Essay: The Kingdom of Alessandra

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  • Published on: December 19, 2019
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  • The Kingdom of Alessandra
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Prologue:

Foundation of Balance

In the beginning of the planet Theresh, there was only metal, magic, and The Wild. Metal was the foundation of all early civilizations, buried deep below, waiting to be used. Magic was always under scrutiny, scholars questioned it, while wizards and warlocks used it to meet their needs. Of course, there’s The Wild, A cult-like gathering of magic users, they combined Magic and metal to create divine beings to do their bidding. However, the were unbound and proceeded to create The Realm, in which they resided. Each of them vowed to take virtues or traits to warden. The first of the Divines, Valresh, god of war, honor, and bravery, was angered by The Wild, and destroyed any being with advanced knowledge, Alessandra, the goddess of emotion, love, and balance, saw the struggles of the everyday mortal, and saved as many as she could. Some were blessed to be her holy warriors, with one man in particular as her Champion of Balance.
He stands over ten feet tall, clad in silver and ebony scales, a being as old as Theresh, brought forth by dreams made manifest. His name is Gikrax Brund, in the Old World, before the Divines and The Wild, he was known as The Edge of Santal, named after his prowess in battles. No being, living or dead, knows where Gikrax or his blade comes from, his beginning pre-dates the oldest tales. His fearsome greatsword, Anger’s Tear, shines as bright as the stars, the handle with streaks of velvet red,dark silver, and a deep blue, all of it made of material unknown. Driven by valor, stoicism, and honor, he was considered the guardian of Theresh, then, The Wild had created the , defining the New World. It had no order, and no law, Alessandra appointed Gikrax as leader of the New World.

Thus begins the tale of Than’val, The blessed kingdom of Alessandra. Gikrax had led over three thousand people in The Blessed for thirty-two years, he had lost more than four hundred soldiers to vicious creatures. They had come to the consensus that they needed to make one last camp, and make a city to stand against the wilderness of the world, Gikrax chose the High Plains, a land known well to him, here once stood the town of Santal where he was first noticed for his martial ability. Gikrax saved the town from a Skraigen, a large beast made of molten metal, taking the form of a horned quadruped with a body similar to that of a bull, its maw a horrifying zig-zag maze of razor-sharp teeth, used to break and grind the flesh and bone of the citizens. Its known for hunting only for sport. The fight left him close to death, and thus is when his first companion, Azeena Claw. Azeena rushed in to aid Gikrax after the fight, being a small sickly halfling, no more than three feet tall, she wouldn’t be good in a battle, however, being the towns shaman she nursed Gikrax back to life. Gikrax and Azeena saw a blooming companionship, Gikrax could risk more scrapes and take on worse odds to defend the innocent, and Azeena would be able to expand her knowledge on the world.They spent 25 years travelling together, many tales and many memories were shared, until the had wiped clean Theresh, starting the world a new. With the introduction of Divines, Azeena had a natural affinity towards healing magic and miracles, she quickly became cleric of the Divine, Pithe. She is the goddess of the sun, fertility, and agriculture. Her sigil is a blue sun. The halfling had endured several years without her valiant protector, and had only ran into Gikrax once again just as the city was being founded. It took thirty years for it to be established, the first ten were met with innumerable casualties. The beasts were relentless, supplies were low, and housing was nonexistent. In a stroke of luck, or perhaps by Divine intervention, a convoy had run across the struggling settlement.

