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Author Topic: From the Embers of Anarchy (Original Work: Scene I, II, III, & IV)  (Read 357 times)

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Online Myen'Tal

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From the Embers of Anarchy (Original Work: Scene I, II, III, & IV)
« on: September 14, 2019, 09:18:29 PM »
NOTE: Scene I has been added and it's just below this note. Thanks!!! ;D ;D ;D

Prologue: Embers of the Ancients

Sirius, the Scorching Sun scoured the lands from one horizon to the next, but Aslan felt as if its rays honed in on the barren crater before him. He fondly imagined what the oasis that once thrived here could have looked like. Reality set back in, where he bore witness to the amassed bones of a great massacre, cast into the lifeless crater unceremoniously.

Aslan witnessed the carcasses of his brave warrior men and women, then lifted his head to the sky to show his disapproving frown to Sirius itself.
   
Aslan did not dare glance in his lord’s direction, lest his anguish become too much to bear. Instead, only a restrained voice gently slipped from his lips to chastise. “Only the bones of the dead litter this valley, Erasyl.” He said. “And they lie restless, the souls of my Zarquin fill my heart with disdain and vengeful fury. Face it, Sun-Caller, you’ve deceived yourself. You’ve deceived us all. In this valley of carrion, our lives are forfeit. There is nothing here worth fighting for.”

   “Your guilt is my own to bear, my favored son.” A stern voice seasoned by centuries of unnatural life becalmed Aslan by the merest fraction. “I shall bear it till the end of time, if I must. A lesser man, I’d crush beneath my heel, but you… you knew my error when I denied its existence—”

   “Lord,” Aiman’s voice interrupted their conversation, the sound soothing like the ebb and flow of the tides. “None of us could have known that these… horrors were capable of such brutality. Queen Hazan spoke truthfully, they cannot be reasoned with if this is what our people shall receive. They—”

   “Were butchered worse than cattle.” Azat scoffed. “Let us not grieve for those who have already suffered death, but concern ourselves with those still alive. Erasyl, I fear that whatever monstrosities that hacked this poor lot may not be far from here. We should tread swiftly and with caution.”

   “Azat, wayward son.” Erasyl barked with proud, defiant laughter. “I’m done running from terrors that haunt our nights and dreams. Aslan, my mighty lion thinks this place cursed and without life, but Zulfiqar and his ilk have glimpsed the riches of life in bounteous supply in this very place.

   “That, and I shall shatter the spines of the foe who treated the Qi Tribes with such reckless aggression.”

   “With what force?” Azat countered with a sharp frown. “Three hundred Zarquin against how many?”

   “Azat…” Aiman cautioned the roguish character.

   “Bah,” Erasyl silenced Aiman and stayed Aslan’s hand with a dismissive flick of his wrist. “You have always had little faith, Azat. Where Aiman and Aslan would question your purpose here, I know that your place is beside me with your wayward beliefs. This way, I am always grounded in the eyes of those who will never see me as god or king. Whether you believe this or not, know that I have value in such beliefs.”

   “You humble me, Lord.” Azat sketched an exquisite bow, out of place amidst the remnants of carnage in this barren oasis. “And you earn my loyalty! I’ll follow you to the ends of the earth, if only to question your purpose for going.”

“Good, then let us waste no more time.” Erasyl raised his voice so that it washed over the ranks of his three hundred personal guard. “These Gorgons… they are an infestation, a plague, and a thrice-damned curse upon this valley.

“Perhaps we shall all die this evening, but I know each and everyone of you. You have all sworn oaths that your final day shall be any day, in the defense of your master. Zarquin Guard, this night, we’ll sound the dirge of our armies crossing into the valley… we’ll defend our colonies and fledgling cities. We know this place as a valley of carrion, for surely, we’ll litter this place with the bones of our enemies from one river to the next.

“Must I ask if you’ll stand by my side?”

Aslan thundered to the cloudless sky. “Qi fades, but Qarth rises from the embers!

Three hundred Qi men and women echoed his cry with interest. “Qi Fades! Qarth rises from the embers!”

Alsan punched a meaty leather fist into the palm of his other hand. “Erasyl, shall you lead us to these verminous cretins?”

A knowing smirk flashed on Erasyl’s lips, hinting at glittering white teeth. “We need not go far, as Azat suspected. We’ll bury the bones of our people quickly. Then retreat to Reaper’s Lantern Pass. They’ll come, my son.”

