June 2003 - Mail Achieves

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June 2003 - Mail Achieves

Post by Jayne » Sat Mar 26, 2016 3:54 am

A warrior's last bid for sanity
Author: Jack Allen
Date: 1st June 2003Jack Allen


Tempus Vlorress squared his shoulders and strode towards the guardhouse, application in hand. he hadn't been the same since he and Aridia got a divorce, but having the bounty on his head sorta occupied most of his time. now that all of that was over and done with, he needed something to keep him busy or else well.....he'd be one for the loony bin. he'd sent in applications before but had never been accepted, why he didn't know. he might not be a model citizen but he stayed within the boundaries of the law...most of the time. hell, he'd even helped the guard on a few occasions, but maybe he wasn't being loud enough for them to hear. he knew Quetz would put in a good word for him, if the lizard-man ever showed his face around Drache again. it was either the Guard or the Riders again, and he didn't know how much more needless bloodshed he could stand. both he and Aridia had hoped that Drache would clean up it's act in time, but now Tempus knew he had to step in and do something about it, alone if he had to. Drache had really gone downhill and he meant to take it back up, at least a little. he cracked his neck and turned the application in, returning to the inn to drink himself into a stupor until the news as to whether or not he'd been accepted came to him....

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Re: June 2003 - Mail Achieves

Post by Jayne » Sat Mar 26, 2016 4:45 am

Alijac Protection Agency (Ashlan)
Author: Catherine
Date: 5 June 2003

Ashlan leaves this letter with Dulcina, another hundred gold is given to her for payment to see the letter is given to the owner of Alijac Protection Agency, Whom she knows and has delivered letters to before for Ashlan.

Dear Sir,

I am inquiring as to where you are and why you have not sent word of any problems you might be having. I am disappointed that you are not keeping your end of the deal. Why would you seek to take a person's coin and then not continue with your part of the deal. If you are having difficulties please let me know and perhaps I may help you with them. If I do not hear from you in a fortnight then I will consider this deal broken and when we meet again you and I will be having a long talk one to one.

Do have a good evening and I look forward to seeing you soon.

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Re: June 2003 - Mail Achieves

Post by Jayne » Sat Mar 26, 2016 4:48 am

SirMikal
Author: Catherine
Date: 5 June 2003
Section: Roleplay

Ashlan retired for the day, but not before she had gathered all the platinum she had in the small chest left over and added to the medium one. she took out enough to last her a while and then closed up the rest. She got the chest ready with her signature and then put it back in its hiding place. She slept peacefully as she was back in what she considered her haven and beloved home. Another body guard gone and a new one to take its place. She hopes this one will be loyal and not abandon her like the others. The last one only lasted two nights. Perhaps it is the waiting is part of the game they have not ability for or what trials that may come.

Upon waking Ashlan got up and bathed and put on clean clothing and her armor, she lifted the chest out of its hiding place and set it in the center of the floor, this chest was medium in size, but extremely heavy, she struggled with it for a few and then called the stable boy to come with his other friend and haul it down to the carriage. She then rode out of the west gate to the keep where she was instructed to leave the chest and set it out beside the stable house where she had been asked to put it and with her signature on it. She had the carriage pull off afterwards and then she cut back on foot and waited in the shadows for the longest time to ensure none had been following her or would steal the Chest...once she was sure it was safe where she was told to put it she returned to the inn to wait, it was only an hour past sundown when she returned to the inn.. she waits for her new guard to show up. She hoped he would be happy with the five-hundred thousand instead of the four hundred and fifty thousand that was required. She mused her thoughts as the carriage returned her back to the inn.

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Re: June 2003 - Mail Achieves

Post by Jayne » Sat Mar 26, 2016 5:36 am

A bodyguard's worst mistake
Author: Jack Allen
Date: 5 June 2003


The night was cool, that was what awakened the High One. Jackal Elcrys sat up, wincing slightly from sudden, intense pain in his chest. Then he remembered what had happened...

His day guarding Ashlan began like any other, he remained awake despite her order to sleep. Yet for some reason he did sleep, falling into a deep slumber from which he could not free himself. When he awoke it was dawn and Ashlan still slept peacefully. Yet something wasn't right, but Jackal was still groggy and was unable to discern what it was.

