Showing posts with label fantasy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fantasy. Show all posts

Thursday, October 2, 2014

And here's chapter 16 of A Decaying World. It's relatively short with only 4k words, which is why I decided to continue with the next chapter instead of switchting back to Loop. That one might be a bit longer, but I doubt that it will go over 10k words. Which means that my plan of having 26 chapters overall will most likely fail. Not that it really matters.


 Chapter 16: Losing Control

Drake's slumped over figure rested in front of a pillar that a dozen enchanted ropes bound him to. He had been thrown into a small, dank chamber devoid of furniture. Its exit was located far above and inaccessible by normal means. Even a rope would have been insufficient as there was nothing to affix it to.
A rectangular section of the wall flared up, transforming it into a door made of stones. When it swung open, a tall elf dressed in white stepped through. A small clearing could be seen above his shoulder, but the walls wobbled when his feet touched the stones, swallowing the portal.
The elf raised his right hand and turned its palm skyward, conjuring a pea-sized ball of energy. It exploded from the inside out, doubling in size, continuously repeating the same motion until he could wrap his fingers around it.
“I'm ready.”
A ripple of energy tore through the walls as the elf aimed at the vampire, leaving a series of white concentric circles behind. They pulsed in anticipation as the elf let go, propelling the orb into the vampire's chest.
Drake's body reared up and his muscles spasmed as his consciousness was pulled from the darkness. He slammed his head into the pillar and let out a gut-wrenching scream as the sacred energy tore through his flesh, partially destroying the corruption within his blood. Repeatedly bombarding him with such power could have cleansed his vampirism, but the chances of surviving such therapy did not exist.
His screams echoed from wall to wall for an entire minute before his voice died down and his head dropped onto his chest. Fluttering eyelids unveiled a mixture of light and darkness coursing through his pupils, wrestling for control. His fingers twitched, his chest convulsed, and his flesh began to emit smoke, which caused the ropes around his body to glow.
“Why are you here?” said the Elf after pulling a chair out of thin air and planting his behind on its seat.
The vampire raised his shaking head, still unable to keep his eyes open. His mouth opened and closed, as if crunching something into a million pieces.
“Why”—the elf raised his hand and conjured yet another ball of sacred energy—“are you here?”
Drake's eyes open wide, as did his mouth. He shot forward, as far as his shackles would allow, and his flesh changed, fell in on itself, transformed into a mask of pure horror. Blackened, dripping, grotesque. Huge eyeballs atop an even wider mouth. Fangs so sharp they could have crushed a skull with ease.
The darkness dissolved when the orb of light penetrated the vampire's chest, revealing Drake's unchanged face. His head slammed into the pillar once more and an even louder scream fled his throat. Wisps of smoke followed the sound and turned solid upon coming into contact with the air, lashing out at the elf.
“Fool!” The elf vacated his seat as a dozen tentacles tore through it. He landed close to the wall and slammed his palm into the nearby circle before rolling away, evading yet another attack.
A deafening buzzing noise filled the room as a myriad orbs were disgorged from the walls. They honed in on Drake and spun around his screaming figure, dissolving the darkness and hiding his body from view.

Monday, September 15, 2014

And here's chapter 15 of A Decaying World. It could have gone a bit faster, but I've worked on another project a few days ago, where I ended up writing about 10K words in only three days. If only all my projects were progressing so fast...
Anyway, I'm going to return to Loop next. I've already had it lying around for too long without progressing the story. And I'm still going to release short stories during the next few weeks before I release the entire horror-collection.