~***~

The Medusa Queen proved a gargantuan specimen in person. Her serpentine body stood twice the height of the tallest Qi warrior, covered in gleaming emerald scales laced with oval patterns of golden ones. The humanoid body fused atop of the writhing horror beneath was of the slimiest pallid skin, streaked with grime, scars, and dried gore from countless conflicts.  A crown of lengthy and poisonous cobras grew from her skull like hair, spitting acidic poison that could kill a man in less than a dozen seconds.

   The Zarquin Guard cheered as one man strode forth, undeterred, onto the stretch of open land unoccupied by either army gathered at the mouth of the mountain pass.

   A warrior whose skin glistened like bronze smelted in the forge approached the Medusa. No leather touched his rippled musculature, honed from centuries of the Qi Tribes – his people’s—conflicts. Numerous scars tattooed him from his bare feet to the lonely lock of raven black hair sprouting from the crown of his head.

A white sarong flowed down from his waist, from the mouth of a lion’s head centered upon his waist, the centerpiece of a belt. The lion’s bones bedecked his body, piercing limbs and the meat above his ribs and chest like an imbedded armor. Inscribed upon the bone were dedications to the few gods the Qi worshipped.

The Medusa gazed upon Erasyl from the other end of the arena and screeched with shrill laughter. Erasyl paused in his stride and took stock of the Queen, a mighty warrior if her scars and blasted skin were anything to judge her by. A brief moment later and the Medusa paused to perform a similar action on her opponent.

The Queen snapped her talon fingers and several of her lesser spawn slithered up behind her. Each of them planted two throwing spears into the arid earth, one for each hand, before scurrying back into the ranks of the Gorgon horde.

“My lion,” Erasyl beckoned. “Bring my weapon forth!”
Aslan swiftly made to approach, but the Queen was not so patient. The Medusa plucked one of the obscenely large javelins from the earth, it’s dark metallic hide the length of a pike to any ordinary man. With the graceful ease of a dance, she cast the weapon across the arena.

A gust of flame sprouted from around Erasyl’s feet and engulfed him in an instant. The scent of charred flesh drifted on the current of the desert’s evening wind. The javelin landed in the midst of the flames with a plume explosion of earth and sand. Instantly guttered, the flames revealed only a blackened javelin left embedded in the earth.

“Qi Fades!” The Zarquin chanted.
An explosion of flame and acrid smoke blossomed from the Medusa’s Queen’s left flank. It assailed her eyes until they watered irritably. Antagonized, the flick of her razor-sharp tail whipped into the flames and cracked against inscribed bone.

Erasyl smelt the tang of blood oozing from his shoulder as he charged out of the rift. A dark metal javelin lanced toward his heart in the span of an instant. His feet slid him aside from the rapid blow, his hands carving an insignia from out of the air. A pillar of blackened flames erupted from the gesture and hosed the Medusa’s glittering emerald and gold scales.

The Queen heaved with keen laughter, rearing up to her full height to cast down a flurry of blows. Where Erasyl smelt blood leaking out of him moments before, the scent was now overwhelming as it rushed out his shoulder and bicep. The second blow sliced open his thigh and sent him reeling with agony. The third blow came from the hilt of the javelin and hit him in the torso with enough force to send him flying into the sand onto his back.

Erasyl writhed upon the sand, broken, or perhaps worse, shattered from the onslaught. He did not scream in agony or defiance of his fate. He wished his flesh would knit so that he could try once more, but he knew of no such mortal -or even immortal power.

The Medusa tilted her head in askance, unwilling to delve in for the certain kill. Instead, she pointed toward the center of Erasyl’s chest with a talon-like finger, and raised her javelin slowly as she calculated the angle.

A brilliant lance of light shot across the arena and pierced the Medusa Queen from one side of her chest, before it burst from out of the other. Heart pulped into ruin, a split-second exhale of shock and pain racked her spasming form, before the monstrosity collapsed upon itself in a great, tangled heap.

Erasyl rolled his head onto one side to find Aiman standing at the fore of the Zarquin, ethereal bow in hand. Her raven hair fluttered in the wind, revealing more of her skin than usual, a color of moon touched beaches on a desert’s coast.

Aslan marched to the fore to stand by her side, and with a quick cutting gesture, a cloud of arrows filled the night sky. The horde before them spasmed, some of their number falling to the earth with each volley. The Gorgons, shocked by the sudden death of their queen, did not reply with their usual aggression, and scattered into the night like a swarm of scarabs would scatter before a lit torch.

