Erollisi Marr - The Nameless

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Old 04-14-2003, 03:08 PM   #1
Esarus
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Default No title yet...just looking for feedback (Chapter 1, and is fairly lengthy)

Doom came on the wind this morning and blew in fresh and crisp.
The old man could feel it before he smelled it and instinctively reached to his waist for weapons he hadn’t carried for years. As his breath came out visibly in the cold winter air, his hand clasped around the hilt of an old rusty dagger that he used for working around the farm. It made an ugly, scraping sound as it came free of the scabbard and brought him no comfort as it lay heavy and clumsy in his hand.

The woman appeared at the door of the little farmhouse, looking worried as she scanned the horizon for any sign of what the wind portended. She had felt the change as he did, but, for her it was a deeper feeling of dread and misery. While she had a deeper intuitive skill than he, he had the advantage of a keen nose and keener eyesight. She felt a dark foreboding….he smelled death and carnage.

As he hefted the small dagger he looked at the woman and marveled at how she still took his breath away. His heart was always lighter when he looked at her. The sunlight shone through her mostly golden hair and the brisk morning wind reddened cheeks on an otherwise unblemished and unwrinkled face. He looked at her with bittersweet tenderness. Though time had left her virtually untouched he knew that her decision to live with him as his wife would allow time to eventually claim her as it did all mortal beings.

The old man or actually half-man was also half-elf. He had many of the attributes of his elven mother, but, he would eventually succumb to the degenerative qualities inherited from his human father. He had been raised in a secluded area far away from the human and elven cities and outposts. His parents knew he would never be fully accepted into either society and chose to shelter him from the disdain and dislike which would be his constant companion among their respective kin. He grew up in the wild lands and learned the ways of nature, both animal and plant. His teachers had been traveling woodsman, roaming druids, wayward warriors and anyone else he came in touch with.

The woman was a highborn elf from a family of the First Order. She received the finest education available from the most learned of her race. Hers was a life of material possession and great comfort. Only the lessons learned at the hands of stern taskmasters detracted from a life of relative ease. She was surrounded by a vast and beautiful city which, she was destined to rule. Her race was immortal if left unchanged and she was destined to rule her home city because of her ability with magical and religious arts. When members of her race reached their 50th season they would travel to the planes on which the race had been born. Once the cities rulers left for the planes the most adept of their kind ruled the city until their time came to journey to the planes.

The woman, Alician, had given all of this up to spend a mortal lifetime with a half-breed woodsman. The thought of that still staggered him. He ached with the sacrifice she made for him and not a day passed that he didn’t think of it.

They met during the time of the Great Dragon Wars, when all good races banded together to defeat the onslaught of all the mighty dragons from all the lands. The dragons who were normally solitary and very territorial had united to rid all lands of any but their own kind and those who served them.
It had been a time of great destruction and turmoil. Entire cities had been destroyed and untold thousands died from all the good races in the land. In the end, the dragons had been expulsed, but, not defeated. They retreated into the dark places of the world, each ruling their own small territories with their minions surrounding them.

It was during this time that peace settled into the land and Alician and Egania began their life together, or rather, Alician began her attempt at domesticating the old ranger. The old ranger smiled as he thought about how wild she was and wondered which of them longed for the wild places more.

The fell wind blew again and the ranger instinctively called upon the forces of nature as he had so often in the past. Using the magic taught to him by druids long ago he summoned powers drawn from the land to assume the form a great wolf. The woman saw this and immediately began an incantation which was both beautiful and terrible in its form as she summoned powers from deep within her. The old ranger felt a tremendous surge of power as the spell wrapped him in folds of energy and power. Bolstered by this magic the ranger ran away towards the tumult which he knew awaited him. His natural and trained ability to find living creatures was unparalleled and he knew what he would find long before he could see it.

As he sped along he tried to call upon his brothers, the animals of the wild, the fast and courageous wolves, the great bears and the mighty eagles and hawks. He could reach none and worse yet, could not feel any. A dark sense of anguish began to creep into his thoughts. In a vast land such as West Karana, how could there be no animals? He and the woman lived here because there were so many animals and he enjoyed nothing more than running with his brother wolves in the wild places of this land.

