The Concept: A place for random stuff I write. It can be anything I feel like dumping here haha. Stuff like stories or practice pieces.
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That story I mentioned in my Status Report 1:
Prologue – 400 years ago
Marcus Regalus surveyed the ruined scene in front of him. His companions and elite forces succeed in storming Danexi Castle. They were inside the capital and last stronghold of the Daemon Army. Humans, Elves, Beastmen and Dwarves, all came together under Marcus’s banner. The High Races were united by a common enemy. They had fought against the strongest King the Daemons have ever rallied under. Marcus’s allied forces gathered their most talented soldiers, their most solid weapons, their most exotic Arcane Devices, and every bit of knowledge they could muster. To oppose them, enemies of all shapes and sizes, strong and weak, magical and mundane had tried to bar their path.
Now all lay defeated. Before him knelt the dead body of Exacus, the Daemon Overlord. At his full height he would have stood over 8 feet tall, a grand and intimidating sight. But now his head is bowed and his back hunched over. Four massive arms supported his dead weight. Each of them once held a powerful artifact of immense power. They lay scattered in front of him, discarded in death. Battle scars and fresh wounds can be seen all over his obsidian black skin. Beneath him his dark purple blood formed a pool. Two large leathery wings draped over his back, and two cracked horns adorned his head. Marcus then looked towards the killing blow, a large circular hole punched right through the Daemon’s once magnificent breastplate.
Marcus wiped the sweat off his brow and moved his brown hair out of his eyes. He knew his own magical armor wasn’t in much better shape. The silver-grey full plate was adorned with golden trim, but it no longer shined with a metallic luster. Splatters of blood both dry and new dirtied the ornate armor.
It was supposed to be a grand victory for the alliance of High Races. Yet Marcus could not wholeheartedly rejoice. The reason was his friend kneeling between him and the fallen Daemon. Archsage Ryonis was down on the ground, cradling the body of a young woman in his arms. Her long black hair spilled down her back, her ruby red eyes now closed forever. Her face looked almost peaceful, as if she were sleeping. Her black and red dress was soaked even darker by her crimson blood. She had a pair of ears that slanted upwards into a point. They were smaller but not unlike the ears of an elf. Aside from that feature she could have passed as normal beautiful young woman. But the curving horns on her head gave her away. The illusion magic that hid them long since dispelled.
“Everything we thought we knew about them was wrong.” Ryonis muttered in a dark tone.
The soldiers around them shifted uncomfortably with conflicted expressions.
“Ryonis, this wasn’t your fault. We did what we thought was necessary. We just didn’t know.” Marcus attempted to comfort his friend, but the Archsage’s rising anger would not be deflected.
“That’s right, we didn’t know! She was with for so long, laughing, crying, talking. Yet none of us suspected a thing. We just went on believing what we were told. That Daemons were bloodthirsty beasts. That they couldn’t be reasoned with. It was us or them, kill or be killed! But that wasn’t true. Daemons, High Races, we’re all sentient beings. Why… why did things turn out this way, how could we have been so blind?” Ryonis’s harsh reply was half condemnation, half self deprecation.
Marcus could guess at what his old friend was thinking. It was the weapons he created that ultimately turned the tide of the war. The Daemonic races were all gifted beyond compare. They had command of magical power that eclipsed the greatest human and elven mages. Those without magical might relied on their unmatched physical strength and size. Not even the beastmen had the power to hold back a mighty Daemon Monstrosity.
But what the High Races lacked in natural talent they made up for with ingenuity and creativity. Powerful weapons imbued with magical properties allowed even normal human soldiers to strike down a large, powerful foe. Arcane Devices that improved the efficiency of magic evened the playing field between Daemon Warlocks and Elven Mages. However, the most powerful weapons were the Arc Machina, semi-autonomous metal war golems crafted by his friend Ryonis.
Out of the four that were brought to fight the Overlord, two still stood besides him. Their bodies were comprised of an ornately designed suit of metal armor. Towering over 10 feet tall, they were far too large for any normal human to use conventionally.
Small interlocking plates guarded the joints that would be a lesser armor’s weak point. No imperfection was left in the construction process. Arc Machina were fearless in battle. Only the mightiest of physical blows could scratch the magic imbued plate mail. They were also magic resistant to a certain extent. After all a solider of living metal need not worry about the heat of fire, or the stunning blows of conjured lighting. The elegant yet terrible tools of destruction stood dormant. No more enemies could be detected in the grand hall.