 Chapter 15: Amidst the Ruins

A hundreds tiny grains of sand dug into Drake's skin like crystal shards, slowly rousing his dormant consciousness. His eyes fluttered open and fell upon two massive legs connected to a beast made of stone, a lapucuz. Its leathery tail entwined the vampire's chest, dragging him from the wreckage of his ship to a nearby forest.
Wha—” It was a mistake to open his mouth. A load of sand invaded his oral cavity, eliciting painful rattling coughs.
All motion came to a halt. The beast turned around, sluggishly moving one foot at a time, until half of its hideous face could be seen. One lidless eye focused on Drake while a giant mouth opened up, freeing the beast's snake-like tongue. It darted forward and connected with the vampire's skin, ramming a dozen tiny needles into his flesh.
Within seconds, he was paralyzed, incapable of offering any resistance. But his eyes were still open, able to take in his surroundings. He had never been on this continent, but the endless sea of trees and the giant one towering above them revealed that he had reached his destination, despite plunging into an icy grave.
Need a hand? Yeah, but not yours. Still defying me, after everything I've done for you? Modera might have crushed your mind if I hadn't pulled you back from the brink of despair! That doesn't mean I have to like you. Why don't you go back to sleep? No chance!
Another beast had joined the first, with Maximilian in its clutches. He was still unconscious, unaware of the sand cutting into his face. But it was only a matter of time until his skull would bang against the stones scattered across the forest floor.
So, who's going to save you now? Feyadal might still be out there. And if he's not? Are you just going to let them kill you? They could have done so a long time ago. Maybe they're using us to stock up on supplies. Why wait when we could be free within seconds?
There was no reason to wait, yet Drake refused to change his stance. He didn't want to depend on his inner darkness unless it was absolutely necessary. But when the beast could set him free, he should have been able to do so by himself.
He tried to close his eyes, but his captor's poison had frozen his lids in place. Even such a motion as simple as breathing was impossible. If the same applied to Maximilian, he might have already been dead. Good riddance. Fuck you!
Grasping the power trapped within his body, he tried to imagine a wave of energy surging through his body, dissipating the paralysis. A tingling sensation rippled through his flesh, but when it died down, only his fingers had come back to live. His arms were still trailing behind him, so the best he could have accomplished was to throw a fireball into the sky. A few more attempts might have done the trick, but both beasts stopped dead in their tracks, releasing fulminant roars from their cavernous bodies.
I could be mistaken”, said a squeaky voice from nearby, “but those creatures don't look edible at all.”
But we to them!” replied a much deeper, rumbling voice. Its owner seemed to have trouble using Meceruun's common tongue, as every sentence came in quick bursts and every T ended up sounding like a D. “Else they wouldn't grabbed those guys.”
The lapucuzs roared once more and raised their tails into the air, allowing Drake a glimpse of the newcomers, none of which were human. One could have been mistaken for a human child, if not for his sallow and wrinkled skin. A giant schnozzle was poking out of his face while the rest was covered by unkempt hair. The second creature was the complete opposite: tall, muscular, hairless, and dark-skinned. His four beefy arms could have easily crushed a human's skull.
Since the lapucuzs had no intention of letting fresh meat get away, they flung Maximilian and Drake into the sand and hurled themselves at the newcomers. The smaller creature, a gnome, shrieked and sped away, swirling up the earth beneath his feet. But his companion, a gialuk, was not inclined to take flight. He slammed his fists together, then pulled all arms back and propelled them forward. A shockwave rippled through the lapucuz's shell, partially rupturing it. But the impact hadn't been powerful enough to reach its fleshy bits.
It slammed into the gialuk and pushed him back, but the creature reacted quickly and rammed his feet into the earth, stopping their movement. A manic smile crept onto his face as he slung his arms around the lapucuz's body, lifting the beast from its feet.
Knowing that it couldn't land a direct hit, the lapucuz opened its mouth. Its poison was powerful enough to take most creatures down, but even though gialuk's aren't the brightest of creatures, this one was quite crafty. He threw the lapucuz into the air, grabbed its tongue wit its upper arms, and began to spin the beast like a lariat.
You like that?” yelled the gialuk derisively. “Or do you want down?”
The lapucuz screamed and snapped, as if trying to bite off its own tongue, but there was nothing it could do. And then the gialuk let go, sending it off into the sky. It ascended in a wide arc and them came hurtling down like a comet, audibly taking at least half a dozen trees with it.
The gialuk laughed and stretched his limbs just as the gnome came back, screeching for help. The second lapucuz was close on his heels, rolling through the sand like a cannonball.
Get behind!” bellowed the gialuk as he twisted his body halfway to the right. Then he pulled back his arms, taking a big swing. If timed correctly, the lapucuz's momentum could be used to smash through its shell, maybe even strike it down with a single move. But if the gialuk screwed up … well, it wouldn't be pretty. The lapucuz was moving too fast to be stopped like the first.
The gnome reached his companion and grabbed onto his burly legs as he slithered over the earth. When it came to a halt, it peered over a mountain of muscles at the rapidly approaching threat.
You got this?” asked the gnome, not quite as loud this time.
I do!”
The gialuk concentrated, focusing all power into his right arms. Any other member of his clan would have sidestepped the attack, but Gorn was more than confident in his abilities. He would not lose to a mindless beast that had to coat itself with stones to survive.
Moments before impact, his arms shot forward and time seemed to freeze. Neither did his fists penetrate the lapucuz's shell, nor was he squashed. Then, a crack appeared, followed by another, and then another.
The lapucuz screamed in agony and flew off, cutting a swath into the forest. Gorn smiled at this glorious sight, spread his arms, and let out a mighty roar. His companion chimed in, despite sounding like a broken whistle.
Drake would have been thankful for the rescue, but the gialuk gathered him and Maximilian from the sand and slung them roughly over his shoulders while the gnome stared at them with a watering mouth.
Their captors might have changed, but their fate was still the same.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

At the moment, I'm trying to finish up my horror collection to release something once again, but I really didn't want to spend all my time on it. But I also didn't want to write the next iteration of Loop before I could fully concentrate on the story. So I did something different and simply wrote the next chapter of a Decaying World! That was only possible because it was so short, though. The next chapters will most likebly be longer, although not as long as the final chapters of the first half. At least not at first.


