Lord of Terror Chapter 10
A Party Divided
By Iced Blood
It felt strange to Garnet that Janus wasnt leading, but she supposed that Sephiroth would be just as devoted. She simply followed him, with a firm grip on her staff. When they made it to the staircase to the fourth level, Sephiroth stopped and turned.
Alright, listen up. I dont know all of you, and I dont know very much about leading a small group, but I do know how to lead a company of knights into battle, so well be treating this as a war mission. How many here if any are soldiers?
I am. Glenn said.
Good. You and Marle will be Team A. Well split up. Schala, Garnet and I are Team B. Understood? Everyone nodded, and Sephiroth smiled slightly. Okay. Move out! Garnet and Schala moved close to Sephiroth, and he led the way down.
Sephiroth did as he promised his leader and made sure that nothing passed him. He was a human shield. As his team was attacked by legions of skeletons, zombies, and Fallen Ones, not one made it to Schala or Garnet and, actually, to Sephiroth, either. The massive range of his sword enabled him to take out monsters at a distance.
The three walked swiftly through passages, taking turns randomly, with Sephiroth taking down monsters, basically making a trail to find the way back from where they came.
Sephiroth soon came across something of interest. A small chip of wood lay in the corner of a hall. He picked it up and examined it. Probably from Ogdens sign. Lets go. He set off with renewed vigor, sure that just around the corner would be his objective.
After a day or so I grew bored of waiting around in Pepins house and decided to wander around the town a while. As I passed the bridge that led to the southern side of town, I noticed something strange to my left and decided to investigate.
It was a huge bulge in the ground. I touched it slowly. It felt like like rubber, I suppose. No flesh. Yes, that was it. I turned away from it and walked the rest of the way to Adrias shack. I asked her about the growth.
I would not know as to the origin of it. It came up about a week ago and has grown larger ever since. You might speak to Lester the farmer. He and his cattle lived close to the space in which it rose. Youll find him now to the left of the cathedral. Cross the bridge behind my shack and he should be near by. Good luck to you, sorcerer.
Thank you Adria. I said, and as I left, added, And its Janus. Janus Bloodbane.
Certainly Janus. I left then, but heard her say with a chuckle, How fitting that the son of Leoric return to the place of his fathers birth. The stars do not lie.
I found the bridge Adria spoke of, and saw in the distance the farmer called Lester. I approached him and inquired about the growth.
Dont know much bout it, really. The farmer proclaimed. Just know that my cows are scared of it. The witch gave me this bomb, He produced a blue orb and handed it to me, to get rid of it. Id do it myself, ya know, but someones gotta stay with the cows.
Indeed I said softly, placing the bomb in a pocket of my cloak. I quickly left Lester to himself and made my way back. Standing in front of the bulbous growth, I dropped the bomb on top of it and waited. Within seconds, the bomb exploded and the growth opened. I heard from within the buzzing of what sounded like millions of insects. What was this? A hive?
I suddenly felt weak. Most likely it was the small bit of poison that still lurked in my body. I left the entrance to the hive and made my way back to the town-square. As I bent down at the fountain and splashed the cold water onto my face, Cain approached me.
Janus. There is something I must show to you now that you will be here for a few days. I knew your father personally. I was one of the advisors of his council, and he spoke with me many times on personal issues, and as such I knew that he had a son. He told me that, when he perished, and you took the throne, to give you this. From his robes he produced a quarterstaff, one with a blue orb atop it, and the staff itself was bathed in ancient runes of magic. This staff is used to teleport to your fathers secret library, where tomes from all around our world are kept. Now, the private Bloodbane Library is yours. He handed me the staff. Clutch it in both hands and say Sacred knowledge is hidden from all but he who holds the key. Remember this.
Sacred knowledge is hidden from all but he who holds the key. I repeated, and suddenly the world around me vanished. I stood at the next moment in a vast library, with rows upon rows of ancient books and scrolls.
To reenter Tristram, recite Past the threshold, enter the suns light again. Cains voice entered my mind. I thanked him and walked forward, gazing over the bindings of the ancient, leather-bound tomes.
I saw spell books, journals, and history books written by ancient sages and sorcerers. The thing that caught my eye mostly, however, was a table to the left of the shelves. Set on the table were three books.