Contented, Erasyl lay upon his back, most of it propped up by the jagged stone of the Reaper’s Latern Pass. He bled what seemed like an infinite amount of blood, so much that he wondered if death was truly coming for him. He counted scores of fallen Gorgons, and not one of his Zarquin amongst the dead. He watched Aslan and Aiman standing proudly triumphant over the horde, their eyes locked on the horizon beyond them.

Erasyl followed their gaze toward the west and peered into the dark abyss that cloaked the desert beyond.

A brief spark of light flickered in the distance, wavering uncertainly until it became a bright beacon. A dozen more burst into life in the same way. A dozen became a fifty. Fifty became one hundred. One hundred became three-fold, and so on. Soon, the earth shook under the masses of warriors, the stamping hooves of horses, all of this carried on the wind’s current back into Reaper’s Lantern.

“Pick him up.” Azat’s voice came from somewhere a scant distance away. “My lord, your command is our will. What would you have of us?”

Familiar hands gently gripped Erasyl firm and lifted him into the air and back down upon a great shield, for all of the Zarquin were sons and daughters of his own spirit, if not blood.

“Tell Aslan he has full command of my armies. A piece shall also be given to you and Aiman. Claim this valley of carrion... and protect our fledgling lands with your lives… oaths you have sworn. So, attend your master’s will even absent of his presence.”

Azat snickered with wicked laughter. “Your bidding shall be executed with prejudice, my lord.”

~***~
« Last Edit: October 8, 2019, 06:29:18 PM by Myen'Tal »
“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”
― Glen Cook, The Black Company

Online Myen'Tal

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Re: From the Embers of Anarchy (Original Work: Scene II)
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2019, 05:24:53 PM »
Just an update on this:

I'll be creating some additional scenes to pad out the beginning of this story, and of course be making additional scenes that'll continue further into the plot.

Just want to add some more context for what is going on.

Thanks for reading!!! ;D
“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”
― Glen Cook, The Black Company

Online Myen'Tal

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Re: From the Embers of Anarchy (Original Work: Scene II)
« Reply #2 on: October 7, 2019, 09:43:32 PM »
If you're searching for the new post, please scroll back up to the top of the page ;D ;D ;D.


~***~
Battle of Carrion
Geographical Area: Carrion Valley
Regional Area: Gorgon Dunes


  A hail of arrows fell from a cloudless sky, blotting out the desert sun. Azat let out a sharp bark of laughter and waded into death itself. A maelstrom of Qi warriors and charred-skinned horrors raged around him. Swords cleaved. Horrors screamed. Blood fountained across the dunes of the Valley of Carrion. Arrows descended from the skies, and the men of Qi fell in their scores.

   A moderate sized buckler lifted to blot out the sun, Azat danced around the crown of emerald serpents lashing toward him. He struck out toward a clutch of venomous cobras. Betrayer sliced into their scales like a sliver of light.

The ashen-scaled creature snapped her fanged jaws, but missed by the bronze skin of his arm. The Gorgon made to coil herself around him and finish Azat in one crushing squeeze. He warded off the Gorgon’s crushing maw with a flick of his wrist. He punched his buckler downward with force enough to send the beast reeling backward across the shifting sands.

“Hew them down!” Afraid to relinquish an advantage, Azat thundered to the scorching sun.  “Scorch their bones! Tear them apart! Show no shame before them!”

   Qi Warriors scattered across the Valley answered him and moved to reform. An endless storm of arrows rained down upon them and more of their number joined the blood-soaked battlefield. Azat climbed the peak of the greatest dune he could find and stared out into the Valley of Carrion.

   He counted a hundred different formations scattered about the Valley of Carrion, separated from each other by leagues of open field. A horde of a hundred-fold the number of the Qi writhed across the bone littered valley like an unnatural sea made from the stuff of night. Once, the Gorgon flood had numbered beyond count, their armies spread from one horizon to the next…

   “Qarth rises from the embers of anarchy…” Azat muttered onto the cool desert winds now that evening settled over the horizon. His words were lost in the deafening cries of Qi gathered in their hundreds, counter-charging their enemies.

   “Azat.”

A familiar voice called out to him from amongst the teeming masses, his volume like a burst of thunder amidst falling rain. A shadow eclipsed Azat from behind, wide enough to feel as if a mountain approached instead of a human. Azat glanced over his shoulder, then lifted his chin by several degrees to meet Aslan’s gaze.

