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Author Topic: The Fugitive, The Runaway, and The Novice now in book form!  (Read 936 times)

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Offline sparishr

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Heyo, sorry it's been a while!

I've been turning The Fugitive, The Runaway, and The Novice into a book, instead of the weird looking script-like model I had it in before. As well as changing some minor details that affect plot points later down the road but don't do much to the story of this section. I've proofread it to the best of my abilities but I don't have a real eye for it sadly so my attempts leave alot to be desired.

Just gonna drop a teeny section here to start seeing if anyone who may have been able to read the previous version (And remembered any of it) can give me a feel to how it compares now with the change of style Anywhozel! Here it is, thanks for the time and good luck all!

Part 1
The following are the final passages dictated by the first Gilded Emperor , before their passing.

   The date of final approval was on the 74th day of the 4th month in the 7th year following the fall of the Old Empire. The Amanuensis transcribing the passages: Leerin Iratus.

   I submit all written herein is true and has been written as dictated.
Signed,                        ____________

I submit all I have written herein is only that which has been dictated, and all errors have been purged.
Signed,                               Leerin Iratus 71/4/7

Let the records show this dictation has begun on the 31st day of the 6th month in the 3rd year following the fall of the old Empire.

All that follows herein is the voice of ___________, the First Gilded Emperor:

   I speak these words now not as an Emperor not as the voice of a nation, but the voice of a tired defeated man.

   This is the last time I believe I may tell this story in honesty, the public recitations that follow will be tainted either to hide my sins to deify me or demonize my enemies. However, this is a sin required to keep the peace and an evil I must bear.
   At the time there were four nations united under the empire.

   The mountainous expanse of Gondowahn, rising from the eastern waters, largest of the three nations. Ruled by one kingdom in the north, Galvenhi refined and mechanical home to the steam powered seat of the Empire, and Brizel to the south built in stone and the honor of the Knights of Ankor

   Across the ocean to the west the humble continent of Aviriia, split in twain by some great cataclysm, the north a lush forest land the birthplace of the Guild, with the city of Ipsocalay where the Guild Legion lives, the head of the Guild and the most powerful Archon Magi in the world. Its southern half a pleasant grassland of farm land and home to the Guild I served: The Guild Ivanhall.

   Spanning between the two titanic continents of Aviriia and Gondowahn. Is the smallest of the continents resting in the sea, Miraan. A land living in the past, sprawling kingdoms from its history now faded and collapsing.

   Far across the oceans to the south was the last of the grand empires the desert territory of Firi my homeland, infested by demons breeding in the dark beneath the land. The only continent to have never embraced the Guild instead holding to its own prejudices as it’s people nurse their wounds as a land devastated by war and genocide.

   This was the world I had been born into, A world carved by magics held by humans known as Archons such as myself. While the world had long been in the grasp of the Old Empire ruling all the known continents, the true power of this world was the Guild.

   The Guild, an adolescent in comparison to the long reign of the Old Empire. However, The Guild was a mercenary group that held only the prestigious heroes and legend crafters of the Era. Each hero holding the power to shape history, and all under The Guild’s Employ. Problem solvers and sell swords, if there was a problem. The Guild could send someone to solve it.

   And thus, in the dreams of my youth I strived to join the ranks of The Guild, I believe it an apt point to start from, my first step as a tool of The Guild.

   Redgarden a city under siege deep in the forests of Northern Aviriia. A small city, with bandits closing in from all sides. A horse carriage barreling through the paths carrying Redgarden’s salvation. The Fugitive, The Runaway, and the Novice

   Inside was Ivo Cassferth, tan from the sun and sands of Firi, his hair black. Bright white clothes surrounded by a black overcoat with a hood resting around his neck. Across his lap a long metal pole. Two opposed blades at one end, a hook jagged hook on the other end, known as an Ettin Glaive. It was his weapon of choice. He stares intently at a roll of paper, with a red seal that had previously bound the ends together.

   His eyes scanned the parchment, an official Guild Summons to Action, over and over as he rode. It was a simple piece of parchment, and yet staring at it slowed his heart.

