The Way-Captain

Zombie Novels and Stories

The Way-Captain

Postby Tyler Danann » Sat Jan 11, 2014 9:44 am

This is more of a fantasy adventure short story. It does have zombie-ish vibes as it gets going though...

The Way-Captain

Copyright 2014 by Tyler Danann
All Rights Reserved

The following is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual names, persons, businesses, and incidents is strictly coincidental. Locations are used only in the general sense and do not represent the real place in actuality.



Chapter 1

For two hours the three groups set out across the alien terrain towards their fluid-like destiny. The ground underfoot was dry, stony and unyielding but here and there were gritty mounds and rises. The land they were in was formless and barren but this served only to remind the eye that it was not their home. Behind them was the plateau, before them the vast open desert and before them the distant mountain range.

They took a little care in being stealthy, knowing that time was against them. Nevertheless they still took care not to silhouette themselves against the night sky giving way to a murky dawn.

Although they arrived together there were no firm bonds except the loosest of agreements and a vow not to break the common-code.

It was more a way of life for factions such as these, indeed back on the world of Terra there was much to left to explore and plentiful areas to still spread out to.

Watcher Owesion was the leader of his group, The Soliters; kindred to the Aesir and Vanir. Owesion was Way-Captain for the mission and one who commanded over the other two groups as well.

He cast oceanic eyes at the two other tribes on both sides of him.

On his right were his kindred-cousins - The Vril, those that descended from the Aesir ancients. With the Unity War being long since over and there had recently been a lasting peace forged between they and the Soliters being of their kindred the Vanir.

The Vril's dark, armored clothes were worn fairly tightly, with a vague ‘V’ symbol on their chest along with tribal sigil on their upper arms. In some ways they were similar to the Soliters, whose attire was similar; being of fairer shades of gray, brown and burgundy typically.

To his left were the Kaslar, an eastern tribe of some note. Something of the nomadic desert folk from east of the great Levant River, but with more caucus-features than that of the southern desert tribes. Compared to the 'Rabian's they were something of an elite people. According to the Soliter and Vril saga-keepers they were more cunning, ruthless and superior than their 'Rabian rivals.

Indeed the folk wielded secret weapons of flame, allowing them to be more than capable of holding their own against rivals. By either providence or fortune the gateway stones had there origin in their lands thus permitting them to accompany them on the quest.

There was relative peace between them all, for Terra still enjoyed a time that enjoyed a lingering bounty of the golden times. But some of the elders were noticing a shifting of the upper atmosphere, reducing the harmonic elements from entering the world. The orbs they now sought would surely help prevent or possibly reverse the process.

Indeed they were all so concentrated that any thought of their home world ‘Terra’ was far from their minds. Any old feuding rivalry’s and clashes were quite distant as the common bonds of questing for greatness took precedent.

Owesion ran a hand through his reddish-blonde hair. With luck the outcome of their quest would see a lasting golden age on Terra.

Anneas, leader of his Vril trio had a hazy gleam to his eye, he was eager for success, such a thing would grant him good standing with the Aesir and possibly even steal the thunder from Owesion's own greatness back on Terra. All three of them wore helmets but his could not conceal the bright fair hair that spilled back like mane.

He rubbed his helm a little, ironing out the crease of the comm-clip, the sound feedback from one of his companions was bothering him slightly. For the comm-clip was only a recent development, just being trialed in the underways and it allowed passive communication over short distances to another vibration-linked set of dual-crystals nearby. All of his companions had them installed, giving them a vital edge.

Anneas carried a hollow-metal staff with a charged Vril-Ya tube in it. A deadly and formidable weapon. Yet the Vril Staff or Vril Rod was inherently reliant on Vril-Ya energy.

An energy source that did not last long when used without a resupply. Opening them up in the field was not advisable either, for a moist or even dusty environment could ruin the delicate internals.

The lone female of the Vril, known as a 'Gy' in the Vril-language, did not carry a Vril-rod, but instead she bore a circular sling-glade. A controllable device, that when thrown was a lethal disc of death and injury. Faern was very young, not yet twenty-one in mortal years and thus not yet having earned the right to wield a vril-staff. Her own blonde hair, like Anneas's was noticeable; long in fashion but not lengthy.

