about freedom"

"That is your problem then" Kithia said "You do not understand the K'eld culture or the De'me'thar. You speak of oppression, of our exclusions, as if they were arbitrary secular civil law. I tell you that for many they are Cornerstones of Drakel faith. Tralin himself was an open proponent of the unification of the temple. We serve not one god, but the Pantheon entire. We believe that this is how we were meant to worship, and that so long as division exists the culture is doomed to division and perhaps even destruction as well"

"If you feel this way," I asked, "Why do you support what Tralin has done so openly."

"Because, he is my husband and I know and trust him, and because I recognize several key fact. First, we are not unifying by forcing separation, but instead it enforces the strained and pronounced. Second history tells us the choice was a case of oppression. The majority of the first council felt one way and they forced their position on their brethren. Those who would not agree they forced out of society. Finally time is running out and strength is in the numbers..."

"If you see this then why don't they?"

"As I said, Tralin is my Husband and even more pointedly I am among the liberal minded. There are those among the Citizens and the De'me'thar who believe firmly that all Communicants are servants of the Uncreator. Those that are quite assured that the Casters separation will lead to total destruction"

"Tralin already broke tradition several times before he became king" Jano said "In declaring himself a communicant he also broke Drakel Law and customs. He betrayed his honor bound job as T'palo. One of the fears that drive the Kruatha'ri, as the Drakel refer to themselves, is that if dissention is allowed close it will make bid to take over"

"Perhaps" I said bitterly "because they gained control by a force of power."

"Yes" Kithia said, "That may have a driving impact. That and observing how the Uncreator has used division before"

"And now since Tralin has taken the K'eld by power. Their fear is realized"

"I think you get it" Jano said.

"And the Casters what do they feel"

"Tralin's family comes from the Casters" Kithia said "And he has advanced their position. At the moment, they look upon it with great favor. Yet, they do not trust the Citizens or the Humans. So the situation could degrade at any time."

"Lovely" I sighed, "So essentially I had better watch my back. Especially since I am a Communicant of the Water Lord myself"

"You need to be aware."

"The Casters represent another problem," Jano added looking at me pointedly. "In their religious pursuits many of them serve other lords as well."

I considered this and recognized it as the truth. Drakel Fire Mages had been seen fighting in the army of Akriloth, the great Fire Dragon. Worse, some Drakel voiced openly the idea of buying the Uncreator favor if they had something that he would want. This fact alone meant there were likely already servants of the Devourer among the Drakel.

"Xilar" I said

"It is indeed possible that people like Xilar exist" Kithia expressed "After all Xilar and was one of the Greatest Drakel minds of his day."

Xilar was a Drakel who came to power right at the first rise of the Devourer. The Devourer brought Xilar into his service by preaching racial and elemental discord. The popular ideas that the elements were at war largely found truth the words of Xilar. The Casters were forced to defend their faith and themselves and this led to growing suspicion and darkness.

"Very well so I shall remain vigilant. What needs my attention...?"

Over the next several days, much of my duties as governor involved my public appearance, and the making of proclamations, signing commands into law, and meeting notable members of all of the castes. While sense, some tension my reception was generally warm. On the fifth day, I was told that I needed to seriously consider reopening the Judicial Court so I could hear and rule on civil and criminal complaints.

"The People need to see you in action" Kithia said, "to realize you do not just speak words"

"You might also consider making a public offering." Jano added after she had left "Open your estate before the masses next week. Invite all sides, it will allow you to observe them more closely. Make it a party for the queen before she leaves for Deren"

Much of the next two days were spent in civil court. Many of the complaints were decidedly straightforward and easy to decide. The nature of drake culture made civil offenses and Criminal ones for that matter, quite difficult to get away with, Jano and Kithia advised me on appropriate recourses.

My first case involved the destruction of property. A group of young Drakel had thrown a ball through a glass window. The scarcity of glass made it quite impossible for them to pay for the debt. After deliberation, I found that being young adults, they clearly lacked the resources to pay themselves but they but they certainly were of age to work the damages off. In another circumstance, I might have directed the parents to divide the costs. In this case, I saw an opportunity. I paid the fees my self with speed and directed the Defendants to help staff my estate for the upcoming party.

Throughout that day and the next most of the cases went by without notice, though I managed to cover the debts of several other individuals and gain their services in exchange. There was only one criminal case and it involved a gang of younger males who broke up an eating establishment.

"Your records speak for themselves gentlemen" I said coolly "I have two options. Expel you through the west gate or the choice I prefer which is to enlist you as my bondservants. I will pay for the damages and you will remain in my employ indefinitely. "

Jano had his doubts but the youth agreed. I knew all about reformations of character and I was not about to give them up as a lost cause. Besides, it allowed me to keep a close eye on their behavior.

Keeper of the Lore
"I don't know what evil is but whatever it is I am For it 100%"

"Evil is as evil does. ...and no one does it better." -Wolfpac

Falerin, Nov 13 2003 22:23:02

Chapter 6: Discovering the Uncreator's Plan

Plans for the party went by smoothly. After making several inquires with Jano's aid, I was able to obtain the services of a caterer and troupes of both musicians and actor/storytellers. Jano encouraged me to spare little expense on the party and though I originally felt some concern about such a brazen display of wealth Jano assured me that it was as much a display of largess as of wealth. The party was as much for the Kruatha'ri as for the Queen.

I spent the better part of the day sampling delicacies from all over the world and settling on a wide canvas of varying food and beverages for the party menu. I must confess that by days end I was rather inebriated and so my later selections may have been marred by a less than acute sense of taste. Still I was reasonably sure that my selections would offer something for a wide variety of tastes. Some of the food and drink offered would be both foreign and wondrous to the Drakel, being delicacies from both Deren and my own homeland of Vandar, I hoped that this would highlight the positive aspects of cultural exchange.

Even as I actively planned for the queen's departure I learned that Tralin prepared for her arrival with festivities of his own. Even before the queen would leave the K'eld the whole of the city of Deren would be transformed into a large midsummer festival. Artists and vendors from far and wide were set to travel to the city to hawk their wares, and ply their trades. At the festivals center Lady Kithia would arrive from here long Journey from the K'eld. The rise of Tralin as king of City and K'eld was being pushed as a reason for celebration even in light of the darkness that hung ever close. I had nearly managed to forget the nature of that darkness but the party would put an end to that sense of ease.

"Good Evening" I said turning to face the Drakel who entered he was an elite guard one of the the Armored Warriors.

"Lord Governor, I Fear the evening is anything but good." He responded seriously. "We have just arrested a number of Kruatha'ri, they were accosting a youth from one of the outer villages, a De'me'thar."

"I see." I said beginning to feel my anger rise. Though Jano and Kithia had warned of these continuing tensions the escalation not only on the night of the Queen's party but also on the grounds of my estate filled me with a sense of bitterness. I turned abruptly from one of my guests and began to move with purpose toward the holding rooms.

Jano on seeing my movement, frowned "My Lord, it would not do for you to leave your own party for the Queen."

I fixed Jano with a scathing glare of the sort I had not used since I had come to serve the throne.

"I Know my Job, T'palo!. Has not the King sent me with his trust to care for his subjects? Should the protocol of heritage overwhelm such concerns?!"

Jano withdrew then taken aback by my vehemence, I fear then he saw something of the old Zealotry that so possessed me. Yet I felt no remorse, only purposefulness.

As I made to leave the estate, I was stopped by a courier. I held my anger in careful check.

"What is it?" I asked curtly.

"Esteemed Governor. I bring news of the Arrival of the T'palo of K'eld Alorin."

I let out a sigh of frustration, for to deny the presence of a T'palo from another city was to deny the entirety of Drakel Culture. I did not yet know that within a few moments I would be declaring the Death of that Culture anyway.

"Where is he?" I asked

"My lord" The courier answered "he is in the arrival chamber, as custom dictates"

"Very Well, Fetch Lord Jano and the Queen."

"Yes My Lord."

I turned then toward the Carts to be carried to the Arrival chamber. I knew that the arrival of a foreign T'palo had to be taken with the utmost caution. His arrival could mark an overture of peace or the beginnings of a drive toward war. The last thing that the Kingdom needed in light of the Devourer's plan was another War.

Jano and Kithia arrived just as the Cart prepared for departure and I felt some sense of relief that I would not have to deal with the T'palo on my own. The delicacy of such negotiations was far more Jano's experience then mine. Diplomacy is a game for those of gentle touch, and none could describe my methods as gentle.

"Tell me about K'eld Alorin I asked. What are the Drakel like there. What is their likely reason for this meeting."

"Alorin is a walled city in the reaches of the Dark Mont Range, in your own nation of Vandar. The city is nestled within the high walls of the Cliffs of Despair almost directly opposite the Range from Stone Deep. The only known way in and out of Alorin is by magic. The Alorin Drakel were once Disaffected De'me'thar who gathered from the K'eld Childea in the Gray Forest in Neld. They withdrew because of their own ideas about the way to defeat the Uncreator fell outside accepted doctrine. Even more so than any other K'eld, Alorin has lived in isolation. Even we know little of them, as De'me'thar that strove to break the ancient custom they would have been put down except for their extreme inaccessesibilty even to us. So we merely cut off communication. No T'palo has been sent to or come from Alorin in 3200 years."

"So their arrival can be about anything. Why should they now respond to the King's message when all of the Kruatha'ri remain silent?"

"The Alorin are Expert at Combinatorial Magic. Tralin has been in communication with one of their schools for some time. It is likely that they have arrived due to their person friendship with the King."

"So I need not wonder what darkness befalls us now?"

"On The Contrary. You must indeed wonder. If something some pressing on their friendship with Tralin causes the Alorin to come, why are they not going to Deren? No, the meaning of their coming suggests many dark imports. Now the cart has come to rest I suggest we determine the T'palo's purpose here.

I moved into the walls of the Arrival Chamber and was shocked to find a young dwarf dressed not in dwarven armor but in flowing robes. I was even more surprised to see that at his side was Nel. The King's childhood friend, a rather singular Moglin, whose arm was rather fully clothed in the feathered serpent of luck, the Noata.

"Nel?" I asked confused "I thought that you had gone to Battleon to your Cousin."

"Lord Governor. I did start toward Battleon, but I never made it there. When the ship stopped in Stone Deep I was waylaid by the Dark Mont Dwarves. They insisted I accompany them to K'eld Alorin and I went."

"What? Why? how?" I said astonished "And why have you come here now instead of to Tralin"

"I stopped in Deren to check on the King but could not approach due to the throngs at the festival. It does not matter the T'palo's destination was always K'eld Ner. I have Guided him here."

I was taken by the formality of the Moglin's tone, absent entirely was the youth and amusement that so dominated his conversation in the past. I turned and looked again at the dwarf clothed as mage and priest.

"Tal Li Vago" He said bowing to the three of us. "Lord Governor, Fellow Journeyman, Lady Kithia, Queen."

"Tal Li Vago" we echoed in turn.