A voice from across the carriage called to him, “Haven’t you read that thing enough times by now? You’ve probably memorized it all by this point. A bandit raid on the town of Redgarden, and we’re going there to stop it. What more is there you need to know?”

   The voice was his companion, Eris Denera’s. Dark umber skin, long sleek hazel hair tied into a tight braid, deep green eyes, and a scowl built into her face. Her iron muscles shaping her leather armor, with black buckles, and steel plates against her knuckles.
She sat across from Ivo in the cabin of the carriage. They hadn’t known each other long, but they had grown into warriors with each other and in doing so Ivo had earned her trust, something he deeply intended to keep.

   Ivo lowered the scroll took a shallow breath, “I can’t shake the feeling that something is off.”

Calmly Eris sighed, “Worried, are we? We’ve been over this Ivo you do the talking, and I’ll do the fighting. It’ll be as simple as that,” Eris was a marvel. Ever calm in combat and twice as stubborn as the ground beneath her feet. Something Ivo admired even in the shadow of her more destructive tendencies.

Even if he did value her calm, she could be too complacent at times. Ivo unrolled the scroll again and held it out in front of Eris, “But doesn’t it seem odd that we of all people got this job?”

“Odd? Odd how?” Eris yawned, raising her hands to rub her eyes.

Ivo pulled the scroll back and stared intently at it, “I mean… I'm not even a part of the Guild yet. And this job came from the Guild Legion himself, to us! It doesn’t strike you as strange that the Guild Legion, leader of the entire Guild, had a job just for us, a couple of nobodies?”

“Are you afraid of a little attention Ivo?” Eris said with a slight giggle.

Ignoring her comment, he continued, “And it’s asking for three Guildsmen! Just to stop a few bandits, doesn’t that seem a little overkill? You could likely handle them all by yourself if you wanted to Eris, so why so many of us?”

Ivo threw the paper towards Eris, it landed covering her face. Unaffected she doesn’t even flinch to remove it. “So, you get an easy head start on your Guild career. It’s more than I was ever given,” She gruffly yawned again.

Eris had been made a full Guild Member long before Ivo had even arrived. However, while she had been a part of the Guild her progress had been slowed by the Mentor they both had shared, while he waited to find her partners. Something Ivo believed she resented him for.

“I don’t trust it,” Ivo softly whispered under his breath. Eris stretched causing the scroll to fall to the ground.

Ivo felt a tinge of anger in her voice as she spoke, “You don’t need to trust the job, you just need to do it,” Eris looked over to the window. A loud knock coming from outside the carriage from its driver.

Ivo called to Eris, “We must be close to Redgarden then. Do you think I should wake him up?”

   Ivo’s eyes panned over to the third member in the carriage. A pale, dusty haired man. His ankles and wrists bound by iron shackles, and a soot covered white silk robe that hid his slim frame. His name was Artemis. While Ivo had been around Artemis for some time now he knew nothing about him. His mannerisms displayed a cruel form of insanity and Ivo was weary not to get to close with him even if the strange man had taken a strange liking to Ivo.

Eris shook her head, “No need. He’ll wake up sooner or later,”

The silence continued for some time as the sound of the horses outside echoed on the inside. Awkwardly Ivo sat forward in the carriage, his hands gripping his knees, “What do you think we’re going to find in Redgarden?”

Eris’ eyes narrowed, and a slight grimace formed on her face, “Optimistically? Lots of dead people, and if we’re lucky most of them will be bandits,”

Ivo sighed, “And if I were to call you a cynic?”

Eris rolled her shoulders, “I don’t think bandits are going to be the worst of our problems,”

   The carriage slammed to a stop, the horses neighed viciously outside. The halt loosed the sleeping Artemis heaving him from his seat and tossing him about the cabin, leaving him buried face first in the seat across from him.

Eris giggled, “See, I think that woke him up,”

   Artemis, in an awkward fashion, peeled his face off the seat. His eyes now wide open, wandering about the cabin. Then in a split second his head snapped toward Ivo, “We’re there then, yes?” He asked. His voice had a subtle reverb to it, nothing you could describe but something at gnawed at the edge of your awareness.

