The ice of Saelonthor shall be painted with the golden blood of a god.
PrologueEditThe men clad in obsidian stormed up the side of the frozen mountain: Thornistine. Shards of glass, hail, rained down, battering the army of black. Time was running out.
"This is the end, Saexa. Your gods do not watch. I do not want this frozen land, but I want the ice of Saelonthor to be painted with the golden blood of a god. Omi lon her! Msk de pyr! THALMAS, Dez de xa!"
With the crackle of a whip, the thousands of men in their dark armor charged into the snowy capital of the Snow Elves.
"They're coming, Vasis de Dez. What shall we do?" A tall, unusually calm Snow Elf spoke.
"We cannot stand idle. Es msk lon her tero entei es dez. We must fight for the gods; for Kryossiom, for Takronox, for Destius. Kryossiom, ake eo."
In unison, the council of priests spoke together:
"Kryossiom, ake eo."
The Vasis stood, hesitated, then spoke, "For Kryossiom!"
Chapter 1: Zaen StyrkzEdit
A slow, steady breath crept forth from the dark; a weak, yet consistent, tick was the only sound spoken in the silence. It was a "clock", as he liked to call it. It, using Dwarvern aluminium bronze molded into blocky gears, was able to move a small metal pin around a circle decorated with complex rings and gears that constantly and silently darted back and forth. Using these gears, time was "calculated" as he liked to say. A mechanical sundial: a "clock". And the only noice it murmed was a simple tick.
A slow steady breath crept forth from the dark, ignoring the tick of the mechanism. And with a three-thousand sixth hundredth tick, a small hammer was flicked forward into a pan of iron, producing a ringing gong. And he was awake. The slow, steady breath no longer crept forth, only stopped momentarily, then erupted into a deep yawn. Eyes fluttered, flicked open, and adjusted. Then there was the long, lurching sound of a lever and the spin of gears, clacking about, and two or three unnatural flashes of bright light... and there was consistent light, filling the whole room, damp as it was. Yes, light with only the pull of a lever. A candle without flame. It was powered on a single, fist sized quartz of Marox.
A short, thin man rose from the small hay bed. He wore rugged, dirty cloth that draped down across his body in such a manner that it represented a Snow Elven toga. His bronze, rusty hair was matted on his head, resembling a bird's nest. He tumbled across the hay bed, placing his exposed feet on the stone ground. The stone was also fashioned like that of the Dwarves': cut into precise blocks, one foot by one foot, and layered out. He finally stand on both feet, only at five foot seven. But that did not concern him; not height, nor physical strength, had ever been required in his field of work. Only stength of the mind and connection to the energies concerned him, for he was a mage. Not just any mage: he was Zaen Styrk, Son of Lunos, Inventor, and the most educated man in all of the Aether when it concerned the forgotten words.
~ ~ ~
"Good morning, Gwyña. Quite a lovely day, it seems?" said Zaen, in his usual peculiar accent, as he walked down the regal halls of the Order. To his right hand was his advisor and assistant, Gwyña Xeī, a Sun Elven maiden. The two had a strange relationship, as Sun Elves and Sand Elves do. Not hostile, no, but curious.
The Zaen now wore a remarkably different outfit: one fitting for royalty. An elite indigo robe now clothed Zaen in place of the filthy robes he had left in his cluttered room.
Gwyña, a fair woman, looked at Zaen in shock. The assistant had never been so pale.
"You didn't hear?" Her eyes widened as she stared at the mage. "Torm... no... Thalmas... he's alive. No, no... he's..." She stopped to think for a moment. "The Arch-Mage is looking for you. He will have to explain."
Zaen had a puzzled look on his face as he muttered, "Torm...? Torm... Torm! The, uh, one of the students of the Kia and Mina trees? How could he be alive?" Again, a flash of ponder lit Zaen's face. "But, we saw him die. He... he was trying to open the rift."
Gywña simply shook her head and ushered Zaen down the hall, greeting him. "I'm off to go get those parts you wanted. Don't worry, I'll get the modified ingots this time. Just hurry down to the Arch-Mage. I'm sure all your questions will be answered."
And with that, Zaen was off.
Chapter 2: The Siege of ThornistineEdit
The sound of metal rang throughout the air as wind whipped throught the battlefield. The ice and snow of Saelonthor was tainted with the blood of its people. The last guard of Thornistine collapsed.
"Battalion six! Move forwards. Three and five, follow their sides and continue searching for guards. Battalion four, search for archers. There are plenty of Snow Elves left in the area. You will not rest until I have the head of every damned Saexa in this godforsaken capital."
"But Your Majesty, what of Battalion one?" A Moon Elf warrior, fit in obsidian plated armor, spoke.
"Oh yes. Battalion one, you know what to do."
A final squadron of men, composed of around 700 elves, charged over the peak of the hill, before the gates of Thornistine, and waited. Battalion six, three, and five, cleared the guards among the perimeter and returned to their commander. All 700 of the soldiers of the first battalion locked shields and waited for an order.