"I am Sigarin T'palo of K'eld Alorin to K'eld Ner and I come with grave news Lord Governor. We have discovered evidence in Alorin of the Uncreators plan, and we fear it involves not only K'eld Ner and the Nation of Deren but that aslo the life of your King may be in grave peril."

"The King's Life in Danger? By all means speak on. If you know something reveal it to us."

"Alorin is as you may now in the Vandarian mountains, We share the Dark Mont with the Dwarves of Shadowgarden and the Humans at Stonedeep. For centuries the dwarves have served as our courrier to the Humans and vice versa, our T'palo have often, like myself, been of at least partially dwarven descent. The Dwarves discovered a collapse in one of their stone mines about 2 months ago. Excavation discovered that there was a crossover in the deep from one of Stone Deep's shadow mines, a shaft that was supposedly abandoned but instead had been expanded considerably. We have come to believe it was here that Drakath waited while he still hid in Vandar."

As he spoke I became aware of distant shouting and clashing but I refused to allow myself to be distracted.

"Well we know how Drakath had housed himself in the mountains. Yet he is dead now, or undead to believe reports, how does this bear upon the King" I asked somewhat impatiently. While I could understand the need for exposition the nature of his message was such that I wished he would come quickly to its point, Further there was building evidence of some kind of altercation in the distance and I was certain that it could mean only further trouble.

Sigarin reached deep within the folds of his robes and withdrew a sigil of the shadow lord on a long golden chain. I could tell even at a distance that the workmanship was superb. I knew from experience that such things were generally only gifted to the chief high communicant of a temple upon their consecration. The sound of trouble grew closer now and I turned to Jano impatient. "Lord T'palo would you determine the cause of this rude interuption"

"My lord" he said and he bowed and withdrew.

Sigarin handed the amulet to me and I was forced to revise my prior asessemnt. The age and quality of this amulet was such that it qualified as a holy relic of the church. Such items were held in deep regard and were rarely in the hands of anyone less then regional archcommunicants.

"This was found in the depths of the Rubble my Lord, well beyond the end of the shadow mines themselves" Sigarin countiuned "You will note its quality I am sure. What you likely cannot see as a communicant to the water lord is its inscription in the shadowscript. We have several Shadow Magi in Alorin however and they discovered it quickly."

"May I see it?" The Queen asked and I handed the amulet to her, she murmered a few words under her breath and a soft light suffused the amulet in all but a few places. The places where the light could not reach formed a elegant flowing script, whose language was unfamiliar to me.

"What it says is: Given to Myr of Stone Deep, Senior Communicant in Love and Joy Ever Sir Xander"

"Have you verified its authenticity?" I asked then concenred.

"I have Lord" Nel responded. "Lord Xander confirms procuring this as an anniversary gift for Myr right before the war between Vandar and Neld. Myr was first in the running for the National Communicancy in Vandar before the role. He rejected the position himself just recently when he came to Deren. Myr never reported the amulet stolen or missing..."

"If you are familar with Drakath you are familar also with The Cold his peculiar ability to take the life of a person while they still live. A singularly unplesant and contagious way of stealing minds, if detected quickly it can be reversed. Though we know now that several of the Brilhado also posess the ability in a much more virulent form that evades even our best efforts to undo." the dwarf said sadly.

"Several of the Mine Workers fell under Drakath's control" Nel added "It took considerable effort to free them. What we know also is that Myr himself spent much quiet time in the deep shadows in contemplation."

"You believe that Myr has been taken by Drakath?" I said

"We do not believe it my lord. From evidence we have been able to gather in Stone Deep we are certain of it..." Sigarin answered "and even Now Myr sits in council as an advisor and close friend to your king."

I was about to ask more about their evidence when Jano returned clearly out of breath.

"Lord Governor, My Queen you must come at once."

"What is it?" I asked "What is more important then a threat to King Tralin's life?"

"It is the De'me'thar. They have seized the Central Armory."

Keeper of the Lore
"I don't know what evil is but whatever it is I am For it 100%"

"Evil is as evil does. ...and no one does it better." -Wolfpac

Falerin, Nov 17 2003 21:29:13

Interlude: Return to the Chamber of the Gods.

Lorithia looked at the swirling waters with a deep sigh. She was consumed then by a memory. In a moment of weakness and lonliness she took mortal form and went among the people. The experience was

an uinpleasnt one. In mortal form she became acutely aware of the suffering of the people, yet for her it had one redeeming quality she had met and fallen in love with The'galin. A beautiful and gentle man he

was tormented by his weakness and his inability to save the people. His village was nearly completely destroyed in a war with a neighboring tribe, after their death he had founded an orphanage where he

helped the lost and homeless children whose families had been destroyed by war and disease. In this capacity he excelled and was extremely well regarded by the people and it was in this capacity that

Lorithia discovering. The house in which Lorithia was staying caught fire and all of the residents were left without a home. The'galin took them in without reservation and tended to their needs. Seeing

The'galin up close for weeks on end only served to inflame Lorithia's love for him and finally in a moment of weakness she had revealed herself to him, half expecting him to rail against her for the injustice of

creation. Yet He did not blame her, rather he seemed touched that the Creator cared enough to tend to her creation. The fault he insisted lie not with creation but with the created.

"You seem distracted My Lady" The Water Lord said looking at the divining pool.

"I am remembering:" She sighed looking at the Water Lord with deep sadness.

"There can be no doubt of The'galin's plans anymore. He seeks to assume a mortal form, yet we have no way of knowing where and in what form. He seeks to destroy creation from within?" He said,

though his tone was questioning it had at its center a statement of fact.

"And it is all my fault" Lorithia sighed with dismay "Had I never revealed myself to him had I never taken him.. he may have finished his life helping people rather then living to destroy them all..."

"We certainly cannot know that Mi'lady. The deep wounds that The'galin suffered may have surfaced at any time. He may have ended his life a miserable misanthrope"

"Yet" The Fire Lord said coming into the room and looking sad. "We cannot decieve ourselves. Certainly not at this time. He would never have had the power to take his inadequacy on all of creation, on all of


"I wanted to save him" Lorithia sighed with sadness I loved him.

"Your love may save him yet" The Water Lord said with sadness.

"There does remain hope my lady" The Fire Lord added quietly.

"Yes but can it save him before he destroys creation..."

Keeper of the Lore
"I don't know what evil is but whatever it is I am For it 100%"

"Evil is as evil does. ...and no one does it better." -Wolfpac

Falerin, Nov 17 2003 21:29:53

Chapter 7: Trouble with the De'me'thar

"They have WHAT?!" I said alarmed forgetting for a moment all proper protocol and turning away from Sigarin and the Queen to stare at Jano in horror and confusion. "How? Why?"

"They took advantage of the confusion of the party. With much of the Guard diverted there and others responding to the altercation in the center of the city and with you absent my lord they siezed an


"You would have me believe that the Drakel left the armory undefended enough to be seized. With all of their defenses and they were incapable of holding the armory against what ammounts to a sudden

attack of opportunity, an unplanned attack!"

"Lord Governor" The Queen said her voice holding the slightest hint of reprimand. "Never in thousands of years has anyone breached the outer walls and for Kruatha'ri to attack the Armory is

incomprehensible. The armory is our saftey and security. There are stories of a few De'me'thar who accepted bond service to attempt such an uprising but the results of those efforts were invariably fatal

and deadly. Of course the K'eld is unprepared for such an attack it ammounts to an attack from within."

"With Respect Lord Governor, Lady Kithia" Nel said the familiar title attesting to his years of friendship with the queen.

"Yes Nel" we said in unison and despite ourselves and the situation smiled slightly.

"Lord Sigarin has an observation that I believe holds bearing on the issue"

"Please Lord T'palo speak your mind."

"Thank you Lord Governor. Alorin had a long and tortured path toward its current state where all of the people are Krutha'ri, In our K'eld are citizens of all of the worlds living races and several members from

races long believed extinct. Until Lord Traliin did what he did in K'eld Ner no city had remotely a similar trajectory, Tralin's change is even more threatening because he livens openly in the human wolrd while

Alorin lives in the depths of isolation. Yet if paralells are to be trusted we must allow for the possibility that the Kruatha'ri allowed the De'me'thar to seize the armory."

"Why would they put themselves in danger? To prove a political point?"

"If they believe the Political point will force you to use your power and cast out the De'me'thar again they just might. For you would uphold tradition and defend the city against incursion. What is more this may

be precisely what the De'me'thar want. If you cast them out and set a precedent that upholds tradition they may hold the line against the Elementalists yet.

"They risk death to hold on to tradition. That is utter maddness..."

"Yes my Lord but it is Millenia of tradition, a Tradition bred into the thinking of the Drakel people for whom it has been a matter of Survival. It took Alorin more then 300 years to firmly settle the issues and

nearly 300 more before the final grumblings were put to rest, and our change was only within our community Which all started as De'me'thar rebels themselves."

"So they have me trapped..." I cursed frustrated "They know that I cannot let this slide..."

"Can't you my Lord?" Kithia said with a smile.

"My Queen. You cannot seriously suggest that we allow the De'me'thar to go unpunished for taking the Armory....:"

"No... Yet if the De'me'thar are as tied to the old traditions as it seems we may be able to play them as only you can do...."

"I am not sure I follow you my lady"

"She means" Nel Said Smiling "That you can reverse the situation to our advantage. If they want charge of the armory well then allow them to have it..."

"Hmm?" I said still confused.

"You are the designated servitor of the King who is a T'palo from the De'me'thar The position of T'palo is held with almost religious reverence. While they might act against his wishes they dare not openly

accuse him of falsehood. If you make a proclamation backed by Lord Jano stating that the De'me'thar were doing as you wished. The De'me'thar and the Kruatha'ri though knowing your duplcity may well not

challenge your words."

"Isn't that a rather risky gamble"

"Yes" Sigarin said matter of factly "it is"

"But the alternative is to clearly go against the Kings wishes and reaffirm centiuries of division." Kithia added " It is a gamble that must be made. If they call our bluff then we can answer their call."

"I will be formally challenging the social structure of the entirety of Drakel culture. I will be calling an end to tradition utterly"

"Have you any doubt" Jano asked "That such was the King's wish all along"

"No" I said my resolve strenghening. "Let us do this..."

We moved then to the Cart which carried us in silence toward the main gateway. There was nothing that could be said that had not already been voiced. As we arrived I saw the massive crowd that had

gathered outside of the Central Armory. The Drakel Guard tried to hold the masses back from the Armory, a single De'me'thar stood at the top of one of the Towers leering at the people below. I ignored him

and strode with purpose toward the captain of the Guard, a stocky Drakel encased in battle armor.

"What is the meaning of this Captain" I demanded "Why do the people abandon my party and attend to this spectacle."

"Have you not heard Lord Governor" He asked in consternation "The De'me'thar have siezed the Central Armory..."

"De'me'thar?" I asked with exaggerated distaste "Captain, have your forgotten the King's orders?"

"My Lord?" The Captain asked confused.