A shadow slipped in front of the frosted glass of the carriage. The door violently swung open and exposed a ragged bloody man. His voice tumbled past what seemed to be broken teeth, blood vibrating in his throat as he spoke, “You’re the Guildsmen right? Oh, thank god.”

   In response Eris and Ivo shot up out of their seats and hopped out of the carriage, Artemis followed behind, clumsily stumbling out. Ivo looked about, we stood in the center of a road splitting the forest. The trees decorated with deep red leaves that nearly blotted out the sky. As his eyes drifted toward the ground he saw, bloody corpse after bloody corpse.

The Bloody Man spoke, tearing Ivo’s awareness away from the surroundings, “It’s been five days since we sent out the Guild request, we were beginning to worry no one was coming.” I could see the relief in his eyes hidden behind a tired blank stare.

   Ivo gaze, again, momentarily drifted. There were bodies strewn about, some decorated the same as the Bloody Man in grey steel armor, others dressed in a red and brown uniform, no doubt the uniform of the bandits. Ivo’s gaze drifted back to the Bloody Man, he tightly gripped his side, blood squeezing its way from between his fingers.

The Bloody man spoke quickly, taking deep gasps as he explained, “You must hurry, follow this path through the woods. My men and I have been guarding it for your arrival.” The man grimaced as he leaned into his side. After a moment he continued, “Our patrols have found traps and bandits along it, meaning the path may not be safe, but it is the fastest way to Redgarden.”

Without a look of concern on her face, Eris’s eyes darted to his side, “You don’t seem to be in any condition stay here on your own.”

The Bloody Man responded with a chuckle, “Don’t worry about me, the townspeople need you more than I do. You’re very late, but with any luck, you might do some good yet. Now get going.”

Eris and Ivo snapped to an attentive posture, then forming their hands into fists placed each hand against the opposing shoulder. This was the Guildsmen’s Salute. To receive it an honor, to give it a promise. It was their promise, Redgarden would still stand come dawn. Eris and Ivo bolted down the path guarded for them. Artemis, still silent remained behind, his eye locked a distressing gaze on the Bloody Man.

   A purple haze drifted from Artemis’ arms. His eyes never fully looking at the Bloody Man, instead tracing his outline. A purple shimmer danced across Artemis’ irises, and he slowly approached the Bloody Man speaking, “He doesn’t have much time, left does he?”

The Bloody Man slowly lowered himself down onto his knees and rested back against the trunk of a nearby tree. Evidently in pain, he attempted to make eye contact with Artemis, failing as he tried to speak, “You know for a Guildsmen, your bedside manner could use some work.” The Bloody Man let off an evidently nervous chuckle, the chuckle turned into a grimace as pain rushed over the Bloody Man.

Artemis’ hands slammed shut, as his hands closed a purple light ignited the shadows on the road, a banshee’s scream tore through the open spaces. As the Bloody Man’s eyes slipped open after the noise subsided to shifting layers of whispers on the wind, He saw two glowing purple scythes in Artemis’ hands.

Artemis spoke, now his eyes were focused on the Bloody Man. His voice once again followed by the subtle reverb, “We promise we will make it quick, he only has a few minutes to live anyways.”

The Bloody Man’s smile faded for a final time as he slowly stammered, “A Spirit Archon? No, the Guild wouldn’t risk... Fine, I hope those two have a good leash on you.” The man growled out of agony, Artemis stared blankly at the man. In an angry tone the Bloody Man muttered, “Do what you have to do Guildsmen. Just make sure Redgarden survives, for my sake. Touch a hair on any of its citizens and I’ll be waiting for you on the other side… Monster.”

   Artemis gave a slight bow and slowly walked over to the Bloody Man. Standing over him Artemis raised his arm.

   Eris and Ivo barreled through the forest. As his heartbeat pounded in his ears he could hear twigs cracking in the distance. In his peripherals Ivo could see shadows moving off in the distance. Picking up his pace Ivo started to pull ahead of Eris

   He called back to Eris, “You see them Eris? I don’t suppose they’re Redgarden forces coming to greet us,”

   Eris responded, “If they haven’t moved in yet they’re waiting for something, keep your eyes peeled we don’t want to get caught out!”