“Oi the’re!” said a bearded man, “The names Davon, I’m the guide of this convoy, this the settlement then?” Gikrax takes a look behind him at the pitched tent, and snorts “Yeah… how’d you know exactly?” “Well, just like you, we were chosen by the !” said Davon “We follow Nimthur, god of craftsmanship, commerce, and wealth, said some pooer fellas could use our help.” Gikrax takes a moment to size up the man. He’s human, he’s quite short, standing only 5”1’, his face is wrinkled and scarred, he’s clearly had experience in combat. Gikrax can’t seem to tell if the man is lying or not, but it’d seem like a long journey for a small pay off to him. It makes little sense to him as to why the man could possibly come all this way just to cause trouble. “Well, seems you folk could use some help, luckily, as if by the , we’re here t’ stay, our supplies too!” Davon said, a large cheeky grin on his face “Only catch is, Nimthur wants his own temple, once you got yerselves situated, now, that don’t mean you can’t have temples of yer own , but Nimthur is very particular about his own temple.” The man extends his hand out for a handshake. Gikrax stared at the man’s hand for a long while. “Seems a small price to pay to keep my people alive. Very well, Nimthur shall get his temple in due time.” Gikrax said while shaking the man’s hand, unknowingly, he had nearly broken Davon’s hand without even trying. “Yer quite the brute aren’t ye?” said Davon, Gikrax only snorts in retaliation. “Let’s get to work already” and with that, Gikrax takes a deep breath and breathes out a large cloud of black smoke. In an instant, the caravan and everything on it is either stockpiled or dismantled, the engineers already beginning to construct defenses and shelter, food already being handed out to the hungry, and wounded hunters being treated. “Yer people… they don’t waste time do they?” Davon said, sweating a little from the efficiency their people strive for. “We’re a dying breed of minds, a dying culture. We have to work fast or we will perish.” With that, Gikrax heads to his tent, for a days end….

Chapter One:

The Fallen

Gikrax wakes in a cold sweat, having been awaken from a nightmare. It has been 20 years since the followers of Nimthur had settled, and Than’val is more prosperous than ever. Split into four different districts, as well an inner district, and above that, the Lord’s District. The five districts are the Market District, the Mason District, the Garden District, and the Housing District. The Market District is where one would get all their goods and services, anything from a tailor, to an enchantress, to a weaponsmith. The Mason District is reserved for the working class, and of course, masons. Stonemasons are highly regarded, as they help keep the walls maintained, and the people safe. The Garden District is reserved for religious structures and activities, currently there stand four temples, one to Alessandra, one to Nimthur, one to Pithe, and one to Valresh. The Housing District is very particular. It houses the rich and poor, the middle class live either inside the walls, or just outside the walls, predators tend to stay away from the hustle and bustle of the kingdom. Life has gotten slow and tame for Gikrax, being The Champion he is a symbol of the resilience of the kingdom. However, being a man of action, he grows weary of politics and at times looks for trouble. Looking out on his balcony, he notices a large pillar of black smoke, ascending into the sky. Surely a bad sign. Gikrax picks up his blade and heads straight for it, his own guards try to stop him, as they have in the past, yet it never works. He easily shoves each guard out of the way and heads to the Garden District, where the smoke was coming from. After arriving at the scene, Gikrax realizes that Azeena is already there, standing before the crumbling ruins of Nimthur’s temple.

“You’re a bit late, some scoundrels have already blown the place sky high!” says Azeena, tears streaming down her face. “Did you get a good look at them? Any detail would help, The guard sees every inch of this city” says Gikrax. Azeena fails to describe the fiends, unable to have even get a glimpse of them. Where could these fiends be Gikrax pondered. “We’re right here” said a voice behind Gikrax, seeming to be replying to his very thoughts. He turns to see… nothing, and then, a glimpse of red, in an instant he sees 3 figures wearing crimson capes. Gikrax readies his blade in response, his greatsword glowing a bright blue. “We’re just here to have a bit of fun… and perhaps cause chaos in the process” says the caped hooligans, all in sync. They appear to be human in almost every way… except they have large black horns protruding from their skulls. The tallest stands about 6 feet 4 inches, the others stand about 5 feet 9 inches. The tallest one, their leader, points straight at Gikrax, and the other two lunge at him faster than sound. One punches Gikrax in the left side of his abdomen, the other punches his right side. Gikrax tumbles back, taking a knee. Azeena runs in, my striking the left one in the shin, breaking and bruising the area. He hisses, reeling back, his broken bones mending just as fast as they were broken. Gikrax stands, amused by the strength of his enemies, he raises his blade and stabs the other fiend square in the chest, and slashes right through the heart. His sword is. covered in flame as the body falls, upon hitting the ground, he looks up and bursts in an explosion of flame and electricity. “He always was the weakest” the leader a says, chuckling. The henchmen kicks Azeena, knocking her back five feet, and leaving her incapacitated. Gikrax sees this and becomes enraged, he swing his blade over his head, cutting off one of the fiends arms, and comes back down to cut the other. The fiend dodges, getting behind Gikrax and knocking him down. He takes his time killing Gikrax, he seems to just be standing there, with his eyes shut.