Chapter 14: Across the Sea

Somewhere, in the middle of the ocean, a small vessel was trapped within the grasp of nature. The wind howled like a banshee, swooping down onto the ship, spurring on the ocean. Gargantuan waves crashed against wood, pulling and pushing it in every direction. It creaked and groaned and burst apart, not able to withstand the nature of this storm.
Barely visible figures scuttled across the planks, running and jumping and slipping, doing their best to keep what was left of their transport afloat. But it was a battle they couldn't win. What crew they had was either trapped below deck or had already met the kings of the underworld. Only a handful were still participating in their futile struggle.
A lightning bolt emerged from the cloud that was following them—a cloud so dark that it rivaled the night sky—and it ripped through the main mast, nearly toppling it over. The lone sailor who had held his position in the crow's nest screamed in terror, but it was too late. He was grabbed by a gust of wind so strong that it might as well have been the hand of a titan, and was plunged into the depths, certain to meet the planks head-on.
Cat-like eyes fell upon his flesh, alerted by his screams, and a blurry figure jumped into the sky, catching him moments before his rendezvous with death and laying him to rest in a corner from where he wouldn't meet his end, at least for the next few seconds.
T-t-t-t-t-thank you ….” stammered the man, but his savior had already disappeared.
Another lightning bolt cut through the main mast, snapping it in half. It cracked and lurched, slowly descending onto deck, but two people sped below where it would fall, raising their swords into the air.
A snake made of light and darkness coiled itself around the mast's wood, embracing it like a lover, then destroying it with the force of a supernova. A hole was blown into the deck, but the damage was acceptable. Having a spear made of wood crash into it would have resulted in the imminent destruction of the vessel.
Are we anywhere near the continent?” yelled Maximilian over the raging storm, swallowing raindrops that burned in his throat.
I didn't see anything the last time I checked,” replied Drake, shielding his face from the onslaught of the chaos. “I'll have another look, as long as we still have a mast left.”
Then he jumped into the air and grabbed onto the ladder placed on the outside of the mast. Under normal circumstances, he might have been able to jump all the way to the top, but he hadn't regained his full strength since the destruction of Arlington. And there was no telling where the storm would have pushed the ship by the time he would have arrived at the top.
They'd been in the middle of nowhere for more than a month now—a journey that they began about a week after his encounter with Assar. Most of the trip had been a breeze, until bad memories came surging back to haunt the vampire. The storm that was chasing them was the same that had destroyed his hometown, that had taken his girlfriend from him. It might have been acting its part this time, but a mere glimpse was all it took for Drake to see through the charade. If they stopped for even a moment, time would come to a halt, then loop, then end forever. And if he was trapped within, then everything was lost.
Fucking liar! You said you'd give me time!” grumbled Drake through gritted teeth while he ascended the final rungs.
The ship groaned and screamed once more, precariously falling, almost toppling over. The vampire stumbled sideways, nearly vacating his vantage point the moment he had reached it. Only his strong grip made him keep his position. Not that falling would have mattered. When he peered into the distance, there was nothing to be seen. Just an endless chaos of waves, all of which were focused on their vessel, no matter how little sense their movement made.
Gazing down, he saw Feyadal wrestling with the steering wheel. They'd lost the captain right at the start, had to watch him get burned to ash, and lightning had struck that same spot on a multitude of occasions since then. I'm surprised the wheel itself hasn't been destroyed yet. Are you still toying with me, Assar? Why not get it over with?
A demonic scream filled the air, and a gust of wind as powerful as a hammer slammed into Drake's vantage point, hurtling him backwards and onto the planks, exactly the way he had fallen from Modera's tower after his fateful encounter.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

I've found a couple of Betareaders for A Decaying World, but only one of them has given me feedback as of yet, and only up to chapter 1. But if he continues to provide the same amount of feedback, then it would almost be as good as having an editor. I've already deleted one of the prologues and shuffled a few things around to add anything that might be missing.
Apart from that, I've started working on Loop, my scifi novella. The game it's based on is about an hour long, so it shouldn't get too big, which is why I'm not going to post the complete story, except for the first beginning. Not much is happening yet, but it should give you an idea of what it is about.
Don't forget that this is only a first draft. A lot might change later on. And I have no idea why the last story kept its indents and this doesn't.



A deep and steady humming noise reverberated throughout the metal chamber, its source somewhere in the depths of the facility. A red light spread across the wall-sized monitor at the front, until it had enveloped the dome displayed on its surface. At the same time, an egg-shaped structure in the center of the room began to glow, almost blinding the chamber's occupants.
Status report!” bellowed a middle-aged man with brown hair from in front of the monitor.
The Chronoshield is running at full power and the Reversal Engine is at fifty percent. There are slight fluctuations in the energy flow”—the speaker, a young man with azure-colored hair, moved his fingers across a touchpad, adjusting dozens of values within seconds—“but they're gone now!”
Professor Visan, start the countdown!”
An old man with pointy ears and graying-hair entered a command into the console in front of him. The humming grew even louder and the room began to shake.
Temporal reversal in ten,” a robotic voice echoed through the room, its source the loudspeakers embedded in the walls, “nine, eight, seven, six, five ...”
The occupants of the room, some dressed in white gowns, others in full-body armor, turned towards the egg-shaped construct. Its light was pulsing in the rhythm of the countdown, slowly transforming from blinding white to bluish black.
And when the timer reached zero, a wave of energy rippled through the room, knocking everyone from their feet. The humming turned into a shrill squealing noise and was instantly joined by the screams of the room's occupants. The walls shimmered and undulated, flesh and clothing became translucent, people were moving back and forth, the light grew dim and bright ... and then everything came crashing down.
The room fell silent as every living being vanished from within. And then it was enveloped by darkness, making it impossible to see anything.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

This version is horribly outdated.
Revision 2 is in progress.