   As they bolted through the path Ivo caught a glimpse of something small and metal laid across the path. He felt his body tense, his brain trying to tell him something but the heartbeat in his ears was too loud, his adrenaline spiked. I struggled to piece together what was about to happen.

   Ivo rocketed past the metal object and felt his right foot catch; in the harrowing silence that followed Ivo’s ears caught a brief click on either side of the path. A single word sparked across his body like a scream filling his head… Tripwire.

Flames erupted on either side of the path, a blast rocketing forward turning the trees to shrapnel. Ivo tumbled forward.

A roar echoed from behind him, Eris leapt forward toward him, slamming down, driving her knee into the ground.

The stone called out, heeding her call. As her knees drove deeper into the ground, two stone walls erupted upwards between them and the incoming explosions. The blast collided with the walls. A loud crack resounded as the shockwave and shrapnel pelted the walls, large fissures breaking into the stone. I caught the rare glimpse of Eris wincing in pain.

Ivo looked up, three bandits rolled out from the forest. Each wearing red and brown armor, armed with crude steel weapons. Eris undaunted howled in rage shaking the ground. The bandits hesitated and stepped backwards. She hurtled forward slamming straight into one of the bandits cleaving him from the group and both Eris and her prey tumbled into the forest.

Ivo stood up, and took his blade from his back, his Ettin Glaive. A long ornate black hilt. Two blades extended from one side, each blade faced outward, one blade longer than the other. On the other end a jagged hook. Ivo gripped the weapon as an old friend, his lungs filling with unnatural calm.

Faced with two bandits Ivo raised the weapon and prepared to clash. Both bandits charged him brandishing their weapons, catching each blow against his glaive glancing each strike off. An axe flew past, cleaving a strand of hair, another passed over his head as he dodged below. He rolled backwards, landing back on his feet avoiding swipes all the way. Ivo prepared to strike, when a purple light sailed over his shoulder. A scythe buried itself deep into the chest of one of the bandits.

A chain suddenly materialized around the hilt of the scythe tracing back behind Ivo, the chain suddenly tightened ripping the bandit past Ivo. Leaving a cloud of dust in his wake. He turned to see Artemis standing behind him, the bandit still impaled on the scythe he now held in his hand. The spectral chains bound to the hilt of the scythe traced along Artemis’ forearms, linking into the shackles he wore on his wrists. Artemis held the other scythe in his hand and raising the blade, slashed down upon the bandits. A light ripped out from the wound and the bandit dropped to the ground, leaving a purple shimmering reflection still impaled upon the scythe.

Artemis released hold of his weapons, the blade dissipating and disappearing as it fell. With a free hand Artemis reached into the reflection Artemis slammed his hand shut, shattering the reflection into a purple like haze that siphoned along his arm, absorbing into him. As the siphoning stopped Artemis, slowly breathed out.

Ivo’s attention snapped back to the imminent threat of the bandit that still stood. He heard the metal of the enemies’ axe graze past him as he dodged below his strike. The weight of the strike dragged the bandit’s arm far back behind him. Thrown off balance he was vulnerable, Ivo spun my glaive around and forcing himself upwards and forwards the twin blades at the end of the weapon drove deep into the bandit’s chest. The bandit’s eyes filled with shock as his axe dropped from his hand and gripped the hilt of my glaive for all but a moment before I ripped my weapon backwards sliding him off and dropping him to the ground.

Ivo looked around, Artemis still behind him, but Eris nowhere to be found. Ivo called out, “ERIS!”

   In response the ground shook, and the sound of rocks crashing downward echoed off in the forest. A familiar voice howled back, “WHAT?”

   Ivo ran further up the path through a cloud of dust. As he passed through the other side, he saw Eris standing in front of a set of legs sticking out of the ground. Eris evidently having buried her enemy face first.

“I didn’t hear you yell a single insult that fight, I admit I was starting to get worried.” Ivo shrugged, eyes still locked on the man buried in the ground.

“Worried about what? I think it would be a safe bet, that any fight you walk out of alive, would be a trivial for me. Now let’s get moving, and Ivo…, “Eris reported, leaving an air of irritation drifting.

    Confused Ivo queried, “Yes?”

