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 Tira'Ferma

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AvidWriter117
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PostSubject: Tira'Ferma   Thu Sep 06, 2007 8:53 pm

Okay, this is not fan fiction, so i dont think it should go in that section. This is the first chapter of my story, working title "Tira'Ferma". I will not be posting the rest of the chapters, as i intend to publish this story. This is simply to find out if the world i have created is likeable. Each chapter surrounds a different character, witnessing a different important event in this ficional land. Each story has similarities, and some may have somewhat discrete connections. At the end of the book, it is my hope to connect all the chapters completely, revealing some info that will blow your mind.

Chapter 1


Tall grass flowed in the wind upon Central Field of Tira’Ferma. The Heavy glow of Helios reflected off the small pools strewn throughout the plain. Blood dripped slowly into one of these pools. A torn and shredded human body lay beside it. His claws slowly retracted into his fingers, and his digitigrade legs reformed into those of a Human. His muzzle shortened, and once again became a human Jaw.
A dozen feet away, another body lay. His skin was shredded, as if by an animal. His jaw was broken, and his ear had been ripped off. Fangs retreated into his jaw, wings shrank slowly into his back, and steam rose off his body as the sun’s rays hit him.
“Anything you can do for them?”
“Nah...the werewolf’s been bitten, and the Vamp has been in the sun too long.”
“Should we...clean it up?”
No. Let the Dragons have them.”

Diagnosing the dead is not a very rewarding job. The Watch was never ‘thanked’ for their contributions to society. Barely enough money was bade to live by.
But Ezekiel, song of Zacharias, was content. His partner was smart and followed orders well. The Were-Vamp War, as he called it, seemed to be slowing down, though that still meant at least five deaths a day. The Dark Soldiers were gaining ranks rapidly, which meant population of Elves and Goblins was lowering rapidly as well.
The same problem would happen with Dwarves, but they could look after themselves.
“Racists”, sort of. The Dark soldiers were simple humans who felt they deserved power. Humanity should govern all else, they would shout. Ezekiel felt himself neutral. Dwarves, Elves, and Goblins should be allowed to do whatever they want. Not that he was particularly a friend of their kind, but he didn’t really care.
At least the lycanthropes and Caninus Werewolves were neutral towards each other now. In the past they would constantly fight, destroying whole towns. Eventually the Lycanthropes would always win, but it was a close match.
Gods and Demons were persistently at war. They would destroy whole villages in seconds...unless the Wizards stepped in. Staff Wizards and Wand Wizards. Hunted by all, feared by all as well. Wizards were immortal. All, so far, had been heroes; therefore, they Wizards were cautious to accept Humans who could turn against them. Twelve Staff Wizards guarded the twelve elemental regions of the land. Wand Wizards had not been seen for centuries, though some believe they simply went into hiding.
Ezekiel constantly thought of these things. The world in which he lived was a disaster, and people looked to law enforcement to clean it up. So many wars, so many deaths. Everyone Paranoid.
Diseases strewn everywhere.
Population of the diseased was growing.

“Quarrel in Middle Mark,” Ryan, Ezekiels partner said, “Attempts to break it up have been unsuccessful. It is reported to be between a werewolf, already transformed, and a regular human.”
“Caninus or Lycanthrope?”
“I believe its Lycanthrope,” Ryan said.
“Best we back silver arrows.”
“Agreed.”

