Excerpts from Apotheosis: Death of the Maven
It should have been a pleasant sunset before the eve of the Forefathers. The young Trev had become a man now, bringing to the village a large boar. They were to celebrate the escape from the horrible Eledin, The Blacklights. A hundred years had passed since that day, during which the tribe had battled greenskins, monsters and even other tribes to survive.
Trev dragged the boar, though he was a talented warrior he relied on speed and skill, something he mastered from a horned warrior, but now he had taken hours longer than the hunt itself to drag the beast home. The horned warrior was a legend and a god, who came to him to teach the arts of the sword. Bestowing upon him his greatest sword, a long blade unlike the clubs of his tribe and the crude thick swords of the greenskins. It was slender, elegant, the horned warrior entrusted him with the holy blade. He and his tribe witnessed the horned warrior’s death, death by age or by choice nobody knew. As Trev arrived, men and women came to help him take the animal.
Helpful hands took the boar and began skinning the animal. A mighty boar, twice the size of Trev himself. It took them half an hour to slice the thick skin and remove the fur. Their blades then moved to the rest of the body, cutting the fat and carving pieces for a banquet. As they cut, twelve bonfires for each forefather were set, the bright red and orange flames would replace the setting sun. Running to the young man’s legs were small children, asking him how he brought such a terrible beast down.
“In the forest of Dremuy, I alone searched for Carcaroth, the Tusks of Doom, Warlord of the Dremuy. In the thick forest, I felt a chill in my spine. The animals had turned on me! They were whispering where I was, telling their warlord how to sneak up on me. He got close before I heard his horrible snort, and a great black cloud bellowed from his nose! He rushed at me, his tusks shining in the spots of light underneath the canopy. I decided to use this to my advantage you see, I prepared my sword and held it straightforward as he rushed me. How silly he must have felt as he tried to stop! I was pushed about six times his length as I held my ground, the sword deep into his skull. Any other iron or copper blade would have broken, even a greenskin’s thick sword would have snapped! But I held true with the strength of our ancestors, of Lucchon and Garhenl and Beren and the rest of our forefathers, the horned warrior’s teaching soldering my hands steady. I think they pushed me forward! I then declared to the forest ‘Look to the man who conquered your forest! Remember this moment and bow before your new king!’. Well the squirrels were not happy, and neither the bunnies, but a clever crow realized there was no choice but to accept, and so we made a pact. When you grow and learn to use what our bowyers and fletchers make for us, you too will enter the forest and hunt. You’ll respect the pact and never grow fat by killing the bunnies and squirrels of the forest, or I’ll cook you up like we’re cooking Carcaroth here!”.
There should have been another four hours before the sun was gone. In an instant, a black monument materialized before the sun, blotting its light from the village. In an instant no light touched the entire village, arousing screaming from the villagers. Then there was light, an intense neon blue that glowed just strongly enough to the villagers to see their own hands, if only barely. The light flowed through the ship as a liquid, blue drops lost within a sea of black. All knew the stories about the Eledin, their obsidian ships that glowed with sapphire rage, the Blacklight warriors with staffs of light. They murdered greenskin and enslaved the softskin. They raped the lands, the sweet mother warped by their beating blue hands. Their trees would be planted, hills and valleys shifted until the land was disfigured beyond recognition. Even the tribe was not sure if the forests they lived in were once a different land, if it too was tainted by the magic of the Blacklights. Now, their ship was here, the black arrow of their unknown origin, delivered upon their home to destroy. Trev unsheathed his sword and warned all to run. He would most certainly die while they ran, but they would not be enslaved. By the hands of the Forefathers and the blade of the Horned Warrior, he would fight.