Eris turned toward him, a smirk on her face, “Keep an eye out for booby traps from now on, I’d like to save my strength for the actual fight, not for getting you out of trouble.”

Ivo’s head dipped in embarrassment, turning to see Artemis whose head tilted to the side. Shaking he head, Ivo bolted off into the forest. The red of the leaves grew darker as we closed in on the town of Redgarden as the tips darkened with soot.

Once again on the move. We arrived at a break in the woods, what was once rows of trees, had been carved out into a barren field leading up to large wooden gates and the wooden wall that lines the outskirts of the town of Redgarden. They strode toward the town, as the Trio crossed through the clearing an arrow came screaming out from a guard tower along the wall. Eris slammed to a halt as the arrow pierced the ground straight in front of her.

   A loud clambering came from on top the tower as Eris grimaced to the top. She ripped her arms upward and a stone savagely tore itself from the ground. Ivo watched as her arm cocked backwards, preparing to strike.

   He reached out and softly grabbed her arm, “Easy there, give it a second,” Ivo whispered to Eris. In disappointment Eris dropped her arm and the stone made a solid thud as it hit the ground.

   A masculine voice called to us from the top of the wall, and a man in silver armor poke out of the wooden structure into our view, “My deepest apologies Guildsmen! My men were expecting bandits…You must forgive them, they are not used to quite so much commotion! Just wait down there a minute while I get the gate open for you!”

   Eris growled under her breath, “Oh don’t trouble yourself, I’ll get your gate open,”

   Ivo turned to Eris, “Come now Eris. What has Archmage Highborne been telling you. Savagery a necessity, but brashness an oversight,” Eris shot Ivo a deadly look. He threw his hands up to concede. Clearly their teacher’s wisdom only worked when it came from the Archmage himself.

From atop the wall more clamoring and arguing could be heard for just a moment. Shortly after the gate began to open, shaking a layer of dust off it. The Trio slowly made their way inside the gate and were greeted by the same disheveled man in silver armor. Ivo scanned the man, he was evidently tired with bags under his eyes, the armor on his left leg cracked and broken.

He calmly and confidently began to address them, “Greetings I am the Captain of the Redgarden Military Guard. I am relieved to see you have finally made it, in all honesty many of us had started worry. But now that you are here, maybe we have a chance at pushing back these bandits. Now which one of you is in charge?”

Eris disrespectfully walked past the Captain bumping into his shoulder, nearly knocking him over. Ivo instinctively dove forward catching the man before he fell to the ground and pulled him back up to his feet.

Eris growled as she walked away, “Ivo… The talking!”

Ivo attempted to distract the man from Eris’ less than kind approach, vigorously shaking the Captain’s hand and stated, “That would be me Captain, Guild Envoy Ivo Cassferth at your service.”

After a few seconds of thinking the Captain awkwardly responded, “Ah, very good. If you’ll come this way with me, I can take you to the Mayor. He’ll want to speak with you immediately,”

They strode further into Redgarden, it was a humble wooden village. Ivo caught glimpses of youthful eyes in windows as they passed. At the center of the town was a large wooden hut no doubt the abode the mayor inhabited. There were a few guards surrounding the Hut, two dead bandits at their feet. Upon reaching the door the Captain stood beside the entrance and motioned for them to enter.

Eris walked into the hut and Ivo quickly followed motioning to Artemis to follow. As they crossed the threshold the shadows in the room shifted. Ivo stopped in his tracks inquisitively looking around trying to pinpoint the cause, naturally he looked to Eris who was evidently unfettered, and back to a distant faced Artemis. Neither showed signs of having noticed and so Ivo dismissed the feeling and walked deeper into the hut.

    The Trio came to the center chamber of the hut. A humble council room with a large wooden table housing a map, and various sheets of paper. Around the table in a circle were several elders sitting cross legged, smoke drifted from plates in front of them, whether it was incense or pipes Ivo couldn’t tell in the low light of the candles that lit the room from the table. Leaning dramatically against the table was no doubt the Mayor. He slowly began to turn around and acknowledge their presence. He was dressed in a fine green coat, a set of wire rimmed glasses hugged his face.