Ezekiel stepped onto the threshold of the hostage building. Three dead bodies lay not ten feet away from him; their jugulars ripped out. Zeek sighed and stepped over them. In the upper landing he heard a whimper, then a growl.
Blood coated the stairs Zeek had to walk. The Growling grew louder; no doubt the wolf had smelled him already. He crept around a corner into a large sitting room. The sofa and chairs were ripped to shreds. In the middle of the wreckage stood the Lycanthrope.
Lycanthropes are the bipedal version of the classic 4 footed werewolf. It had the head of a wolf, the torso of a very muscular (and very hairy) human, arms of a human (but with claws), and Digitigrade legs, like a dog. The only way to kill a Lycanthrope was with silver.
It stood facing Ezekiel, breathing heavily and shuffling its legs. It did not make to attack, but simply stood there; as if expecting the Human to go first. Zeek reached behind his back and pulled a silver dagger from his belt. He brandished it in front of him, making the wolf flinch slightly. Both beings took small steps toward forward, and then the wolf lunged, throwing Zeek to the ground. Zeek turned the fall into a summersault, and held his silver dagger out in front of him. The wolf leapt to his feet again, brandished his sharp claws and bared his teeth.
Zeek tossed the silver blade up into the air. It glinted in the sunlight on its way down, making the wolf roar, and he caught it smoothly. The Lycanthrope made a swipe at Ezekiel, but missed by an inch.
Zeek Lunged with the knife, and pierced the wolfs bicep. It roared and stumbled backward. Then turned and leapt out of the window behind him. Zeek followed, landing heavily on his feet and twisting his ankle, but he chased the fleeing fugitive nevertheless.
The legs of the werewolf were much better suited for running than those of a Human, and the criminal was soon no where to be found. Zeek turned, and made to walk back to the scene of the crime. He heard a growl behind him, and without thinking, whipped out his dagger and thrust it towards the source of the noise.
The Silver blade pierced up to the hilt in the werewolf’s flesh, and steamed viscously. Red blood, glowing slightly, flowed out of the wound. The wolf howled, fell backward, and began to whine slightly. Ezekiel knelt next to the beast.
It coughed up blood.
Suddenly, the beast roared, and bit Ezekiel on the thigh. This last maneuver wasted the last of its energy, and it moved no more.

Ezekiel walked along a path in a children’s park at midnight; twirling his truncheon. His thigh began to itch, and he dropped to one knee.
The full moon, which had sat behind dark storm clouds, showed itself.
Ezekiel Howled.

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PostSubject: Re: Tira'Ferma   Fri Sep 07, 2007 4:56 pm

Good world, even though the title is similar to a title of a screenplay Im working on called "Terrafirma". Should have the script done later this year and hope to start filming (its a Machinima film) at the end of this year or early next year.
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PostSubject: Re: Tira'Ferma   Fri Sep 07, 2007 5:09 pm

hmm quite interesting... vampires, werewolves, dragons...what else more could ya want Razz
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PostSubject: Re: Tira'Ferma   Fri Sep 07, 2007 7:09 pm

Pyscho SPARTANS...
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PostSubject: Re: Tira'Ferma   Sat Sep 08, 2007 9:56 am

The title actually has roots from Tera'Firma, which means soil, or earth. I just mixed the vowels Very Happy
Well, i didnt know about your screenplay, so its not my fault we have a title in common. Though its just a working title, not the official.

Here are all the things that are gonna be in the book:
Humans
> Elves
> Dwarves
> Goblins
> Gods
> Demons
> Advances(my own creation. Just people who have
> technology)
> Warriors
> Noble Dragons(big ones)
> Swamp Dragons (Little Ones)
> Gods
> Werewolves
> Vampires
> Orks

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PostSubject: Re: Tira'Ferma   Sat Sep 08, 2007 10:13 am

You said Gods twice.
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PostSubject: Re: Tira'Ferma   Sat Sep 08, 2007 12:45 pm

You spelt Orcs wrong.
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PostSubject: Re: Tira'Ferma   Sat Sep 08, 2007 3:15 pm

Orks can be spelled either way. JRR tolkien spelled them like you, but Orks have been around longer than him.

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PostSubject: Re: Tira'Ferma   Sat Sep 08, 2007 7:45 pm

I know I just haven't seen them in your way though.
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PostSubject: Re: Tira'Ferma   Sat Sep 08, 2007 10:41 pm

Well, the orks in my books arent the same as the ones your thinking of. They are Diseased goblins.