Ashlan awoke and bathed, Jackal standing guard just outside the door. When she walked out fully dressed, the High One expressed his concerns that perhaps her protection of her room had malfunctioned and caused something strange to happen. Ashlan laughed at him before walking down the stairs, Jackal in tow. Suddenly, Jackal knew what had happened. the man dressed in a dark cloak had ordered him a mug of ale to show there were no hard feelings for Jackal's curt order to vacate Ashlan's presence unless spoken for by Ashlan herself.

Jackal was kicking himself as a thousand time fool. he had been drugged. he drew his twin drow crafted longswords and challenged Ashlan, or the one taking the guise as the woman he was to protect. Of course, it wasn't Ashlan at all, but the man in the black cloak, who also happened to be after Ashlan. A fierce battle ensued leaving Jackal as the victor, yet the killing blow never landed for the door of the 'inn' burst open and dozens of men and beasts poured in, attacking the High One from every angle.

Jackal fought like a madman to clear a path to the door, deciding that getting back to Ashlan would be a better idea than remaining to fight everything that came at him. Once he stepped outside he knew for certain that he was no longer in Arangoth, and quite possibly, no longer on the same plane. His powers didn't seem to work in this place, leaving him only with his fighting skills. that was enough for Jackal. He turned and threw himself into the masses of men and beasts with his famous battle howl, slashing and hacking at anything that moved. He was injured, though it didn't stop him, and when each and every man and beast had fallen.

Jackal stood in a pool of blood which was as much his as it was from the others. again he cursed himself for a fool and took flight, attacking anything in his path as he sought to find a way out of the seemingly inescapable prison he was in. For two days he ran without stopping for food or water, searching for a way to get back to his charge.

His wounds had begun to fester and rot, forcing him to slow his pace in order to care for them as best he could. At almost every turn he was assaulted by both men and beasts, leaving a trail of death behind him as he searched. Finally, exhausted from his wounds and the constant running battles, he collapsed on the ground and knew no more.

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Re: June 2003 - Mail Achieves

Post by Jayne » Sat Mar 26, 2016 5:40 am

A bodyguard's worst mistake, continued
Author: Jack Allen
Date: 5 June 2003


Jackal forced himself to stand, revealing that incredible stubborn strength he possessed. He began to run again, fighting his way through a mountain pass and then through a crowded city. In every battle he received more wounds, yet he allowed none to slow him down. He continued to run, unable to use any of his powers to aid his flight or even heal his wounds.

It seemed as if the entire world he was in wished to see him dead, which was fine for the High One, he was ready for the challenge. Miles upon miles he ran, fighting nearly every step of the way. It became routine, run a mile or two, stand and fight a small force, cut a path and continue running. How long had he been going? he had lost track many hours ago. His main objective was to find a way back to Drache so he could inform his charge of the reasons why he had been absent.

Mile after mile he ran and fought, never slowing long enough to catch his breath or get a drink. His nose had stopped working several hours ago when the first rotting wound had assailed his senses, now that nearly every wound was infected and diseased, he was slowing down but not by much. Then he began to see sights he recognized though they only seemed to get further and further away as he headed towards them. It was a nasty mirror effect that some greater power had employed to use on Jackal, making it seem as if the lands were getting distant but in actuality the High One was running in one big circle.

It had been six days now that Jackal had been running and fighting what seemed to be an endless fight, and Jackal was growing weaker and weaker. He wasn't sure how much longer he could run, or fight for that matter. But it came to him as he collapsed to the ground once again, perhaps there was a reason why the lands he knew were getting farther and farther away with every mile he travelled. He forced himself to stand and walked slowly towards the lands. the mirror effect changed sluggishly to match his pace but he had caught on, suddenly he took off, running at top speed.

Within seconds he was out and running across lands he knew. He was still many miles from Arangoth but at least he would get there within the next few days.

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Re: June 2003 - Mail Achieves

Post by Jayne » Sat Mar 26, 2016 7:56 pm

The shy Little Elf
Author: Brandi
Date: 8 June 2003

It was always the same story when the little elf walks in to the inns common room. The muffin girl's may be fighting for the right to impress Percy. Or Leggi, who lexa found most odd, was taunting the men in ways that the girl could only blush about. The knights the children..all of it so odd and amazing to her. And yet, a possible death sentence to what sanity she had.