He ran so fast now that he was a wolf the untrained eye could barely see him. His great white flanks a blur against the passing landscape. He sensed strange beings in the land that should not be here and dread quickly overtook curiosity. He stopped as he surveyed the landscape with shock. Dead animals of all kinds lay strewn all around him. Wolves, lions, bears … even the mighty birds of prey had been shot from the sky. As a ranger he understood that nature dictated that some animals should be killed for their hides, meat, bones. This was slaughter, senseless slaughter of a kind he had never seen before. It was as though every living thing that was seen was killed. The ranger knew what had done this. He could sense the presence of old enemies he hadn’t encountered in many years.

He sat on his haunches and concentrated on tracking the things responsible for this carnage. He doubted his innate ability for a moment because what he felt didn’t make any sense.

He detected gnolls, orcs, mummies, ghouls, ogres, trolls none of whom were indigenous to this land. He spent many years chasing out the odd wandering monster or group of monsters, but this was unlike anything he had ever seen in his adopted homeland. He paused as he channeled more energy into his tracking. He felt a crushing weight on his chest as he sensed an old presence. A dark and insidious presence he hadn’t felt since the Great War.

Elves, Dark Elves, the most evil and powerful beings he had ever encountered. These malicious beings only drew pleasure from the misery of others. Understanding crept into his mind; the animals were all killed to prevent their spreading the alarm through the land.

He quickly turned homeward praying to his gods that the woman was safe. The powers he gained from Alician’s spells and the natural strength of the great wolf coursed through him. He closed the distance to the farm quickly and effortlessly. When he arrived he was both pleased and troubled by what greeted him.

As soon as Alician saw the old man begin to transform himself she knew trouble was afoot. She instinctively cast a protective spell on the ranger as she had so many times before during the dangerous years. Although her powers and abilities were steeped in the religions of her homeland and she was considered a high ranking leader of her land’s clergy, one look at her would tell anyone that she was of a warrior ilk. She began reciting incantations and prayers quietly aloud as soon as the old man left.

Because she knew that prayers and rotes were not always enough to stave off evil, she took a practical approach to this new danger. She went into the bedroom and lifted a beautiful blanket off of a wooden chest. The chest was intricately carved and was made of pure heartwood from the strongest trees. The scenes were of the forest and the sea and the plains. There were great ice mountains and vast roaming hills depicted. The chest was a history of all the couples’ adventures and a few tragedies. The old man had built it with love and it was her favorite thing in the entire world. She lifted the surprisingly light lid and looked inside. She reached in and hefted the great poleax out of the box. It had been wrapped in oilskin as had all of their gear and it shone in the morning light as it came through the bedroom window. Wurmslayer…the bane of all dragons, made from the very scales of the creatures it destroyed and the finest mithril ore available. It was at once lovely and terrible. Next she removed his sword, Defiance the Quick. She smiled as she thought of how often he would boast “these are the thunder and the lightning, the power of thunder and the speed of lightning”. Her slight smile quickly gave way to a frown as she considered what he was armed with now. “Old fool” she said aloud “old impetuous fool, running off with no more than a rusty knife, not knowing what faces you”.
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Old 04-14-2003, 03:11 PM   #2
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Default Chapter 1 (con't)

She pursed her lips as she so often did during times of worry and busied herself emptying the box of its contents. The armor and weapons laid out before her were some of the finest in the world. Between the two of them they had amassed a small arsenal of weapons and armor.

The woman began putting on her armor, feeling the magical qualities of it surrounding her and bolstering her already considerable magical powers. When she was done she was resplendent in her golden plate armor, black chemise and purple cape. She chose her crown to wear instead of the bulkier plate helm, because she anticipated a need to travel light. She was buckling the last strap on her breastplate when she saw him running towards the cottage. She didn’t need to talk to him to know something was wrong. One his favorite things to do when he was a wolf were to jump up on her and lick her face and act like a silly puppy. He especially enjoyed laying at her feet on cold nights and having her rest her cold feet in his warm fur.

There was no jumping today; he began casting a spell as soon as he saw her. She was also transformed into a wolf. This magic was a great drain on him and she knew he would only use it in extreme circumstances.