By the time recovers he hears a loud yell, and the man’s arm on the ground vanishes, and appears on his being, fully functional. Gikrax sees this, and breathes deep, blowing out a plume of smoke blinding the fiend. Gikrax moves in, cutting the man down the middle, and seeing him spill an inky black ichor, unlike any he has seen. His body lays in two, spewing out the ichor, far more than his body could hold. Their leader scoffs, and steps forward, raising his fists. Gikrax throws his sword on his back, and prepares for a fist fight. Gikrax takes the first move, running towards the leader, readying a right hook. The leader appears before him catching the punch without such much as a sweat. “Seems today is the day you die, Champion.” says the leader, readying to punch Gikrax, when suddenly, there’s a bang and the man falls back, bleeding dark ichor as his henchmen did, with a hole in his chest. From a distance, Gikrax hears a shrill cheer, before the man gets up. “Bah! Seems the have plans for you yet. Be warned, Champion, The Fallen will rise again.” With that, the leader vanishes into thin air, not a single trace of him to be found. Gikrax lies there on the ground, flat out, Who are The Fallen? Where did they come from? What do they want? All of this is running through his head, until he hears the pitter-patter of feet, and green legs… “M’lord! I hope you aren’t to injured! I’m glad I decided to take my boom-pipe with me today!” says the shrill voice Gikrax heard before. He stands to look at his savior. Of course, a goblin, renowned tinkerers. He stands 3 feet 3 inches, his eyes are purple, his left arm is missing, replace by a robotic one, his skin tone a deep green, and he walks barefoot, unsurprisingly. “Who are you? What is a boom-pipe?” Gikrax snorts, surprised that a goblin of all things could save him. “Me name is Mezlin, M’lord! I am a goblin tinkerer, as you could’ve guess! The best in all the lands! My patent-pending boom-pipe uses gunpowder to propel a hunk of metal at high speeds! Like a cannon, but smaller!” says the goblin, in a nasal voice.

Mezlin holds out the boom-pipe, to show off its elegant design, the metal is a dark black, lined with gold, the very end of it is that of a dragon’s head. “ I spent months getting the design right! And don’t even get me started on the gunpowder mixture!” Gikrax can only stare at the goblin in awe, Gikrax is an old sod, he’s seen plenty of advancement, hell, he’s seen the world reborn, but this was truly a sight to behold. The might of a cannon, within your hand. Mere mortals could stand against even a elder wizard. Gikrax shakes his head, clearing these thoughts. “Your device is impressive, but it lacks grace and skill, it is of no use to me” he says, the goblin visibly crestfallen. Mezlin immediately cheers up, stating that he has more uses than he shows, and begs The Champion to allow him to travel with him, he lays on the ground, a sniveling mess. Gikrax, not one to turn away help, especially that of one so useful allows Mezlin to follow him. After awaking Azeena, they head out in the direction of other cities, seeking unity. In the time of their absence, the Warriors Council will take place of The Champion. The Warriors Council is a group of warriors who have hardened themselves in battle, and have the courage, honor, and valor to face anything. Humans in the Warriors Council is very rare indeed, most humans within the Council are genetic mutants, who surpass the strength that any normal human could have. The primary races on the council are the proud dwarves, the savage orcs, and, shockingly, gnomes, just… gnomes. Currently, it consists of 567 members, only 10 of which are human, and only 1 of them a non-mutant. After swearing fealty to The Champion, his goals, his ambition, and his very drive, they assume control, and Gikrax is free to leave, going out as an ambassador in their time of need. Gikrax steps out of the city, the first time in 30 years. “There should be a forest southwards, there we will find Zelaan, he is head of The Elven Embassy, and the one who would know anything about The Fallen.” Gikrax snorts, looking south, in the distance, a large glowing tree.