A sighs crossed her lips as she stayed in the shadows watching the life about her. So many races her people passes in to legends. So many things she could paint and capture for all time if she could gather the nerve to make but one friend. But her gift.. her curse of empathy.. would it let her?

Looking out the window now she looked to the university and thought about her Psionics teacher Be`ial_Gervaisius. In hopes she would be a good student to him. To cage what is with in her and then temper it in ways she could control. Maybe then she will no longer be an outsider to the world.. maybe....

But for now the shy little elf just watched from afar with longing in her heart .. and hope finally seated in her soul.

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Re: June 2003 - Mail Achieves

Post by Jayne » Sun Mar 27, 2016 5:02 am

The Green Prison
Author: Kylus
Date: 11 June 2003
Part: 1/4

"On your right!"

The mage turned, but not in time to stop the missile of pure magical energy as it ripped through his chest. He crumpled, green robes turning brown as blood welled from the hole in his body, staining the fabric. Caradox Teridyan sighed once, looking at his fallen ally for only a moment before he moved on, climbing further up the Krenda`dul`Ur, the Mountain of Skulls, with those mages of the Green Order and Knights of the Azure Sword that still lived. They'd almost reached the top now, after a bloody and hellish charge across the Fields of Night, in the domain of the Kreythaani, the order of Dark Wizards that lived atop the Krenda. Their fortress was the goal of this assault; within its walls, they were there. The Kreythaani Conclave, the 13 blackest wizards in the world, stood atop the mountain in their fortress, conducting a ritual that would grant them the powers of the demon realm.

Caradox looked up, green eyes staring at the sky, watching the rolling black clouds that massed and spiraled around the apex of the Krenda...burn it, this was not good! It would happen at any moment now! They needed to get up there! They were so close.

An arrow *shhhhhhhhhhhhriked!* past his face, and Caradox started, blinking, looking down and seeing the goblin that shot it charging him with its rusted broadsword drawn. The mage put his hands up, weaving a fireball, but he never had the time to cast it. There was a flash of blue, a spattering of black blood, and the goblin shrieked, its body disintegrating into blue ash that scattered on the dark wind that had picked up. Caradox blinked, looking at his savior. He smiled, seeing his friend and saying, "Bala...thank you."

"I figured you'd need your strength." the tall man, clad in shining steel halfplate, the leather of which had been dyed blue. In his strong hand Balakar Deryeth held a blade of pure azure. Caradox sighed. Lord Akron, the leader of the Knights of the Azure Sword, had fallen. Balakar was now the bearer of the blade, a weapon which was said to be forged from a shard of the great Jewel of Concordance that was in the center of the earth. Indeed, its holy power could not be questioned, not after Bala utterly destroyed a goblin with it.

"Who is left?" Caradox asked quickly, looking around the slope of the mountain. The battle was near over, with almost all dead on both sides. He sighed again...what would history write about this day? Would they write the truth--that it had been a necessary evil to save the world from what the Conclave was attempting?--or would they write only of the waste of lives, more skulls added to the Krenda that was already too steep...?

"...listening to me, wizard?" Balakar snapped. Caradox blinked, shaking his head a bit and looking at the Knight. "Aye aye I'm sorry..."

"I said, Jeth, Erianya, and Kir are left." the large man said, eyeing his smaller companion.

"That is IT?" Caradox cried. He almost fell to his knees as Bala nodded. They'd stormed the mountain with over 3000 troops and now...only five. Five to face the dread Kreythaani Conclave.

How could they succeed? Only five? They would have to hurry...there was not much time. The wizard looked at Bala and nodded, lips drawing into a thin line, grimness in his eyes. At least Erianya was alive, for she carried the Prison, and without that, the Conclave could not be dealt with.

"Let's get them, Bala, and move...we haven't much time."

"We're already here, Dox," a grizzled old voice said, and Caradox turned, looking at the large,hefty knight that smiled grimly to him. Jeth Forlar, an older knight, had not lost any of his strength or determination for all that he'd lost the blackness of his beard and hair.