Chapter 13: The Calamity

While Emily looked after Feyadal and the twins Maximilian and Drake returned to the battlefield, crossed the chasm and gathered the remaining soldiers in the forest. Then they cut apart a couple of trees and used them to built a temporary bridge into the village.
What happened hours later should have been a joyous occurrence, but Drake was slowly descending into a catatonic state and barely noticed the return of Arlin's inhabitants. Thanks to the timely arrival of the twins they had been able to evacuate the village right under Modera's nose. Erik and Rika took two villagers at once, carried them over the walls, evaded sparsely scattered enemy forces—Modera never expected Drake's group to strike from the back—and hid them in a nearby cave. Upon one of their return trips they were almost caught in the blaze that destroyed the mayor's building. They tried their best to save everyone, always hoping that Modera wouldn't notice the increasing amount of people scattered on the walls, but it turned out to be in vain. Some villagers were crushed by falling beams or caught fire right in front of their eyes, which is when they chose to abort the mission and escaped with everyone they had already evacuated.
More than 50 percent of Arlin's inhabitants survived the battle, but the twins never forgot the people they had left behind and trained even harder to make up for their incompetence—as they themselves put it. Together with the other villagers they erected a marvelous black marble tablet—sponsored by the king of Pagan himself—in front of Arlin to honor the dead. It also served as a gravestone to those that left no corpse behind to bury.
It should have been a nice gesture, but all that Drake could think about—at least during the few moments that he was actually lucid—was that his hasty attempt to save everyone had only led to more deaths.
It's not your fault! You did your best to save everyone and that is all that counts,” is how Emily tried to appease him, but it didn't help.
No. I got everyone killed. I should have accepted Modera's offer and defeated her together with Maximilian and my father. Why did I ever decide to play the hero?
Eventually Maximilian and his soldiers left the village. They promised to return with enough men to rebuilt Arlin as fast as possible. The twins remained behind to help clear the rubble while Feyadal had fallen into a coma that lasted two weeks. When he awoke at last he fled into the forest to hide his tears. He didn't care about the magic he had lost and even his longevity was barely worth a mention, but his connection to nature had also been severed, which made him no better than a mere human—a race that many elves despised.
About two months passed, a time span during which Drake barely felt alive. He awoke, ate breakfast with Emily, listened to her ramble on and gated at nothing at all until he went to sleep again. He had expected to be haunted by gruesome nightmares. Instead he was plunged into a dark abyss from which he resurfaced without dreaming even once. The only thing that disturbed his slumber was the sound of rolling thunder, which drew ever closer. But he forgot about it the moment he awoke. Only when a voice was trying to reach out to him did he slowly come to his senses. He could barely understand it at first and the most he got was: “Stop...wasting...ime. approaching. You have to fulfill...destiny, or...will end!”
Drake tried to call out to the Alp in an attempt to understand his message, but the only reply he got was an image of a hand sticking out of a wriggling mass of flesh.
One day he stepped into the light and heard the chirping of birds, mixed in with the pounding of hammers and the grating concision of saws. He was greeted by a couple of villagers, albeit cautiously, and responded with a wide smile—a smile too wide to be entirely genuine. He tried to strike up a couple of conversations, but they trailed off very quickly. All he managed to learn was that the twins and Feyadal had returned to Pagan and that Maximilian had done the same after he failed to rouse Drake from his “slumber”.
Eventually Drake left the village to go for a walk. He felt a headache approaching and hoped that the fresh morning air would help clear his mind. Shortly afterwards he found himself atop the hill where he had confessed to Emily. He closed his eyes and envisioned the scene once more, but the memory wasn't strong enough to wipe away his regrets. He propped himself against a trunk, stared at Arlin and listened to the rustling of the treetops and the birds singing within. Warm salty tears trickled down his chin as his consciousness faded.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

This version is horribly outdated.
Revision 2 is in progress.


Chapter 12: Defying The Prophecy

After giving the map he found upstairs to general Armakal for safekeeping Drake returned to the second floor, where Illutia was busy trying to banish the mist. Her staff had been rammed into the ground and elongated all the way into he ceiling. She was apparently using the tower itself as a conduit for her spell, since its walls were glowing in the same rhythm as the staff. Whenever the brightness increased one could hear anguished groans coming the outside. Eventually the mist-beasts tried to break through the gates and the windows, but Modera appeared to have forgotten to remove the barriers she herself set up.
Since Illutia couldn't offer a definite time frame of when she would be done Drake began to pace and forth between the second floor and the ground floor, all the while trying to refrain himself from going into the basement, since he didn't want to face Emily without being able to set her free. That didn't stop Maximilian and the twins from visiting her, though. They hit it off very well and even managed to make her laugh, mostly because of the strange behavior Erika and Rika displayed. The men returned all by themselves after half an hour and Maximilian responded to Drake's inquiring looks with: “Rika forced us to leave the room. It appears she wants to have a heart-to-heart talk with your girlfriend.”
About what?” Drake scratched his head in confusion, as it seemed unlikely that anyone would confide in a person they barely knew. Must be something that only girls do...
If they wanted us to know they wouldn't have shooed us away. I do know the topic of course, since Rika forgot to shut me out beforehand.”
And?” asked Maximilian after a moment of silence had passed without any indication that Erik would elaborate.
Well, they're talking about love. My sister has never had a boyfriend, you know?”
How come? She's certainly cute enough to attract attention and some women would kill for legs like hers,” said Maximilian.
It's not that easy, not for us.” He scratched his nose and averted his eyes before continuing. “I might have even scarred her mentally during my one and only relationship, since I didn't know the extent of our connection back then.” He received nothing but perplexed expressions in return. “Imagine having a mental connection to a family member. A connection that you can only suppress when you are in complete control of yourself, which you might lose during more...” his eyes moved back and forth, as if hoping to find the right world lying on the ground.
Intimate moments?” asked Drake awkwardly. Erik nodded.
Is there no way to get rid of your connection?”
The young man looked offended but swallowed his anger. “There's only one way: by using magic. The change would be permanent, though. We'd lose our unique fighting style, which wouldn't be too bad, but it could also lead to severe mental repercussions, since we just aren't used to the silence in our heads. That's why we will never consider that option.”
I hope you find a solution eventually. Everyone should feel what love is like, at least once.”
Maybe...” Erik responded with a tinge of loneliness before he left the room.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

This version is horribly outdated.
Revision 2 is in progress.