The captain thought that a bit of exploration was due for the Eled-Nil, so the Sinamor arrived in a less explored sector of the world. Sending spells were sent for the home base to tell them they had arrived, about a day late from the expected schedule. Having approval from the commander of Curvana’s colony, the Sinamor prepared to land. The lands were thick with forest, with a small grassy clearing. The clearing seemed to hold a small settlement, which would have to be investigated. There was discussion as to where to land, as a forest landing would likely crush the trees beneath them, splatter the animals hiding in the wood, and when they left the forest would have a massive clearing. However, in the name of the mission, there was no other choice. The ship came equipped with horns that blasted a jingle of the Eled-Nil’s anthem, a song for patriots to know when their families had returned from an expedition. Playing the song thrice, in hopes the animals would clear, as the ship descended. The ship itself was nearly the size of most of the forest, the front facing the unexplored village. The Sinamor had landed. A small scouting party prepared to leave the ship, thirty or so knights. They held their staffs with anticipation, their worry hidden beneath their helms. There is always a fear of fighting wild animals.
They heard pops of crackling light from the knight’s staffs, those closest to the upper decks. Cygnus ran forward to see from the upper deck, seeing their captain, Hourë and twenty or so knights wielding staffs. They were shooting from the railing. Cygnus scurried to see what was happening, but a knight pushed him aside. He cursed him in his language, the voice cracking and continued to fire the crackling blue lightning. Pacing back and forth, Cygnus looked at the firing squad, his curiosity gnawing at him. But stopping a wizard is not an easy feat. He reached into a bag and grabbed a small rope. A small puff of green smoke ringed forth, and a long rope emerged into the sky. He gripped the rope and climbed upwards. The knights continued to fire, a smoke growing from their weapons. To the miserable enemy who was in their sights, they saw a hellish storm that crackled and fired bolts of righteous light. He saw the enemy now, a single Huimang holding a bloodied longsword. Beneath and around him knights had been sliced cleanly, their armor insignificant to the sword. Though most blasts hit, he would stop the bolts as if they were arrows. Cygnus knew of no Quendarin that could do that, only in myths and stories for children, let alone magical missiles. The mirror child ran for the ship, clawing into the black ship. Whether by force or will, the obsidian steel bended to him. Cygnus climbed higher now, to be able to see the man climbing the near three hundred feet of obsidian. It took thirty seconds before the warrior had reached the surface, full of holes and scorch marks on his body. Cutting through a knight, he grabbed the upper half of their body and threw it at the other knights. As twenty knights scorched him, crackling magic pierced into the man. They shot for nearly seven seconds before the warrior stopped moving, the middle of his body a cauterized hole. The warrior fell, the sword clanging to a calm rest. Cygnus came down from his rope after they prodded the body with their staffs.
“It’s dead. I want you to study this corpse, detect for any abyssal or infernal magic. If this power was fiendish, there shall be no fiends on my ship!” the captain bellowed. He glowered at the scholar, looking at the rope trick.
“Glad that you enjoyed the show. Can I help you outsider?” the captain hissed, before Hourë stepped forwards to grab Cygnus.
“You shouldn’t have seen that” Hourë whispered, a speck of worry in his raging eyes.
“I apologize, but I came with the distinct purpose of observing the native-“ Cygnus started before the Baron pulled him away from the captain’s hand. A claw that nearly wrapped itself around his shirt, stopped by the Baron.
“Here you go, a proper specimen. Look at them, savages, tainted by evil itself without us. If it killed every nér I sent down there, it would be thirty two who were murdered by this creature. And you Hourë, keep this middling outsider from our work. There’ll be more animals down there for your scholar to study.” the captain spat, turning his back to them now. He grabbed the longsword, and embedded it into the tattered corpse before pulling it from the burnt meat. Cygnus moved to the corpse and grabbed it, Hourë grabbing the legs.
“Thank you for the assistance Hourë” Cygnus said.
“If I didn’t help you we’d be bothering the captain longer. Let’s go”.
They dragged the corpse to a lower level before they realized something.
“Hourë, why is the corpse bleeding?” Cygnus asked, seeing a growing trail of blood from the body.
“It’s a dead body Cygnus, what did you expect?” Hourë growled. The body dropped as Cygnus let go, pushing the body into Hourë and moving back quickly.
“He was shot by lightning, every wound cauterized the flesh and cooked the rest. He should not be bleeding!” Cygnus yelled as he grabbed his book. It had been a long time since he casted an offensive spell. Spit forced itself down his throat as he moved through pages looking for a strong spell. As Hourë dropped the corpse as well, he saw the man had more chest than empty space, there was flesh where there had been crisp black and nothing but a coaled crater . He drew his sword.