Without further hesitation, the powerful voice of Thalmas the Immortal thundered into the Saelonthor sky, loud enough for the citizens of the city to hear, "For the Blood of a God!"
And with that, every single soldier of the first battalion lobbed a glass flask the size of a fist at the thirty foot high walls of Thornistine. Within the orbs rested the horrific liquid known as Greensting. The instant the glass shattered against the cobblestone of the capital, a horrific howl sounded as an eruption of emerald flames enveloped the wall. The wall began to crumble into nothingness as the soldiers charged into the doomed city.
"Battalion Six, follow the first into the city! The battle has only just begun!" On cue, the sixth battalion of 700 elves followed the command and marched into the burning city of Thornistine, slaying every Snow Elf in its path.
~ ~ ~
A hard, quickly paced knock sounded against the tall wooden door.
"Guards, please open the door."
The two guards grasped the iron rings attached to the doors and swung open, as commanded. In stormed the quirky Zaen Styrkz, bowing down to the Arch-Mage.
"Ah, Zaen. We have something quite... disturbing to discuss." said the Arch-Mage, Jace Exanus.
"So I hear. Please tell me it isn't about that particular student..."
"It so happens to be about that particular student." Jace sighed. "We have reasons to believe Torm was never killed and somehow vanished from the timestream for anywhere from five to twelve years."
"But... that would require magic beyond the current known words." Zaen interrupted.
"And that's why I have contacted you." Jace, sitting in the ivory desk of the Arch-Mage, opened a locked chest to his right, pulling out a scroll. As he unrolled the paper, he spoke with a rather disturbed tone, "Now, that isn't all I have called you to share. We also have heard from the Saelonthorian Order that Thornistine is currently under attack by an overwhelming force known as the Army of Thormieral, led by a powerful warlord by the name of Thalmas the Immortal."
"This is related to the new information of Torm, isn't it?"
"Correct. We believe Torm has... with the help of some otherworldly force... ascended into this form. He is practically invincible. And he's after the heart."
Zaen gasped. "The heart. But if the stories are true..."
Jace nodded. "The Heart of Dawn is located somewhere among Thornistine."
The conversation was interrupted by a pound on the door.
The guards did not open, but instead the door was pushed open from the other side.
"Arch-Mage! We have reports from Thornistine! The city has been captured by the Army of Thormieral!"
Chapter 3: The AtriumEdit
The howls of Greensting echoed through the dusk, as if a cruel song of agony was being sung. Moon Elven scouts swarmed about the sieged city, looting stores and torching houses. What few Snow Elves remained were captive maidens, who would later be used as entertainment.
A small squadron of around six of the most trusted and proven officers, along with the very warlord himself, marched up to the highest point of Thornistine, the most sacred church of Kryossiom. With one mighty kick against the towering church door, the squadron entered.
The church was oddly small for such a holy space. There were twelve isles leading up to the one single, crystalline alter. There, beside the alter, resided the last free Snow Elf in Thornistine, the Vasis.
"Greetings, Speaker. You know exactly what I have come to acquire. If you don't reveal the location of the Atrium, I will desicrate this final... vantage point of Kryossiom with the very blood of his Vasis."
The eyes of the Vasis were quickly lit with fear as he reached for something beneath the alter. He pulled out a small, silvery sacrificial blade and spoke, not to Thalmas, but to the heavens. "Kryossiom, take me, I refuse to die your vain. I offer my final breath to thee," said he, in his tongue. The Vasis raised the dagger and thrusted it towards his chest. The very moment before the edge pierced the Vasis' silver skin an unearthly shout filled the church.
"I DO NOT GIVE YOU PERMISSION TO DIE. I WILL NOT ALLOW YOU TO DIE IN SUCH HONOR." bellowed Thalmas, shaking the hall. With a silent incantation, the dagger dropped to the ground by the spectral hand of magic. Thalmas marched forwards, raising his wicked, cursed blade. With one mighty cleave, the Immortal warlord obliterated the sacred alter of Kryossiom, shattering it with ease. With the same, god-like swing, the Vasis was entirely decapitated. This was the wrath of the Forsaken One.
The headless body dropped to the floor, as the crimson water of the Vasis poured, tainting the holy, yet shattered alter. The crystalline ruins of the alter began to glow, as the church began to rumble. Light poured from the ruins while the glass of the windows began to break. The five officers were all struck with fear, looking to Thalmas for instruction, but he stood above the destroyed alter, calm, almost as if he was pleased. The rumbling began to grow, as a pit started to open in front of Thalmas, swallowing the earth.
Soon, the quaking ceased, revealing a large tunnel in the area where the alter stood just moments before.
"Now this is most pleasing. I see Azazel is to be trusted." Thalmas turned to one of his officers and ordered, "Call for the legion to set up camp. The rest of us will find the artifact and return by dawn." The officer nodded and quickly left the ruined church.
And with that, Thalmas and his small band of soldiers entered the Atrium.