"There are No De'me'thar captain. There shall never be any De'me'thar there are only Kratha'ri" I declared firmly "Citizen's there is nothing to see here. The Central armory remains in the hands of the King's

citizenry. "

As I spoke I began to here a chanting in the distance and I wondered what new disturbance could shatter my peace. Still I continued.

"That those you deem De'me'thar control this armory is exactly as the King has ordered and as I have instructed them."

The growng volume set me on edge.

" I sought to have this done during the party to make the transition as smoothly as possible. I had trusted that your honor of the queen would prevent disruption. Unfortunately I have already seen that this is

not the case. Several misguided citizens have already attacked a youth out of ancient divisions. Let it be known that neither I nor the king shall tolerate such. These divisions ARE ended, If you have any hope

of defeating the Devourer, the Uncreator, you must end your actions which play directly into his hands. I think the King has made his will on the matter quite known. There are no De'me'thar only Citizens, and

in Deren citizens acting against their nation are considered treasonous. I need not affirm that the fruit of treason is not exile..... it is death."

"C'tal Efo Lin Degi!" the voices shouted loud enough to hear clearly. The alarm was sounding through the city.

"C'tal Efo Lin Degi!"

"The Brilhaldo come..." I said in dismay. For the first time in all ages the K'eld had been discovered.

Keeper of the Lore
"I don't know what evil is but whatever it is I am For it 100%"

"Evil is as evil does. ...and no one does it better." -Wolfpac

Falerin, Dec 13 2003 00:44:21

Chapter 8: Tralin's visit/News from Vandar

"C'tal Efo Lin Degi!" the voices echoed through the city and I moved toward the gate with speed. I searched the skyline for the telltale signs of the advancing Brilhado but I saw no evidence of their presence. Then a splash of lavender caught my eye and I looked to the south east and saw him. A single brilhado who flew with the standard of Deren.

"It is Giliara" I said and turned to the guards. "Stand down and open the gates. This man is an agent of Lord Tralin"

The word carried and for a moment I though their doubt and incredulity would cause them to refuse but by now little could suprise them.

Giliara landed on the Parapet of the far wall and began shouting in a loud voice "The King Comes. Make way for his Higness King Tralin of Deren"

The main gate swung open and Tralin marched into the city under the Escort of a Squadron of Frogzard nights and De'me'thar in ceremonial Battle Armor. Why had Tralin come to Keld N'er? All reports said that Deren made festival for the Queen. Tralin's arrival made little sense to me.

"Lord Governor. We would have audience with you." The king announced. "Let us go to the audience chamber"

"My Lord. I said moving to comply and then thinking turned to the Dwarf who stood in waiting silence"

"Tal Li Vago, Tpalo King of Deren" Sigarin said simply and the king smiled with a nod.

"You must be Sigarin. Tal Li Vago, Tpalo of Alorin" The King responded "And welcome to our kingdom. Come join Us in council"

Kithia advanced then and placed a hand upon Tralin's shoulder, "Tal Li Vago, My husband"

Tralin smiled then "Tal Li Vago, My Queen. I bring our sons love. He misses you and awaits you in Deren. We will leave for the City together, but first we must discuss what we have come to know."

We sat in silence as we were ferried to the chamber. We had much to say but knew that to do so in the presence of many ears was folly. I wondered anew why Tralin would come to the city. It was clearly important but if it were vital why did he not use magic to Transit in.

"Lord Tralin!" I exclaimed once we were safely inside "I know there is much important to say. but first I must tell you something important. There is a threat to your life"

"Myr" Tralin said. "I Know"

"How?" I asked dumbfounded

"Did you not recognize the tall fellow in shadow armor out there?" Tralin asked

"Xander" I said turning to Sigarin and Nel "He came from stonedeep too? Why didn't you tell me"

"We didn't Know" Nel said "He was not on our ship."

"He arrived via a gateway spell. That is irrelevant. If we are to have any chance of helping Myr we must act quickly. He is a danger not only to me but to everything. The'galin plans to use him as a pawn in his plot"

"You know more of what he plans?" I said turning toward Sigarin "Before the outburst at the armory you were telling us something about it"

"Outburst at the Armory?" Tralin asked inquistively his normally expressionless face searching me for some clue to my meaning.

"The De'me'thar have taken control of the Central Armory" I said "I told the people that it was your will... that there are NO De'me'thar only Kruatha'ri"

Tralin laughed aloud. "Very well. Sigarin. What has Alorin learned of The'galin's designs"

"He has gained control of an ancient portal, the Brilhado use it to come and go from this world into another realm, we have been watching their coming and going for some time and we can lock upon the world that they transit too. We have seent agents through the gate on several occasions. The other world is a Dark and Dangerous place. Much of the world flooded by dark waters. The undead rule in great number nothing lives. Yet here in Deren they do much work. The Brilhado hide here. They prepare to enact The'galin's plan, Our man lost his life to send the message to us... the plan is... trully dreadful..."

"Please Continue" Kithia said placing a comforting hand on his shoulder.

"He seeks a way to extend his power into the world more directly and then let loose the forces of creation on the world. He will uncreate with creation... He has located a powerful magic and once he arrives if he gains control of that magic our world will cease to exist..."

"Arrives. More directly?" I asked confused "Just what is he planning"

"He plans on Manifestation." Tralin said his eyes arching.

"Doesn't that weaken him?" Kithia asked "The Powers have rarely manifested an Avatar through history for arriving here weakens them"

"Yes well if he were not native and if he planned on taking his physical body here that might be the case" Nel Said

"Thats not what he plans?" Jano asked

"No Clearly" Tralin said "He plans on taking over anothers form..."

"Myr?" I asked

"Perhaps initially but Myr is not the ultimate target..."

"What who"

"He plans to gain control of creation so he wants an agent of Creation. It is why Myr was sent to me. We have interefered by disvocering his purposes so Myr has been taken"

"You mean..."

"The'galin plans on taking physical form and the form he desires is mine..."

Keeper of the Lore
"I don't know what evil is but whatever it is I am For it 100%"

"Evil is as evil does. ...and no one does it better." -Wolfpac

Falerin, Dec 13 2003 22:21:24

Chapter 9: Going After The Great Evil

For three days Tralin stayed in K'eld Ner on the fourth day he left with Nel and Kithia and half of the Frogzard Knights. The other half were to remain in the K'eld and assist Jano as he took over rule of the K'eld. I felt for Jano who was thrust once again into ruling over a people. An adept diplomat governorship was nevertheless not Jano's skill. He had volunteered to go with Xander himself but Jano was relatively incapable of magic whereas I was a communicant of the Water Lord. So as quickly as my Governorship had begun it was on hiatus while Sigarin, Xander and I prepared to pass through the portal to the next world and seek to rescue Myr before he was lost entirely to the foul magic that claimed him and to thwart the uncreator's plan to use him as a vessel of destruction.

I was of entirely mixed emotion, there was something terrifying and at once thrilling in leaving my very reality to take the battle to the stronghold of the enemy. On the other hand I was keenly aware that the Ice Lords festival was begining and rather then celebrating Frostvale and the Start of winter with friends and family I was instead venturing into what no one could be sure would not be my death. Though Myr and Delnar had been to the world as had Sigarin and several of the citizens of K'eld Alorin had ventured to the world and survived it was under different circumstances. I would be entering the world with the purpose of taking the agressive and reclaiming Myr, who even as he was being rescued would remain in the thrall of his captors. Xander, Sigarin, and I stood a good chance of dying and joining the very army we sought to fight. We knew this fact with a dull certainity. For all of us to survive the process was virtually unthinkable. The best we could hope for was a major disruption in the Devourers plans for Deren and the world.

The possibilty remained that despite our best plans we would actually serve the uncreators purposes by seeking to rescue Myr. It was clear that he knew that we would take this course. We had little reasonable alternative. The only other possibility was to let him make the first move and it was already quite late to be attempting to undo the late Dark Dragon's damage. By the time he took his own action Myr would undobtedly be lost to us and the Uncreator would have gained a strong foothold in our world.

"You seem Distracted Lord Governor" Sigarin said polishing his battleaxe with a wicked smile. This last was first act I had seen Sigarin do that assured me that more then his frame was dwarven. While Sigarin might be a communicant and T'palo to K'eld Alorin he was still a dwarf, and for our purposes his skill with that axe may yet prove a deciding factor.

"We likely go to our death" I said matter of fact "Your Axe? How is it endowed?"

"it is a duality blade"

"A duality blade" I whistled appreciatively "K'eld alorin trully is the master of cooperative magic then. I take it that the duality is light and dark?"

"Yes" He said simply. A duality blade was to my previous experience a weapon of legend rather then actuality an axe that balanced contradictory elements. I had heard of course of Alevand's duality long sword, that had balanced fire and ice and was used in the first elemental wars hundreds of years ago. In the far world we would fight undeath and light demons. A duality weapon balancing light and dark would perhaps be the only effective single answer to their forms.

"Aren't they risky"

"very risky." he said and i considered again the legend. So tighlty balanced between opposite forces duality blades were legened to have unstable personalities of their own and in the heat of battle the weapons could even control their wielder seeking their own purposes "But the lady and I have an understanding of many years, and what we face is even riskier"

I wondered why Sigarin had thought to bring the weapon in the first place but I didn't ask. Delving into this personal thoughts would be an invasion and I could almost answer this question myself. The Brilhado and Undead still abounded in the distant corners. It could be expected that they will arrive and attack at any time. Time was running out. If we had not thwarted their plans and if Myr had succeeeded even worse things could have happened.

I merely nodded and looked then to Xander who was dressed in the armor of a shadow knight and spinning an aurora blade with deft swordplay. "A Shadowknight using a Light weapon?"

"You know as well as I that a light weapon is a natural weapon for a shadownight to use. Without light there is no shadow. I have a Wartexx too but I dont think it will see much use. The Aurora blade's light form will put a major hurt on the undead and when its ignited the fire damage will hurt the Brilhado too. Not as much as the Wartexx maybe but I dont neeceasrily have time to change weapons in mid fight."

"The two of you seem to plan on fighting. I for one dont. By the time they have us engaged in combat we are most assuredly not going to escape"

"Thats true, but if we are going to fail I intend to make as much of a mess as possible before i join the enemy."

"Are we ready?" Sigarin asked strapping his axe to his back and taking out a small mechanical device that was clearly of drakel technology. He attached the intake to a steam pump and lights began to glow on the outside. The device emited a clicking and whirring sound and the misty steam began to coaelesce like a dense fog. The thickening continued untill it was like a small window of water suspending in the air, only the otherside of the watery window was differernt. Darker somehow.

"Well?" Sigarin asked "The portal is ready. The Brilhado stronghold will be about 20 miles from our point of arrival. This will give us enough distance that they should not detect our arrival, but it means we may need to deal with greater numbers of Undead and potentially some Kresh on the way through the Dead Forest."

"The Dead Forest?" Xander asked quizically placing the Aurora blade in its sheathe.