Chapter 11: Where It All Began

Drake barely slept a wink. The message he saw inside the void continued to haunt him all throughout the night. Whenever he fell he asleep a harrowing dream was already waiting for him. He never remained for long, but it was more than enough to drain his bedsheets in sweat. That was the least of his worries, though, as the repeated descend into nightmares meant that his heart never came to rest. He suffered multiple infarcts without noticing them, but it was impossible to disregard the stinging sensation in his chest.
Shortly before dawn he made use of the bathroom and drowned himself in icy water to lessen the pain. Blood trickled from his lips as he gulped down an entire vial, but the substance proved to be entirely useless. All it got rid of was the inflammation that had spread across his chest. He probed the region for a while, but couldn't come up with a logical explanation of why the pain persisted. Eventually he gave up and leaned back in a desperate attempt to relax. He noticed a spiderweb in a corner of the ceiling and followed the impressive spinning skills of its resident with his eyes. It seemed to have a hypnotic effect on him as he actually dozed off without realizing it.
Sharp ripping noises echoed through the room as word after word was etched into the ceiling. Drake wanted to look away, but the water had frozen solid, trapping him in place. Even his eyes refused to move, since they were held in place by the legs of two humongous spiders that were resting on his shoulders.
The world fell apart as three loud knocking noises reached Drake's ears. He shot forward, breathing heavily, and gritted his teeth when he realized that his aching chest had taken on a reddish hue again.
Drake, it's time!” yelled Maximilian through the door. “I'm going to gather my men. We'll met on the bridge.”
Okay,” is what Drake tried to say, but his words were fainter than a whisper.
He slipped out of the bathtub, rubbed his body dry and got dressed. The clothes were nearly identical to his old ones, just a bit more expensive and sturdy. He moved towards the door but stopped when his hand came to rest on the doorknob. His vision blurred for a moment and he had to inhale heavily as a wave of pain rippled through his body.
He turned around, gazed at the balcony for a couple of seconds and ran. His hands grabbed onto the handrail, his legs flew over them and then he fell. To an onlooker it must have appeared as if he wanted to brag with his abilities, but all he wanted was a rush of excitement to oust the fatigue that plagued him. It also got his heart pumping, which seemed to drown the pain in his chest.
He landed only a feet away from a patrol and the guards screamed in surprise and fell over themselves since they couldn't decide if they should attack or escape. Drake ignored them and walked towards the meeting point, where he leaned onto the wooden handrail and stared at the water below. He took deep breaths, relishing in the freshness of the air. A storm had hit the city during the night, which could have been seen as a bad omen if it hadn't moved on already.
Maximilian arrived a few minutes later. Two men in their forties were walking besides him while a contingent made up of about a dozen soldiers followed them.
You shouldn't scare our guards like that. They aren't used to people falling from the sky. Why didn't you take the stairs?”
I just felt like it.”
I...see. Anyway, since I didn't get to introduce them properly yesterday: this is General Armakal.”
He pointed to the man on his left, who seemed quite scraggy since he barely reached the recommended weight for height, which made him appear much older than he actually was. The general wore a set of horn-rimmed glasses, had a crooked nose and a half-bald head. New recruits rarely wanted to be assigned to his unit—even going so far as to call him a scarecrow—but he was actually a very nice person and one of the most lenient generals in all of Pagan.
I'm glad to make your acquaintance”—he shook Drake's hand and showed him a radiant and genuine smile—“It's good to know that not all of your kind has fallen victim to the madness. Seems like the stories were true after all.”
What stories?”
Some records talk about a vampire kingdom that existed back in the Golden Age. It was a place that your kind could call home—a place where vampires and mortals lived together in peace and harmony. Most people don't believe those stories, of course, and who could condemn them?”
That's nice and all”—Maximilian interjected—“but we don't have time for chit-chat. Anyway, Armakal is our strategist. He will coordinate our man in the battle against Modera, but we will have to draw her out first. Fighting inside the tower would be suicide.”
Shouldn't be too much of a problem. I'll just blow a hole into the wall if I have to.”
We'll see about that when we get there.”
Maximilian was about to introduce the other general when he took the initiative and stepped forward. He grabbed Drake's hands with his paw-like ones and shook them wildly. That man was the total opposite of Armakal: big, burly and more muscle than flesh. His fist could have easily crushed the head of a normal person.
I'm jeneral Borado and I will squash Modera with my hammer if I jet the chance!” he bellowed with a strange accent and patted the small hammer on his belt.
I doubt she would even feel the impact,” replied Drake doubtfully.
Borado smiled and removed his weapon with a swift movement. It tripled in size, but the weight seemed to remain constant since he had no trouble lifting it.
Huh, nice enchantment. But isn't it a bit too slow for actual combat?”
The general lifted it above his head and twirled it around rapidly, nearly destroying the bridge in the process. The soldiers stared at him in astonishment. Most of them had never seen him use that weapon since one slap with his flat hand was enough to knock them out. Only a handful of trainees had ever managed to land a hit on him.
Enough with that!” said Maximilian, ”We shouldn't keep the others waiting any longer.”
And so the party moved on to the city gates. They would have aroused a lot of suspicion if it hadn't been so early. Not that it mattered after the spectacle of their arrival.
Somewhere along the way Drake asked Maximilian: “Do you really think that the soldiers will be any help? Borado seems like a nice addition and I suppose that Armakal could come in handy, but I'm not so sure about the others...”
It doesn't matter if they can help or not. They were the only ones brave enough to heed my call and that is all I need. Who knows, one of them might turn out to be the hero who will slay Modera.”
Drake raised an eyebrow but refrained from saying anything else.

Friday, April 11, 2014

This version is horribly outdated.
Revision 2 is in progress.