"Indeed we are, son." said the ancient-looking wizard as he squinted at Caradox from behind his round spectacles. Kir Garnoth, head of the Green Order looked at the younger wizard almost fatherly, hobbling over and laying a gnarled old hand on his shoulder, "Come we must do what need be done."

"Aye, we must." a clear, female voice said as its owner stepped from behind Jeth. Erianya Qier`mas, one of the few elven mages in the Green Order, looked at Caradox with her shining lavender eyes, her pale hands filled with a huge green gem: the Prison.

Caradox looked at them all, from Bala to Jeth, to Kir and Erianya, and then nodded. "Let us go quickly..." he said, and then turned to ascend to the summit of the Krenda`dul`Ur.

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Re: June 2003 - Mail Achieves

Post by Jayne » Sun Mar 27, 2016 5:46 am

The Green Prison (2)
Author: Kylus
Date: 11 June 2003
Part: 2/4

They met no more resistance to the top of the Mountain of Skulls; the Green Order and the Azure Knights had done their duty, and though thousands died on this field, they each of them took two or three of the enemy with them. The magics of the Kreythaani could not touch them now, for the Conclave would be working on their ritual, all their power devoted to calling up the demon world.

Indeed when they reached the top of the mountain, they were astonished to find the gate of the fortress wide open. Caradox's heart leapt and froze in the same instant; either the Kreythaani were becoming arrogant in their power and dreams, or they had set traps and were inviting would-be heroes to their doom. The wizard suspected the latter, but of course all the enemy magic was going into the ritual spells--and the Kreythaani were not experts at mechanical traps.

"Looks a bit fishy to me..." Jeth grumbled.

"To say the least!" replied Kir as he looked sidelong at Caradox, "This is your expedition, son...are we charging, or dancing a mine field?"

Caradox swallowed...hard...his mind raced furiously, weighing the possibilities, the likelihoods--traps or lack of magic? Traps or lack of magic? He shook his head, cursing himself inside! The more he debated, the more time slipped by. If they danced, they wasted time, and they would arrive too late! Finally he just charged through, calling back, "We go!" and stepping into the darkness of the Kreythaani stronghold.

A dark pit full of stinking, rancid, rotting smells and bodies--but one without magical traps! That was the thought that ran through each of their minds as they raced along the black corridor that intelligence (and Kir's magical homing spell) had reported led to the hall where the Conclave was performing its ritual.

"How long you think we got left?" Jeth asked as their feet clacked on the polished black stones. No sooner had the words left the bearded mouth, but thunder boomed, lightning crackled outside, and the whole keep shuddered and shook as the earth rolled under it.

"Not much, I wager." Erianya said softly, a wince on her face. The thunder had been loud, even from inside the stone walls, and elven ears were very sensitive. Caradox said nothing as he ran, but gasped as the polished ebony door rose up in front of him out of the shadows. He stopped, the others halting behind him, and looked up at the portal.

The voices behind were crisp, loud, demanding as they invoked the demonic names and invited them to descend into the mortal realm. The mage felt icy dread crawl into his heart again. "This must be perfect," he said quietly to the others, "for the Conclave has already summoned the demon masters to the plane. To interrupt it now would loose them onto the world." Bala cursed, pulling the Azure Sword halfway from its sheath "I'll not sit here and watch them, even if I am too late! I'll take one or two down before I die!" Both Jeth and Kir clamped hands on him and Caradox waved his arms quickly.

"No! It's not too late...not completely. We must wait until the demon lords inhabit the bodies of the Kreythaani. They will be weak, disoriented. We will use that time to trap them in the Prison."

"Will that work?" Jeth asked.

"Aye." Caradox, Kir, and Erianya replied simultaneously. Jeth looked at Bala and huffed...wizards and their magic...bah...nothing beat an honest, straightforward swordfight. But the Kreythaani were magic, and...well, best to fight fire with fire...or magic with magic. "Well then, you got my vote Dox."