She felt the eye’s of another on her and turned quickly to her left. The moving figures there, in the dark gloomy night gave no indication, but she suspected it was the Soliter Keeper Sigrun. A dark-blonde Soliter females with seer-like insights.

The other Vril warrior was Wilderen; a tough, giant of a man with thick brows and fair features. His cleft, lantern-jawline was prominent showing an over-agressive manner that Anneas often struggled to control. He nodded grimly at the large formation of complex mountains and dry channels.

Once water would of flown readily on this dark world. Now much of it was a desert, a grayish-beige desert in the dirty, dawning light. The breathable, yet thick atmosphere allowed little sunlight in. Some vegetation existed elsewhere, but even that was fading.

It was alien to even these strange intruders. Perhaps the very sun itself was slowly dying, lacking the force and power to properly penetrate the thick atmosphere. It was a matter that wouldn't normally concern them, for their world was light-years away. Yet they were now among a realm where no rescue or friendly support existed except for themselves. The only way of return to their home world was through the gate-stones from which they arrived.

Even this was not fixed, but ‘cycled-in’ and ‘cycled-out’ in a complex and patterned sequence fully understood by their elder kin. Should they miss the 'cycle-out' it would be death sentence, for it could be many millennia or even eons before another crossed it's path, especially so far from home.

Trust, therefore played a part in what these beings were doing. They all had lofty masters who could locate the roaming gateways with different ways and means, thus allowing travel to ‘off-world’ areas.

Such an undertaking did not reflect on their carried technology or technos. In fact there was a curious gulf between what and where they could travel to and their own technos and capability’s on getting there.

According to the Navigators the next gate return ‘cycle’ would be within less than a day. It would remain open for only a short duration of three minutes. If they missed this ‘return-gate’ being marooned was a certainty and languishing death would soon follow on such a deathly planet. Water seemed scarce, the weather cycle common to their home world was lacking, if any life existed it must surely be beyond the bone-dry mountains and arid terrain. They moved as one for another five minutes before the Kaslar leader, Prophus Ghone called for a halt.

*

“What do we know about it?” Prophus Ghone said. His name meant priestly crack or fissure. He was a ruthless man, born from a long-line of high-priests. Ghone spoke the words without his customary harshness though. Knowing it would possibly bother the Soliter and the Vril, the former speaking near-fluent Kaslar and the latter less able.

“We know only what our elders have told us.” Owesion spoke, raising his helmet’s visor. The atmosphere was of course breathable, but a whipping wind bothered his eye’s somewhat.

He pointed towards the noticeable mountains.

“Over there is where we go, to that mountain range. Within it is that which buzzes and intrigues our masters.”

“Did your elder Navigators say what dwells here?” Ghone said. The wrappings and head-dress with robes covered the being. Only the eye’s were showing. Faintly hazel and brown. The color a contrast to Anneas’ dark cobalt and Owesion’s pale gray.

“Beside’s the artifacts? Unknown. The mountains and closeness of the artifacts make it hard to see life-signs and such. We’ll know for sure once we get there.”

Ghone said nothing but shook his head. He knew there was something here. Possibly being with-held from their senses.

“This is dead-world, but something lingers here, perhaps sleeping or buried.” He brooded.

Apart from himself there were five other Kaslar. The five being Soza warriors. Their mood was even but their temper ready to flare up with a warrior-like fanaticism. All of his folk had been assembled, like the others, hastily and hand-picked for the strange quest. They nodded and rubbed beards nervously.

“This is an uncharted globe Prophus of Kaslar.” Anneas said amiably to Owesion. “It has no name, but it reminds me of a place out of the eternal darkness. My elders told me, before we left, that there might even be a greater realm close-by to this world, a realm overlooking it which harbors a great evil within.” Anneas now raised his helmet-visor to look into the cloudy skies. His blue eyes, a common trait in the Soliter and Vril bloodline, glittered in fearless radiance.
Out of courtesy he repeated what he said to Ghone who nodded.

“I see no demons Anneas and we are in open country.” Owesion said calmly. The exchange now taking a touch of apprehension. Anneas wanted to get moving again, they were against time with the gate’s return sequence being as it was.