Aslan laid a mighty gauntlet of tanned fur and sunbaked bones upon Azat’s shoulder. “You would have done well… if you cared more for the Qi than your own ambition. Scream to the sun if that’s what you desire, but it’s a shame that’s the only command you understand.”

“Never change, Aslan.” Azat scoffed and barked with laughter. “Did the Gorgons put your eyes out? My advance has only seen success, even under a sky of falling arrows, the Qi that you entrusted to me push us closer to victory.”

Aslan frowned, then shrugged. “The force that I entrusted to you is scarcely recognizable, save a few faces I recognize. I trusted the victory to them… not to you.”

“What do the dead care for any of that?” Azat quipped. “And why do you look so somber, brother? Gaze out toward the horizon with me! Look!” He pointed toward the eastern and western horizons with either hand. “Pray tell, Aslan, but what do you see?”

“Nothing…” A crooked grin broke through Aslan’s placid façade. “A Valley of Carrion, of which our people have labored for several generations to call our own… If only you could learn to do better…”

Azat shrugged and made to regather his weapons. “Your measurements seem off by several leagues, but it matters little… Qarth rises from the embers of anarchy. The Firstborn has scoured these lands, the Gorgons and their endless numbers feel the embrace of the inferno. Soon only their bones shall remain in the Valley.

“Erasyl would be proud of his appointed commander.”

Aslan’s grin widened. “He did not name me without cause… and yes, soon these lands shall earn their name. The Gorgons may have been wolves in their own time, but wolves could never hope to conquer lions… Enough of this. Resume your command, claim our victory, and remember that I shall always be at your back.”

“Never relied on that. Never will.” Azat made a dismissive gesture and marched back into the midst of the battle.

~****~
The Left Flank
Geographical Area: Carrion Valley
Regional Area: Pass of the Reaper’s Lantern


       “Zar’quin Guard!” Aiman’s voice, warm and languid like a desert oasis bathed in the rays of the midday sun, commanded a legion. “Attend your master! Loose!”

        Three thousand men and women locked in formation across the breadth of the corpse-strewn Reaper’s Lantern, lifted their composite bows to the skies. The moon was enveloped moments later by a cloud of flaming arrows.

        Embattled at the foot of the mountain pass, hundreds of the Gorgon thrashed and scythed through entire ranks of Qi with wild abandon. Blood mingled into the oil pits hidden in the earth beneath their writhing bodies. Soon the skies themselves were choked with the scent of charred smoke and incinerated corpses.

        “Weapons unsheathed!” Aiman cried over the pitiful screams of the burning. She craned her head toward Karah, standard bearer of the Zar’quin and horn carrier. “Karah, do as you will!”

       “My will is yours, Aiman!” Karah lifted the horn to her lips and sounded a deafening dirge that rolled across the valley.

       Commanded, the Zar’quin unsheathed their blades and shattered their ranks in a momentous charge into the chaotic melee. Practiced and fluid in her art, Aiman plucked an arrow from thin air and let it fly from the ethereal bow clutched between her gloved fingers.

       A lance of brilliant light pierced the heart of a Gorgon bedecked in the bloodied heads of her foes. Before the Serpent champion could collapse in on herself, an explosion of magical shards erupted from out of the core of her form. Scores of warriors, Gorgon or Qi, lie shredded from the impact. Yet a woman of Aiman’s talent ensured many more of the foe fell before her own warriors did.

       Invigorated in the presence of such titanic force, the Zar’quin crashed into the melee. The first of their number scrabbled up a hill of dead as they fought, either struck down back into the mountain pass or slaying their foes without effort. At the fore of their ranks, Karah strode across the colliding lines, glimmering crimson gilded in gold filigree fluttering in the embers on the wind.

Ibrahim, Oracle of the Seven Oasis, cast an eye over the overall scope of the battle.  “How much longer can these brutes hold their own against such numbers? For every arrow you cast into the enemy, you fell the Twelve’s bravest warriors as much as you rend Gorgon flesh.”

“Are you preaching your omens at me now, Ibrahim?” Aiman glanced over her shoulder to stare the priest in the pit of his enigmatic eyes. “Spare me your fearmongering. You speak of the Gods’ disfavor, but the Gods have already commanded me to hold this mountain pass until blood flows like a river back into the canals of Tu’shik.”