Sitting down at a chair, I pulled the tomes closer to me. The first was a spell book. The second was a journal, which I saw had the name Leoric Bloodbane on the spine. The third, however, I picked up and examined closely. The spine on this book read: Zeal, Bloodbane. That was it. A thin ribbon marked a page near the end of the book.
I opened the book to the page and began to read aloud.
The High Council of Zeal, obviously, declined the Queens husbands request of enchanting the Crest, as it was the kingdoms most prized relic. King Bloodbane was upset by this, and never spoke to the High Council again I skipped down, noticing that about halfway down the page the writing on the book changed style.
...Josephine was the most wonderful person Id ever met. But I knew that since she was elven, and I was human, Id need a way to extend my life. Magic was the answer... I skipped ahead again.
That night, after Josephine told me she was with child, I decided now was the time to leave. I knew that the kingdom would be in an uproar after the announcement was made, so it was my best chance.
Late at night, when Josephine had finally fallen asleep, I sneaked out of our chamber and made my way to the center of the palace, where the Zealian Crest was kept
When I had it in my possession, I left Zeal as quickly as I could. I used a strong teleport spell to transport myself to the land below the magical kingdom in the sky. I found myself in a small village, where I proceeded to enchant the Zealian Crest with my own magic. After all, if Josephines child was a son, he would be just as much mine as hers. I turned the page and saw, at the end, my name.
Janus, Son, I hope that one day you will read this message. I have kept the Zealian Bloodcrest hidden in the same library where this tome is located. Remember well this. On the shelf against the far right wall, remove the fifteenth book from the left on the middle row. This acts as a lever, and the shelf will rotate, revealing to you the Zealian Bloodcrest, the shield that is your birthright. Wield it proudly, my son. Honor my memory, and honor the kingdom of your birth. A few lines down, I saw, If you see your sister, tell her that, although I was not her blood father, I loved her as such.
Smiling, and wiping a tear from my eye, I closed the book and rose to my feet. Walking to the shelf of books on the far right, I counted the books until I reached fifteen, and inspected the spine. It read: The key to Heritage. I took out the book, and as my fathers message said, the section of the shelf rotated in a half circle, showing me what I had been destined to wield: The Zealian Bloodcrest. The magnificent shield was blue trimmed with white with a large Z, covered by a smaller B in the center. A sword went down the middle of the two beautiful letters, with a gold pattern surrounding it. A sparkling jewel lay just under the point of the sword.
I picked up the shield and slid it onto my arm. I felt its magic course through me. However, I knew that I wouldnt need to use it, so I figured to just leave it in the library to make sure it would be safe. I put the shield back in its place and the shelf swung back. I put the book back into the slot and walked back to the table. I picked up my fathers journal, opened it and started to read, but suddenly felt very tired. After only reading a few lines, I fell asleep.
The Kingdom of Zeal was constructed many, many years ago by ancient mages who, after constructing the kingdom and populating it, had used their magic to send the entire kingdom into the sky.
One hundred years ago a young prince and princess lived in the magical kingdom, one a pureblooded elf, one a half-elf. The purebloods name was Schala Zeal, age one hundred thirty, barely past the childhood of an elf, and the half-elfs was Janus Bloodbane, age eight. The kingdoms elders knew that young Janus was the true heir to the throne, but the fact that the royal bloodline had been elven since before they could record it made them think of making Schala the queen instead. Sure, Janus was half-elven, but human blood still tainted him. And as such, as a boy Janus was subject to much abuse.
Janus only friend was his half-sister, who seemed to be the only person who loved him. She was very open-minded, and saw no problem in the fact that her half-brother had human blood. In fact, for this, she loved him even more. The two siblings relationship was closer than any could have thought. It was frightening to many of the elders.
One of the major things that the Zealian elders were not concerned about, though, was war. The fact that their kingdom was above any other made them confident that none would cross them.
They were mistaken
One night, young Janus was sitting on his sisters bed, listening to Schala tell him stories of the world below them, when he heard a crash.
Whats that? Janus asked. Schala looked at the door to her room and in moments a guard burst through it.
Your Highness! shouted the guard. The Mystics! Its them! Theyve found a way up to our grounds and are in the castle! Come with me, Princess Schala, Prince Janus! Come quickly! We must- The hapless soldier never finished his sentence. He was silenced by a knife in his back. As the guard fell to the floor, dead, a man in dark battle armor now stood in the doorway.