“But Master, didn’t she betray us in the end? She choose her father over us! If she was truly our friend why didn’t she speak up all this time?!” Feldan’s youthful voice broke into the conversion. He was a boy only 15 years old, one of Ryonis’s two apprentices.
“I don’t know… I suppose we’ll never know now.” Ryonis replied as he cast a side long glance at the boy.
A woman in pure white robes approached the scene.
“Ryo we must remember but past, but what’s done is done, now we must look towards the future.” Her voice calm and serene. She was the Church of Aura’s high priestess, Melita.
“Oh? So the priestess speaks up at last. Wasn’t it the Church of Aura that spread all of that wartime propaganda about the High Races and Daemons? Aren’t you also to blame for this.” Ryonis accused her with his words.
“That maybe be true, but I believe we did nothing wrong. The Daemons came out of the Gate and attacked us. We spread the truth as we knew it to rally the people against them.” Melita’s reply was soft and unheated. She was supported by belief in her righteousness.
“I hate to say it but she’s right. Ryonis, the remaining Daemon forces have been broken. Our armies are forcing them past the Gate as we speak. It is too late to change what has been done. We must look towards the future now. Together we can rebuild this nation into a better place for people of all races.” Marcus interjected. He intended to steer the conversation away from this topic. It did no good to needlessly assign blame.
“… For some of us it’s too late.” Ryonis replied as he stood, still holding the fallen Daemon girl in his arms.
Marcus tried once more to convince his friend.
“Even so, we will help the ones we can.”
“’We’ you say. Sorry but I’m out. I’m tired of all… all this” Ryonis gestured at the carnage around them. Dead bodies, man and daemon alike were scattered about. Scorch and craters marked the stone where magic was used. “I’ve had enough.”
“What are you saying master? You’re the Archsage. How can you just walk away?” Feldan’s incredulous tone was reflected in the expression on his face.
Marcus however, was not surprised. He knew that Ryonis never enjoyed fighting the war. The thrill of battle was never in him. He participated out of a sense of duty to his kingdom and friends. At heart, Ryonis was a craftsman, a man of creation not destruction.
“I’m not the Archsage anymore.” Ryonis’s black cloak came undone as he said this, the magical bonds holding it set loose. As it fell to the ground Marcus watched the golden sigil embroidered on the back fold into itself. Ryonis had discarded the symbol of his office. The action spoke for itself. He was resigning. “I’ve done my part. Politicking, rebuilding, organizing, that’s your game Marcus. You don’t need me for that. You’ll have to find a new Archsage. Though I wouldn’t worry too much. There are plenty of talented mages out there.” He shot a glance at his apprentice as he said this.
“I see. If you’ve made up your mind I won’t stop you. You’ve earned your respite. I’d like to ask though, where will you go? Do you have any plans?” said Marcus curiosly. He was friends with Ryonis long enough to know how much the mage disliked responsibility. He truly wasn’t suited for statecraft. While Marucs would have liked to have a reliable friend at his side, he would respect his wishes.
“Who knows? I’ll be around I suppose. Maybe I’ll become a hermit and seek enlightenment! I can rest easy knowing the Kingdom is in good hands.” Ryonis said. He shot Marcus a wry smile.
“Wait master, what about me?” Feldan spoke up in alarm. Realization about what was happening finally sinking in.
“Don’t worry kid, you’ve become a fine mage. We did just defeat the Overlord after all. There’s not much more I can teach you. Heh look after Saya though, that girl always tends to be a bit reckless.”
“Master…” The boy mage still looked hesitant. But upon hearing the name of his fellow apprentice his expression changed to one of determination.
“Well I guess this is farewell.” Ryonis took once last glance at the people assembled here, before nodding to Marucs and turning away.
“Farewell old friend. I won’t let you down.”
Ryonis’s only reply respectful nod. With that he strode forward with the daemon girl in his arms and disappeared in a flash of blue light.
Marcus turned his head towards the shattered windows. He could see the first streams of sunlight heralding the arrival of a new dawn.
Today is the beginning of a new era. One of peace and prosperity.