A mirthless smile spread across Ibrahim’s morose features. “It’s always a pleasure to correct your misguided faith, but this is not the time. Listen to my council with more than your deaf ears and you’d know that I only ask what you need of me.”

Aiman scowled her distaste at the Oracle, but shrugged in resignation. “As you desire, then. Bring the moon down upon them. I’ve always wanted to know if your might was more fable than fact.”

         “Caution, I’d advise. The endless might of the old gods is not to be trifled with… I must beseech Ny’mira, Mother of the Solar Wind. Qarth rises from the embers of anarchy!”

         “Qarth rises from the embers of anarchy!” Aiman affirmed. “Do not leave me disappointed, old man.”

         Ibrahim nodded with grim finality. He pitched his head in the moon’s direction and droned the most ancient of litanies.

        “She is the purity of the full moon in the unforgiving cold of the desert night. She is the ebb and flow of the tides pulled from the void between the heavens. She is the oasis that wanders betwixt the barren lands, seeding her life blooming waters into the deprived, famished, and despairing.

        “Ny’myra, mother of the Solar Wind, Goddess of tranquility, and the balance of the stars in the heavens and the worlds that spin between them… lend your might to this insignificant dust! Plant into this parched soil a seed of your many glories, that your children may bear witness to your strength… may they honor your name with oaths of fealty for eternities to come…”

   Aiman listened to Ibrahim beseech the Old God that had chained him in mind, body, and soul… but the skepticism that would seize her heart and make it cold was drowned under a sensation that she could not place. Her heart pounded in the core of her chest, and her lungs struggled to hold down air. She felt as if she would recede into herself, carried away by the sensation that spread into the very essence of her.
 
    Something not born of her own will kept her on her feet. A strength that she had never felt before overcame her limbs. The ethereal bow in her hands burst into magical powder from the tenseness in her fingers. The memory of joyous emotions felt distant and forlorn, scattered by the crashing waves of a sudden, swelling terror.

   Aiman watched as the Zar’quin Guard, overcame by the same force, surged into their mortal nemesis. Warriors once broken and maimed, suddenly dragged Gorgons down into the blood-soaked sand by the strength of one limb and rent them apart. Others still on their feet bisected the serpentine creatures by the flicks of their wrists, and hewed other Gorgons apart in a flurry of blows.

   “Ibrahim,” Aiman craned her head in his direction, disgusted beyond all reason. “What have you unleashed? This… forbidden magic is foul beyond all reason.”

   Ibrahim glared at Aiman with oily eyes seeping with some foul magic. “I’d save your strength; the Solar Wind has not yet arrived. Harden yourself, lest you be drowned in her wrath. Your misguidance has blinded you well, Aiman. Know now that I speak in truths… Listen to your truest emotions… the Old Gods are speaking to you.”

   Aiman tilted her head in askance, disgusted beyond words. “You’d murder us all for our sacrifice?” 

   Ibrahim sighed, but remained silent.

   Aiman uttered the words, the night sky itself tortured and rent over their heads with swirling hues of color that one’d find on a rare opal gem. An unfamiliar sound of a ferocious, swollen sea erupting onto the shore thundered over Reaper’s Lantern. Aiman was convinced that no end of the Valley of Carrion could not have heard the oncoming dirge.

   “Stand your ground, Aiman.” Ibrahim’s words were not a command, but Aiman did not flinch from what could be seen on the horizon. “We must all face our destiny, on one day or another. The Zar’quin Guard have all sworn their oaths, that such a day would be any if needed.”

   Aiman cracked a smile that showed nothing but her unsurfaced terror. “There is no honor in this manner of death… but make no mistake, Erasyl and Hazan shall avenge us.”

   Ibrahim shrugged, then pointed toward the oncoming tidal wave that threatened to touch the stars themselves. Upon its black waters, corpses beyond number were ensnared in it’s crushing grip. The cries of thousands of Gorgons were silenced beneath the dirge that crashed upon the mouth of the mountain pass.

   Ibrahim shrugged. “So, you never asked yourself what the Twelve sacrificed for such power to begin with? Gaze, Aiman, then reflect upon all of what you have seen. I have some intuition that you are not done until Ny’mira has had her due… but now we journey through the cycle of death. Prepare yourself!”

   Aiman stared into the abyssal waters until the moment of her instantaneous death, her mind crushed by the void that lurked between the stars.
~***~
« Last Edit: October 7, 2019, 09:49:19 PM by Myen'Tal »
“Evil is relative…You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.”
― Glen Cook, The Black Company

 


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