“This is no jaunt Owesion. We do not know if the things we seek are guarded.” Anneas said. Eyeing him warily. He was about to say more but checked himself for the Kaslar leader was listening.

“I know, yet the Navigators don't know everything. All I know for certain is that if your Vril staffs can’t protect us in there, nothing can. Then we definitely miss our gateway back to Terra ” Owesion said sharply.

At this there was a common bond of silence. Anneas nodded, unfamiliar places were not his peoples forte, even if they did wield powerful things like Owesion had mentioned.

Owesion asked Sigrun on the return-gate’s path. She carried no precision astro-instrument for knowing, but instead held a rugged, sensitized pressure stone. Even he did not know it’s workings but she did and after a moment of staring and scrying she turned to him.

“It left this world over two hours ago and is on a long circuit around the local system. It should arrive back at the same location within about sixteen to twenty hours before leaving here entirely. There is no re-loop or return after that.” She said seriously.

“Can’t you be a little more precise?” One of the bigger Vril said. Wilderen was not known for his finesse.

“I can’t be exact like one of your automatons.” She retorted in a cutting way. “This is an art not a science. The gate-force that carried us does not move in a pure linear path-form but one requiring intuition and insight.” She said clearly, giving the helmeted warrior a stinging look.

“Alright let’s waste no time!” Owesion said turning towards the mountains again. “Onward!”

Chapter 2

Prophus Ghone and the other Kaslar were neither powerful nor weak as a tribe, nor were they known for their optimism. They'd already seen two cataclysms rock Terra in previous times and were intelligent enough to keep one step ahead of others caught up in disasters.

Their territory on Terra was large enough and had a large inland sea for resources. But they were otherwise landlocked and unable to easily expand in any direction. To the east it was a mostly barren and useless terrain of desert and tundra. Indeed equally powerful Jade Asiatic folks guarded the border on the other side of it. In all other directions the fiercer tribes blocked their way. The best way lay to the south in Ghone's mind; with an infinity-orb powering their sacred-relics once again they would find warmer lands back on Terra.

He felt at his side for the flame-tubes nozzle. Their own technos was mostly restricted by the High-Priests and Coahlen advisors. For mission’s such as this one the armory crypt’s had been opened reluctantly. Flame packs, fire globes, twin-swords and even a guide sling was drawn for use.

Even their robes worn were of a higher degree of finery than most Kaslar folk. Underneath it they all wore leather armour making them a cut above the norm.

Unlike all other Kaslar with him his carried weapon could self-ignite and spray flame spontaneously. The flame-bags carried by the other’s required a target to be sprayed then ignited with a fire-globe or flame stick. It produced white and yellow flames that even water struggled to put out. In the even of using such weapons being too hazardous all of them carried short twin-swords. They were more like long daggers than swords though.

He looked warily to the Vril warrior’s who walked near-tirelessly setting a pace the Kaslar, being shorter, could only just manage. He and the other’s preferred quick, short steps, while these taller ones, Soliter included, could manage lengthy strides.

The technology of the Vril and Soliters was powerful and it was no secret the former did not get on with the ways of the Kaslar, but the artifacts they sought concerned them all. The Kaslar were not one to throw in their lot by nature, no matter how brief the duration.

Yet the Coahlen implored and almost begged Ghone to go. He was the faction Prophus, one with the connection to higher-forces, favor would be with him and the orb-artifact could bring hope to the Kaslar once more.

If the near-mystical golden plates could be recharged or the arc-caster re-activated they could once again have the direction and purpose needed to find a promised land.

This and the Coahlen’s relentless assault on his conscience, along with the arguments from the High-Priests eroded away his usual cynical mindset.

So, just prior to setting out through the gate Ghone had, through gritted teeth, an oath ‘not to harm or endanger any of the others.’

He did so with a shred of cunning, he used the Kaslar phrase at the end of the oath at end of the sentence, which meant ‘unless provoked.’

Which, amid the Kaslar, could be for slender ground’s indeed.

Here on this world, Prophus Ghone felt no connection to his sacred God, the world they'd traveled to was indeed amid The Beyond.