Caradox looked at the others, watching as they nodded in confirmation and support. He turned back around, facing the ebon door, pushing down the ice-cold feeling that he'd not live nor step outside this room again once he walked in. But that was not important right now--nothing else was, short of dealing with the 13 greedy and insane men on the other side of this wooden barrier. He closed his eyes for brief seconds and put aside fear, doubt, and thoughts of what history would write about this day.

And then he pushed the doors open...

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Re: June 2003 - Mail Achieves

Post by Jayne » Sun Mar 27, 2016 5:47 am

The Green Prison (3)
Author: Kylus
Date: 11 June 2003
Part: 3/4

The doors slid open easily, and the five companions gasped as one when they beheld what the central chamber contained: 13 men, each clad in black silk, each with his arms and head raised up to the darkness above, and each with his eyes shining with greed, ambition, and something else that Caradox could only identify as pure, unadulterated malevolence.

He stared, arms spreading out on each side to keep the others from rushing forward. No doubt Jeth and Bala wanted to jump into the fray and try to deal with them with old steel. The mage had to smile despite his position; good old Bala. He never did trust magic that much, and now here he was, along with Jeth and three wizards, fighting a battle that only magic could win.

Jeth started forward then, but Kir's bony old hand grabbed the older knight's armored bicep with surprising strength, and Caradox heard him whisper "No! No interference! Not yet! To break it now would loose the demons on the world unmastered! Once they take the bodies of those poor fools they will be weak! Unmastered, they'll destroy us with a glance!" It was a hard reality, but bending the reality of what was before them would not help things...one misstep and the world would pay. They would have to wait as Kir said, until the demon lords descended and took over the bodies of the Kreythaani.

They did not have to wait long.

Caradox gasped and watched in horrified fascination as the domed ceiling of the room disintegrated, giving view to the swirling mass of black clouds that spiraled upwards, into a singularity of darkness, a point that was growing ever larger as the voices of the Kreythaani Conclave rose in unison to a thundering fountain of arcane syllables. Lower and lower it fell, the dark void in the clouds descending faster as the wizards shouted in unison the words that would summoning the demon lords to their bodies.

And then they came.

The wizards of the Conclave were silenced as dark void of the demon realm came to them, embracing them in shadows blacker than night as tendrils of multicolored smoke trickled down from the swirling mass in the sky: the demon lords. Caradox and his companions watched as each of them were overtaken by wisps of spirit that cackled and cursed, laughed and cried, screamed in pain and triumph all at once. They watched, horrified and fascinated at the same time as the bodies of the Kreythaani began to change...

Jagool Dremikai, a small ratty man of what the Green Order considered inconsequential power gave the five that stood in the doorway before his body became a human torch, and the demon of flames, Lord of the Fiery Hell, descended into the wizard, whose clothes turned to dust and skin to sweet smelling ash, his scream of triumph turning to one of agony as his body became--and would be forever--a living fire.

Crannach Telar, as thin and lanky as Jagool was small, but just as ratty-looking turned his small head towards the doorway as the demon of ice, Master of the Eternally Icy Hell, pierced the wizard's heart. There he stood, frozen solid, eyes turning a pure shade of ice blue as the demon pervaded his body, transforming him. Bones snapped, fingers fell off, frozen to the point of weakness, and Crannach's scream was stopped short as his frozen throat shattered.

Kyler Frey`drin, an elven outcast that joined the Kreythaani never had time to look upon the intruders, for the Demon of Smoke and Poison pervaded his being as fast as a hurricane, choking the wizard who feebly attempted to gasp for air against the tide of toxic wind and smoke that filled his lungs. He managed a small, pitiful whine before his chest exploded, gore pouring to the floor followed by an endless stream of noxious smoke, that seemed to have a will of its own, and poured from the chest of the hapless magician, only to wind its way upward and creep back in through his nose and mouth.

Terdel Granarach, once of the Green Order (though only a novice before his impatience prompted him to flee to the Krenda), shouted in alarm as the wisps of brown-grey smoke fell upon him like a rock. Indeed it was, for the Lord of Cinders and Ash grasped the tall blonde-headed magician and choked the life from him in moments. Terdel's dying breath no sooner left his lips then his skin turned to ash, held together by what could only be magic; his breath was then smoke, and his eyes turned to two red-glowing cinders.