“Dark elves” he said as he ran into the house and straight back to the bedroom. He was pleased to see his gear laid out for him and dressed quickly. He threw the rusty dagger in a chair and grabbed Wurmslayer and Defiance and quickly donned his armor. The weapons and armor all had enchantments which allowed them to blend into or fit the shape of the wearer. It may appear that he was scratching with the paw of a wolf when in fact he swinging a mighty poleax, another benefit of assuming wolf form.

“This can’t be” Alician said,” the dark Elves would never dare travel here”.
“Well that is what we thought my dear” the ranger said “but they have and we must flee”. “They must have great wizards with them to be able to teleport into this land and keep their presence hidden from us” he continued “which is all the more reason for haste my love”.
“Where shall we go” she asked, already excited by the prospect of new adventures.
“East to the hills of Eastern Karana until we know the full extent of the danger” Egania replied as he doused the fire in the fireplace.

Before leaving the old man cast a spell on both of them which enabled them to blend into whatever environment they might find themselves in rendering them virtually invisible.

They began running in easterly direction, the woman casting a last worried glance back at the small farmstead. “What will become of the animals?” she asked. The rangers silence was answer enough. She knew the vermin they were running from would slaughter all of their livestock and pets for the pleasure of inflicting pain. She became somber as she remembered the Great War and the toll it took on everything caught in its path.

As they traveled east, the woman was suddenly overtaken by a smothering dread; a maniacal panic shook her to her very bones. The dread crept into her consciousness and sped through her body and she was horrified by visions of evil. She saw elven children on spits roasting over high flames; she saw herself mauled and abused by half man half beastlike creatures and her very skin being torn from her bones in small thin strips. She had to escape! Her only thoughts were of escape and she ran. She was so frightened that she didn’t feel it when she ran into a tree and broke her right foreleg. The fear drove her to keep running on the broken limb, keeping her oblivious to the tearing and scratching of thornhemp bushes and bullspike trees. The brush began tearing the fur off of her body and in a few places the skin came with it, and on she ran trying to escape the horror.

Egania watched as Alician began running away from him. He called to her and shouted her name but she was heedless of him. Ever on she ran wailing and crying out in fear and pain. He saw her run into a tree and break her leg and his heart stopped in agony for her, yet on she ran. Understanding crept into the rangers’ mind…a mighty force was driving Alician mad and if he did not locate it’s source soon she would surely die. He channeled all his thoughts into his tracking ability and sensed there at the very fringe of his awareness was a Dark Elf necromancer.

Necromancers were experts in the arts of the dead and he knew he would have to kill this one quickly. Necromancers could raise or summon undead creatures to do their bidding, so the ranger knew he would have a twofold fight. He also knew that the necromancer must have cast a fear spell on his wife. These spells wrapped themselves into a persons mind and drove them with a horrible sense of fear and loathing. A victim of this kind of spell would not stop running until they were dead or cured or the caster of the spell was dead.

Although the woman was a cleric of 53 seasons and a Master healer, no one could prevail over a fear spell cast by a necromancer of equal training and experience. This was made more frightening by the fact that while in the grips of the spell she could not heal herself or work to remove it’s affects.

The ranger knew this and also knew that the malignant being must have also cast a spell which would cause damage over a period of time. These hurt the victim when first cast but had the added affect of eating away at the life force of the victim. He must kill this new threat.

He could sense the caster he could not see him as yet, so he cast a spell which allowed him to see three times farther than he normally would. There, under a great oak tree hovering above the ground was the dark elf. He was a thin creature with midnight blue skin and skinny gnarled hands. He had spittle running out of his mouth as he focused on his casting and channeled all of his power into his work.

The ranger still could not see him as he sped towards him with the speed of a wolf. “No matter” the ranger thought to himself. “Mother Tunare guide my arrow” he silently prayed as he drew his great bow off of his back and nocked an arrow onto the Mithril bowstring. He drew back the mighty bow and smiled as the bow creaked its pleasure to be back in service. The arrow shot from the bow so quickly it could not be seen and the old ranger was already sending another behind it.

