Showing posts with label science fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label science fiction. Show all posts

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This version is horribly outdated.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.

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.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

This version is horribly outdated.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


Chapter 7: A Rift Between Worlds

It took them a few hours to reach Desson, a small settlement consisting of nothing more than a handful of beige stone buildings built around a well. Drake had always thought that his home town was one of the smaller villages on Meceruun, but Arlin was a city compared to this desolate town. Judging by the occasional patches of grass it might have been an oasis once but as the old man had told them: the desert won't stop till every trace of life has been extinguished. The village didn't even look like it was inhabited as there wasn't a single person in sight.
Where is everyone?” asked Maximilian while wiping sweat off his forehead.
Indoors, I assume. Who'd want to be outside under these conditions?”
Despite having most of his face hidden Drake still felt the immense heat of the desert sun upon his skin. He lost count on how often he stumbled and fell during their journey as the sun continually sapped his energy.
I thought these cloaks would be a bit more useful,” said Maximilian, wiping the sweat from his forehead once more.
How about you take it off then and see how worse it gets?” Drake chuckled.
I'd rather not. Hey, that building looks like a tavern. Might be the perfect place to waste some time while we wait for the temperature to drop.”
Shortly thereafter they stepped through the door and were greeted by complete and utter silence. Every single person in the establishment stared at the newcomers and they could hear sentences like “How did those strangers get here?” or “Maybe they know something about the pillar.” being whispered.
What? Never seen humans before?” exclaimed Maximilian loudly and the mob was taken aback, instantly returning to whatever they had been doing earlier. Conversations and laughter filled the room as normality ensued.

Friday, February 28, 2014

This version is horribly outdated.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


Chapter 6: Mirage

After the beast took over I was banished into the darkness of my mind, only able to see blurry images and listen to the monster's thoughts. The world was plunged into an azure abyss soon after and the vampire's control slipped a little while he fought for his life. I was unable to take over just yet but I could conjure imaginary stairs leading back into the center of my mind. The steps spiraled out of control, turned themselves upside down, became as thin as matchsticks, however, none of his attempts were able to stop me and when I finally reached the top I smashed through a door locked by chains of darkness. Behind it lay a spherical chamber housings hundreds of thousands of light-orbs, all showing moments that had long since passed, although I couldn't remember some of them. A smoke monster swirled through the air and accelerated when it became aware of my instrusion.
Return to the depths where you belong! I saved your pathetic life and even obeyed your order by taking the human with me. I deserve to be in control for once!
You deserve nothing! This is my body, not yours!”
It is our body and there's nothing you can do about that! Accept your fate and I won't need to take over again!
Drake materialized a sword in mid-air and grabbed its hilt. It wasn't a shadow sword, though, but one with a crystalline blade. It was bathed in radiant light and started to hum when Drake jumped into the air, ready to battle the beast within.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

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


Chapter 5: Dying Breath Of Gana Borodem

The light diminished and darkness took over. Drake's body felt like it was on fire but he couldn't see what was happening after being temporarily blinded by the crystal's radiance. He did notice the smell of burned flesh, though, and touched his face with his right arm. His eyes widened in disbelief after noticing the bloody mess that should have been his cheek. What happened?
You don't look so good, vampire!” responded Maximilian mockingly while pressing his blade into Drake's neck. “Tell me where we are and how I can get back to Pagan and I'll make it quick!” I know? You...shattered the crystal! And I...can't even see...anything!” Drake was wheezing and trembling, barely able to hold himself upright. It wasn't because of the pain, as vampires have a higher pain threshold than humans, but because most of his energy had been drained.
Maximilian removed his blade and walked in a half-circle across rocky terrain before he spoke once more: “Gosh, you look even worse from the front. Even your eyeballs are burned.”
How did this...was it the light? It has to be, right? He expected an answer from Modera but all he received was a kick to the stomach, which caused him to fall backwards onto rocks.
Agh, why did you do that?”
Just making sure that you're not putting on an act. How long will you need to regenerate?”
I don't...know. I haven't been a vampire...for very long,” his stomach grumbled, as if on cue. “And I don't know...if I have any energy regenerate. What does it even you? Just kill me already.”
No, you're not getting off that easy if you can't or won't provide information. And who knows, maybe you can still prove useful as bait for wild animals.”
I guess we're not in the vicinity...of a city or village?”
No, we're stuck in the mountains, with cliffs all around us. It's too dark to climb therefore we'll have to spend the night together. That should give you enough time to heal yourself.”
Don't you...have any potions?” The only potion we need is his blood! Trick him, suck him dry! Shut up!
Of course I do but I'd have to spend every single one of them to heal wounds as severe as yours. And I'm certainly not going to waste them on an evil creature.”
I'm not...evil!”
Sure, you were just playing a little prank by putting every person in the castle to sleep. And I suppose you were joking when you talked about kidnapping me?”
We didn't do that...because we wanted! Modera...ordered us to.”
I don't know why!” Drake yelled and suffered a coughing bout.
Don't strain yourself. We can talk later! Perhaps I'll even believe you this time,” these words were followed by the sound of metal falling onto stones. “I'll try to find some firewood. We have a long night ahead of us. You just stay there.”
Very funny!”
Maximilian's footsteps would have vanished in the distance but Drake's hearing was going haywire once more. The area was strangely quit, though, only filled by sporadic gusts of air, but Drake was too distracted by his aching skin to care. Maximilian returned 15 minutes later, started a small campfire and went to sleep soon after.
Drake tried to follow his example but was disturbed by strange sounds coming from below: thudding footsteps followed by rattling metal. Whenever they ceased a raspy breathing noise filled the air. Whatever you are, please go away! The moment those thoughts passed his mind the footsteps stopped and the ground shook ever so slightly.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