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PostSubject: Re: Tira'Ferma   Sun Sep 09, 2007 6:41 pm

then y not call then diseased goblins instead of orks?
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PostSubject: Re: Tira'Ferma   Sun Sep 09, 2007 7:01 pm

Well, theyre more, sorta, mutated than diseased, though its classified as a disease.
My world is run differently than other worlds, and if i say theyre called orks, theyre called orks!
Sheesh. Why does it matter? Isnt this my story? Razz

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PostSubject: Re: Tira'Ferma   Sun Sep 09, 2007 8:28 pm

its called advice, u will get a lot of it if u become a writer. its not just 1 persons ideas in a book. its also someone elses opinion.
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PostSubject: Re: Tira'Ferma   Sun Sep 09, 2007 10:01 pm

hehe wow avid u have all the fantasy creatures in ur book Razz
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PostSubject: Re: Tira'Ferma   Mon Sep 10, 2007 10:08 am

Avid, heres a good way to keep people off your back

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PostSubject: Re: Tira'Ferma   Mon Sep 10, 2007 5:01 pm

Well, i wouldnt consider that advice, talrasha. You guys said i had it 'wrong', i explained, then you just kept trying to correct it.
So yah. Its Orks.

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PostSubject: Re: Tira'Ferma   Mon Sep 10, 2007 6:11 pm

Avid has a point. It's his story, and if he wants to say its spelled Orks, he will spell it Orks. He could even say the world in his story is flat, and he'd be right.
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PostSubject: Re: Tira'Ferma   Mon Sep 10, 2007 7:57 pm

Haha, actually i have contemplated that.
But i think that would make it a bit too much like 'Discworld', which i sorta modeled this book after.

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PostSubject: Re: Tira'Ferma   Mon Sep 10, 2007 11:34 pm

i wasnt sayin u were rong, that was other people. u can take it how u wont, but i will b posting my opinions on ur book if i have any, i am entitled to it.
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PostSubject: Re: Tira'Ferma   Tue Sep 11, 2007 5:23 pm

kk and i dont think avid has a problem with that as long as its not rude or hurtful in any way Razz
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PostSubject: Re: Tira'Ferma   Tue Sep 11, 2007 6:17 pm

His statement was hurtfull.
Its just that, you made your opinion, and i am grateful for that, and then i stated why i would not be adding or fixing that. It should end there Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Tira'Ferma   Tue Sep 25, 2007 8:11 am

i like ur thinkin kiddo.
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PostSubject: Chapter 2!   Tue Mar 18, 2008 8:39 pm

Chapter 2

“You must hold it still!”
“I’m trying!”
“No, you’re not. You’re scared. Concentrate; push those fears from your mind.”
Jonathon held his staff in front of him; he had a pounding headache from so much concentration. His mentor stood beside him, frustrated with John’s apparent stubbornness. He sighed.
“Now, not moving from your position,” the man said, “say the incantation.”
John concentrated even more, said a few mumbled words under his breath, and gasped as a spray of fire burst from his staff’s tip.
The older man sighed in relief.
“Good, good,” he said, “You are getting there.”
“Thank you, sir,” John said.
“Study your notes, and maybe I will be able to find you a mission.”
“I would be honored.”
* * *

John stood before his mentor once more, but he was older and much more matured. Two years had passed since he had uttered his first flame incantation. He now stood a whole head taller than his master, though he was barely older than 14.
“I am ashamed, for I have failed one of my tasks,” the mentor said.
“What has happened?” John asked, moving to sit in one of the elder’s overstuffed chairs.
“One of my students has turned from the path,” the man said. “This wizard was never particularly great at magic, but…intelligence was never a problem. More will be recruited within weeks, I know it!”
“Send me after him!”
“I had planned to, but not by yourself,” the man said, “I will send seven soldiers with you. They should insure your safety; at least from mundane weapons.”
“Is there anything you can teach me before I go?”
“There is nothing left to teach you. This is your initiation into Wizardry. You are the youngest wizard to ever graduation successfully.”
“…if I do graduate successfully.”

Jonathon, son of Rhian, set out upon his arduous journey. Upon his back he carried a pack full of food and chemicals. Behind him walked seven soldiers in a single file line; anxious for a fight.
The heel of John’s staff dug into the soft dirt below him. Their path could be seen winding into the distance, and trees were dispersed along the side of the road. An occasional home could be seen to the left and right, in the distance, but those would soon cease as distance from civilization grew.
The journey reminded John of his ‘Coming of Age’.