Janus ran to his sister, and she bent down, holding him close. Itll be okay, baby brother. She said softly, shakily. I promise.
Ah the child. Yes, it is the son of Leoric Bloodbane, our enemy. Heir to his throne. He must be eliminated. The mystic soldier said softly to himself. He strode into the room, clutched Janus small wrist.
The young prince was torn from his sisters arms, crying, afraid. The two vanished, and Schala was left alone, bewildered, as the realization of what had happened sank into her mind and constricted her heart. She cried, cried for her kingdom, cried for herself, and cried for her little brother
Hey, Glenn! Marle called to her companion. The soldier turned and walked to her.
What is it? You see something? He asked. She pointed to a Goat Demon. This one, however, was very different. For one, the color of his leather-like skin was not brown, as were many others of its kind. This demons skin was a combination of deep purple and crimson.
Glenn drew the Masamune and stepped forward slowly, sneaking up on the demon. It noticed the pair when Glenn was a foot away from it.
No hurt! No kill! bleated the demon.
What is your name? Glenn asked.
Gharbad said the demon. Let live, something for you I make. It was then that the veteran noticed an anvil by Gharbad. Apparently he was a blacksmith of some sort. Glenn sheathed his blade and crossed his arms.
If I let you live, you will make something for me? He inquired. Gharbad nodded enthusiastically.
Yes! Something for you I make!
Glenn nodded slightly and turned away. He began to walk around a corner, until he heard Marle shout something. Turning, the veteran saw strange, near black monsters surrounding his princess.
Glenn ran full tilt toward the new adversaries, drawing his sword and slashing at one of them. Before he could connect, the monster disappeared. It reappeared at his side and brought its talon-like claws crashing down on his arm. His sword arm. He dropped his weapon and clutched his arm as he tumbled out of the way. Wounded and disarmed, Glenn could do nothing as he was surrounded by the demons.
Seemingly out of nowhere an arrow flew trough the air and would have caught the demon in the back of the head, had it not dissipated just before it would have hit. Glenn hung his head in shame as he prepared for death. It would surely come within minutes.
Glenns eyes snapped open as he heard a female voice chanting a spell somewhere in the distance, and as he looked up, he noticed that now the demons could not fully disappear, only become transparent. He then saw through them the other members of his party. Sephiroth ran forward, jumped and twirled in the air, and slashed down at one of them. On one knee, he rolled to his side and slashed upward at another.
Burn! Commanded Garnet as she pointed her staff at a small pack of them. A burst of fire erupted from the crystal atop the staff and shot towards them. Within seconds, the demons were nothing but charred corpses. As her comrades dispatched the demons, Schala tossed Glenn a red potion. He drank it quickly, and his wound healed. He picked up the Masamune and drove the blade through one of the demons backs. It howled and fell limp. Placing his boot on its back, Glenn pushed forward and rolled backward onto his feet, freeing his sword in the process.
The last of the demons known as Hidden fell to the ground. Glenn sheathed his sword and Sephiroth did the same. It was then that Glenn remembered Gharbad. He walked to the Goat demon and inquired about his gift.
This too good for you! Very powerful! Gharbad declared, holding a magical mace. He swung the weapon at Glenns head, but the veteran ducked and brought up his fist, knocking the mace out of Gharbads hand. He clutched the weapon in mid-air and swung it as hard as he could at the demons head. There was a resounding crack and a flash as Gharbad fell down, smacking his head open on his anvil. The demon lay still. Gharbad was dead.
Im not impressed. Said Glenn, and hung his prize on his belt.
Are we done here? Did you find Ogdens sign? Marle asked. Sephiroth gestured toward a large pack on his back.
In here. He said. You wouldnt believe what we had to go through to get it. This demon that called himself Snotspill and a pack of minions he called Carvers attacked us as we were about to leave!
You give back Magic, or we attack! You no leave with life! He said to us.
I suppose he was mistaken. Glenn said with a smile. Sephiroth chuckled and nodded.
Turns out Snotspill was guarding something, too: A staircase. Which means, that when we go back and get Janus, we can go straight back down.
Lets go! Marle said happily, and Sephiroth once again took the lead as he led the party back up to Tristram, where things would get much, much stranger, thanks to a certain half-elf sorcerer
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