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 A lone figure clad in white stood in a world devoid of darkness. Its light stretched into infinity, unhindered by obstacles it would have encountered in the physical realm. But despite being a world the darkness cannot touch it is far from being a paradise. It's merely an endless plane without features, a place where you wouldn't even realize that you're moving forward as everything looks the same. More importantly, it's also a place without life, at least the kind of life you're accustomed to. The white-robed man remained silent for what seemed like an eternity, deep in thought since the moment he arrived as he felt that something was off. His eyes were closed and he seemed to be straining his ears although there were no sounds he could have listened to.

You wanted to talk?” booming voices resounded through the empty world, cutting through the silence.

Something seems to be wrong. Everything is proceeding in a similar fashion but if the changes continue to accumulate then everything could have been in vain. Especially since he is already stirring.”

...” a gloomy silence filled the air, even worse than when the white-robed man had entered this realm.

I've never seen this possibility. I tried so hard to find it among all the noise but it simply doesn't exist! How am I supposed to help him under these circumstances?”

Something has changed – something that might have ruined everything, but it was the only choice we had,” sadness reverberated throughout the world.

But why can't I see the deviation?”

Because it would have endangered our entire existence!

You'd rather waste everything I've done than take a risk?” the man's voice was filled with anger.


I need to see...” he was desperate now.

This might be the last time we speak to each other...please, don't let it end like this...

The world lit up in single flash of light and a sphere of pure energy surrounded the white-robed figure. He fell to his knees, pressed his hands onto his head and began to scream while the realm changed.

The brightness faded away, leaving behind nothing but a muddy gray, and the air itself seemed to ripple, slowly intensifying till a loud crack echoed through the world. The darkness had finally found a way inside...

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

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Chapter 4: Remnants Of The Marble City

When Drake awoke all signs of the attack had disappeared, although he could have sworn that the wardrobe stood in a different place last night. Glenn was already up and about, once again sitting in a chair by the wall and staring at him.

Is something wrong?”

What happened tonight?”

What do you mean? I walked around the city for a while and got lost in the process. When I finally found my way back I...went to sleep, I suppose. I might have visited the pub beforehand though. That would explain the blackout and why my head is pounding.”

You went to sleep?” asked his father incredulously.

Yes? Is something wrong with that?”

I...guess not,” he sighed and picked up a piece of parchment. “Anyway, we've got our audience. The king expects us at 3 P.M. so don't be late! The castle should be hard to miss, seeing as it's the only building that isn't ugly.”

Just wait a moment, I'll come—” Glenn stormed out of the room before Drake could finish the sentence.

Did I do something wrong?

No, you didn't. It's all my fault!”

Wait...can we talk through telepathy too?

Yes. It's one of the few skills that doesn't require us to...drink blood. With enough training we could even control the actions of others, but we don't want that, do we?”

No...I suppose we don't...

You suppose?”

Well, it could be useful under certain circumstances...

Don't be stupid! You have to hold on to the remnants of your humanity instead of giving in to the beast!”

Why are so you mad?