His words were smooth and bore a sense of ire, “The Guildsmen I presume? Good, the bandits broke through the southern checkpoint two hours ago. This doesn’t give us much, if any time at all.”

After a moment of silence, A shove from Eris pushed Ivo forward into the room, no doubt Eris reminding him of their agreement.

Ivo addressed the Mayor, “That is correct. Guild Envoys: Ivo, Eris, and Artemis at your service. You must forgive me, we didn’t have much information to go off of on the ride here. Do you mind clearing a few things up for me?

The Mayor walked slowly along the table and took a seat that faced them. He articulated flawlessly, “You may ask freely, but I will remind you of the lack of time at our disposal.”

Ivo approached the table and stood up in the most confident pose he could muster, “I’d like to get to know a bit more about these bandits. It seems odd that the bandits would attack you.”

The Mayor leaned back and clasped his hands together disapprovingly, “You find it odd that bandits most of them killers, thieves, and traitors already, would ransack Redgarden?”

Ivo rebutted with no hesitation, “Allow me to explain, most Bandit droves stick to the roads, or small towns without an established militia, but Redgarden seems to be well manned and ready for battle.”

The Mayor grimaced heavily, “I’m sure them men appreciate the praise even after days of siege.” He raised a hand to rub his temples in frustration. Eris crossed her arms impatiently.

Ivo attempted to shrug off the passive nature of the insult., “What I mean to ask is if you could think of something that would have encouraged them to act so brazenly. It may help us to understand how to stop them without conflict.”

The Mayor tilted back in his chair, evidently uninspired by my line of questioning.

Ivo continued in an attempt to get some form of compliance, “In short, Bandits are scavengers not conquerors. If they’re coming for you, you have something they want. Something they’re willing to risk many of their own for,”

The Mayor coughed and took his glassed off, swaddling them in his coat to clean them. He Passively spoke to Ivo, “Thank you for spelling that out for me Guildsmen, I’m sure the thought hadn’t occurred to me. But to answer your question I am afraid none of us have any idea what would have spurred this. We’ve received some produce shipments, but that is hardly enough to spark them into action and we sent out the Empirical taxes less than a month ago, so the town is the poorest it’s been this entire year. By all rights a bandit attack now wouldn’t reward them with anything.

A cough emanated from one of the older gentlemen as he attempted to clear his throat, “It’s the vault they’re after.” The elder coughed once again. The other elders turned to hush the elder that had just spoken , clearly against their wishes.

All of the shadows in the room shifted suddenly. Ivo scoured the room looking for anything out of place. Eris and the Mayor did not seem to have noticed, Ivo looked back at Artemis his eyes we aggressively whizzing around the room. Looking for something.

The Mayor placed the glasses back onto his face, the movement calling Ivo’s attention back to the conversation. He questioned the Mayor, “I’m sorry, the elder just now. He said something about a vault? That certainly sounds like something a bandit would want?”

The Mayor aggressively scratched as his chin, “It’s old myth nonsense that the elders like to hold on to, you know stuff parents tell their kids at night. As it goes, there's a vault deep in the mountains and the entrance is at the mountain’s base, inside of Redgarden’s walls. But the myth says it was a library, or some kind of hospital, I’ve never yet run into a bandit that was able to read, let alone an entire tribe that would risk invading us over books.”

The same elder from before called out to us again nearly cutting the mayor off from speaking, “But the bandits aren’t working alone are they?”

The group of elder growled to the singled out man, “ELDER KOTH!”

Eris scoffed in disapproval from behind Ivo. He turned to motion for Eris to calm herself as he turned back to address the Mayor, “Excuse me if you will Mayor, but how much information do you plan on keeping from us?”

The Mayor leaned forward and began to shuffle through papers on the table, “There have been reports of a mysterious third party amongst the bandits. However, what the elder omits is that these reports are few and conflicting. Some reports say there are a group of men, other claiming to have only verified one man. However aside from the timing, there's nothing connecting him to this attack.”

Ivo pressed for more information, “How has this man been described,”

Rolling his eyes, the Mayor explained, “He’s been described as an average sized man, a black robe bearing some sort of V symbol on its back, with a silver hood. There are no descriptions of facial features, in all it’s a vague and an insultingly unhelpful description,”

Ivo turned to look at Eris. She gave a disinterest shrug.

