Chronicles of Iridia

Vanth's Dream

The sound of soft waves lapping against a hull…

Muffled footsteps…

Moonlight, the only light to hunt by. A single figure, barely distinguishable from the shadows themselves, descends upon his victims. Over and over, methodically moving from sleeping form to sleeping form in the darkness. Some of them never woke as their lifeblood spilled from their jugular. The ones that opened their eyes as a vice-like hand clamped over their mouths, they were the worst.

They almost seemed to plead, “NO!” Her eyes begged. “I didn’t do anything wrong. Please, let me live!”

Only one soul escaped that boat alive, and he was barely recognizable as himself.

The hunter stares at the blood on his hands, a thick glossy sheen that turns silver with the light of the moon. It pools around him, dripping off his fingers, making the slightest noise as it hits the deck of the ship.

“How long will these sins take to wash from my already darkened past?” He whispers.

“Well done, sir huntsman, truly a masterpiece of violence.” A feminine voice flows like silk, drawing out each word softly, just hinting at the meanings implied.

The hunter stiffens. How did I not hear her approaching? Lets hope I can take her. He puts his hands out slowly to convey as little threat as possible and turns to face the source of the voice.

In front of him stands a petite silhouette cloaked in a black fabric that seems to pull ambient light from around it.

“Well…?” Her voice trails up, “What have you to say for yourself?”

“Milady, it is not as I would have had it, they were tainted evil… I did as I must, but I take no pleasure in my duties…..” His voice cracks as it chokes on tears barely held in check. “I am the hunter in the dark, I spare the rest of my tribe the pain… but the blood… it never comes off of my hands. I will never be clean.”

“Oh, but you are clean my sweet hunter. You smell of a hard day’s work, a shadow in the dark yes, but oh so very much more.” She pulls her hood back and releases a torrent of white hair that cascades down her shoulders. The small girl steps forward and clasps both of the broken man’s hands in her own and inhales the scent of the kill.

“I do not like to see you in such pain, your friends, as you call them seem to have no problem letting you do their dirty work for them.” Her words become clipped and harsh, clearly unhappy with the company this man keeps.

A tremor courses through the his body, “They are not merely my friends, they are my tribe… my family. We are Ux Arytissi, I suffer this fate for my brothers and sisters with a glad heart. My Chieftain would never fail me, and they will never abandon me as The Wounded Panthers did!” He flinches away and continues to shiver uncontrollably.

“Vanth, only I will never abandon you, in that you may trust.”

He looked up into this small woman’s violet eyes and the pit of his stomach dropped into his boots . It’s her! There’s no way I could ever forget THOSE eyes.

Her smile slides softly to the surface, and the man starts to scream in agony. He slumps to his knees, overcome with the horrible burden of darkness within him. A darkness that SHE put there, ten years ago.

“Now then, be a good little toy and show me you remember your true master.” Her tone reminds one of how children talk to their animals, asking questions and assigning the feelings of their precious pets on a whim.

“I know you now, Destroyer of Light. You have been with me so long I’m surprised it took me this long to recognize your foul stench.” He smiles wolfishly, “Still… I fight you… unto my last breath will I fight you…”

A black liquid bubbles forth from the hunters lips and he begins to cough violently, his body, trying to clear his lungs of the fluid. All the while he thrashes on the ground, back arched in excruciating pain, crying from her power affecting him, yes, but more for all the tears he hadn’t shed over the last decade.

“I will end myself before you take me Dark One… or have one of my family release me… Either way I shall not be yours!” Vanth screams in rage.

A fountain of laughter erupts from her lips, she seems truly amused at the notion of the hunter taking his own life.

“You? Kill yourself?” A smile still lingers in her words. “I’ll just wait for you to reincarnate… This is the only time your soul has denied me before. You’ve always been my assassin Vanth, but this time you decided to be naughty. Do you know what I do to people that displease me? Ooooh, I think you’ll go on living, for if you die in this life, I will own your very essence. But, I will allow you your little moment of stoic bravery… for now. When the time comes, I will call for you. Make your decision then, not a moment before, there are still many things you do not know young one.”

She settles down to the deck next to him and begins to kiss his tears away. “Shhhhhh, my darling child of darkness, do not fret. Mother is here.”

A shriek of pure anguish escapes Vanth, then deep in his heart he hears a distant chitter, followed by clacking. He thinks of an armored behemoth who once lead him through the desert, she was his salvation then, why not now?

Ebonfoe I do not know if you can hear me, but if you can, I need your help more than ever right now. He focuses on the memory of his friend and gives himself up to the spirit of the scorpion, seeking the calm and peace in the heart of a true predator. Though outside, he is a shamble. Deep within the darkest corner of his mind he holds the core of himself close to his scorpion sister and weeps.

“I’ll be in touch my dear.” She whispers into his ear before nibbling ever so gently on the lobe.

* * * * * * * * *

Vanth starts awake in his bedroll coughing. Black liquid oozing from the corners of his mouth. Try as he might, he can’t remember her face, only her violet eyes remain in his memory, and white flowing hair the color of seafoam.

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The Prophecy of The Ven'draaki

In thirteenth year of daughter’s life,
Father’s love and Mother’s strife,
Iron walls begin to fall,
A warning now to all!

When Dragonborn and Dragon meet,
The Herald’s cry, a deafening screech,
Bearer of the Golden’s Fang,
Will need to steel himself or hang.

Prophet of the Gods’ True Name,
Will face the greatest test of shame,
Fear not Bright One, thy soul is safe,
Your goddess warms, by her embrace.