A silver sword with a silver hilt sat upon Mount Calabria. A swirl of ruby, jade, sapphire, and emerald made up its pommel. John’s glove delved into the side of the mountain. The claws on his fingertips scraped away rock and dirt to give him a better grip; sharp blades attached to his feet and knees helped his in that respect as well.
Slowly he pulled one hand out of the cliff face, swung it up high, and gripped the ledge above him. He pulled himself into a dark cave, and rested by a wall. The cave was deep, and the fact that it was a nighttime made it all the more frightening. A low growl could be heard at the far end of the cave, shrouded by darkness.
John scrambled out of the cave, deciding he would deal with the beast on his way back down: once he retrieved the sword.
In the darkness, he heard a flutter of wings, and a quiet screeching. The Parasite had awoken. Beasts, like bats, that fed on human flesh during the night.
Without a sword, high above him, or a staff, which had fallen and shattered on the ground, he could not defend himself. He quickened his pace. A few of the quicker parasite reached him, and began to poke holes in his skin. John gritted his teeth against the pain, and continued climbing. The rest of the parasite could be heard not far away.
His hand slipped and John fell a few feet before catching himself painfully on a rock ledge. He continued climbing, and, to his utter surprise, found a ledge; there was a small above his head. He climbed to his feet upon the smooth ground. Before him seemed to be an altar; short set of stairs led up to a platform upon which the sword stood; balancing on its point, upside down and vertical.
Entering its light, the parasite bothered him no longer. He grabbed the sword by its glowing hilt, and set off back down the mountain.

John felt the reassuring weight of the sword on his belt; it bumped against his leg as he took every step. The group entered a forest, through which their path led. Their surroundings darkened, and a few men stumbled over roots and holes. John tapped his staff on the ground twice, and its tip illuminated.
This helped the soldiers see around them, but seemed to darken the shadows beyond the staff’s light. They did not show fear; fear was for the helpless, not a soldier. Each of them simultaneously drew a long sword, sensing danger approaching. The silver of their blades reflected in the staff’s glow.
But one of the swords was bronze. The soldier, second to last in line, carried a bronze broad sword. John signaled to stop, and walked back to the soldier. The man was not comfortable around wizard: John could tell by the reflection in his eyes. He shivered in the cold, and gripped his sword until his knuckles turned white.
The wizard reached into his belt and retrieved a silver short sword. He proffered the hilt to the other man, who took it cautiously. John then turned around and walked back to the front of the group. They continued forward, the staff’s light leading a path through the darkness.

It happened when it was most expected.
The group had settled down and made camp, keeping particularly quiet. They slept soundlessly, but held their swords in a tight grip across their chests.
There was a snap of a twig and an animal sniffing; a sharp intake of breath. John turned off his staff’s light, withdrew his magnificent broad sword and held it in front of him. There was no source of light around him, but the sword shone like a lantern nevertheless. The glow reflect off a dozen pairs of eyes further down the path. The light was magnificent, for it nearly blinded the creatures staring into it, but only bettered John’s eyesight.
Large, bipedal creatures sprinted among the trees to either side of the path.
John sheathed his sword deftly and raised his staff high above his head. He spun it high above his head, and slammed its heel into the ground. A bright jet of electricity traced itself upon the ground toward the head of the group. As it reached the foot of the lead Werewolf, the ground exploded and three of the beasts were thrown into the air; at least, what was left of them.
The soldiers behind John were up and ready instantly. The wizard muttered something, and light burst forth above their heads. The Werewolves shrieked, but stayed where they were. Three of the soldiers drew bows, and knocked arrows. As they released the bowstrings, a small light ignited upon their tips, and the arrowheads burst into flame as they flew toward the enemy.
Silver tipped arrows mixed with the fire made easy word of the wolves in the front, but more sill pressed forward. Spell after spell, Jonathon cast at the enemy, but their numbers seemed endless.
Soon, the ground was covered in shed hair and blood. John muttered something under his breath: the final spell he could use before his energy was used up. Another flash permeated the forest, and when the soldiers eyes grew accustomed to the darkness once more, they were not in a forest. They lay in a field, surrounded by waist high grass. Each of them stood up, looked around, and counted to make sure of their numbers. Jonathon couldn’t be seen amoung them, but a few minutes searching found him unconscious, lying in a shallow pool. The soldiers moved him from this spot and gave him fresh clothes, but he didn’t wake up for the better part of the day.
The soldiers continued to survey their surroundings. Far in the distance, the forest they were recently in could be seen. On the opposite horizon sat a solitary mountain. It loomed over the whole field, blocking out the sun. Mount Altarone, the most known geographic feature in the world. Hundreds have failed in the attempt to climb to its summit. Only Wizards, Werewolves, and Dragons have been able to reach its peak.