Dreyk Coranth cackled with hysteria, madness in his blue eyes as the Master of Chaos engulfed him, burning and freezing, crushing and tearing all in the same instance. His body became nothing more than a man-shaped void, where reality did not exist. Water burned, fire froze, air turned solid, and earth to mud. His insane laughter turned to a shriek of agony as the elements coursed wildly through him, destroying and creating parts of his being erratically.

Markus Cremdul shrieked, his greed turned to total and absolute fright as the Demon of Panic wrapped around him, his legs falling off at the hip, replaced by a swirling wind of magic even as the mage's face was stretched out vertically, bones in his jaw and skull popping and crunching as his visage was stretched until his mouth was opened in a permanent scream. He gave a wail, and it echoed and grew louder, and louder still, a moan of pain, agony, regret, and sorrow.

Arcus Dromiran attempted to throw a fireball at the five as he saw them, but the Demon Lord of Famine was far too fast for the wizard, entering his body and causing it to shrivel and shrink, the skin browning and tightening around his bones--so tight in some places that the leather-like skin tore, exposing joints and tendons and muscle.

Eamos Kri`gan, another elven outcast, cried out in anguish as the the Demon Lord of Death pierced his body in the center of his forehead, the force of the magical invasion splitting the skin of his head, and peeling it away, the epidermis turning to ash as it fell away from the bleached white skull. He turned his skinless head and looked at the five. Where his eyes should have been, only two lights of cold silver flickered angrily.

Rendux Sanracht put his hands to his head and fell to his knees, an inhuman scream escaping his lips as the Demon of Blood pervaded his body, wracking him with pain as his own lifeblood began to ooze from his pores, out his ears, his nose, until his body was covered. His red-stained hands grew claws and with them he tore his own eyes out as the pain drove him to madness and his soul was rent asunder by the demon's spirit.

Ayrus Sehndar was enshrouded by the demon of deception, the Prince of Lies, and his eyes became black as coal, dark horns sprouted from a head whose black hair fell out in clumps, and lumps of bone rose under skin that became as pale as chalk. His scream of agony was cut short as the skin of his face grew over his mouth, sealing it shut forever.

Gendra Iscar, the third most powerful mage of the Kreythaani Conclave, was reduced to tears and whimpers as the Lord of Sin descended unto him, causing his right hand to fall off at the wrist, and embed itself, palm out, in his bared chest. The magician screeched in horror and pain as his left eye fell from its socket, melding into the open palm of the newly grafted hand. His right stump grew a six-clawed hand, and his left socket came alive with a deep red light.

Tomarach Xendel threw his black-clad arms up and welcomed the Master of Destruction as its spirit raced from the void to embrace him. Xendel's body exploded then, the gore disintegrating to nothing, replaced by a swirling wind of dark smoke and magic from the demonic void, from which multicolored eyes looked out. The void of eyes swirled, destroying everything it touched: the stone floor, the robes of what were once wizards, everything.

And then the thirteenth wizard who stood in the ring of the 12 that used to be his cohorts, a man named Ziereth Tahlamdrect--who used to be on the Emerald Council, the Green Order's governing body--raised his arms and threw back his head, shouting in joy, fear, elation and grief as the Overlord of the Demon Realm, the King of All Evil, pounced upon him, his essence filling the strongest wizard in the Kreythaani Conclave, causing his skin the blacken and thicken, his eyes to darken into pits of blood-red evil. His form grew twice over, ebony spikes and horns growing from his back and head. And as the greedy leader of what was once the Kreythaani thirteen stood to his full height, a third blood-red eye, the All-Seeing Eye of Evil, opened its gaze from the center of his forehead...

There they stood, locked in the void, and Caradox, Bala, Jeth, Kir, and Erianya could only watch as their transformations happened all at once, their screams of joy changing to horror and agony as each was transmuted into a creature worse than the last. And then it was gone; the rolling black clouds, the vortex to the Demon Realm, and the power. And without the powers of that dread realm, the newly born demon lords collapsed to the ground, unconscious and exhausted. The last fading screams of the souls of the Kreythaani Conclave were banished with a final clap of thunder, and Caradox was left standing in the suddenly silent chamber, staring at what would be the end of the world if they did not act.