While necromancers possess great magical ability they are physically weak. This foul creature was no different than the ranger expected. Lightly armored and intent on killing Alician, he never saw the arrow as it pierced his light armor and split his chest in two. The silver tip of the arrow sped through bone and gut alike. It passed through the skinny wretched creature and embedded itself in the oak tree behind him with a little piece of gut hanging from the shaft. Before the necromancer could attempt to heal himself the second arrow widened the hole in his chest and split the first arrow in two, taking more gut with it.
The dark elf was dead before he hit the ground and his corpse began dissolving into a vaporous foul smelling mist.

Egania didn’t take time to admire his skill, he was already running towards the woman before the second arrow found its mark. In her panic she was faster and stronger than he and he spent all his energies catching her. When he found her the magic had run its course, but, had also taken a heavy toll. His heart broke as he looked at her broken and bloody form on the ground. Two legs were broken and lay limp and at odd angles to rest of her, bloody foam came out of her canine snout with every breath and she was bleeding from many different open wounds. He paused for a moment and weighed his options. There were no healers in this land that were up to this task, which would mean he would have to leave her and go find help. He had minor healing abilities but turning them both into wolves had been a great strain on his limited powers. He could keep her alive, but they would be exposed out on the open plain with death close at their heels.

He knew he couldn’t leave her, so he began the chanting required for summoning healing forces. Alician had attempted to teach him her arts and had scolded him for not being an attentive student. He scolded himself now and resolved to be a better student in the future.
He cast a healing spell and her labored breathing relaxed somewhat. He cast again and her wounds began to mend slightly. He began to weep for he knew that magical healing always resulted in great pain for the one being healed. Anytime the healing process was altered by magical forces it sped the recovery of the victim. It also meant that the healing which might take days or weeks happened in minutes. The pain one would feel as low grade gradual healing was magnified by this process. He knew from being continuously healed during combat how debilitating this process could be. He once lost an entire leg during combat with an ice giant in one of the far away places. Alician had healed him back to complete health in a matter of seconds and the pain, for a split second was excruciating.
It was only her great skill with healing that prevented him from going mad with the pain. He had no such skill…..he wept as he cast the healing spells, hearing the broken limbs knit back together halfway only to have to recast midway through the healing. He could not imagine how bad it must be for her. Once her breathing returned to normal she fell off into a fitful sleep.
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Old 04-14-2003, 03:12 PM   #3
Esarus
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Default Chapter 1 (con't...again)

He knew once she awoke she would complete the healing herself and now he must protect her until that time. He opened his mind to sensing any dangers or creatures close to them. He sensed no danger but he was happy to find he could sense the presence of a great grizzly bear out on the plain. It was Shaboo, a mighty bear whom he and Alician had helped during the birth of her cubs. He called to her across the distance with his mind and she smiled when she felt his summons. She stopped smiling when she sensed the urgency in his call and began to worry when he told her of the great rape of the land. She called to her cubs who were roaming far to the north of the land. She fretted when she could not reach them and hurried to Eganias side covering miles in minutes.

By the time she reached their location Alician had returned to her normal form and was a pitiful sight. Bloody, bruised and broken she lay moaning in a deep and restless sleep.

“Please watch her for me old friend” the ranger said as he stroked the great bears ears” I haven’t the strength to make you invisible, so hide in some thickets until I return”.
“As you helped give life to my cubs good ranger” the bear said to him ‘so shall I guard your love, with my very life if need be”.
“I must seek out healing roots and berries for a poultice” he said” I won’t be long”.
“Go with Tunare’s speed ranger” Shaboo said, smiling at the old ranger and hoping he could find some comfort in it.
The big bear lay down next to the woman and listened to her breathing. She came instantly alert at the sound of something approaching. The hackles on her neck stood up and she bared her massive teeth. She shifted her weight back and forth and growled a low menacing growl, intent on dealing death to those who were killing her land.
“Hallo mother” shouted Naboo, her son cub as he bounded up to her. “Quiet foolish cub” she whispered as she cuffed him” a great evil is abroad”.
“Yes mother we know, Maboo and I just killed a great skeleton just a few hundred yards from here” he bragged.
Shaboo was relieved at the news that her daughter cub was alive even as realization brought a new heaviness to her heart. She knew that only a being with the ability to see things which were otherwise invisible could have detected the cleric and the ranger and the fact that he had almost defeated the cleric led her to think it was a necromancer, one who was the antithesis of the master healer. The presence of a great skeleton which surely must have been his slave confirmed this.