"A particularly unpleasant necromancers wildest dream. Even the Trees in the Dark forest are undead. They are not mobile amd in and ove themselves are not a threat unless you get caught in a bramble or try to light one of their logs to start a fire, but we cannot be sure the necromancers cannot extend their senses through them. Every thing we see in that forest will be undead from the smallest insect to the largest redwood."

I tried unsuccessfully to imagine what an undead tree would be like. Dead yet in a state of suspended decay or pretending to be living yet being a parody of life. Or looking for all the world like dead fall rather then unliving trees.

"We had better go" Xander said with a shudder.

"Yes lets go" I said then and with a with a shiver passed through the wall of water.

Keeper of the Lore
"I don't know what evil is but whatever it is I am For it 100%"

"Evil is as evil does. ...and no one does it better." -Wolfpac

Falerin, Dec 16 2003 21:37:37

Chapter 10: Journey to the Other Side

The first thing I noticed about the portal was that it was bigger then it seemed. What had seemed to be just a thin window was in actuality a swirling vortex of water. The next thing I noticed was that it was cold. Shuddering to supress the chill I turned to Sigarin who stood beside me in the swirling mists.

"Is it usually so cold?" I asked

"This is mild." Sigarin laughed "When we first learned to make world gates many of our men had to be treated for exposure and others for severe burns. The elemental balance is disturbed in the void, as it is at our destination. We should be prepared for anything."

"Disturbed?" I asked "Why is it that the powers have any sway there at all?"

"You must remember that The'galin is a created being" Sigarin said stopping and wiping tendrils of mist from in front of his face. "He did not start off in control of a world. He took this one as he seeks to take ours. This is another of Lorithia's many worlds."

"Lorithia's many worlds? So there are other creators then Lorithia"

"The multiverse is a vast place. There are as many creator gods within it, as many pantheons, as many worlds, as you see stars in the night sky. And many more besides. Some of these are close to our own and familiar. Some are shades of our own world where some different event pushed things in a nother direction and some are so alien that we would never know them to be worlds if we could even survive on them in the first place."

"How is it the citizens of K'eld Alorin know so much about this?" Xander asked stopping for a moment to catch his breath. We were lost in the depths of the mist now and I could not see the world on either side. I had only my sense of linear direction, a combat skilled honed over 2 decades to assure me I was still heading in the correct direction.

"When we started our work on combinatorial magic as De'Me'Thar outcasts, we began to realize that much of the world was not as it seemed. That even the richness of Drakel heritage did not begin to see the truth of the world. We created the world gate not as a way to combat The'galin though it serves us well for that purpose, we created the world gate so that we might explore beyond the limits of Lore."

"How long have you been doing this" I asked pulling up short myself.

"For 450 years give or take a month or two."

"The Drakel of K'eld Alorin have been using extraplanar magic for 450 years?!" I asked astonished "No wonder the gateway to the K'eld was never found. It must be protected by misdirections and magics of the likes we have never seen."

"There are those in the Keld that work with energies and magics totally alien to Lore magics unlike anything on our world has ever known."

In the distance ahead I could see the mist begining to thin and rays of a watery grey light poured through.

"The exit is just ahead I think" Even as I said it I could smell a mildewy dankness that for a moment I could not identify, and then with a growing sense of undead began to recognize.

"It smells of a Crypt" Xander said giving voice to my own observations.

"Yes" Sigarin said "This is one of the more pleasant smelling localities. That smell means that there is death here but not undeath. Keep that in mind."

I thought about this for a moment, but try as I may I had a hard time finding light in Sigarin's proclamation. As exciting as the thought of leaving the world might have been the actuality was now upon me and it was something else entirely. I faced my almost certain demise and worse my almost certain damnation to the ranks of the living dead. Not even my service to the Water Lord could be counted on to prevent that foul fate. Though it might save my soul from knowing the new uses to which my flesh might be put.

"Ready" Xander said or asked. It was difficult to tell if it was an interrogation or a statement of his own.

"Absolutely" I answered "Lets go..."

Keeper of the Lore
"I don't know what evil is but whatever it is I am For it 100%"

"Evil is as evil does. ...and no one does it better." -Wolfpac

Falerin, Dec 20 2003 22:42:25

Interlude: De'me'thar redux

Jano stood in the center of his library and considered his options. Darin had been gone less then 2 days and already the De'me'thar and Kruatha'ri were embroiled in a battle again. Jano could understand easily a reluctance to change several hundred years of tradition yet he could not comprehend their basic inability to recognize that their clinging to tradition was serving the very purpose they hoped to prevent. The Drakel objection to elemental affinity was that siding with one element was divisive and served the purpose of the Uncreator. Yet they refused to see that they themselves were dividing their people based on ancient tradition far more then choosing an element with which one felt comfortable. The Drakel culutre had come to understand the elemental harmony perhaps better then any other living species yet they could not get over their ancient social constructs.

Jano turned to Draslin his Le'tho. The position was roughly equivalent to a butler, he was in charge of the house. Yet Draslin was far more then a mere bond Servant. In the time since Jano had lived in the K'eld Draslin has become Jano's close friend.

"Drae. I fear I have no choice in the matter." Jano said with a sigh. "The king has made it clear his desire in this matter and the Governor has as well. As an agent of the crown and of the people. Their eventual welfare must come before social comfort."

"Yes Lord T'palo" Draslin said "Jano. My friend. This will set the People on their head. What you are speaking of doing violates not only Drakel law but many cultural norms. The K'eld is considered almost an object of devotion in itself"

"I am well aware." Janos said with a sigh "Yet I see no other answer. Will the De'me'thar stop. Will the people just unite themselves?

"In time perhaps, but time is something we have little of." Draslin answered matter of fact.

"My point exactly." Jano said with a sigh "Can you see a better solution? Many of our enemy are immaterial and airborne."

"No Jano I cannot yet I fear the results greatly"

"Nonetheless it must be done. We face an enemy far greater then before the time of division is ended. We have the resources to commit."

"It will take the kings school of thought at least 2 weeks to shape the magics required even with the hundred or more magi that they have."

"Your estimate is kind. Tralin says I should expect it to take a full month. Unless he himself can spare the aid. Yet I expect not to do it alone. We have word of support from K'eld Alorin"

"They certainly know more of such things then anyone else."

"Let us do this then..." Jano moved out of the library and into the courtyard.

"Citizens this matter has been ended by your king. I cannot imagine why then you persist in this maddness. We tell you that the devision of this K'eld shall be ended. I have spoken to the Elemental Casters. 8 compounds are being constructed even now within a close proximity to the K'eld. The walls of this city great as they are are designed to defend us yet they have served to divide us. They cannot possibily keep out our enemy. We shall construct multiple additional towers and forts between here and the furthest Caster outpost. The existing towers shall be magically strengthened as shall the inner wall at the center of the K'eld. Yet by the end of this month K'eld Ner will be no more. This place shall be renamed I'ami Ner.

This pronouncement was met with some gasps but otherwise as sense of abject silence. For each there new what the change in designation meant.

"You understand me well I trust. The K'eld will be no more for its wall of division will be no more. The wall will fall. Whats more the king considers this infighting divisive and treacherous. The Governor has reminded you of this already. I cannot alter his word on the matter. Should this come to my attention again there will be arrests and the arrested will be tried for treason against the crown."

Keeper of the Lore
"I don't know what evil is but whatever it is I am For it 100%"

"Evil is as evil does. ...and no one does it better." -Wolfpac

Falerin, Dec 24 2003 01:15:58

Chapter 11: In the other World

The cold of the vortex did not end at its end. The world into which we ventured was much colder then our own. It was also considerably damper. Overlaying this scent of mildew and cold earth was a smell of rot and decay. Sigarin's proclamation seemed to be holding true, for in the time immediately following our exit we saw little living or undead. Yet the presence of decay suggested that there were dead somewhere. For dead to fall there must have been life.

The place was eerie in many ways. In addition to the flooded swampland nature of the place, and the uncomfortable silence and lack of life, there was a stark familiarity about the landscape. Looking at the mountain range in which I stood I could have little doubt that it paralleled that of K'eld Ner almost exactly. Yet it lacked the tell tale signs of the great walled city. It lacked its lush tree line. While Sigarin had warned of the undead forest here there was no forest at all only stumps and mountainous swampland. Below the water deepened cutting off the area into many islands within a swampy sea. I could scare imagine, even as a Communicant of the Water Lord, what sort of elemental imbalance would lead to this. Were the temperature tropical I would expect glacial melting of causing the swamp like flooding, a rapid destruction of the polar caps, but the temperature here was if anything a full 10 degrees colder then it had been in K'eld Ner.

"This water is new," Sigarin said with a frown. "Its presence reflects continued elemental destabilization of this world. The'galin's destruction here is almost completed"

Xander frowned "This may be why he has chosen now to continue his assault on our world. If his recent abode is rapidly becoming inhospitable even for him"

"Perhaps" Sigarin said neutrally.

"Well this world is certainly on its last legs," I offered. "Even if The'galin does not have need of it. His servants apparently do... His timetable may be pushed forward simply because if this continues he will not have an army with which to fight his war..."

"Don't be a fool" A voice said from behind. I reached for my sword in panic realizing that I would never have time to draw it if attacked. Sigarin was quicker and by the time I had turned to face the unknown visitor he was holding his axe in an aggressive manner.

"Your lack of attentiveness could prove deadly elsewhere on this planet." He said. His build and ears seemed elven in nature but his hair was a definite platinum gray and his eyes an unusual shade of green. The other distinctly unusual feature was his height. On averages Elves were about a hand shorter then humans but he was fully 6"4'.

"Who are you and give me one good reason why I should not kill you now" Sigarin demanded. Even as he said this I could see that Xander was preparing his own weapon, to my surprise I found that I had managed to draw my sword as well.

"Your greeting is lacking in civility. I suppose I should expect that from Dwarven races regardless of my locality. I am... a traveler, and you should not kill me because doing so would eliminate my aid, something that you would be very very foolish to do."

"With Respect, Traveler" Xander said, "We have no idea who you are... or where your allegiance lays for all we know you are a Servant of The'galin"

"Worse" I said looking him in the eye "You could be the Uncreator yourself. We have never seen him face to face."

"Nor will you in this place unless it is in one of his many borrowed forms." The man said looking away from us in a show of being decidedly unconcerned "Whatever else he is The'galin is a coward. He ultimately fears that which he cannot control, because of this he would never put his physical flesh at risk, not that it can die anyway, but it can suffer discomfort, and he has little comfort for it. Plus he may ultimately fear that someone has found the means of his total annihilation, though such a means likely is quite nonexistent."

"You seem to know a lot about the Uncreator for someone who is not in his employ." Sigarin said "I ask again who are you and where are you from. Certainly not from this place, there is no living native life."

"And I tell you again Dwarf" The man said in growing irritation "I am a traveler and where I come from is a far distant world, well outside the sphere of your pantheons petty richardering."