But Anneas was not Way-Captain, lot’s had been drawn and it was Owesion, a balanced-type of Soliter who was given that honor.

Ghone of course would of preferred it if he had the Captaincy, but at least it wasn’t the steel-like, ubermensch-minded Vril in charge of things.

The gateway’s operation and appearance and disappearance bothered all the Kaslar party. It was on their lands in Terra from where they'd departed giving them a degree of sovereignty. Yet it was an unknown entity but he knew that by sticking close to the other two groups they were highly unlikely to be left behind.

As a Prophus he was known for his connection to higher-powers, but on this wretched word he detected barely a trace, even the vril-shard they all wore around their necks had more divine-vibration than the entire surroundings. He nodded at the exchange of words between the other faction leader’s and turned back to his group. The mountains lay ahead and, for a time he put aside the factionalism and rivalry inherent to his kind with a view to obtain the artifacts and help his people.

*

Owesion was an explorer, as was his father. He was of the fair Soliters. Those who had come from afar and once lived in the mountain’s and large islands. Tall and slender with big eyes that saw more than met the eye he was well met to the calling of Watcher. They were artifact masters, explorers and great craftsfolk of Terra. His folk were responsible for more for the helping in the spreading knowledge and civilization. They were more the explorers than the settlers that the Vril were though.

Being such a craft, meant an undertaking such as this one should not of fazed him, even though only two of his many companions were with him. Back home on Terra, if they could call it home, things seemed to be going well.

Two of the great city-states of the forest tribes had welcomed their assistance and aide. The item’s and artifacts they gave were not greatly powerful ones. Yet they made light the usual chores compared to the grinding toil his people had found on arriving to Terra.

Even the fringe-folk living at the great inland sea were now hearing of what wonders and trade goods could be found further south. No warfare had erupted, as some of the gloomy Fathers had warned and so far things were looking good.

Yet at this supposed paradigm shift a dark gloom lingered about Owesion. There was an envy about some of the tribes back on Terra. The light-stones and other artifact gifts were already causing quarrels with the abroad peoples they'd encountered. It was he that forced a passing-agreement where the artifacts would be transferred at given periods so all would benefit. This kept the peace, but he knew it wouldn’t be long before the negative clouds returned once more. Kings and priests were on the rise and they would no doubt crave the wonders his faction had brought.

The gradual atmosphere-shift on Terra concerned him more though, it was something that hopefully the orbs would more than address.

A ‘pinnacle’ was approaching Terra’s fate, the Navigators had said, and it would be either surmounted or tumbled down into.

This black and dark world they’d come to had a solution and it lay in the depths of the mountains that lay before them, they would either find them and succeed or languish to an uncertain paradigm back on Terra.

The Kaslar Coahlen, Soliter Navigators and Vril Elders had all, as if in some harmonious synchronicity, made the discovery. It had been via mysterious and arcane projections that tested their minds and psyche to the very limits of endurance but they had managed it. Their diligence and daring showed promise as with a shining certainty they'd found the location of the sacred orbs of infinity.

The artifacts, they were all sure, would cement a bright and shining age for Terra. There’d be enough self-sufficient power, pleasure and technos from them that all corners of Terra would benefit. No-one would be lacking.

‘Their radiance will surely return from the heavens.’ A wide-eyed tech-gnostic of the Vril had exclaimed.

The buzz between Navigator and Vril Elder was animated. Not since the arrival-days had there been this much co-operation and warmth. The Vril-shards, supplied by the Vril of course, stabilized their pathway through the gateway, allowing for safe travel across the worlds.

The Soliter Navigators had brilliantly found the right area, place and destination for the intercepting the travel-force.

The Kaslar were the last piece in the puzzle, the ancient gateway stones were on their land and out of the four gate-areas only they knew which one would receive the travel-force.

Owesion had been picked to go, along with Sigrun the Keeper Apprentice and the taciturn sentinel-warrior, Ubron. Ubron was a Sentinel, the closest that the Soliters had to a front-line warrior-class. For Soliters when they traveled armed, usually resembled archers, albeit archers with arrows that could smash through steel if they so chose. For closer-ranged combat the Sentinel tended to excel. His humble spear and wrist-blades being deceptively lethal. Artifact technology combined with Terra-weaponry was a Soliter specialty, even the Vril grudgingly accepted as match for their own.