"We must hurry." he said. And without waiting for a reply or argument, he stepped forward...

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Re: June 2003 - Mail Achieves

Post by Jayne » Sun Mar 27, 2016 5:47 am

The Green Prison (final)
Author: Kylus
Date: 11 June 2003
Part: 4/4

Caradox moved into the central chamber, trying to ignore the scent of burned cloth, entrails, blood, and charred flesh, as well as the pounding of his own heart as it threatened to beat itself out of his chest. He turned, looking at the rest, and took small comfort in the fact that their faces echoed similar fear. That was not the issue now, however. There was work to be done. The mage turned to the elf that carried the Prison, and said, "Eriyana, the Prison. Place it down near Tahlam--" he stopped himself, not trusting the names of the Kreythaani any longer...to name them may wake them, and that was the LAST thing they needed, "--the head wizard, as they told us."

"Aye." Erianya replied softly, her voice catching a bit. She stepped towards Caradox, holding the Green Prison gem out a bit as she set it gently on the black stone floor, among the ashes of burnt flesh and clothes, and charred innards. Caradox nodded to her, looking at Kir, who only nodded and hobbled towards the mess, standing across from the other two mages, the three of them gathered around the Green Prison.

"What do we do?" Bala asked stepping towards them. Jeth followed and Caradox said softly, "Protect us. The magic we are about to cast will undoubtedly awaken them. They'll be weak. Hopefully your blades--the Azure Sword especially--will be able to fend off their attacks." The knights nodded, drawing their swords, Jeth taking hold of his greatsword in both hands, and Bala crouching as he drew the Azure Sword, ready and waiting for anything that may come. Caradox sighed, the nagging feeling that he'd not see the outside of the Kreythaani keep again crawling up his spine. He shrugged it off and looked at his two wizardly companions. "Do we start?" he asked.

Caradox, Kir, and Erianya all raised their hands, their green robes falling down their arms as they began to chant the spell that was developed and constructed by the group of archmages that had built the prison. The green gem began to glow with a light of its own as sweat started to bead upon the brows of the three mages. Caradox resisted the urge to wipe it from his head--any stray motion could disrupt the spell. Like a finely-oiled mechanism, the three mages moved, spoke, and weaved the magic of the Prison in unison, the green light of the gem growing and growing, pulsing as a magical wind began to stir in the room.

It was then that they started to move; the newly born demon lords began to stir.

The gout of fire flew towards Bala quickly, but he was faster, swinging the Azure blade and splitting the flame into two streams that passed to each side of him and his comrades. He glanced sidelong and saw Jeth as the large man turned aside a large stone projectile that another demon threw towards them. "Dox...have to hurry!" he said roughly as he swung the Azure Sword at a claw that lashed out.

Caradox heard, but continued the pace with the other magicians, the wind of the Prison picking up rapidly. Thunder crackled and lightning flashed up above, and the demons hesitated, pausing in their feeble assaults to look up, feel the magic, realize what was happening. And they began scream and lament their fate, for they saw what must happen, saw that they were not strong enough to defeat their enemies and escape what they had summoned. Their rage shook the building, and the very roots of the Krenda`dul`Ur itself, but the Prison remained, the wind picking up and swirling into a hurricane, the vortex focused upon the gem.

Erianya and Kir lowered their arms and backed away, each getting the attention of one of the knights. "That is all!" Kir shouted above the whipping wind, "We must flee, or be claimed by the prison!"

"Look!" Erianya pointed back at the Prison, where Caradox still stood, hands spread over the gem, lips moving in soft incantation. Bala cursed, shouting, "Come on, Dox! It's done is it not? You have to come!" Caradox smiled softly, pausing in his spells, the wind fading drastically as he did so. "Do you see?" he asked softly, "It will die if I do not maintain it...they're stronger than the Order believed. They will fight every step of the way. Go now! Get out of here...get down the mountain, for I am not sure it will be here when this is done! Go now! Go!" he turned from them, resuming his spell, maintaining the wind as he closed his eyes to keep the tears of fear and sorrow that threatened to overwhelm him. That couldn't happen for he'd fail if he dwelled upon it. They'd die; Bala, his friend for so long, Kir, Jeth, Erianya...all of them, and all the people of the world if these beings were allowed to escape.