Jonathon slowly opened his eyes and sat up. He hit his head on the low ceiling of his tent. Dazed, he crawled out of the tent and breathed in the cool night air. His soldiers sat around a high fire, which lay in a shallow pit and fed on dead grass around it.
He looked upon the high mountain in the distance. He had always wanted to go there, and was supposed to when he finished this mission. His…official acceptance in Wizardry. The warmth of the fire and the cool air around him reminded him of another time, what seemed like long ago.

A young John knelt by the grass, smelling the air around him. It smelled strongly of decay. The body of a young Werewolf lay in a blood-filled pool. Not far away lay another body; a Vampire. Both bodies were mutilated. It seemed that the fight had started as a simple ‘Were-Vamp’ disagreement; such things were common. The main problem, though, was that the Werewolf had no punctures, and the Vampire would never come out at night if there was a chance he wasn’t going to be back before dawn.
John heard footsteps behind him, and a sound of voices growing closer, and teleported out of the field. He never found out more about the scene.

“So,” a soldier said, pulling Jonathon out of his trance, “are you an official Wizard?” He held a look of puzzlement on his face.
“Yes,” John said, “Sort of.”
“No offense meant,” the soldier continued, “I just mean…there are only, like, ten of ‘em. I had heard the Wizards refuse to teach any more.”
“I was…different,” John said, “I had…potential.”
“That’s cool, I guess.”
John sighed and walked away.

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PostSubject: Re: Tira'Ferma   Tue Mar 18, 2008 8:39 pm

“Uh, sir?” a soldier said. It was the one who John had given the silver short sword.
“Yes?”
“Well, I was just wondering if you were alright,” the man said. John could now tell how young he actually was. “I’ve done a lot of research on Wizards of your kind, and I’ve heard that each spell you cast takes energy away from you. That transportation, of all of us, must have taken a lot of energy. Are…you okay?”
“What’s your name?”
“I am Michael.”
“Thanks, Michael, but I am fine,” John said with a weak smile.
“You were out cold for a long time,” the man continued, “I’m sure you could have died casting that spell.”
“Thanks for your concern, but I knew what I was doing,” John said, but added to himself ‘sort of’, “I have done a bit of research myself. The diseased; Werewolvers, Vampires, Demon; they emit energy. The un-diseased withhold this energy, but the vermin can not do so. This energy…I use against them.”
“That sounds kinda complex.”
“It is.”
“So…if you tried that transportation maneuver without werewolves…it would have killed you, wouldn’t it.”
“That would be correct.”

The group continued. The seven soldiers had yet to know exactly where they were going. They assumed the wizard would refuse to tell them, yet none of them had even attempted to ask in the first place.
John played with a small pocket knife while he walked; spinning it between his thumb and his forefinger. Soon, a rush of water could be heard nearby, and they stopped by a river to rest. Refilling their water skins, they continued onward. The sun sat above their heads, and their feet soon dragged upon the ground.
Then, as the sun sank behind the horizon, they entered the shade of a small oasis.
“Aw, that figures,” a soldier said, “Just when we don’t need the shade, tit becomes available.”
“Yeah, I’m sure the gods are smiling upon us, Drake,” another said.
“Stow it,” John said.
“No, man!” said the first, “We’ve been following you blindly this whole way. I am not continuing forward until you tell us what we’re doing!”
The soldiers around him agreed, and yelled in a similar fashion. Only Michael stood separate from the others.
“Okay,” Jonathon said, to the surprise of the other soldiers, “We’re heading to…take care of a nuisance to the high Wizards.”
“What is this nuisance? Where is it?”
“This nuisance is another Wizard,” John said. The soldiers remained silent now. “A wizard named Aramonde, who turned against his masters. He has succeeded in recruiting three more men to work for him, and they are now wizards as well.”
“Why did those werewolves attack us, then?” one man said.
“We believe they are being possessed.”
“And you only brought seven soldiers with you?!”
“We must move quickly,” John said, “Sending an army after four people would attract attention.”
“Then were are we going?”
“The capital; Dilerium City.”