Half of the Way-Captain's own arrows and wrist bolts were reusable time and again more often than not. The other half packed the punch that would send them even the most hardened of armour, thanks to the explosive, expansion element contained in the ‘shock-crystal’ arrowheads.

Sigrun, the apprentice keeper, was armed with twin crescent blades that attached to either forearm or wrist. These she kept stowed behind her, out of the way from her own longbow and relaxed enough to trust in her bodyguards prowess.

But Owesion was, like many Soliters, was ultimately optimistic and excited at what lay ahead.

*

It took the Vril-Matriarch herself to force Anneas to accept the quest.

He, like most Vril did not like easterners like the Kaslar too much, the recent climate change from two seasons to four meant they had to work harder than before. The Terran sun seemed to be burning brighter and hotter than it once was and the crude ways of many always bothered him.

But Anneas was young, a leader and full of pride, which the matriarch’s could see ought to be tempered with some real experience of the ‘outer’ realms. Some even whispered that he had design’s on power, something almost forbidden to males. Better to have a useful upstart such as this one kept busy and not left to plot with the new generation of feisty Vril Warriors on the rise.

So he, Wilderen (another upstart) and Faern the Gy were sent to meet with an Elder who told them of what was afoot. Wilderen was keen-enough as was Anneas, both had a similar school of thought.

The planet through the gate was a foreboding one. It had long since seen the end of it’s glory days, along with the race of beings that lived there. Even the star that gave it life was now becoming unstable for life the rocky place.

He was gladdened by the Soliter’s accompanying them as they were good scouts and explorers. They were somewhat overly keen to fraternize with the other tribes and races yet always remained true to the Matriarchs and the Ways.

Moreover he already knew Owesion from his schooling and apprentice days in the Soliter Colony city of Allwyn.

The young Gy was another story.

*

She’d just been entrusted her sling-disc, but not yet her Vril Staff. For she was from one of the fringe tribes of the Vril. Bright, fair-haired, tall and beautiful. Anneas though her too fresh and innocent to set out ‘into the world’ as the Vril often called outsider missions, but the choice was not his to make.

Faern looked forward to leaving the dead world they were on though. She was not alone, nearly all of them felt a growing atmosphere, like a thick odorless presence as they came closer to the towering heights.

The mountains had stood the test of time, as they always do and it was here the artifacts were supposed to lurk. Even in the strange half-light of the distant sun the mountains were dark, ugly and black.

None of them expected the precious orbs within to be large. Infinity-Stones tended to be hewn from living rock and ‘melded’ by means even the most skilled navigator struggled to fathom.

The Vril-ya powering her crystal and disc was barely only a tenth as powerful as one of the stone’s they sought. That there were three that could self-recharge was more than a lure for them.

The lure was not without risk, especially on this world. No Navigator had properly explored it, nor had any Watchers seen what still lived or lurked.

Yet the mountain range bothered her and the others also. While she, like the other Vril, and to a lesser extent the Soliters were familiar with underground city’s and environments they were not typically savvy-fighters in close quarters. Unless the mountains were completely hollowed out (highly unlikely from the solid sign’s she was getting), their unparalleled technology’s were of limited use inside such places.

For the first time she began to think that the Kaslar with their primitive flame-casters, slings and twin-swords were not so base and inferior. While Wilderen had voiced his concern of the danger from air-starvation if they were used too much inside a building or cavern, their short range flame’s would not matter in such a place.

It was Sigrun, the Soliters Seer, who fairly thought up a way to decide the order of artifacts.

“If there really are three orbs in there we should decide who has which.” She said.

“Better we pledge now beforehand which of our tribes has what than fight and argue over it later.”

So they each drew a choice stones, carefully marked with different values so they knew which was which.

Owesion threw them high in the air and far away, so that the markings were not visible. Then they chose the stones by pointing at that stone they thought would have the higher value.