They head south, as they are about an hour from arriving at the tree, they are attacked by a stone giant, standing 12 feet tall, he wields a tree as a club, As he readies his “club” to hit Gikrax, who has only just noticed him, a rainbow bolt comes from nowhere, striking the giant in the heart, killing him instantly. Soon they hear the strumming of a lute, they turn to see an elven man, wearing entirely pink, his lute pink with rainbow strings, the very top of it looking like the head of a unicorn, and his song, entirely rapturous. The man walks off the path, heading his own way, leaving the party feeling more than a little confused. As they look back to the giant’s corpse they see he too, has become pink. All they can do is move on, severely confused. For a moment Mezlin was even considering shooting the elven man, his perfection almost too much to bare. Flawless skin, flawless performance, and flawless skill. Gikrax tried not to acknowledge the man, or the Giant, putting even his own skill to shame. Azeena fell head over heel for him, he didn’t say a single word, but she had fallen in love the moment he she saw him. They move on, the glowing tree that is the Embassy, just a mile away. “Theres… an energy about this place…” says Gikrax, the purity of the tree all around him, the others, being less sensitive to magic, don’t feel a thing. As they reach the base of the tree, two elven women drop from the tree’s limbs, each wielding golden halberds, as soon as the trio mention the name Zeldaan, the two elven women gasp, they stand aside, and in front of them appears a elven man, sporting a very regal garb, a mix of red and orange, his hair blonde, his eyes blue, and his skin flawless (Though, not as flawless as the man in pink.) “Welcome!” said the elven man, clearly already knowing the party. “Champion, it is quite the honor to have you here, I’m Zeldaan, lord of the Elves.” he says taking a bow, as well as a wry smile.

The elvish lord rises from his bow, giggling in glee. “Don’t look so grim! Evil within the Embassy is unheard of!” says Zeldaan, Gixrax snorts in retaliation, knowing full well this elf is too arrogant for his own good. “You are foolish to have such hubris, all cities are in danger at all times, especially one such as Than’val or the Embassy.” The Champion growls. Zeldaan only replies with a smile, before turning around and waving his hand for the party to follow. They follow the elvish man into a room laden in gold, in the center a large, glowing pink orb, floating gently above a golden brazier, with pink flames. “This is what gives us an edge, unlike you lesser species” says Zeldaan, “This, is The Catalyst, and in its current state, wards off all evil, and should any evil pierce the barrier, it can be used as a weapon.” Gikrax seems unimpressed, In fact, he seems more hesitant than before. “This solves nothing, your Catalyst will fall, your kingdom. Evil grows as it hasn’t before.” says the Champion. As if on cue a large explosion is heard, a black, suffocating mist filling the room. Three, large, lumbering figures walk into the room. Trolls; two of them stood 9 feet tall, and held large intricate clubs, the held end wrapped in velvet, and the end tipped in a darkened steel, as dark as night.the third troll was extremely odd, he stood nearly twice as tall as his brethren, standing at 17 feet, his face was scarred, some of his teeth were broken, and he smelled much worse than his brethren; a symbol of leadership. He wielded a darksteel greatsword, twice the size of a normal man. The hilt was laden in gold, and the handle covered in stripes of black and red. The troll himself was covered in a corrupted chitinous armor, jutting this way and that, stronger than steel, but as flexible as silk. His helmet had large horns, and a face plate with a devilish smile. “Get wreckin’ boys!” the tall troll trumpets, his voice baritone, reverberating through the room. The smaller trolls step forward.

One swings for Zeldaan, the elvish leader vanishes into thin air, and the troll ends up striking the orb, shattering it instantly. “Not so great at protecting against evil now, it seems” Gikrax huffs, pulling his greatsword off his back, and slicing the troll with his blade, his left arm torn asunder. The troll shrieks; his friend comes into play, catching the Champion off-guard and swatting him away, the troll then attacks Mezlin, launching him across the room, his robotic arm, left in shambles, in return the goblin pulls out a small orb, not much bigger than his palm, and slams it on the ground, a large dome surrounding his being. The first troll has passed out from exsanguination, most of his blood on the floor, a thick purple blood. The tall troll walks to the smaller living troll, which he rips in half, throwing his body aside, and sets his sights on Azeena. “He was useless to me; that goblin should’ve been dead in a single swing, as you will.” he says picking up his darksteel blade, and lunging at the halfling, she dodges, going right under the trolls legs, she jumps off the ground, swing her mace, and hitting the trolls back. The troll, not expecting this, is put off balance, nearly falling over. The Champion sees the opening he’s been waiting for; he picks up his blade and gets off the ground, running over to the troll. Gikrax takes out the trolls legs, leaving him on the ground, Gikrax puts his sword straight to the troll’s neck, and stares him right in the eyes. “Who. Are. You?” he says, a furying burning in his eyes. The troll opens his mouth, but all that comes out is a laugh, and then he explodes; launching the Champion and Azeena across the room.