"Begging your pardon, Traveler" I said, "If you have come from some far distant world. What interest can you possibly have in this one? What concern can you have for the dealings of our deities?"

"Ah a reasonable and well thought question at last" he said with a smirk "Its answer however is more complex then you can possibly appreciate. I have been to your own world also. In fact, I fought against the undead in Battleon. I also have been to your fair kingdom, Lord Governor. I know much of your politics. More perhaps then even you. More to the point however I know a great deal about both The'galin and his servitors. It is what I know of him that causes me to have interest in your world and in this one."

"You are talking around the issue," I said growing slightly irritated myself. "What exactly about the Uncreator causes you to want to aid us?"

"The'galin is a creature of fear. He has very nearly destroyed this world and more then two dozen others. A full hundred such worlds have just begun their advanced state of decline. The'galin fears the world and all in it. He fears for his continuance and for his safety. Once he has reached his goal and destroyed all that Lorithia has created, do you think his fear will suddenly subside? Should he manage not to kill himself in the process, will he become happy? Lore is the world of his origins. It is the last remaining of Lorithia's creation that he has not established at least some foothold in. Where next does The'galin venture to act on his fear"

"Supposing we accept that The'galin is a threat not only in Lorithia's world but in other realities as well far removed from this one. You have already described your world as extraordinarily distant. If it took him so long to take apart one world in which he had a foothold, how can your world so far removed be endangered?"

"It may very well not be..." he said with a smirk. "Yet we have some reason to believe that he has made contact with forces that have a more vested interest in my own home. If these forces ally with him he may choose to turn his attention my world next if only to return the favor. Worse still my world has successfully suppressed the forces of Uncreation, but there are those who still would worship or follow it. Should he arrive, though our worlds function in two very different ways, he may find a very large body of willing servants offering him power and support, without any effort whatsoever. Beyond all of this I have yet another interest in Lore. Mainly that I am bored and its situation is unique. I have become somewhat of an expert on its history in my many travels to this world and its close copies."

"Indeed?" Xander said seemingly intrigued but also unimpressed.
"Oh Yes. Xander of StoneDeep. I know a very very great amount about your world, about its functioning, about its history, and about the action the Uncreator plans to take there. You might say I am Master of the Lore of Lore. So Lord Governor, Shadow Knight, and esteemed Sigarin ambassador to Deren from the Great Walled of Alorin, will you now put away your weapons so we can talk? Or do you persist in your posturing?"

We stowed our weapons somewhat warily, clearly the person could have done us harm had he intended already. That he had not meant that what he had to say bore hearing even if it was entirely misinformation.

"In the first place." He said seemingly satisfied that we were not pursuing our aggression "Your visit to this world will be without reward. Myr of StoneDeep was never brought here. He is even now being imprisoned on the far side of Derenian continent with a massing army of Brilhado and Undead. A resilient fellow. Even under the influence of the cold he fights the unavoidable transformation just as he fought subconsciously Drakath's change even without knowing it was there. Yet in his decidedly he will find the Cold far more aggressive and quite impossible by any current means of being shoved aside."

"What is this Cold?" Xander asked, I noted that his expression had turned pale.

"The most virulent of the forms of undeath I have seen in recent memory, precisely because it is not immediate but is a still rapid transformation of the flesh. An infectious contagion that spreads throughout the victim slowly transforming him into a puppet. There is no redemption from the cold. There is no good left in a person so transformed. What can be counted as benevolent it comparatively is that by the time that it is completed the soul is quite disconnected. All that remains of the host is the memory imprint. The Cold is also contagious. If any of the contagion manages to enter your body you too will become a carrier and will find yourself fiercely loyal to your necromancer. That is if you are not used as a vessel for something worse."

"I have never heard of such a power," Xander said. "My lord is the lord of shadows and undeath, and I have never heard of such a being in all of my years. The only thing remotely of its like is the power of the Dark Dragon. What Dark creature wields such a power?"

"It is a power of darkness to be sure," The traveler said "But you speak wrongly if you assign it to a creature of darkness. No indeed. There exist in this multiverse some balances and interelemental cooperation that serve good purpose, as is the case of friend dwarf's people. Then there exist the Necromancers of which I speak. The Necromancers you have seen in lore are mere children compared to them. These are the Brilhado..."

I thought that he was trailing off for effect or to entertain arguments but I noticed that his gaze was fixed on the summit of the mountain

"You may wish to draw your weapons my friend, even as Sigarin prepares for us the portal back to Lore. For in less then 10 minutes if we are still here you will get to meet one of the Brilhado Necromancer's yourself."

Falerin, Feb 17 2004 21:41:52

Chapter 12: Fleeing The Enemy

The form of the Necromancer was beautiful his long jet-black hair offset his perfectly formed lavender wings giving him a sense of royalty and grace. The wings themselves were a thing of beauty, primarily a striking lavender this deepened at the top to a darker mauve. The wing tips were edged with a bright scarlet.

His voice to was soft melodious, his words uttered with a sincere sweetness that failed to reveal their subtle menace. "Greetings Darin Son of Liam, Governor of K'eld Ner, Servant of Tralin king of Deren, on behalf of his majesty The'galin I welcome you to his world and to his service"

The words filled me with a sense of melancholy and at first I could not capture the import of what he was saying. He had completed a similar greeting to both Xander and Sigarin before I recognized the impact of his words. Oddly they just looked past the stranger as if they either could not seem him or considered him beneath their notice.

"I will never serve The'galin!" I said annoyed "I shall resist the Devourer with all of my strength!"

"Your strength shall be a great asset to us Lord Darin" The Brilhado said then

"We can use it in your current form... or we can alter your form to one that is more amenable to service." The Brilhado smiled "You do not have Tralin servant of Lorithia to disrupt our magics here as he did with the Renegade Draynor"

"Service taken by force is no service at all it is enslavement" Sigarin snarled. The Dwarf seeming somehow larger in light of the charge. Yet his distraction meant he was not tending to the portal but was arguing with the Brilhado instead. I gave him a look to suggest the inappropriateness of this course and then turned back to hear the answer.

"True. Yet it is service nonetheless... Willing or not it makes not difference. All that matters is control. All that matters is victory. What place have codes of ethics and morals in a world so decayed that it must be destroyed and created a new..."

"It is not the world that is decayed Brilhado" I said angered "It is you. You are the force of decay. You deal with The'galin despite owing your very existence to the Light Lord. You betray your lord and your people. You are the worst of your breed... trafficking in undead?! What does a Brilhado know of undeath?..."

Even as the words escaped my lips I realized that they were an error. Goading an enemy that you are confident of defeating is often an unwise decision. Goading an enemy that scares the wits out of you while potentially a good bluff is most often sheer madness. That the Brilhado could see and know the nature of my form. That he knew so much about me personally should have set off warning bells but I was angered and terrified. Rational thought went out the window in the face of the unknown enemy.

"Such bile." The Brilhado said and before a word or response could be uttered he was a matter of inches away looking at me in the eyes boring into my being reading my very soul. "Such animosity and contempt you have for us Lord Darin. How could you find service to our lord The'galin to be so detestable. After all, he only wants to control the rabble to protect that he values from the storm of greed and incompetence. You have long served our Lord The'galin Darin son of Liam your Malice has long fed him in the cold and dark. It has long nurtured him while he waited. Your Malice Lord Darin gave us the strength to summon an army of undead. Your plotting and machinations the Power to kill that insignificant human king, who made such poor decisions about the division of Drakel and human cultures. Your Malice Darin marks you like a beacon, and though you pretend to have reformed. Indeed even if you truly have repented of your sins. The Mark is already there.. Now you have come to us.. after so recently having been inside the Walls of the Drakel K'eld they call Ner... You who let one of our own the one you call Giliara enter. Well both you and Giliara shall return to your true masters service. Of this you can be assured... for you have served us yet again... Your anger toward us... it makes your emotions readable.... It makes you weak... However, it also gives us time to surround you on all sides. We shall strip you of your venom toward The'galin. We shall make you loathe purity and light. We shall make you enjoy the stench of your own decaying flesh and revel in the sensation of the millions of crawling maggots swimming thorough your animated corpse. Moreover, your soul shall not be freed. It shall join in the damnation and depravity, but first between the three of you we shall get a very accurate map right to the door of K'eld N'er... It is for this reason that we brought our Vassal Myr to this place. We knew not the precise bearing. We knew not the exact defenses. Now Lord Darin we have its governor to share in the siege and destruction of his own City. Better we have the Dwarf Sigarin of Alorin. Who knows the locations of every walled city, every domed city, and every De'me'thar village. And every elemental Caster outpost. The Ancient and Noble Drakel race have remained hidden for centuries in defiance of their true master. They have broken the covenant they swore with Xilar and hidden in the depths... But we shall have them... and all because you have given them to us..."

"Darin!" Xander cried then breaking my rapture for I could not resist listening to the words. An odd sense of anticipatory pleasure had even begun to build. I shuddered at the necromancer's ability to manipulate not only the flesh with decay but the mind and soul as well. He used just enough truth to ensure it. He knew my sins. I was laid bare.

"Darin!" Xander repeated insistently and he grabbed and shoved me into the portal which hung there insistently. He followed close behind. The moment of rapture broken we were fleeing for our very lives. In the distance I saw the stranger clear the far end of the portal. Even as I fled I stole a glance behind me. Xander moved in close proximity. As I turned Sigarin jumped into the portal. A small lance of green light touched him on the shoulder but before it could induce injury Sigarin forced that end of the portal closed. The collapsing portal expelled us violently into the grass and for a moment as I stood there in Vandar once again I felt a sensation of triumph. They had made a grab for us but had failed.

"Everyone alright?" I asked turning and knowing the answer to be negative before anyone spoke. Sigarin's flesh had already taken on a ashen pallor with a hint of green sickness matching the light that had grazed him for but a moment.

"I Feel So Cold" he said and his voice was not that of a strong dwarf a noble race, nor of a proud society that had built itself up in spite of all odds and contrary to the established order.

The stranger whirled and looked at me and Xander directly.

"Kill him NOW!" he said more annoyed then afraid his demeanor still distant "Sigarin has contracted the Cold. He is done for... It will rot his very mind body and soul from within. While on the outside all that is apparent is a slight pallor that fades with time. You shall think he has recovered but he has become a servant of The'galin. There is no escaping it. No magic of your world can resist 'the Cold'"

"What?" Xander asked "Like Drakath used?"

"Very much so.. Worse still.. for this cold... this evil... is far worse then the secret power of the former Dark Dragon. this Cold is an infection and it is contagious.. it will spread to any that Sigarin touches within hours they will serve The'galin with total devotion... it is the most subtle and evil form of undeath I have encountered in all of my travels..."

"You must listen to him..." Sigarin pleaded "I must not live like this... I must not become his servant. They already can find K'eld Ner they must not have my power and my mind. They must not use me to take down Alorin. My family is there... please... Xander... Darin... Kill me..."