“What is this? What in the nine hells is this?” Hourë shouted, activating the helmet on his armor. The cape crawled to his head and molded into proper warrior garb. The man slowly crawled up, bones cracking themselves into their old places. The man’s eyes were ignited by a passion neither nér had known before, their breathing became sharp and stunted.
“What do we do?” Hourë yelled as he stabbed into the man. The man looked at Hourë before grabbing his arm. Having the arm, the man punched the elbow with a snap of bone and crack of steel. As Hourë shrieked, walking backwards, the man pulled the sword from his body, staring at his new sword. He spat, chucking the sword towards Hourë.
“Keep him distracted for a minute and six seconds, I have an idea!” Cygnus shouted.
“He broke my sword arm Cygnus!” Hourë screeched before picking up the sword once again, with his left hand. Cygnus did not answer before touching the man on his back, promptly receiving a backhanded strike. The touch was laced with some spell, Hourë thought. As he lay on the ground, Cygnus began to prepare another spell.
Hourë was not going to die then. Hissing and spitting blood into his helm, he relaxed his breathing. The two warriors looked at each other.
Six seconds. The man walked close, Hourë stepped back. He glanced at Cygnus for a brief second before looking back at his immortal foe.
Twelve seconds. The man brought his right fist forward, pouncing Hourë. The baron flicked his body to the right, falling on the ground. The fist embedded itself into the black wall behind Hourë, giving him a moment. Getting up Hourë slashed at the man’s neck, cleaving into bone. The man yelped as he pulled his fist from the wall, holding his bleeding neck. Leaving no time to heal, Hourë struck at the top of the man’s head, the sword embedded into his skull. He pulled the blade from the man’s head and breathed.
Eighteen seconds. The pool of blood had grown, the black floors and walls with the blue ebb now had a red splatter, static among the glowing blue.
Twenty four seconds. As the man tried to rise, Hourë spun his sword as he stepped on the prone man. He stabbed him, twisting the sword as much as he could. When he stopped stabbing, he kicked the man in the head.
Thirty seconds. As Hourë brought his boot down on the man’s head, the man grabbed the foot and twisted. Falling down with him, Hourë tried to crawl, attempting to grip the bloody floor. The man pushed Hourë off before jumping on him. His fists came down as a torrent, each blow visible on the obsidian steel. Hourë swung his sword weakly, slightly cutting into the man’s side. He brought his broken arm forward to take the hit. If his arm wasn’t broken before, it would likely be gone now.
Thirty six seconds. The man’s fingers curled, sitting on top of the beaten knight. He was breathing heavily but he seemed unfazed. He started to say something in his language before throwing his punch. Meaningless to Hourë.
Forty two seconds. Seeking any opportunity, as Hourë banged his nub of a broken right arm on the ground, the man quickly glanced at the arm. He was not below using the simplest tricks to win combat, let alone to survive. He brought his sword and pushed it deep into the man’s mouth as he spoke. It was not deep enough, so he punched the hilt, again, again, pushing it farther into his skull. Letting go of the sword to hold it with a reverse grip he twisted the head. There was a crack that echoed in the room. Pushing the body off him, he tried to stand up.
Forty eight seconds. He stood over the godless creature, as it gagged with the steel in its mouth. As it tried to pull the sword from its mouth, Hourë kicked him towards the wall. He kicked again and again, each kick cracking deeper into the monster’s head.
Fifty four seconds. In a flash of blood and bone the man grabbed the sword and cut through his own head. Even with a split head, he pushed Hourë and swung at him. The sword cut through the armor and into Hourë’s abdomen. Behind the demon, Cygnus ran towards it and said
“By Geas, you must obey every order I say starting with calming yourself into a catatonic sleep!”.
The magic surged into the undying man, he now pushed his split head together, screaming. Brain and blood gushed, he banged his head on the wall. Each crash against the wall became weaker and weaker, before the man collapsed. As the two elves stood above him, they saw his skull piecing itself together, the skin stitching back.