Soliter would have the first artifact, Kaslar the second and Vril the third.
Tyler Danann
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Re: The Way-Captain

Postby Tyler Danann » Sun Jan 12, 2014 4:41 am

Chapter 3

They’d reached the mountain-range and could see no way in, but by following it around to their left there was a saddle-like approach allowing them up to an entranceway. There was no need to climb, apart from the initial entrance-way which was open and exposed. Once inside the laser-cut tunnels made easy their going.

For Owesion who led his team it was not a difficulty, he already had experience of mountain exploration. It was he who had emerged from the deadly caverns and chambers of Vochagen near-unscathed. He ascertained that the tunnel ran the length of the mountain range, running spine-like and probably ending in another entranceway, for a similar saddle-depression had been noticeable as they'd moved closer earlier.

With his optimism not leaving him he wove a path ahead of the others with Sigrun guiding him. After nearly an hour there was a great chamber opening to their left. The tunnel continued onwards straight ahead. Should they need to flee, the choice of deeper into the mountain, or towards the entrance lay open to them.

This was to be the Soliters reckoning.

Inside in the center were was the first of the orb-stones. There were white-bluish flames that lit up the chamber showing both it and a vast shape that seemed out of place. Anneas looked to his two kinsfolk and they nodded. The flames were similar to that used in the hollow’s of Terra. If there were some Vril warriors gone rogue Owesion would be out-matched.There were no sign’s or sigil’s on the walls though.

“It’s not Vril.” Wilderen said softly.

“And that lump before it is alive.” Owesion said, preparing his gear.

Between them and the orb was a great lizard-beast, at least twenty feet long. Gray and silver skin that was armored in scales glittered in the strange light.

This was to be the Soliter Test and Owesion looked over to Ghone and Anneas.

“Wait here. We'll try and get around to the orb without waking it, but be ready.” The Way-Captain said to them.

So they did, looking on from the bottle-neck.

Sigrun drew her crescent blades and fixed them silently, as they split up.

“Should we help them?”Ghone said to Anneas, uncomfortable at being this close.

“They’ll be alright, too many near that thing and it might wake-up.”

Anneas in the middle, Sigrun and the Ubron to the side.

The Great Lizard still slept and Owesion wondered if it was some sign that they were ‘meant’ to trespass. Would it even notice the loss of such a small thing?

Or would it wake up now, or in the future then end up stalking the planet’s surface in a relentless search?

In such a case Sigrun hoped they would already be back through the gateway and well away from the place.

A strange ‘vibe’ of euphoria common to Soliters began to swim about them.Undetected artifact retrieval was one of their specialty’s. Some would consider it stealing or looting ancient crypts, but to the dead and passed on there was nothing to steal, just left behind artifacts. Why should such things stay in the dark for eternity?Surely better for them to return to the light, as is the way? In the case of the the orb before them it was surely one of the artifacts intentionally scattered by the light-giver so long ago.

Sigrun sensed no immediate danger, aside from the sleeping lizard-thing.

Owesion often looked to the red-head for feedback and their eye’s locked for a moment.

She shook her head to indicate there was nothing amiss.

Owesion made silent sign’s that it should be her to take up the artifact.He should of made it known before-hand, but Owesion was not the tactician that Anneas or even Ghone was.He acted on impulse more often than not.

For this though, he followed the reasoning that it should be a female that takes up the artifact, as the Matriarch’s would have it.

She nodded and moved alone to the pillar point.

Still the big beast slumbered, it seemed to be breathing slowly and steadily.

The glimmer-cloaks the three wore did break up their pattern and shape quite well, but only excelled when they knelt or lay down, throwing the garment over themselves completely. Against the wall of the chamber both Sigrun and Ubron had now completely flanked and move behind the reptile.There was no need to cloak.

Nireth, the only Kaslar female of the group asked Ghone a question.

“Will our flame harm this thing Ghone?” She asked. Unlike the rest she wielded neither staff nor sword, but instead carried a bag of fire-globes.

“Perhaps, if the Soliters are the scouts they are said to be we’ll not need to find out.” Ghone said shrewdly, giving her a wistful grin.

Owesion watched as she had almost reached the Artifact, then looked back to the lizard thing. No response or stirring. His heart was beating like a quick-drum that would not stop.

Sigrun was at the pillar now, a gray-colored shaft that ran from the ceiling down into the chamber floor. It was well crafted and out of place to the rough and raw walls.