Apparently, John thought later, the oasis wasn’t the smartest place to make camp. It attracted attention.
Their group woke up to find themselves surrounded by soldiers clad in black. Their faces were obscured by cloth tied around their heads. They could see out of it, but no one would be able to see in.
Interspersed between them were three tall, cloaked men carrying staffs. They were each flanked by two particularly burly Werewolves. Jonathon’s soldiers stood, looked around, and seemed to deduce that these were Wizards.
“We have a message for Jonathon, son of Rhian,” one of the cloaked Wizards said.
Yes?” John said; non-chalant.
“Aramonde sends his regards. Come with us to the capital, and we will make your life a lot easier.”
“You know, I was just on my way over there!” John said, with child giddyness.
“Most fortunate,” the Wizard said, maintaining a stolid expression, “Would you care to join us?”
But before John could answer, there was a loud yell, and a dozen tall, slender figures appeared inside the clearing; the Wizards and their soldiers quickly fled from the fight.
One of the tall figures approached John and knelt beside him. He was about to ask who they were, but something in his head stopped him from doing so.
“Hello, John,” the man said, “My name is Eoleen. We are the Elves of Altarone Valley.”
John quickly regained his composure, and answered, “Hello Eoleen. Um…I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but you just ruined our chances of safely getting into Dilerium City.”
“Why would they attempt to slow your progress, if they want you there in the first place?”
John could think of no retort, so asked another question. “Why did you help us?”
“Because if you do not defeat this person, Aramonde, our race will be driven out of the land.”
“Oh. So, um, no pressure…right?” John said, smiling uneasily.
The Elf turned and walked away.

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PostSubject: Re: Tira'Ferma   Tue Mar 18, 2008 8:40 pm

“Welcome to Dilerium City, your lordship,” the gatekeeper said, “May I see your certification?”
John drew his sword and places its tip on the gatekeeper’s forehead.
“Um…no certification required,” the man corrected himself, “Haveaniceday?”
“Thank you good sir,” John said, and walked through the open gate. The seven soldiers behind followed.
The soldiers followed in awe as they looked upon the magnificence of the Dilerium architecture. All buildings were multiple stories high, and several were inlaid with gold. Horses walking the streets wore golden saddles and harnesses.
Then the group noticed the body. A charred, scalped, and half-flayed corpse of a middle-aged man tied to a tall pike. The citizens simply walked around it as if it were their normal path. One of the soldiers shuddered and muttered a prayer to the gods.
Jonathon continued forward, and the soldiers reluctantly followed. It wasn’t hard to figure out where the dark Wizard was; a large black building towered over the rest of the city. Soon, the stood at its tall, double doors.
“I must thank you for you help,” John said, “But I must do this alone.”
“No,” one soldier said.
“We haven’t come this whole way for nothing!”
“If you do not turn around right now, I will send you back by other means,” John said.
The soldiers looked heartbroken; betrayed. They looked into John’s face one last time, then turned around and walked away. John turned and walked into the building.


“But what does it mean?”
“I do not know, my lord.”
“Well, figure it out!” a deep, groggy voice boomed.
“Yes, of course, my lord,” a small servant said. It was one of the wizards that had ambushed John in the oasis. Since the event, the man seemed to have had his right hand cut off, as punishment for losing his prey. He stood before a large stone slab, upon which was engraved many lines of confusing pictographs.
John hid in the corner of the giant throne room. The room itself had to be more than five acres long, and John was forced to magically amplify his vision to see the figures across it.
“The…altaar…shall…light…” the man read from the stone.
‘The altar?’ John thought, ‘Only one altar in this part of the land is well known, and nothing is in it anymore…”
“True…power…” the man continued.
“Silence!” the deep voice boomed, and John realized it was coming from the throne behind the stone slab. Whoever was speaking was out of view. “There is someone here. Empty this room before you reveal any more secrets.”
“Master, I assure you,” the young man said, “there is no one here. There are eighteen guards outside those doors, as well as a fire demon.”
“Demons serve no one,” the voice said, “Perhaps it has turned against his word. Go!”
There was a flash of light as John disappeared from the room. The last thing he heard was “Seize him!” before he found himself in a large grassy field. Altarone Mountain loomed before him; its massive size blocking out the sun. Supposedly, it reflects magic. Wizards who had tried to levitate up the mountain had found themselves falling 500 feet onto the sharp rocks below. John was trying to teleport to the summit, but found himself at its foot instead.
Exhausted from so many days without rest, John started up the mountain…



