Chapter 10: Calm Before The Storm

They scoured the smoldering crater for about an hour to retrieve Drake's sword. It would have taken much longer if the shadows inside the blade hadn't served as a beacon that engulfed the surrounding area in darkness. The moment Drake laid his hands upon the hilt something deep within him welled to the surface. The shadows wailed in agony as they were forced back into the obsidian blade, which lost its unique form in exchange. Now it was just a normal looking weapon, albeit one filled with immense power.
I hope you didn't accidentally trap Dorr'n Selkesch within. I can do without a rematch.”
Don't worry. All I seem to have captured is raw power. That might be just what we need to take down Modera.”
He raised the sword, which vibrated visibly. Small shadowy tendrils emerged from within and tried to wrap themselves around his hand. He swung the sword just once and carved a scar several meters thick into the crater.
Although I'm not sure if I can contain this much power for long. We should go to Modera's tower as soon as possible!”
Maximilian put a hand onto his companion's shoulder. “I know that you're worried about your girlfriend, but we can't be hasty! We need new supplies and clothes. And confronting Modera all by ourselves would be stupid.”
And who's supposed to help us? I doubt a couple of soldiers will make much of a difference.”
Well, I have to admit that Pagan's military is somewhat lacking, at least when it comes to fighting real monsters. I would never have been able to confront Dorr'n Selkesch without this sword”—he raised the “Heavenly Blade”—“and a vampire of Modera's caliber would certainly defeat our soldiers in the blink of an eye. But there are others in Pagan who might be able to help. It just depends on their availability.”
And with those words they finally moved on. It took longer than expected as the crater got quite steep at the edges and after that came an even steeper descend. Drake offered to jump all the way to the bottom, but Maximilian declined as he had had enough excitement for the day. Therefore they descended at a leisurely pace and arrived at the bottom shortly before noon.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

This version is horribly outdated.
Revision 2 is in progress.


Chapter 9: Maze Of Shadows

After the swamp had vanished on the horizon Drake and Maximilian came to their senses and began to struggle in a vain attempt to break free, although that in itself might have been a sign of madness as they were located hundreds of meters above the ground. Drake might have survived such a fall but regenerating from a flattened heap of flesh was far from pleasant. And the worst case scenario would leave him trapped in a state between life and death for an eternity.
They didn't seem to consider such scenarios, however, and continued their struggle till fatigue caught up to them, which forced them to accept their inability to escape the claws of the winged beast.
It doesn't look like we'll get out of here anytime soon. We should preserve our energy and try to rest for a while. It has to drop us down eventually,” yelled Maximilian towards his companion, only to receive a quizzical expression in response. “Do you understand me?” he screamed louder this time.
No matter how much Drake concentrated, he couldn't pick up words that were carried away in an instant. Maximilian gave up after a couple more attempts and made himself as comfortable as possible before he closed his eyes and fell into a deep slumber. Drake's expression turned into one of incredulity at this absurd sight. Don't tell me he actually fell asleep in that position...
You might want to follow his example,” came a sinister sounding voice from above.
Drake's eyes followed their captors black and red-streaked skin all the way to its snout. Human-sized fangs protruded from its sides and some kind of slimy substance was running down its flesh.
You understand my thoughts?
How else could I have answered your question? But you can also talk to me. I can understand your words and language just fine.”
Who are you?”
I am Voluere, destroyer of dreams, although some records denote me as the fulfiller of dreams. Everyone with that misconception has been eradicated, though, unless I managed to twist their dream into a nightmare instead. ”
The demon roared with laughter and his gooey spit covered the entire upper half of Drake's body, which is all that protruded from its claws. Without access to his hands the vampire could only shake his head and try to spit and blow the substance in front of his mouth away.
And what do you want from us? We didn't summon you!”
I came to a repay a favor to a mutual 'friend' of ours. She gave you the gift of eternal life and you chose to repay her by fleeing from her grasp!”
Modera!” Drake remarked in disgust. “Why didn't she talk to me? I would have returned eventually. We just ran into a little problem.”
His eyes wandered to the pillar of darkness. Something seemed to be slithering along its edges but it blurred together with the background, making it impossible to confirm if the movement was real or not.
No one would return to that crazy hag unless they had a good reason to,” the creature laughed jovially before it continued, “And she couldn't talk to you. Don't you remember severing the connection?”
I did no such thing! How would that even work?”
Don't ask me. I'm not a vampire. It's irrelevant anyway. You'll be reunited soon enough. If only you could have seen what a mess you left behind. The last time I've seen her like this was when her husband died. She even blabbered some idiocy about a savior. I hope she wasn't talking about you.”
In the flesh...”
Splitting laughter cut through the air and the creature moved as if it was drunk, almost letting go of his captives in the process. Drake utilized that opportunity in an attempt to free his limbs, but the demon reacted too rapidly, only allowing him to raise one arm above its claw. “I knew that she was insane but this is just too hilarious! Does she actually expect you to succeed where she failed?”
Don't ask me. All I know is that she wants to turn Maximilian into a vampire too.”
He certainly seems like a much more reasonable choice!”
Drake didn't bother to respond. The pillar of darkness was rapidly approaching and he didn't know if he should warn Voluere or not. The prospect of facing Modera in their current state didn't seem very appealing. But there was no telling what would happen when the demon came within reach of Dorr'n Selkesch's power.
What about the pillar? Do you think such an outburst of magic could stop me? I can simply fly around it, you know?”