It doesn't matter! Just meet me at the castle in a few hours! Oh, but visit the armor shop beforehand and get yourself a new set. Keep the leather armor though. I doubt anything in Pagan could match it's enchantment, at least anything you could actually afford.”

Silence returned and Drake went to the bathroom to freshen up. He would never choose to live in Pagan instead of Arlin but they had a nifty system in place where you only needed to turn a few knobs to get all the water you needed. You could even heat it up on the way! Drake assumed it to be some kind of magic whereas it was actually an invention created by the dwarves during the Golden Age. They never managed to distribute the system to any human settlements though as the war broke out soon after. It wasn't until hundreds of years later that an expedition led by the Adventurers Guild stumbled upon the plans in an abandoned dwarven outpost. That's one of the reasons they could afford to built such extraordinary guild halls all over the globe.

Drake noticed his blood-shot eyes in the mirror as he dried his face but assumed it to be nothing more than a side effect of his transformation. He was actually more surprised that he had a reflection to begin with but seeing as nearly everything he knew about vampires seemed to be wrong it shouldn't have been much of a surprise. If Modera could have listened in she would have ridiculed him for assuming that an inanimate object would care if he was dead or alive. Isn't there something like a vampire's handbook? Certainly couldn't hurt. With that in mind he left the room.

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Chapter 4: Remnants Of The Marble City

The moment I died the world changed: All colors faded away, time slowed down to a crawl and Modera's laughter, as well as every other sound, was replaced by an eerie silence. Not an absolute silence though as I could hear something resembling rolling thunder in the distance, which made me feel uneasy for no discernible reason. It's hard to describe but something began to well up in the deepest recesses of my mind. It can't be! Why am I able to hear it already? But the moment realization dawned upon me pain seared through my soul and erased everything. Still, I felt compelled to investigate and stood up, leaving my body behind. I didn't seem to care though, as if I had already accepted my fate and was ready to move on. Maybe it was the only chance I had before Modera corrupted my soul and brought me back to life.

That is correct. Modera is too busy celebrating her victory, which gives you more than enough time to choose if you want to live on as a vampire or if you want to die,” responded a muffled voice to my thoughts, which should have been weird but something inside me knew that I wasn't alone anymore. I turned around and my expectations were met when I saw a black-robed figure bearing a scythe. “I'll never understand why mortals need to be afraid of death even after their demise. Wouldn't you prefer something that calms your soul before you move on?”

I've never actually thought of that.”

It's always the same, no matter who I ask,” he sighed, “But you might be the only person who should actually be afraid of me!”

I don't understand...”

Of course you don't and maybe you'll never remember, but I don't have to forgive you for your choice! Just don't screw up this time!” his voice was but a mere echo at this point as his form flickered out of existence.

What about my choice?!”

I don't care about your choice!”

Alone again and it seems that time had moved on while I wasn't looking. Modera was kneeling in front of my body now, certainly getting ready to transform me into a creature of darkness. Incapable of stopping her I went towards the balcony to bask in the light of the sun one last time. I failed to do so though as the beautiful ball of fire had been replaced by an ominous storm cloud in the distance. It should have been too far away to make out any details but I swear that I saw something resembling a face in its center. At that exact moment something began to pull at my soul.

Let me end your suffering!” demanded a familiar voice but before I could put my finger on it I was sucked back into my body.

Unimaginable pain began to course through my mind and body!

We were marching through the frozen wastelands of the north after having claimed victory at last! After centuries of war we would finally be at peace.

Modera's blood began to flow through my veins and my body felt like it was on fire as it tried to fight back in vain.

Night had already fallen and our party was about to call it a day when darkness descended upon our camp! I've never felt so much power before.

My whole body convulsed painfully as dozens of arteries exploded and mended themselves at the same time!

The corpses of our most magnificent warriors littered the ground, painting the snow red while he continued to rip them apart! Their dying screams echoed across the clearing and I ended up with blood all over my clothes without being able to save even a single one of them!

Something was eating itself through my brain and I screamed and screamed and screamed while the headache got so horrendous that I thought my skull would explode!

Only the two us were left alive when a sphere of pure energy erased every trace of the massacre! When I awoke I was all alone...

The pain subsided when my heart began to beat again, pumping the tainted blood through my veins.

My eyes have been opened! He will come and save us! Bring salvation and rejuvenation! He will! He must! He has to! Destroy him! You don't have a choice! It is your destiny!

The Savior! The Promised One! He who will vanquish the darkness! All meaningless if you fai—arghhh!