Chapter Two: The Lord’s Arena

Gikrax and Azeena awake within a dungeon; surrounded by stone and metal bars. Zeldaan walks in to the dungeons, along with the warden, a dryad. “You- You two had something to do with this! First you come in complaining about evil, and then trolls burst in! The orb is broken, thanks, to, you!” the lord practically screams; his skin noticeably flawed, his hair darkened, his voice deeper, and his robe losing its color. With that-poof- the elvish lord vanishing into thin air as he had done in the battle, the dryad stays; watching Gikrax and Azeena with piercing eyes. “The energy is gone…” Gikrax ponders, the warm feeling of purity that once was, has now faded. The Champion and halfling, having been stripped of their armor and weapons, are left defenseless. Azeena is left without hope, the small room seemingly warping; growing and shrinking as fear sets in. Gikrax stands brave, waiting and pondering. The Champion grabs one of the bars and attempts to bend it; it bends with ease, but is quickly replaced with large, immovable vines, supplied by the dryad. “We have plans for you yet, Champion. Your strength will be tested in the Arena.” hisses the dryad, a hint of a snake-like tongue, made of vine. With that, the torches go out, the room pitch black, the only light is a hint of red; the dryad’s eyes, shining in the dark. Moments pass, seemingly an eternity, and the floor gives, The Champion and Azeena sliding, going down, then up, this way and that, all over the Embassy, and then the light grows; the end of the tunnel nears. The Champion finds himself in a large coliseum, thousands- no, hundreds of thousands of elves, all packed in like sardines. Azeena lays out cold, the halfling knocked out by the fall. “Welcome, welcome, boys and girls, ladies and gents, and all that in between, to the Arena!” exclaims Zeldaan, over the intercoms.

“Today we have a very special guest, hailing from the heretical kingdom that is Than’val! The one, the only Champion of Losers!” the crowd bursts into laughter, and Gikrax only grows more furious with the arrogant elves. “First, we will release a classic beast; one sure to give The Loser a run for his money, a lion!” with a loud slam, the gate comes wide open, and out comes a lion; loud, majestic, and oh so dangerous to a unarmed man. The lion runs at Gikrax, pouncing as it gets close, The Champion grabs the lion by the front right paw; throwing it on the ground and grabbing its muzzle to keep it from biting. Suddenly, a long strip of rope is thrown out of the crowd, and an idea along with it. Gikrax takes the rope, putting it around the lion’s muzzle and using it as if it were reins on a horse. He climbs on the lion, who give a mighty fight, but after exhausting the beast, and giving it a few kicks for good measure, the Champion can now properly mount the lion. “Seems The Loser has tamed the untamable! Get the necromancers; have them raise the dead!” Zeldaan says, his voice breaking and cracking, he can be heard in the background cackling. Twenty skeletal soldiers walk out, clad in elvish gladiator armor, wielding golden long swords, and crystalline longbows. Gikrax leaps in with his lion, dispatching five in brutal fashion. The others slash at Gikrax, cutting his cloth garments to ribbons, but unable to pierce his scales. The lion however, does not fair as well, bleeding profusely, with no hope of recovering. Gikrax rips one of the skeletal warriors arms off, using it as a club, as a sword would do very little to bone. The Arena is filled with snaps, creaks, groans, and shrieks as the warriors fall one by one, The crowd showing their obvious disdain for the Champion. “W-what?! You weren’t meant to pass that round! I mean- Ladies and Gentlemen, it seems The Loser might not be so bad after all! This time, we’re going all out, sending in the prince of princes… Zeldrin, my very own son!” in a quick flash, a black wearing elf is seen in the Arena, he is quite young for an elf, no more than sixty.

Zeldrin lunges this way and that, clearly trained as a Qual-zin, an elite elvish assassin. Gikrax barely has time to react, Zeldrin appearing right behind him, going for the pressure points within his body. Gikrax grabs one of Zeldrin’s arms, landing three punches to the face of Zeldrin, already bloodied. Zeldrin’s other arm lands on it mark, disabling both of the Champions arms, and then -poof- Zeldrin stands ten feet from the Champion, pulling out a green tipped dagger, and running towards Gikrax, Gikrax trips the prince-assassin with his legs, stomping one of the Zeldrin’s legs, for a loud snap to be heard, and a deafening gasp from the audience. Zeldrin screams, as does the Champion, who has been stabbed by Zeldrin, the dagger’s poison seeping into his very being. As Zeldrin vanishes into the crowd, Gikrax grows weak, he moves towards Azeena, and passes out next to her.