To emphasize his words he did exactly that. Drake's gaze was still focused on the darkness ahead, which seemed to pulse in a steadily increasing rhythm the further they got away from it.
Give it back!” demanded a familiar voice that cut through the air like a knife.
The pillar fell apart, revealing that it was made out of hundreds of thousands of tentacles. Every single one of them lunged forward, covering all possible escape routes the demon could take.
Not so fast!” Voluere roared.
He came to a halt in midair and opened his jaws as wide as possible. A crimson energy beam shot forward, severing the tentacles from right to left. The remnants evaporated in mid-air while the intact parts regenerated within seconds.
What did you say about it not being able to stop you?” remarked Maximilian who had finally woken up, if he had even slept in the first place.
Shut it, human!”
The demon covered its body by closing its wing and whirled upwards, engulfing himself in a barrier of wind. It shredded the approaching tentacles like a sawing machine. Voluere shot through the wriggling mass of darkness above him and continued to ascend long after leaving the tentacles behind.
Maximilian felt like his body was being flattened and it got increasingly harder to breath. Neither breathing in deeply nor breathing fast made much of a difference. The demon made it even worse by unknowingly pressing onto his captives. The royal knight's heart raced and he had to pull all of his willpower together to utter a single sentence as his body began to convulse: “Stop...i...t!”
Voluere ceased spinning and opened his wings, exposing his prisoners to the chilly air far above the earth. “Why do you humans have to be so fragile? But now it's time to rejoice! Only a few more hours till your transformation into a supreme being!”
The creature's attempt to laugh turned into a scream of surprise when a giant tentacle appeared from below, entangled his legs and pulled him downwards with breath-taking speed. The demon opened its jaws but it would have had to cut off its own legs to hit the shadowy tendril.
The moment they broke through the clouds they saw a giant maw of darkness above the mountain range—a maw that was once known as the abyss of Gana Borodem. It permeated the ground the land of shadows was built on and swallowed thousands of soldiers partaking in the final assault on Dorr'n Selkesch's castle. Even after Gana Borodem fell the land remained uninhabitable. It's as if the maw knew that its master would return from beyond the veil. Only after his second defeat did it finally fade away.
Let them go and I'll end your existence in a heartbeat!
A compelling offer but I'll have to decline!”
Rather than continue his futile efforts to escape the demon shot downwards instead, his jaw aimed directly at the center of the maw. The red lines edged into its body began to glow, encasing the creature in a billowing layer of air that flowed towards its head.
Maximilian's body had a hard time coping with all of these rapid changes in pressure and he snapped his eyes shut in a desperate attempt to ignore the blood that was now flowing into his head. Drake, on the other hand, was just a bit nauseous. He was more worried about what would happen next. Escaping would prove somewhat difficult if they died on impact.
The point of impact was rapidly approaching and the darkness was stretching as far as the eye could see, but Voluere didn't seem close to unleashing any kind of attack.
Don't you worry! The demon's voice echoed through Drake's head. I'm just waiting for an opportune moment.
That moment came when Drake spotted a swirling orb of darkness in the center of the maw. A sphere of crimson light appeared in front of Voluere's jaws and the darkness reacted by pulling its tentacles inwards, defending the orb with multiple layers of tendrils.
The beam of light shot downwards, filling the sky with a loud sizzling sound and creating just enough pressure to keep Voluere in place while the orb's barriers were shredded one after another. The air vibrated with power and what remained of the mountain range was slowly obliterated.
In ages past Dorr'n Selkesch had been powerful enough to rival the armies of an entire world but his imprisonment had reduced him to a mere shadow of his former self. A demon might be nothing to laugh at but getting defeated by one would have shattered the legend of the lord of shadows. Voluere got cocky, though, and ignored everything around him.
A fist made of darkness smashed into his back, pulverizing his spine. A roaring scream of agony thundered over the land while the beam of energy fizzled out of existence. The shadowy mass split apart, revealing two smaller hands that grabbed onto the demon's wings and plucked them right off, as if he was nothing but a victim to a child's curiosity. Voluere's screams became blood-curdling but were muffled as soon as he plunged into the darkness. The vampire tried to clamber out of his claws but the demon's grasp didn't weaken in the slightest.
From where he lay Drake had a relatively clear view of the orb but Maximilian was nowhere in sight. If I could at least pull my sword out! And then what? Your puny powers cannot compare to the might of Dorr'n Selkesch! But you wounded him in the caves! Yes, but not by using darkness! I still need my sword to use a different power! Are you really that stupid? The sword might be a perfect conduit for dark magic but it's irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. You didn't need it to blow up the swamp and you didn't need it to jump several feet into the air. Just concentrate and imagine what kind of power you want to manifest. Or stop resisting and accept me already!
Ignoring the last remark Drake closed his eyes, remembering the feeling from when he had redirected his energy into his feet. Since that would have been pointless under the current circumstances he focused on his hand instead. Imagine what kind of power I want... Something compact but powerful would be perfect. Something that contains the same kind of power I unleashed in the swamp. And lo and behold, when he opened his eyes he was holding onto a bright ball of fire. But he was also within inches of getting swallowed by the darkness, hence why he just hoped for the best and threw it into the general direction of the orb. It turned towards him, exposing different layers of gray resembling an eyeball. It grew as if in shock and extended small tentacles towards the magic missile, but it was already too late.
The world was bathed in an explosion of light.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