“Very well my children” she said as her daughter cub arrived, “we must guard our friend Alician while Egania is away”.
“Oh is he around?” asked Naboo, “I would dearly like to see him”. He always enjoyed wrestling with the ranger, especially since he had grown larger than his mother, who was considered a large bear. The old ranger had taught him to wrestle and fight and hunt and he loved him dearly.

“And so you shall” the ranger said startling all three of them and smiling at his little joke. His ability to make himself silent as well as virtually invisible was unsettling even to those who knew him so well. He quickly hugged the cubs, now almost grown, and went to mixing the various herbs and roots he had gathered. Naboo could tell by his curtness that wrestling would have to wait for a while.

Once Egania was finished mixing the ingredients, he applied the salve to the open wounds. He was distressed to see that the magic was still causing the wounds to seethe with poison. This necromancer was powerful indeed and so was the magic he wielded. The ranger took comfort as he saw the poultice begin to heal the wounds almost immediately. He could heal the minor wounds with his herb lore, but he knew he needed the powers of the cleric to heal herself.
Her eyes came open and she smiled when she looked at him. He was serious and his skin was ashen as he hoped that she wasn’t passing into the shadows. She summoned enough strength to brush his cheek with her unbroken arm as he bent over her.
“Silly old man, didn’t you sense that evil one” she asked, and was sorry when she saw the hurt cross his eyes. “Oh, no dear, don’t blame yourself” she said” he was invisible; lying in wait to ambush us, you could not have known he was there”.
He knew she was right, but, still felt as though he had let her down.
“Well, I must begin now” she said matter of factly, and rose quite unsteadily.
“Shaboo, please take the children to the northernmost cave and hide for now” Egania said to the great bear “and thank you again”.
“Yes Egania, I think that is exactly what we’ll do. There are far more powerful forces at work here than just one necromancer” Shaboo replied. She licked Alician gently on the cheek and called to her cubs as they sped off. The ranger sighed because he didn’t have sufficient strength to cast a camouflage spell on them for secrecy. He would have to trust that Shaboo’s experience and wits would be enough to get them to safety. He also didn’t want them to see the agony which would be the healing.

Alician began casting the first in a series of healing spells on herself. This was the time when she was most vulnerable and most in need of protection. Even in the midst of the most painful healing, she never cried out suffering in silence so as to not hurt Egania.
She healed herself quickly and began to rest to recover her strength.
“Dear?” she looked to see if the ranger was listening,” do you understand all of this now?”
“Yes, I am afraid I do” he replied” this isn’t an invasion, this is a hunting party.”
He looked at her, his face stony and grave” And they hunt you” he said.
When members of all races reached their 50th season, they went to the planes upon which their respective deities lived. A few chose to stay in the common lands for a variety of reasons. This choice made them some of the most powerful beings in the lower lands.
Alician was the most powerful cleric left in these lands and therefore had become prey to a greater evil than they had ever known.
“They will not rest until you are dead or we have killed all of them” the ranger stated with heaviness in his voice.
“Yes I know and I don’t intend to die anytime soon” she said with an impish smile.
The ranger drew his weapons and made circles in the air with them testing their weight and balance, smiling as the old days came rushing back.
“So the hunt begins” she said as they both rushed off westward into their next great adventure.
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Old 04-14-2003, 03:15 PM   #4
Esarus
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Default Wow...longer than I expected )

I guess if you read all of the first chapter then you must have liked it at least a little bit )

If anyone would like I'll be happy to post the 2nd Chapter.

Also I would love any constructive criticism anyone may have to offer as this is my first venture in fantasy fiction. Thank you.
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Old 04-25-2003, 08:28 PM   #5
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Keep it coming, man. I liked it well enough to read it through. Aside from some grammar errors and repitition of some words it was well constructed. /kudos
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Old 05-19-2003, 11:25 PM   #6
Andredien
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/bow

I look forward to reading the rest of this tale.
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