They find themselves in the dungeons once more, Azeena attempts to heal and mend the Champion, for it to fail miserably, the poison, proving to be to much. “Worry not, Champion!” says a familiar voice, quite nasally in fact. In mere moments, Mezlin blinks into sight right in front of them, his being flicking in and out. “Still got a few kinks to work out with the Dimensional Shroud; but that’s for later, just know that I’m working on curing and freeing you m’lord!” he says, blink out for several moments, and appears once again “Oh, and do be careful of the dragon!” the goblin says hastily. His blinking being, rushing off in a direction, and vanishing completely. “Arrgh! W-what is it with people being able to v-vanish all of the sudden! Do these people know no h-honor?!” Says Gikrax, clearly in pain and clearly losing his patience with illusion and alteration magic. Zeldaan walks in to the dungeons, all of the sconces on the walls igniting simultaneously. He has a large grin on his face, only to look at the pained Champion, and his expression turning to a foul one. “You should be dead! That poison could kill an entire civilization of stone giants!” says the elvish lord, flailing in rage.

“N-not a stone giant, am I? Heh.” Gikrax barely manages to get out. “You impudent!… No, no matter, we’re capturing something just for you, and with that poison inside of you, you don’t stand a chance” snickers Zeldaan, entirely too sure of himself. A week passes, the poison only increases Gikrax’s rage, and he want for a battle. There has been no sign of Mezlin since they last talk; fearing the worst for the goblin tinkerer. Azeena has been surprisingly strong during these time; telling herself that she will be stronger this time, that she will protect Gikrax. The floor gives out, once again sliding down to the Arena, this time, something much worse waiting for them. In his weakened state, the Champion is unable to catch himself, and collapses on the Arena floor. Blink, blink, and a bang, the goblin Mezlin materializes in front of them. “Here, eat this, it should drain the poison right out of your system!” the goblin says, shoving an oddly shaped apple-like fruit into Gikrax’s hands, he takes a bite of the fruit, its bitter and tastes awful. He throws his body to the ground, shuddering. A purple mist emanates from his body, the corruption of the poison seeping out. The Champion stands, stronger than ever, his blood boiling with rage. “You’re welcome for the rope” Mezlin says with a sly grin. Without introduction, preparation, or even taunting, the large gate of the Arena slams open, a chilling wind blowing from the opening. “Oh, right! I forgot to warn you!” Says the goblin, touching his broken robotic wrist and blinking out existence again, only to come back five seconds later. A long tail flops out of the opening, and a head follows. A dragon, as Mezlin had said, a white one to be exact, quite elderly in fact. The dragon almost seems to roll his eyes at the party, and inhales deeply, and breathes a freezing blast, going straight for the party. Gikrax exhales as well, breathing out a black smoke, soon turning to fiery blast, one he uses to counter the white dragon. “W-well, seems you got this under control! I need to repair my arm, bye! says the tinkerer, vanishing again.

The battle between fire and ice continues The dragon and Gikrax, in perfect harmony, as one moves this way, so does the other. Flame consumes ice, ice consumes flame. The balance is undeniable, a battle with two furious warriors, both old, both wise, both experienced. As the battle between the dragon and Gikrax rages, Azeena was preparing a spell, a large spectral sword forms in her hand, a holy glow emanating from it, and as she grabs it, she as well glows. She barely manages to strike the dragons toe, being as small as she is. The sword deflects, completely useless against such a beast. However, it does throw off the beast for a second, making him move his head in the direction of the halfling, taking the chilling blast off of Gikrax and his equally terrifying fiery blast. The fire gains ground, striking the dragon, the icy beam stops, and the dragon reels back, shrieking in pain, the fury of Gikrax harnessed in flames, intensifying the burn. Icy white scales fall off, Gikrax’s flame shifting from a bright orange to blue. Staggering, shuddering, the dragon falls over, and the fiery blast ends, Gikrax runs towards the dragon, slicing through the exposed, burnt flesh of the dragon. It wails, the dark red gashed spewing blood. Climbing on to the beast, he takes his greatsword, and puts it beneath the dragon’s throat. “I am sorry, dearest kinsman, but blood must be spilt, a life taken,and a bond strengthened.” Gikrax say, sighing, with a visible frown on his face. The dragon almost… relaxes, in response, calming down and lying down, to accept its death. Gikrax pierces the dragon’s neck, going right through the spinal column, killing it instantly. With a swift cut, he detaches the head entirely, the dragon’s very being burns into a black and silver mist. “Welcome home, kinsman.” Gikrax says, holding his arms wide out, the swirling mist flowing into him. His scales visibly glowing for a few moments, and then, he falls.