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fantasy horror

How long have I been trapped inside this house? Weeks? Months? Possibly even years? I've long since lost track in this world devoid of light. I don't even recognize myself in the mirror anymore. Long, brittle hair falls over my bony and wrinkled face, all the way to my shoulders. It had such a lovely shade of black but now it's just gray, white and dirty. And my flawless body had taken on a truly horrendous appearance. I've become so scrawny that most of my bones are clearly visible. Not much of a surprise when my entire nutrition consists of rats. Every attempt at discerning their entry point has proven futile, however, otherwise I might have long since escaped.
The other thing that has kept me going is the foul smelling water in the basement. No one in his right mind would consume dirt-colored fluids but it's not like I have a choice. I've gotten used to it over time, though, at least in so far that I'm not throwing up anymore.
Logic would dictate that none of that could have sustained me for very long, but this place doesn't seem to care about logic, else I would have escaped a long time ago. It looked like a normal, if somewhat desolate, house at first. It wasn't. Far from it, actually.
There are dozens of doors spread across three stories and a basement, none of which lead outside. It does have windows, though, but they can neither be opened nor broken. I've thrown and smashed hundreds of objects into them and couldn't even create a scratch.
Seeing as the obvious escape routes didn't work I had to create one by myself and began to painstakingly remove one brick after another, only to find even more bricks beyond. I took a short nap before proceeding but my entire work had been undone when I woke up.
Following that setback I became desperate and climbed into the fireplace chimney. With my back pressed against one wall and my feet against the other I climbed and scrambled towards the top. Hours passed and the floor vanished into the distance, but whenever I looked up the exit was as far away as it had always been. Trying to escape is futile, isn't it?
In the end I just gave up and returned to the bottom. Is there even a point in escaping? The landscape beyond the windows was nothing but a barren wasteland. There were no trees, no stones, no hills...not even a sky! All I saw was a sea of gray surrounded by eternal darkness.
There was also no life inside this world. Apart from the rats, that is. I did spot something moving through the darkness, though, but I'm not sure that it could be classified as a lifeform—small orbs of light that were scouring the horizon. They came closer with every passing day, till they were right on my “doorstep”. I pressed my face against the windows, trying to see something, anything, but those orbs were just that, no matter how long I gazed at them. My initial description had been dead on. They didn't seem to be dangerous but their numbers grew steadily. If I listened very closely I could even hear faint voices from outside. They made me feel uneasy although I couldn't understand a word they said. It's as if something deep inside my mind was telling me to avoid these creatures. I didn't understand why and I'm still not entirely sure, but I've learned to avoid them.
One day I was watching them like usual when a beam of light hit me squarely in the face. Seething pain shot through my body and I tumbled to the floor while the entire windows was lit up My memories are slowly but surely fading away. I barely remembered anything to begin with, but since then I've forgotten who I was, where I came from and, most importantly, how I ended up here. Was I kidnapped by extra-dimensional beings? Was I in the middle of a magical experiment that went awry? The last one feels a more reasonable and familiar but I simply can't recall anything. Perhaps I don't want to remember.
Anyway, some time after getting hit by the light I was awoken by a series of tremors. I was terribly confused at first and ran up and down the stairs, searching for the cause. You might assume that I'm an idiot who didn't know what an earthquake is but that's not how it felt like. It came and went in waves and there was a certain rhythm to it.
After listening to it for half an hour I finally connected the dots: someone was knocking on my house! I know it sounds ridiculous, but what better way to “knock” on a building that has no doors than by shaking it? I had no idea how to respond to that, though.
Who's there?” I yelled into thin air without expecting any result whatsoever.
The “knocking” stopped instantaneously and that was it.
I went downstairs to see if anything had changed. The uncomfortable couch with its rickety table was still there. So were the bookshelves that contained nothing but empty volumes. I don't know why I was even checking the furniture. There was no reason for it to change unless something got knocked over.
My gaze wandered across the walls but there was still no door. Disappointed I tried to get a fire going while I listened to the endless ticking of the clock behind me. It took forever to light a single piece of wood and the flame was suffocated by the stifling air soon after.
What did I do to deserve such a fate?” I screamed and punched the wall in frustration. My knuckles cracked painfully and I howled in pain. “Please, I just want to go home! Haven't I suffered enough?”
Depressed I shuffled up the stairs, returning to the bedroom on the second floor. I closed the door, locked it for no particular reason and gazed out the window—the orbs were still increasing in numbers—and pulled the curtains shut before I went back to sleep.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

This version is horribly outdated.
Revision 2 is in progress.


Chapter 8: A Glimpse Into The Past

After crossing the threshold between worlds Drake's senses were assaulted by the pungent and nauseating smell of decay. It caused his stomach to grumble, ready to empty itself. He pressed a hand upon his mouth and concentrated on blocking the smell, but in the end he could only lessen its impact. A few steps away Maximilian kneeled on the ground, clutching his abdomen. All the color had drained from his face and he was gasping for air. Shortly thereafter his body began to convulse and he rammed his head into the sand over and over again.
Maximilian! Are you okay?”
Do I look—” he started to scream but his words were drowned in revolting retching noises.
Drake took a few steps towards his companion. Despite blocking most of it he quickly realized that the scent was getting progressively stronger. Could it be? He turned around and ran into the opposite direction of the swamp. The atrocious smell of decay was replaced by the stifled desert air somewhere along the way. He turned on his heels, returned to Maximilian, grabbed him by the ankles and pulled him away.
Seconds later the royal knight gasped, literally devouring the desert air as if there was no tomorrow. Drake returned the metal flask from earlier and Maximilian gulped down every single drop left within.
Hah...gosh, I've never smelled something so atrocious. I can even taste it in my mouth!”—he grabbed his bag of supplies, which had been filled with half of Drake's bag, and fished out a couple of apples—“I hope this is enough to wash the taste away.”
While he gobbled down the fruits Drake stared at the swamp. Its layout made absolutely no sense as there was no gradual transition between the mud and the sand. Instead it looked as if it had simply popped into existence one day. Drake's eyes wandered to the left, then to the right.
Is it just me or does the swamp actually have a sphere-shaped form? I don't see any irregularities, as if someone created it on purpose.”
Wouldn't surprise me, given the smell. Maybe it's supposed to keep intruders at bay.”
You think someone lives in there?”
Maybe. It certainly looks like the kind of hideout you'd expect from a villain. In fictional stories, that is.”
A thick layer of green fog engulfed the swampland, completely hiding the ground and any possible paths from view. The only objects one couldn't miss were the monolithic black trees stretching all the way into the sky. None of them showed any signs of life, though, as they were completely devoid of leaves. Dozens of adventurers had given up on venturing into the swamp after mistaking these for giant demons, which wasn't terribly surprising as many trunks were strangely deformed. Some had even fused together.
How are we going to get in there now? I doubt the smell will disappear anytime soon.”
Maximilian scratched his head and stared into the air before grabbing his enchanted robe and ripping a big chunk out of it. Then he pulled out another fruit, wrapped it into the piece of cloth and pressed it together till it was drenched in juices, after which he tied it around his face.
I hope this lasts long enough to get to the temple. Let's hurry!”
The royal knight strode away, Drake close on his heels.