The Mayor breathed deeply for a moment then continued, “Guildsman, you must understand, the Redgarden armed forces have not seen a conflict like this for some time. I think it has been affecting my men, perhaps making them see things that aren’t there, so without a concrete report, I’m not going to waste time on someone who might not even exist.”

Ivo frowned and rebuked the Mayor, “Either way, this would be information I would have liked, to keep my team informed if nothing else.”

The shadows in the room once again fidgeted. Ivo’s eyes this time instinctively fixate on the movement, but once again he cannot be sure he had seen anything, but the feeling of displacement he felt only grew more intense.

Ivo felt a tap on my shoulder from behind, he turned to see Artemis withdrawing his hand, his eyes locked in the shadows of the ceiling.

 “What is it Artemis?” Ivo asked

Artemis’ closed his eyes and a scowl grew on his face. His raspy dark voice broke the silence, “We see him.”

Ivo’s hair stood on end and his arm dove for his blade as he scanned the room looking for what it is Artemis saw.

A demonic cry broke the silence. The room with a dark eerie purple light, gleaning from Artemis’ scythes.

Their eyes cast upward, and saw a dark shade hiding amongst the rafters of the ceiling. The shape of a man, realizing it has been discovered the shade flinched. Artemis’ scythe rocketed upward crashing into the shade and slamming the creature into the ceiling before ripping it down shattering the table.

Not to be outdone Eris roared a battle cry shaking the wood as she slammed her foot down shattering ground, from beneath the now grounded Shade a rock spire crashed upward impaling the creature. For what seemed an eternity, the shadows in the room writhed in agony, shifting and convulsing. The Shade cried out splitting in half and then faded from existence. With that the room returned to its silence. Eris charged past the Ivo, taking ahold of the two now split table halves and tossing them aside, continuing her charge Eris slammed into the Mayor gripping him by his collar and shoving him up against the wall.

Ivo’s adrenaline rushing, he bellowed, “What in the hell was that?”

Eris howled, “That… thing had to have come from an Archon.” Ivo saw the Mayor flinch as Eris’ words left her mouth.

Eris appeared stunned at the Mayor’s reaction and savagely continued, “So you knew? There was no mention of an Archon in the contract! Planning to keep that bit of information from us as well, right?”

The Mayor strained, “Please Guildsman, you must understand. We didn’t have the money for that expensive of a job, please the village is poor and there's no time to send another contract. We’ll gladly pay our debts when the tradesmen restock the treasury.”

Ivo recovered from his shock and choked his words out attempting to restrain his anger, “You knew there was an Archon? I should have known. Asking for three Archons to defend you from a few bandits?”

The Mayor Pleaded, “Please! We’ll pay the proper amount”

Eris viciously pulled the Mayor from the wall and slammed him back into it. Then she thundered, “It isn’t about the money! Do you have any idea why the cost goes up to fight an Archon? We don’t know how powerful this other Archon is! We have no idea who they are, or what they’re capable of!”

The Mayor meekly sobbed, “I only had the best intentions for my people.”

Eris growled back, “This has just become exponentially more dangerous for all of us, and there is no way we can guarantee we can beat whoever this Archon is!”

A desperate cough comes from one of the elders, “You wouldn’t leave us to die, would you?”

   Ivo sighed heavily and walked forward placing his hand on Eris’ shoulder feeling her heart rapidly beating through her veins. Ivo spoke calmly collecting himself, “No I wouldn’t. We wouldn’t,” Ivo’s eyes met Eris’ as he spoke,” We were sent here by the Guild to help, that hasn’t changed. Out of respect for my team I’d ask this be mentioned to our superiors. They will reward us for our actions in their own way.”

As Ivo stepped away Eris dropped the Mayor. Ivo began to walk towards the door, Eris in tow, Ivo looked back to the Elders.

In a gruff tone Ivo addressed the room, “I have no doubt this vault is what they are after. Where is it?”

One of the Elders called back in outrage, “That secret has been in our protection for generations, before Redgarden was even founded! Its location belongs with us only!”