Mezlin materializes, somewhat bloodied, his arm repaired. He grabs the Champion, and urges Azeena to grab ahold of his shoulder. As she does this, they all dematerialize. Blinking between dimensions to arrive at a new location, they catch glimpses of worlds never imagined, even The Realm itself, and possibly something more. At last they materialize, in a dense forest, close to Than’val. “We must rest for the journey to come, and to do that, we must… explain.” the tinkerer says, looking at Gikrax as if something was wrong. Snapping off twigs and branches, they assemble a small fire pit. Mezlin pulls a small cube out from his coat, and throws it on the ground, near the unlit fire pit. It unfolds into a large, cushioned bench, one you would see in a posh home. Azeena starts a holy fire in her hands, and touches the unlit pit, it burns in a bright white fire, the very sight eases the party. As the fire burns, Azeena starts off describing her story. She is the last in a long line of Old World shamans, her mother was a renowned healer, powers that rivaled even that of The Wild, who created the Divines, should you remember. Azeena is nowhere near the power of her mother, as she had died giving birth to Azeena, the only power she had in the Old World was what came naturally through her bloodline. As the world was reborn with the Divines, she was directly approached by Divine Pithe, who greatly increased her healing ability with miracles only a divine being could provide. She became the first cleric of the New World, a follower of Pithe, and one of three people to commune with the Divines directly. Everything else is her story thus far. Mezlin picks up where she left off, moving over to his own history. Mezlin states he never had a childhood, he was created along with the New World, suddenly existing was quite exciting according to him. He saw wonderful gadgets through dreams and visions, he saw the metals the planet provided as more than just metal, he saw machinery. He made his first creation only one day after existing, a tiny metal trinket that would explode on contact with wood.

Chapter Three:

A Moment of Respite & The Lord’s Fall

The Champion stirs from his slumber, happier than he usually does, the wilderness giving him clarity. “Lord, I believe it is time you explained your past” says Mezlin, the tinkerer looking at Gikrax with a questioning look. “I suppose I trust you two enough to tell my tale.” Says The Champion, with an audible sigh. “I’ve existed long before your kind, at least as long as Theresh has. I fought against The Wild, some of the first lifeforms to ever develop on this planet, though your stories act as if they just -poofed- into existence. I saw them grow and change over time, their form twisted and distorted, they’re one of the few life forms that are completely evil, they destroyed any life in their way. The only reason Halflings, humans, dwarves, and gnomes are alive, is because we protected them for millennia until they were able to fight back.” He takes a second to gather his thoughts. “You might wonder what I mean by ‘we,’ it’s not hard to tell that dragons and I share the same blood, but do not mistake me as a Dragon-Kin, that your tales speak of, as those are blown up tales of myself. I am not descended of the dragons any more than they are of me. I was born along the first dragon, if you’d like to call it that. All the dragons called him Frathyr, which in Common, is simply father, most of Common is driven from the Draconic language I once spoke. Despite what you ‘lesser’ races here, they do have a language, you just have to know it to hear it.” Mezlin interrupts him for a second, having pondered this for a few moments. “What about the dragon m’lord? Didn’t you call him ‘kindred?’ Surely that means you are a dragon?” Gikrax lets out a large sigh “No, no. I share blood with the dragons, but I am not a dragon, the dragon are ‘kindred’ in the sense that they are warriors of merit, and it is a pleasure to fell another warrior, especially one that accepts their death with honor. I can’t stand a craven who calls themselves a warrior, Azeena is another matter, her abilities are few and far in between. Anywho, back to me, I had centuries to master my skill, learning to use the blade you see here. Frathyr and I would spar, day and night, years on end. In the end, I was the better in any one on one battle, but as his children got involved in order to give me a challenge, I faltered, I lack spatial awareness, of all things. One elder dragon? No issue, several wyrmlings? An uphill battle. Frathyr is long dead, his life was given for… reasons best left alone for now. I may trust you two, but there are some truths that you can’t handle, well, one of you can’t.”

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