Part II

John’s hand dug into the steep cliff face. His nails bled as chunks of rock cut beneath them. Despite the mountains apparent staccato, it lacked quality handholds.
His staff was tied securely to his pack, and his sword was dangling, but secure, on his belt. He wore nothing but an undershirt and slacks, for heavier clothing would only get in the way. The protective charm he had put on his fingers to help him climb had long since been canceled by the mountain.
John’s hand caught an easy handhold, and his feet gripped a chunk of rock, and he rested for a few minutes. Not even a fifth of the way up the mountain, and he was already exhausted.
He wiped his hands clean, one at a time, upon his scuffed pants, and continued upward. The sun set completely, and cool air upon John’s neck helped him pick up the pace. Soon, his arms were covered in blood from his raw hands and he was forced to take another break.
‘The blood would surely attract the parasite,’ he thought, ‘lets hope tonight isn’t the time to feed.’
A blazing light shined into his eyes. A large hand was thrust through it, and proffered to John. He took it, and was pulled into a small cave. A young man, no older than nineteen, stood before him. John recognized him immediately, and bowed; touching his forehead to the ground.
Darco Stari; eleventh mage of the elemental regions. One of the greatest wizards of all time.
‘Of course!’ John thought, ‘This is his region!’
Darco looked John up and down, then gave him an awkward look, as though expecting him to say something.
“Why are you here?”
“Well, I-”
“Silence.”
“But-”
“Sh…”
“Stop telling me to be quiet!”
Darco stared at John for what seemed like an eternity. His eyes bored into John’s harder than would seem possible. Cold, dark eyes; yet kind at the same time. John was forced to avert his gaze and stare at his scuffed sandals.
“You must learn to respect your elders,” Darco said.
“But…you’re not much older than me.”
“Looks are deceiving. Wizards are…immortal. I am, in fact, older than your Grandfather Michael,” Darco said.
“Why are you helping me?”
“Do you not want my help?”
“That’s not what I said. Why are you here? Is there some reason you’re helping me?” John asked.
“Not really,” Darco shrugged, “I just thought this cave might be useful to you, as it is now raining and you would have fallen off from exhaustion if you had continued climbing.”
“I must hurry,” John said, “There is a man who will reach the mountain’s summit if I do not get there first.”
“Sh…” Darco said quietly. John was about to object, but noticed the seriousness of Darco’s face. “There are people out there…” Darco pointed lazily out into the darkness. John was sure he could hear the clanking of metal on stone over the loud whine of the wind and the swishing of the rain.
He tightened the grip on his staff, and saw Darco quietly draw his short sword. A hand gripped the ledge of the cave, and tried to pull it’s body up. As soon as a head peered over it, a blast of red light burst from Darco’s staff, and the man fell to the sharp rocks below. Immediately, a dozen more people attempted to climb through the opening at once. John stood frozen as Darco hacked at them with his blade.
“What are you doing?” Darco yelled, “Get over here and help me!”
“But…how do you know they want to hurt us?”
“Maybe it is because they have their swords drawn?”
“Well, so do you-”
A throwing knife imbedded itself in the cave wall three inches from John’s ear. He ran to the edge, drawing his sword, and helped Darco fend off the attackers. Far below, a man with one hand could be seen making slow progress up the mountain.
John lifted his staff and sent a bolt of electricity toward the Wizard. John gasped as the bolt struck the man’s head, and bounced off as if a shield had deflected it. The Wizard was only fifteen feet away from the cave now. He sped up, and John could see his severed hand bleeding profusely because of the sharp rocks.
The man reached the ledge of the cliff, and climbed over it. Darco was busy blasting the other climbers to notice as the man lifted a dagger and brought it down upon his back.
The dagger clatter to the ground, with a hand clamped firmly around it. John held his long sword to the man’s temple
There was a flash of light, and the man disappeared.

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