Almost like those who had made the chamber were not interested in the mountain as a whole, only the important areas where artifacts like this were buried.

The artifact was a beauty. A red and gray circular orb-stone about the size of a fist. The object gave off it’s own inner-shine like that of a colorful, bright light. It seemed to be a fused object with the property’s of two made into one.

'The masculine and the feminine?' she pondered.

It was surely some form of crystal, a know-nothing would assume it was possibly ruby or garnet with diamond or even quartz joined somehow. Yet she knew it was neither.

She moved her hand over to it. Perfectly balanced energy’s, each feeding off the other confirming her previous thoughts.

A perpetual radiance danced out, one could stare at it for hours and not be bored.

They did well to choice-cast the stones for this was a real artifact of power at equilibrium.

Sensing this energy needed care she took her time, knowing to rush and grab it was not wise.

Her beginner knowledge of artifact-handling meant her feminine aura would help, as would the leather bag tied to her waist belt.

She now removed it.

Cleverly interpreting that her naked flesh would agitate and possibly react to the orb she removed a silken bow-rag.

Testing the silk gently against the polished orb there was no response from the sleeping beast.

Owesion nodded as if to say ‘Do it.’

Draping the silk around the crystal Sigrun skillfully held the leather bag, also lined with silk, open for it.

In a smooth movement she pushed it from it’s resting point into the bag, almost like it had fallen off of it’s own accord.

The light faded in the chamber, only the wall torches gave light, such was the brilliance of the artifact now sheltering in the bag.

Anneas, despite looking cool and calm, had his Vril staff extended and pointing directly at the lizard’s head.He was fairly confident of instantly slaying it, it being so still and the range being less than forty yards.The new darkening made it difficult to see though.

“It’s not moving, so let it have life Vrilster.” Ghone said, irritating the Vril.

“If it move’s it ends Kaslar.” Anneas said in muted response.

They could not see Sigrun, for the dark form of the sleeping thing blocked her from view.Only Owesion and the Sentinel were in sight, on either side of the lizard, which was taking up about a quarter of the chamber.

Sigrun carefully made her way back the way she’d came, no imperfection’s showed in the floor that any could see, but it was wise to be careful.

Like ghosts they moved around the lizard again, Owesion first, then Sigrun in the middle, with Ubron in the rear, walking backwards, spear pointing at the thing as they returned to the Kaslar and Vril.

“Nicely done Soliter.” Ghone whispered, impressed that they’d managed it.

“Well met.” Anneas agreed. “Only two remain, at this rate we’ll have be away to the gate and sleeping for the gate-way to re-appear.”

The Way-Captain was not so relieved. It had been almost too easy. Like they were being drawn deeper into a spiders web.

The artifact had a guardian presence, which meant the others were likely to have one as well.

Two remained and now it was the Kaslar’s turn.
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Re: The Way-Captain

Postby Bob » Fri Jan 24, 2014 11:56 am

Thanks for sharing!
I would love to see one of our authors do a serial presentation a chapter or some portion there of at a time exclusively here.
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Re: The Way-Captain

Postby Tyler Danann » Sun Jan 26, 2014 2:41 pm

Unfortunately for me I can't limit it to one forum, the internet forums as a whole are a small drop in the ocean as it is without exclusively going onto on forum alas. :plane:
Tyler Danann
Survivor
 
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 9:38 am

Re: The Way-Captain

Postby Tyler Danann » Sun Jan 26, 2014 2:45 pm

Chapter 4

The tunnel led out to another widened chamber. This one was larger at around two hundred and fifty feet long. There were deeper deep shadows and several thick towering pillars. About halfway inside there was a raised section causing them to gaze upwards at the splendor within.

They were still at the bottleneck point and Ghone wisely stopped to take in the area.

There were illumination points of blue flame again here, clearly some crude and proto-form of Vril-ya, for only that could burn for ages and ages without extinguishing. The steps led to a larger monolith pillar that stretched up to the lofty cavern ceiling. There at the pillars base was another of the sacred orbs.

All that power, only a short distance away.

“This is it, our destiny-stone lies up those steps.” Nireth muttered to herself softly.