Ivo’s fist slammed into the wall, “That Shade was sent to spy on you, collect information. How long do you think it was there? How much do you think you’ve told that Archon without knowing it? It’s obvious he’s coming for that vault, he’ll tear all of Redgarden apart to find it. So, you want us to protect it for you, you’re going to tell us where to be,”

The room was silent for a moment. A voice from the Mayor echoed from the back, “I’ll show you,”

Several of the Elders gasped in disgust. Many of them calling out to him, “You wouldn’t dare!”

The Elder that had brought  our attention to all of this spoke up, “The Mayor is doing what he believes this right, unabated by fear! Something this council has neglected to do for generations!”

The Mayor growled back, “I will only show them the entrance, no more. But asking them to protect something they can’t find serves no one.”

One of the younger elders lept to his feet, “It isn’t theirs to protect!”

The Mayor snapped a howl at the old man, “NO! It is mine. All of Redgarden is mine to protect. From bandits, from famine, from acts of God.” The Mayor paused, “I’ve hidden enough from the Guildsmen at the council’s behest. However, I have asked them to travel from great distances to help us. Heroes deserve the truth if nothing else.” The Mayor gestured to Ivo then to Eris and Artemis.

The Mayor made for the door, his clothes slightly torn in the squabble before. Ivo turns to the Mayor, “Thank you,”

The Mayor scoffed, “Don’t thank me, Guildsmen shouldn’t be magnanimous in victory. Men like me won’t learn anything if you are.”

The Mayor threw open the door to the outside, the Redgarden forces cowering outside the door, weapons drawn. The Captain greeted him, “Milord! We heard the clamor and thought the worst,”

The Mayor sneered down to the Captain, “And I see you arrived to help in record time! Thank Alyrah the Guildsmen were there to protect me. Captain, remind me to court martial you when this is over,”

The Captain sheepishly bowed his head, “Of course Milord,”

The Mayor walked onward past the guards heading toward the base of the mountain. He motioned for the Guildsmen to follow.

They strode through the winding paths of the city until they came upon a small grouping of trees. Pushing into the darkness, the group came upon a fountain. Carved from what appeared marble and the edges clad with gold, the water did not flow from the fountain and the pool liquid glinted in the fading sunlight motionless. The Mayor stopped at the fountain’s edge.

The Mayor turned toward Ivo and motioned to the waters, “This is it, the long-forgotten entrance to the vault.”

Eris slowly kneels at the edge of the fountain and places her palm on the ground. She is silent for a moment. She slowly mouths her words, “This… stuff, the fountain… It isn’t rock.” Her eyes racing under her eyelids. She grimaces slightly, “There’s miles of this stuff down there.”

The Mayor smirks, “That would be the vault. You must understand I can’t show you how to open it. I may dislike how to council has been running things, but I still must protect some secrets,”

Ivo calms the Mayor, “This is more than enough.” Ivo turned to Eris, “Eris!”

Eris’ eyes open in response and looks up to Ivo.

Ivo continues, “How long do you think this stuff would hold up against you?”

Eris stretches upward and stares at the fountain gripping her shoulder, “Realistically? I would reckon a good ten minutes to cleave through the top half.” Eris leans down a tightly grips a section of the fountain, she grips as hard as she can, and a tiny crack appears on the surface, “Maybe a little longer, whatever this stuff is, it won’t give up without a fight,”

Ivo turns toward the Mayor, “Alright I’ve seen enough. I don’t truly believe bandits would be coming for something like this. But at least we have an idea of what to be on the look out for. That’ll be all for now, I think it best of we make preparations for the bandit attack,”

The Mayor begins to stride back toward his abode, “Very well Guildsmen. I leave the fate of Redgarden in your hands,”

As the Mayor disappears into the tree line Eris stride over to Ivo and whispers to him, “There’s no guarantee the Shadow Archon isn’t still spying on us,” Eris eyes darting out into the distance.

Ivo begins to walk back into town and speaks softly, “I’m counting on it. The Redgarden council would have let that Archon tear Redgarden apart to keep their secret. Maybe we can spare a few lives this way,” Ivo disappears amongst the trees as Eris and Artemis follow.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2018, 10:20:41 PM by sparishr »