Shadows call from darkened halls,
Beckoning, pleading, DO NOT FALL,
For Mother asks naught without a price,
Your soul she seeks, in fields of ice.

Hunter’s crime will marr his path,
Framed and tried, released his wrath,
The Beast within shall cringe or soar,
Death He Brings, shall ride no more.

A tribute lies in wastes they say,
To remind us of that fateful day,
Stand strong and true, my shining knight,
They mourn your honor and insight.

Deeds of evil, deeds of good,
Shaped a man until he could,
See the light and love of friends,
He walks a road with many ends,

Little one, fear not the lies,
That kept you from your precious skies,
You’ll find a tribe to form this treaty,
A mighty band, Ux Arytissi

A land of honor, war, and pain,
Across the sea, in an ancient land,
When blackened wings tarnish Serpent’s reign,
The Scorpion vows to stay its hand.

A typhoon rises, dark and vile,
Duty bound, to break its seal.
This is but the third great trial,
Of warriors bound to might and zeal.

An empress bound by shadow’s taint
Is not what she may seem,
Take the dragon to spire’s fate,
To wake him from his dream.

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The Traveler
The Origins of Kolgaria

A middle aged traveler sits near the fire in a small cabin deep in the forests outside of Loth’i. His forest green cloak hangs on a hook by the door, still dripping from the torrential downpour outside. A frail looking boy with sandy blonde hair stirs a pot of stew that the traveler had provided most of the ingredients for with a longful look. He licks his lips ravenously.

“My lord, do you think you can tell me a story while we wait for the stew to finish?” The boy asks, hopeful of some distraction from the rumbling in his stomach.

“What manner of story would you have me tell you lad?” The man responds after a moment. His gaze descends upon a beautiful sleeping girl, snoring sweetly underneath a ratted blanket. “And besides, I might wake your sister if I speak too loudly.”

“Lydia? No she sleeps like the dead, or at least my mother always said she did, before she got taken by the orcs.” It was a subtle change in the boy’s posture that told the man that this young boy was alone in raising his small sister. He seemed to stand up straighter and then turned to the older man. “What of the history of our land Kolgaria?”

With this, Lydia’s eyes shot open. She was always interested in hearing stories, and it looks like her brother had brought a man who had seen the world. She quietly slipped from her corner tucked into her bed and ever so careful snuck to the kitchen table where she hid under her blanket hoping to hear some magical story of wizards, knights, and princes. Oh and princesses of course she thought. What kind of story doesn’t have a princess?

“The forging of Kolgaria, a long a bloody story my boy, perhaps you’d rather hear of the beautiful city of Von’gail and the Countess Marwick whose looks have started wars amongst the noble families?” The wizened man offered.

“No, I wanna know where we come from!” The boy eagerly replied. “I’m already …” The lad paused to count out eight fingers out and holds them up proudly. “This man, my da ain’t here anymore since the war with the orcs started back up and he went to find our mother, I think I have a right to know.”

The man in the chair by the fire let a hearty laugh escape, which he quickly stifled, and clapped the boy on his shoulders.

“Very well, my child, come sit closer so that I may better weave the take of Kolgaria’s humble beginnings to the might we command today.”

The small house shook as a loud thunderclap lit up the interior of the building.

Lydia was startled enough to let out a squeal of terror and bolted from her hiding place to the arms of her big brother. After a few seconds of surprise, he carefully peeled his sister’s quivering arms from around him and sat her gently in his lap.

“Lydia, this is a grown-up story, you have to go lay back down and got to sleep. You know scary stories give you nightmares.” The boy reprimanded.

“No Garth, If you’re old enough, sp am I,” The tiny child pouted and set her eyes in a defiant stare. “Besides, you always protect me from my nightmares.”

The man in the Traveler’s cloak swept the little girl up in his arms from Garth’s lap.

“Very well my dear, but it is a very long story and one that bores pretty girls like you at that.”

The man winked at Garth, mumbled something lightly under his breath, and pulled a few rose petals from a strange looking pouch on his side. He sprinkled the petals over the little girl’s head and a dim shimmer of light danced around her head. Lydia then stretched, yawned, and promptly went to sleep.

“Don not worry my boy, I just helped her go back to sleep. This truly is not a story for one so young.”

The traveler then stood up and set the sleeping child back on her bed and brushed a blonde ringlet from her face. He then helped himself to a bowl of stew that he had provided for the children and settled back into the chair in front of the fire. No signs of a mother’s love graced the small cabin. Nor the strict discipline a father would enforce on his children. Too many had met this fate since the orcs started coming back through the Valley of Swords.

The young boy waited patiently for the traveler to finish his bowl before clearing his throat with an expectant cough. “Sir, you promised.” Garth’s eyes still had that spark of youth in them and a force of will that the traveler had rarely seen. This was a boy destined for great things. He would save many lives one day if he could live to do so.

“Yes, I did my child… Excuse me… Garth.”

The traveler raised his arms to begin the tale and a fine wisp of smoke poured from his sleeves. With this, the man formed the layout of the Kingdom of Kolgaria, pulling the The Great Twins in the northeast with a twisting motion out of the floor of the map. He cut the Digrane river than ran from Alventra to the Cael’thian Sea with a fluid wave of his hand. After a few minutes of this Garth gasped as the world he knew he lived in was brought before him in great detail. Such that he had never seen before.

“Sir, who are you?” Garth asked, not with fear but as a man demanding an answer.

The traveler smiled his sly smile and replied, “I am Donovan Thaddius of the Mercurian Circle. A friend of this realm, and a friend of a man named Garth. Will you hear my story?”

The boy could only nod in amazment….

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