It was Xander who moved first. Even though he detested the thought of killing a friend. his sense of duty and honor could not let him refuse. He may also have realized that K'eld Alorin was frighteningly close to not only the dwarves in Shadowgarden but indeed to Stonedeep as well.

"No wait.. I am ok now.. I am sorry" Sigarin said even as Xander pulled the sword "It was not the cold. It was only that wet sensation from the portal. It hit me harder because of the collapse of the portal is all... What a relief..."

The blade of Xander's sword made quick work of his throat. I shuddered then, the Cold had moved fast. He could have touched either of us before we realized what had happened. We had gone seeking Myr.. Nevertheless, it had been a trap.

"We need to travel as quickly as possible to Stonedeep. We can arrange magical transport there. Without Sigarin we cannot teleport to Derin... we must tell the king as quickly as possible what happened... they need to be warned.."

"Right" Xander said

"...are you coming..." I started and then stopped for the stranger that had warned us of the Brillhado's coming and of the danger of the Cold was gone.

Keeper of the Lore
"I don't know what evil is but whatever it is I am For it 100%"

"Evil is as evil does. ...and no one does it better." -Wolfpac

< Message edited by Falerin -- 7/9/2008 15:28:51 >
Post #: 1
2/28/2005 17:52:33   
Legendary Loremaster


Topic author: Falerin
Subject: Manifestation: The Coming Dark (New Chapters)
Posted on: May 06 2004 23:20:28

Chapter 13: The Return to Deren
Without Sigarin to open the gateway back to K'eld Ner we had no choice but to make the long Journey on foot to Stone Deep and catch a boat from Vandar to Deren. The knowledge that even as we walked the Brilhaldo knew the location of K'eld Ner was disheartening. Over and over again I replayed in my mind the horrible way in which Sigarin had met his death. The thought of such foul necromancy unleashed upon Lore filled me with a sense of paranoid dread. Every snap of a twig or fluttering of a bird filled me with a sense of horror.

The trip across the Vandar mountains took the better part of 2 weeks and though Xander was a skilled hunter I often found myself unable to eat. By the time we boarded the ship I was tired hungry and ill. I spent the enitrety of the trip back to Deren brooding in my cabin and fighting horrible sea sickness, an unusual situation for I was well used to ocean vouyages. When we put in to the port at Deren I moved immediately to the Castle. The city itself seemed unusually normal, the merchants going about buisness without concern, the farmers well into the spring planting season.

"Lord Darin!" Gilliara said surprised at my presence. At the sight of the Brilhado I gave a shudder in spite of myself. Such a pointless waste, I could not even say that the journey served any purpose. We had not found Myr we had only been lead on a goose chase designed to entrap us.
"I need to see the King at once" I said with a weary sigh.

"Tralin is not in Deren" Giliara said "He has gone to K'eld Ner. When you did not return as expected he went to shore up Jano's rule there."

"Wonderful" I grunted in frustration for every moment my message was delayed was another moment of advantage for The'galiin's forces. "What of Lady Kithia?"

"The Queen too is in K'eld Ner"

"Well who is in Charge? You?"

"The Prince rules in his Fathers stead...."

"Fine...then send word that you are needed to fly me to K'eld Ner.... I would not propose to use you as a common mount but my need is pressing. What I have learned in the next world is horrible indeed... the King and Jano must be informed immediately..."

Giliara looked at me with concern and I looked at him squarely and considered for a moment the charge and machinations of the Brilhado to this point. Though I knew with assurance that Giliara was a servant of the Light Lord for I had seen the temple torn asunder with my own eyes I was still given to dark thoughts. I knew that this was the work of The'galin. Even in his absence he sewed doubt.

"Why did you not tell us your people had necromancers...." I said looking him in the eyes for any sign of treachery

Giliara shuddered "They are only a legend used to scare children into loyalty to the Uncreator. A horror story invented by our parents...."

"I wish with all my heart that that was true Lord Giliara..."

"What? You mean you have seen them...."

"I saw them.. they killed Sigarin... but not before they learned the location of K'eld Ner"


"And they have at least a month's lead on me... so I suggest you hurry and deliver my message to the prince we have no time to delay."

Keeper of the Lore
"I don't know what evil is but whatever it is I am For it 100%"

"Evil is as evil does. ...and no one does it better." -Wolfpac


Falerin, May 17 2004 11:21:23

Chapter 14: What Lies Beyond The Mountain Gate

I clung to Giliara¡¯s back tightly as his large expansive wings brought us up into the air, the ride was choppy, Brilhado wings were not set to carry a passenger this way and Giliara has several times asked me to move because I was interfering with the working of his wings.

°The last thing we want is for my wings to cramp or be impeded mid-flight unless you want to spiral down to the ground rapidly" He'd said.

I tried to relax but my mind was filled with all sorts of dark visions for the future, as it had been since the visit through the portal. Somehow that trip had profoundly altered my outlook for the worse. I had seen with my own eyes the terrible power that servitors of the Uncreator commanded how could I possibly be deluded enough to think that their next attack

°Who else knows of this coming force" Giliara asked pointedly and startled I looked at the back of his head trying to discern the import of this sudden question. In spite of myself my mind filled with all sorts of dark possibilities. The words of the Drakel came back to me 'You who let one of our own the one you call Giliara enter.' The implication of this statement weighed on me though I knew well what had happened. I had been to Neld when the temple of light was torn open by the light goddess herself. Yet, the implication still held me, and then worse, far worse, I finally allowed myself to complete my thought. I was the one who let Giliara in, what else had the necromancer said about me?

'You have long served our Lord The'galin Darin son of Liam your Malice has long fed him in the cold and dark. It has long nurtured him while he waited.' The Brilhado had chided mercilessly and though at first I had been inclined to reject these words out of hand as nonsense something held me back. They knew my fathers name for one. They knew me the words they used played on that intimate knowledge.

His next words rang in my mind they had sealed the deal 'Your Malice Lord Darin gave us the strength to summon an army of undead. Your plotting and machinations the Power to kill that insignificant human king, who made such poor decisions about the division of Drakel and human cultures.' Draynor, I had killed him. This was the gist of their message and in light of the bald truth I could do nothing to deny it. For I had plotted against him in my ignorance and hatred and I had fought him with power. Even while doing so the Uncreator advanced his own position.

'Your Malice Darin marks you like a beacon, and though you pretend to have reformed. Indeed even if you truly have repented of your sins. The Mark is already there.' Was I already damned as the Brilhado said, could I never escape the sins of my dark past? My mind tumbled over this even as the Brilhado's promise continued to play out. At the time I considered it a threat but now I recognized a decidedly different character to that odd exchange. I had felt pleasure at the thought of the necromancers words even in spite of myself. They held some other power even beyond the cold, a twisting of the human will to bend to them. If I had felt it others would too.

'..both you and Giliara shall return to your true masters service. Of this you can be assured for you have served us yet again ... We shall strip you of your venom toward The'galin. We shall make you loathe purity and light. We shall make you enjoy the stench of your own decaying flesh and revel in the sensation of the millions of crawling maggots swimming thorough your animated corpse. Moreover, your soul shall not be freed. It shall join in the damnation and depravity, but first between the three of you we shall get a very accurate map right to the door of K'eld Ner.' Even as the words filtered though my mind I recognized something else about them, the Brilhado had predicted that Giliara and I would return to The'galin's service. This implied that we had left it, that something we had done had altered the value of our service to them. Something else too, '...between the three of you we shall get a very accurate map to K'eld Ner.'

Sigarin had said they could already find K'eld Ner. In listening to him as the cold spelled his doom I had taken the dwarfs words to mean they had already found it. Yet what if they had not. None in Deren had seen or heard any sign of Brilhado return. Then my very arrival at K'eld Ner could be a trap for them. I was let go rather easily from that world now that I thought of it. That ones with such dark power could not detain me long enough to take me was laughable. Yet if that was the case why would they not have taken me. Once in their service under the control of the foul cold, wouldn't I happily lead them to K'eld Ner anyway? When I had first come to the city in the midst of excitement Jano had taken time the first night as we sipped a bottle of cherry wine and looked at the stars to tell me the story he had heard of the K'eld's creation. The walls were a physical force only but there existed a much more elaborate corporate magic that prevented hostile forces and idle wanderers from ever seeing the K'eld at all. This then was the trick. I was being followed. They could not convert me and then learn where the K'eld was because while people could be fooled by an act of normality and loyalty the sensitive Drakel enchantment could not. I myself would be useless in finding the city if converted for I would be as blind to it as they were. Yet I could be followed! They had not time to use magic to tail me directly, so they must be employing more discrete means, following me at a distance. Using their agents to track my progress. Even as the K'eld loomed into view I realized the truth, If we flew into the city as we now intended to do we would provide a clear line of sight to the watching agents. I bent over and whispered into Giliara's ear:

"Fly Past Fly Past, We are being tailed land us in the wilderness beyond the mountain gate."

"What?" Giliara said confused "followed?"

"Just trust me.. fly over the city do not land, fly into the deep wilderness beyond the mountain gate."

"But there is no foot exit from there! What shall we do there?"

"Track our way back to the K'eld in secrecy from behind. We shall lose them in the mountain wilderness and have the door opened from the reverse."

"But they do not open the mountain gate. It's the one wall that is to remain. The loyalists lay beyond i. those who tried to kill the king. We shall surely encounter them!"

"Then we shall counter them as well. Come we are both communicants of two powerful elemental deities. They are generalists who out of fear of division never could gain the benefits of a specialist approach. We can manage ourselves"

"Even so how can we get them to open the gate? if we take to the air to mount the wall? we shall be seen as easily as if we flew straight in."

"We shall hope that our fly by was noticed, I saw men carting brick from the..."

I though about what I had saw as we approached Drakel carting brick from the far wall into the country side. "Did you say it was the only wall that was to remain. What is happening now in the city?"

"Jano has ordered the wall dismantled."

"But why?"

"To tear down the divisions, it is past time for their removal here we are then"

"Right, Let us see what lies beyond the mountain gate"

Keeper of the Lore
"I don't know what evil is but whatever it is I am For it 100%"

"Evil is as evil does. ...and no one does it better." -Wolfpac

Falerin, May 18 2004 21:03:53

Interlude: A dark plan.

"Lord The'galin" The Necromancer said deferentially "We have lost the Water Lord's Communicant in the woods"

"Irrelevant, Clearly he is trying to enter the city without being seen. Our agents in Deren over heard his intention to alert the King. We can be certain that he is already in Drakel territories... We land there and begin felling every tree and making undead every living creature. The Drakel will respond and then we will have their city"

"At once my lord..."

"Diviara?" The Devourer said pointedly

"Yes Lord"

"Your Nephew is not to be spared..."

"Of course my lord"

"Mark me well... If there is one thing more fearsome then a Brilhado Necromancer it is a Brilhado Lich Lord. It is for this service that I have chosen Giliara... he shall make up for falling away by being the head of a new army... Select the most powerful of our regular mages to be converted as well."