He swallowed, opening his eyes and drawing his knife from his brown belt and running it across the palm of his hand. The blood welled forth happily, filling his palm and spilling over, onto the Prison. The gem flared, its magic now fueled by the most powerful reagent in the known world: wizard's blood. Caradox watched and saw the tornado that he and the others created as it drew the evil demon lords to it, oblivious to their screams and wails, uninterested in their attempts to escape, or to hold onto the stone floor. He could hear claws dig into stone and score it as the wind dragged them to the vortex, and into the gem, their prison.

Caradox watched, and smiled as he saw the Lord of All Evil dragged snarling into the gem. And the mage looked up, and saw the winds of his own doom coming to claim him. He raised his arms up, his last thoughts of his friends, and a plea to the gods that the history books remember those that fell to allow them to stop the evil here...

* * * * * * * * * *

Bala ran.

Jeth had dragged him down half the Mountain of Skulls, and he'd fought the older knight the whole way, screaming that he needed to save Caradox...but he knew now it was not to be. He ran with the other three, and with Jeth picked up Kir by the arms and hauled him, for the old mage could not run fast enough to suit them. They ran and ran, almost tumbling down the slope of the Krenda`dul`Ur, none daring to look back at the fate that awaited Caradox.

Until it made its presence known.

No sooner did they get down the major slope did an explosion shake the very roots of the earth, sending all four to the ground. Bala turned, and watched open-mouthed as the top half of the Moutain of Skulls disintegrated. He dropped to the ground then, covering half of Kir and Erianya as he did so, Jeth protecting the rest as rocks, dirt, and debris rained down upon them.

They lay there for nearly a quarter of an hour before the storm of talus ceased long enough that they dared to arise. What they saw was inconceivable: the mountain was almost gone! More than half of the upper portion of the moutain--and obviously the Kreythaani fortress--was obliterated! Bala did the only thing he could think of at that point; he ran up the destroyed mount, and the footsteps and shouts he'd heard behind him only spurred him on faster. Perhaps Dox had managed to save himself at the last moment! He could have tele-whats-it out of there before the mountain blew. He was probably in the crator now, waiting for him! And they'd go home, together, and be proclaimed heroes like they'd planned and dreamed so long ago. He reached the top and looked down.

No Caradox.
No Hope.
No Going home together.

Only a large, blood-stained green gem that pulsed and flickered with its own internal light. Erianya gasped from behind Bala and she slid down the slope of the crator, running towards the gem. Bala, Kir, and Jeth followed, and soon all four were there, gathered around the prison that Caradox had given his life to see sealed.

"...used his blood to strengthen it." Kir said softly, the old man choking a bit on his words.

"...man had guts...never forget him." Jeth said, upper lip stiff, though he turned, muttering about dust in his eyes.

"...his own blood...oh Caradox.." Erianya said softly, her pale eyes tearing a bit.

Bala looked at the gem, head lowering. "Good bye, Dox," he said softly, "I won't let the history books forget you...."

* * * * * * * * * *

"And thus it was that Caradox, mightiest mage of the Green Order, led the expedition to the dark hold of the Kreythaani to seal them away before their newfound powers could wreak the destruction of the world.

With him were Balakar Deryeth of the Azure Sword, Sir Jeth Forlar, Kir Garnoth and Erianya Qier`mas, both of the Green Order. These five alone stormed the keep of the dread wizards and beheld the spawning of the demon lords.

Dremikai of the Fiery Hell, Telar of the Eternal Ice;
Frey`Drin of Smoke and Poison, Granarach of Cinders and Ash;
Coranth of Chaos, Cremdul of Panic;
Dromiran of Famine, Kri`gan of Death;
Sanracht of Blood, Sehndar of Lies;
Iscar of Sin, Xendel of Destruction;
And He, Tahlamdrect, the Lord of All Evil.

And so it was that Caradox gave his life to see these dread beings sealed into the Prison gem that bears his name, an eternal reminder of the sacrifice he made to save the world from the powers of the demon realm."

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