"I voulunteer myself my lord. All the better to be of service to you"

"Your selfless loyalty is heartwarming Diviara but we need normal necromancers as well and you are the best among them"

"Yes My Lord..."

"What of the other plans"

"The Fire Subsides but the Ice begins... Even while Deren awaits our forces to march The Elemental Wars rip apart Battleonia and Vandar..."

"Very Good. Very Very Good"

"May I ask what we need of the War my Lord if what we seek is in Deren"

"What we seek Diviara is dominion. The Drakel sit upon the source of that power... yet we shall need an upperhand..."

"Of course my Lord"

"We shall gain that upperhand... As the individuals fight these wars they will be weakened and also tired. The last war will almost destroy them but not quite... for a hero in their midst shall save them..."

"We shall stop this hero.. Crush him ourselves and then they will fall victim to their weakness"

"I like your thinking Divinara but no.. we shall not destroy their hero... We shall shudder at his advance and quake with terror at his appearing.."

"My Lord?"

"Their hero will grow tired of all of the elemental warring... He will point out how divided the elements are how wicked they are... He will fight a great battle and declare victory over elemental enslavement... Hw will lead many to a new understanding of magic and escape from the elemental lords...."

"Magic without the elements"

"Many Things are possible Lord Divinara... if a God is doing things for you..."

"A God? So he can preform this magic because he is a communicant?"


"I don't understand my Lord of whom?"

"Uncreation can do more then merely destroy. It can even do good, save lives, cure disease...."

"My Lord?"

"Uncreation Diviara is about changing the laws of creation. When vented strongly this is naturally destructive. When controlled carefully however... it merely alters and twists natural laws..."

"Are you saying that this Hero is your own communicant"



"Naturally. Proceed Diviara Proceed"

Keeper of the Lore
"I don't know what evil is but whatever it is I am For it 100%"

"Evil is as evil does. ...and no one does it better." -Wolfpac

Post #: 2
2/28/2005 18:09:09   
Legendary Loremaster

The bitter cold of night clung to me and I watched as the mountain gate was cast open. I could not help but feel a sense of forboding at this.. The loyalists beyond. The outcast were outcast precisely because they clung to tradition. We could make no friends by invinting them in. Least of all among those we were letting back in. Yet I had come to trust the wisdom of the King. The Drakel beyond the mountain gate would be allowed to return. Then however I heard it the chilling sound of wings. Something was coming from the other direction coming quickly, and the K'eld was without its walls.

"Lord" Gilliara asked noting my sudden tension "What is it?"

"The Brilhado Come to K'eld Ner"

"Lord?" Giliara asked "are you sure?"

I turned away from the mountain gate and cast my view over the horizon.... a pale swatch of lavender could be seen in the distant horizon clearly moving and growing....

"I am sure Giliara" I gestured toard the horizon "The War as Come to us... sound the Alarm and alert the king at once"

"Yes my lord the Brilhado said and took flight rapidly moving away within moments the sound of klaxon bells split through the night. Long silent alarms springing to life and announcing the arrival of the armies of The'galin the uncreator in once sacred space....

"How? How did they arrive so quickly... If they only learned of this place from Sigarin....there was not enough time...." but these thoughts were quickly silenced by the clang of swords in the distance.... The Brilhado did not travel alone already the Undead were charging the city Periphery the suns last rays sinking below the far horizon.

Post #: 3
3/16/2005 16:59:43   
Legendary Loremaster

The sounds of battle filled the early evening air. The roving necromancers and
the approaching Brilhado were making no distinction between De'me'thar and
Citizen, between elemenetal caster and loyalists.

The sharp clang of swords filled me with a cold sense of forboding. There was
an irony in this that I could not help but feel. I had directly manipulated wars as
my stock and trade. I had advanced my own postion on the backs of the fallen.
In the other world they had intimated that I was still that darkness remained a
part of me that I could not escape. In a way I realized that their accusation was
true and it filled me with cold dread.

"What is it Darin" Jano asked sensing my reticence.

I could not bring my self to answer him right away merely grunting and surveying
the loss of life sensely occuring outside of the town. I felt myself being drawn
deeper into a nightmare that I had helped to create. I could easily imagine our own
worlds slipping down he same slope that had spelled the end of countless races
during the Uncreator's previous reiign. The worst part of the uncreators evil
is that it depeneded only a little upon his own devices and relied far mor heavily
upon the evil we ourselves brought to the world.

I coughed slighly shaking my head feeling increasing dismay as the wind shifted
and brought to light a new problem. In the distance the smell of smoke and
charred flesh drifted on the wind...

"This is bad....." Jano muttered coldly..."Very Bad...From what you told me of your
experiences. It is clear the Uncreator is preparing for something quite unplesant"

"I have been wondering how they got here as quickly as the did however. And what is it
that they seek here?" I replied wearily....

"I have some idea....While you were gone I...." Jano was cut off by the rapid approach
of a very young Drakel who wore the Colors of the Water Casters.

"I bring notice from the front" The Drakel said breathlessly "It is very very bad"

Jano took the paper from the courier with a grim expression even as the

battle among the undead and De'me'thar below intensified. He read the note

for a moment and turned to me. "The Brilhado come Darin, The scouts report

that in addition to the Lesser Light Demon foot soldiers, and the Brilhado

proper, they bring a coterie of Brilhado Spell Casters. I cannot imagine what
that means however. Are not All of the Brilhado spell casters, Even the
Lesser Light Demons are spell casters."

"Necromancers," I said knowing from my journey through the Portal in Stone

Deep just what that meant.

Jano digested this for a moment. In an earlier
age he might have denied right away
it as even possible. The Brilhado were
light creatures and necromancy in and of itself
was Dark Magic. Dark Magic
twisted by Uncreation but Dark Magic nonetheless.
I had been through the
Portal in stone deep though and seen with my own eyes
but he lacked the

"If they are sending their own," he finally said, "It is worse then we imagined it is not
simply some new dark plan. It must mean the
Manifestation is happening soon,"

"No." I replied, gri m. I felt a sick sense of dread and certainty "Thats not it at all"

"What then if not that?"

"The manifestation has already happened."
Post #: 4
3/16/2005 17:29:38   
Legendary Loremaster

"Why do you persist in resiting us Human?" The Necromancer said turning his head so his eyes peirced through me. I felt then as if he was reading my soul.

In the hour since Jano had read the couriers letter the world had been turned on its head. I wondered not for the first time what had become of the De'me'thar and the casters outside the city.

Their absence did not bode well. Only three things came to mind, they fled in terror, they were destroyed by the advancing hordes utterly, or the worst posibility that they had accepted service under the uncreator. I could not deny that possibilty remained. In spite of all of the work that Tralin and I had done to bring the worlds to peace the habits of centuries may have been impossible to break many had died from ourside since their arrival and few on theirs so though, I was reluctant to answer the Brilhado's call for parley I knew that nothing was to be gained by failing in protocol now. They were not going to be taken off guard if I continued fighting and by parleying at least I had time to think.

"You shall not have this city... while even one remains here to hold it against you." I said with a confidence that was entirely artificial.

The Brilhado Necromancer laughed aloud, it was already a given that he would attempt to call my bluff. I only hoped that I could back up my claim, a shallow hope for I knew the power of these creatures.

"We shall take the city, we shall take the mountain gate, and indeed we shall take the mountain. We seek the entry to the Deep and we shall have it!"

"What is he talking about?" I asked turning to Jano. "What is this Deep?"

"I um...." Jano looked guilty and I knew from previous dealings that this meant that he had been keeping something from me. "It was what I was trying to tell you when we first learned the necromancers were advancing. I learned about it when you were in Vandar. It is an added punishment and enticement of the mountain gate"

"Jano!" I said frustrated with his slow and evasive answer. He knew as well I we did not have the time to draw the conversation out.

"Long ago the Drakel mined the mountain, but a great number of beasts came out from the depths unexpectedly. Creatures of myth and legend. Things unlike the world has ever seen. Primal Elementals, and some odd paraelementals. Creatures that drew on the rawest power of the elements. Thereafter they started using the mountain gate to exile prisoners they wished to be kept from the world for it allowed no escape. The montain itself is impassible and leaving it means going throught the city, unless
they brave the ancient passes and the Deep."

"Hah" the Necromancer laughed with malice. "Your knowledge of the deep is better then that Human. Tell your governor what it is... Tell him why it entices the drakel explorers still. Why they guard it and why we shall have it."

I looked at Jano knowing that the Brilhado manipulated the situation to his own gain but not caring. If something was being hidden from me I had to know and I had to know now.

"What is it...? What are you keeping..."

"You are mistaken Servant of The'galin!" came a voice from below and I recognized it with a start as that of Kithia. What was the queen doing here?

Even as I said it I recognized who it was that was keeping me in the dark and it was not Jano it was the king.

"Jano is not aware of the nature of the Deep for I have ordered it kept from him" A second voice, the Kings. Tralin too had returned to K'eld Ner more quickly than I could have immagined. I looked down and saw a heartening sight an army
of De'me'thar and Casters as well as the Derenian Guard marched under the King's commnand. He had brought the
cavalry.. "You shall not have it.... regardless."

"You cannot stop me Drakel King. The humans you have chjosen to defend and who unaccouintably who have chosen to hold your banner shall die and even more assuredly, Your own people shall not survive the Wrath this time. You would hide what we seek and we shall have it."

"Would someone explain to me what this Deep IS!" I yelled in frustration.

"Gladly puppet governor. I shall lay to rest this deception. Where others will lie from my mouth you shall learn the truth" The Brilhado said with a smirk.

"There was no lie" Tralin said but the Brilhado was having none of this and merely laughed with even more force.

"The deep is a resovoir of creation." The Brilhado continued "The Drakel discovered this about 200 years ago. Those creatures are born of the raw elements themselves, working without guidance of the powers. It is a pocket of the very fabric that Lorithia used to fashion the world. A major thread, and we intend to use it..."

"Raw Creation?" I said dumbly "You cannot possibly deal with Raw Creation! You are an elemental creature. Whatever your service you are born of the light lord you are light... you may have managed to become necromancers i spite of the illogical nature of that conflict... but you are elemental. Raw creation would destroy you utterly..."

"Of course we cannot, but a creature of the world can. A born creature...."

"The'galin's avatar.. " I said the dark truth dawning "The manifestation"

The Brilhado chuckled then but I could not read the meaning of his laughter.

"This is why he wanted a physical form. So that he could destroy the creation from within it.." I said realizing that somewhere the Uncreator himself was somewhere in this armies ranks.

"Very Astute though not entirely correct. The'galin was always part of your world. He was a born creature. He needed to take a new Manifestation for different reasons. Raw creation is but part of the equation"

"This is pointless you cannot survive the deep.... The undead may be able to get through the dark, but even the most intelligent cannot help your through the shadow as creatures of light. You shall perish long before you reach anywhere near the Deep fallen one."

"Very good, Lizard King our problem exactly, observation will not save you however. The'galin himself will lead us through the shadows."

"The'galin can twist darkness but he cannor command the shadows with impunity..." I said feeling on stronger ground here "The shadow lord will never allow it"

"Indeed not? I think that he will allow much...." but he was called short by something

"Enough discussion" A familiar voice called from the Brilhado encampment, and I saw a human from move from out of the masses of undead "The time for talking is done. We shall gain access even if we need to level the K'eld and all within to do it. "

I knew then with sickening suddeness how it was that the Brilhado had come to Keld Ner so quickly, they had known its location for some time indeed....

"How long?" I said angrily "how long have you served this fully" I knew we had been mislead. Tralin was made out to be The'galin's target when it was the deep he wanted. Tralin had been wrong... I was suprised somehow by this mortality though I knew I should not be

"Did they not tell you the cold was persuasive? Yet they misled you too... Made you believe there was a chance... The cold had taken me before Draynor died."

"Myr..." Jano mouthed in dismay and as he drew close I recognized the shadow lord's communicant.

Myr laughed coldly "I think Lord Governor, that you will find the Shadows obey me quite readily..."

< Message edited by Falerin -- 7/3/2007 0:06:56 >
Post #: 5
3/16/2005 21:30:41   
Legendary Loremaster

"So you stand against us as an enemy now Myr of stonedeep" Tralin frowned "
So be it... we shall cut you down as surely as any of The'galins other servitors"

"You fervently serve Lorithia by denying my impact but I too am part of the creation.
You can deny me all you wish Lizard King but I will reign in this world still ages and
ages after your childrens children are dead."

"Enough lies and enough discussion.... Darin and Kithia to me... T'Palo my son stands
at the western gate. Lacking magic you are best served by holding the command there"

Myr withdrew into the group in which he stood with a grimace..."Kill the lizard king
and his puppet governor then burn the Keld to the Ground... Turning every one of
its inhabitants into mindless undead minions"

On Tralins command we took off in our seperate directions and began the batle in earnest.
The Drakel at the front proving their skill in magic and their dedication to the elemental spheres.
If will alone could defeat the Devourer he would fall here at Keld Net but will was not enouigh and
as many of te fallen began to succumb to the Dark magic the crowd was as soon fighting former
friends as it was the Uncreator's front line. There was an audible pop then and Myr and a central contigent
vanished outright. And while Such teleportative magics were not unknown....had I not travelled recently in
such a way, indeed Tralin himself employed teleportative magic and was an expert at it amonst the School of
Thought but I had never seen them on such an overt scale.Moments later i saw their group at the Eastern Gate and
passing through Myr at their head.

"My King... They Wish to keep us trapped as they storm the Gate we must go" I called but even as I said it I knew it
was in vain. Teleportation took much effort.. Even if tralin could manage it after such a fight he would be depleted
when he face the uncreator. We had no recourse but to fight our way through his armies that remained to the gate

Tralin and Kithia whirled after the Necromancers flinging their magic at the

creatures and driving them back under the force of their combined might. If

there was anything more fearsome then the king alone it was the king with

his chosen life mate. I suddenly could appreciate the way their differences

complimented each other all the more.

The battle had gone poorly for us though we had gained the upperhand by

pressing at them from multiple flanks. I had ordered the citizenry brought

out to hiding and Jano and the Prince were leading them even now through the

opposite gate and throught the Water Caster city. Tralin's army had provided

distraction for their exodous and I only hoped it was enough. By now the

armies proper turned and fled too regrouped. I looked to the Far gate searching
around for Myr and saw
that he was gone and knew then what that meant.
The Necromancer fighting the
king was covering his escape into the mountain.

As the last necromancer died and as the few remaining undead were cut down

by the De'Me'Thar army I moved to pursue Myr and the other Necromancer's but

Tralin shook his head determined. "We must look after the fallen. Either to

heal those we can or put to rest those we cannot. If we do not we only will

be surrounded on all sides. Myr has been long lost to us Darin. He is Myr no

longer. The'galin lives."

As much as I wanted to deny that the Shadow Priest was the vessel of the

Uncreator among us the fact was no longer in dispute. I knew that the

Manifestation had already happened and the pieces of the Brilhado plan all

fit together. Drakath was a pawn just as Akilroth had been. Resigned I

stopped and we worked our way across the field toward the mountain dealing

with the fallen.

"Father, Mother, Lord Governor" The prince said wiping his sword on the

grass his face betraying extreme distress even though his voice was calm.

"What is it?" I asked.

"I lay my life in your hands,." He said to his father then. "Your T'palo has

died by my sword."

"What?" I said in horror "Jano is dead?"

"Show us." Kithia said to her son and he lead us to Jano's fallen form.

"He fought and killed that necromancer over there." The Prince said turning

to me and gesturing at the particularly battered corpse one of the lavender

wings was missing entirely and the other was barely attached, "He made up

for his limited grasp of magic with a very keen observation of his

opponent's movements. The Necromancer was going to take the children. Jano

would not let him,"

"What happened to him then," Tralin asked.

"I had to kill him. The Necromancer had wounded him terribly and though he

seemed to be recovering he complained of the Cold."

I suppresed a shudder, knowing what the Cold meant made its import all the

more dreadful.

"He Commanded I take his life," The prince said

"Undeath Spreads Quickly" Kithia confirmed.

"He commanded me Father," The Prince said fearfully his voice no longer

holding the emotions his face displayed "I did not know what to do he was

your T'palo, and it is forbidden to harm a chosen ambassador, but he ordered

it. Even though he had always accepted me as his prince. I came after him

and yet he still treated me as I was his better,"

"Your actions were Correct. Go tend to the Children" Tralin ordered.

The prince did not wait he moved to flee a mixture of emotions playing

across his faith and then as he left he turned to me.

"He was your friend. He told me more then once he loved you as his brother.

I am sorry Darin"

It was the first time the prince had ever used my name when speaking to me.

I watched him leave and then gazed at the ground. I stood there like that

for several moments gazing down at the form of the friend I had known for

nearly all of my adult life. Inside I felt the emptiness begin to grow

again, and so to honor my friend I forced my self to cry. I knew that if I

allowed a return to the behaviors that had been my steadfast defense in ages

past, that all was lost. What kind of honor would I give my friend if I not

only did not cry for him but also turned to cold stone, unmoved by his

passing? Were I to become so cold the Uncreator would surely have won. So I

did cry there and in that place, at first gentle tears but as surely as my

coldness would have crushed me the warmth overwhelmed me as well, and so I

cried hot ragged sobbing, the kind of emotion I had never been allowed to

show. Right there in that place I cried for Jano and for all the others whom

the fear of one man had been condemned to their destruction. I cried for my

homeland of Vandar, which seemed so far away from me now. I cried even for

the Uncreator himself that he had felt such fear that he could not see or

know love. Then thinking on all I had done before, I cried for the people

that I had hurt in my ignorance. Finally strengthened somehow by the tears,

rather than weakened, I resolved to cry no further now. I did not feel the

emptiness any longer but I still felt a profound sense of loss. The Devourer

would not take my soul with him this day.

Gradually the sadness too became a source of anger, a hot fire worse then

the emptiness had ever produced. I might lament the sad state of the

Devourer's soul but I surely would not give him the courtesy of not being

enraged by his fell malice. All the pain in the world was somehow tied to

this one man's terror. His fear, which has heretofore been a paranoid

fantasy, would destroy the world if unabated.

"No" I said aloud causing Kithia and Tralin to turn to me. I saw in the

King's face then the anger, he had shown only once before, at the death of

Draynor. I had not understood then as I did now that such anger was a

necessity for survival. Seeing my resolve shared served to strengthen it.

"He is gone Lord Governor, There is nothing any of us can do." The Queen

said with concern "Denial is natural but the people need you."

I was confused for the briefest second and then understood that she took my

"no" to be a denial of Jano's death.

"My Queen you misinterpret my Denial. I deny not his death. I deny the will

of the Uncreator in this world. He has lived in fear of us for so long," I

paused and looked at Tralin and broke into a grim smile "I think it time his

terror be realized,"

Post #: 6
3/16/2005 21:45:52   
Legendary Loremaster

A Final Visit to the Chamber

Lorithia the Creator stared into the vast expanse of Stars which shone above the chamber of the gods. A vast sea of worlds many of which she had created. And many of which now had their very existance in the balance. The man she loved most of all her creation seeliing to destroy the world. She was responsible ultimately and she knew this. She had lioved him and she had allowed that love to go to far. Now she could not itnerfere directly only witness and hope her own followes would aid her...

"Lady Lorithia it is as we feared The'galin seeks to breach the Deep. His direct plans once there are unknown to us.... he is hiding himself...we dont even know his form." The water lords tone was solemn and pointed

"He is in the form of the Communicant of the Shadow Lord" Lorithia declared without taking her gaze off of the expansive sky.

"Shall we have the Shadow Lord deny him access to the Deep"

"No..." Lorithia declared purposefully and then looked at the Water Lord and then smiled reassuringly ""No... forthen we would show we know... and are getting involved....even indeirectly he in his arrogance honestly believes we do not know his activities"

"What then... Your communicant and My own will soon enter to follow him...."

"They must and they may be long gone..indeed we must accept they may fail.. Even my ability to reach into that depth is not limitless"

"Are we without hope then..."

"Not at all" Lorithia smiled "The'galin is predicatable and his new plan offers us our hope... Allow me to prophecy for you Water Lord..."

"What dio you mean?"

"I mean that the Drakel have learned since Xilar"

"Hmm? what do you mwan"

"Simply this the Communicant of the Uncreator that he believes may prove the worlds destroyer and the Savior of Uncreation... I believe...I believe that one may indeed save us all..."

Post #: 7
3/16/2005 21:47:42   
Legendary Loremaster


After the Fact, we had much to clean up. All of us wanted to go after the
Uncreator directly but we all knew the battle under the earth would be a
mess of its own, and all the more a mess if we did not deal with the
remnants of his army above. The process was complicated by the soldiers who
had had the Undeath in them long enough to rise as undead themselves. Tralin
and Kithia had gotten better at their magic and in some even once they woke
as the undead they could turn back the course. None of these had felt the
Cold that spreads from a Brilhado Necromancer though, the Cold that had cost
Jano his life. There was no cure for that ravenous infectious form of
Undeath. Others who had fallen as undead Tralin was able to keep from the
falling into the Uncreator's hands. These we hoped to turn to our use later.
Many more however had to be destroyed to prevent the Undeath from spreading.

Now it is the eve of our Journey into the mountain. The prince has
officially taken over as regent; many remembering what happened with Draynor
do not want Tralin to go. He must go however. We both must. Tralin has told
me that in the Deep time will flow much differently then here. Deep in the
earth the Primal Elements are at their strongest unfiltered form. A day down
there may be like a hundred years above. So I knew that I had to record
these events before I set my foot below the earth. I need to remember. Some
others may come to read this tale, it may be only weeks after we have
entered the earth, or it may be hundreds of years. If you are reading it
now, whatever and whenever the case may be, pass it along. Remember.

End of Manifestation
Post #: 8
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