“It is our turn for power.” Ghone said to his Soza. Their dark-timeless eyes glittering on the distant orb they nodded. “Now, let us take what is ours by right of the stones.”

“Now we shall stand tall with the giants of the world.” Ghone whispered looking at the Soliter and Vril folk.

The Prophus turned to three of his Soza, the best of his fighter's with Eyal, his champion fighter the best of them all.

“Go and take what belongs to us. Eyal, lead the way. May the Maker be with you brothers.” Ghone said.

The first three moved forward and Nireth trailed behind gingerly.

Grins of feverish excitement spread from the trio. Eyal was a good warrior but on seeing the way was clear he lowered his guard and drew his men in to close ranks. They were soon a clump of humanity. Two of them drew twin-swords while Eyal fixated on the prize of prizes.

“Too close, too close, spread out Eyal, spread out.” Owesion said softly, seeing the danger but not wanting to make a loud noise. He wanted to gesture but it was not his faction and could not intrude in such a way. All held their hearts and watched for the outcome.

The Way-Captain readied an arrow to his longbow.

His eye’s struggled to penetrate the gloom yet he could see this was a place to carefully move through, not blunder in like a womanizing clout.

“I see no life-signs but there's a shroud-effect on the shadows. Perhaps the rock inside is alive somehow?” Sigrun advised, for she had no easy answers.

The Kaslar trio climbed the smooth steps now at a gathering pace. No guardian seemed to be present, perhaps this one had died and gone away?

Eyal's flame wand wafted idly and one of his men began to slowly move across to the right.

The chamber was, like the earlier one, a contrast to the tunnels and walls. Whatever had made the place had taken more care with the area.

Something wasn’t right. And the Kaslar girl Nireth now hung back from the three figures and turned to Ghone who was behind her.

“There’s energy up there! By the wall” She said quietly to Ghone pointing to the right of the pillar near the wall.

Nireth's concern was echoed by the blond Vril maiden who had also noticed something.

Her green eye crystal clearly showed an emerging density common to awakened life-force. This was a heavy reading.

“It’s not energy Nireth, but life-force!” She gasped as loud as she dared.

Ghone responded now tapping his flame-stick in a certain way for attention.

Eyal turned and in his distraction the hidden guardian emerged from the shadows.

It was similar to the lizard creature in the first chamber, but this one walked upright and must of been nearly ten-feet tall and as broad as a lumber-cart. It had now fully awoken at their presence and had first waited like a snake waits for it's prey to cross a boundary.

The sixth step of the hewn stairs was it's territory zone and now that the Soza had crossed the threshold it could kill them all and consume their very essence.

A great roaring, yowl swept around the chamber as the strange, half hidden thing launched a force of crushing pressure waves from forces of an unknown and origin and nature. The pressure-waves it exuded went whirling out to the three on the steps and those behind.

The wave was almost invisible to the naked eye but for the blurring and bending of light that rushed out.

The three leading Kaslar Soza went flying high through the air in both directions. They crunched against jagged and hard walls dashing their body's cruelly. They remained pinned there, some alive, others dying as terrible moans began from them. Something was locking them into place, like a force-upon-force that bound and constricted. The walls seemed to soften and shift so as to actually began pulling them within it.

The main force of the blurring ‘wave’ continued it’s deadly flight.

Owesion, at the back with the Vril, loosed off an arrow, but the arrow was not true and it glanced off a scaly arm to split into pieces against a pillar.

Nireth flattened herself on the floor. It passed over and she was unharmed.

Ghone’s swift response saw him dive sideways towards the side wall as the effects briefly trembled along his side. A searing heat swamped at him with it’s passing then was gone and he readied his flame nozzle.

The three Vril were next, the ‘wave’ effect caused them to suffer a pushing and buffering violence this way and that. Their armour and resolve alone kept them in one piece, along with the reduced effects of the wave's energy being spent.

Ghone’s flame roared out from the nozzle, adding bright colors of orange and yellow to the scene. The narrow jet of flame almost reached the outstretched talons of the scaly-thing. Releasing the pressure mechanism he moved closer sending out the flame again, this time into the beasts stumpy legs and lower body. It swung and swatted at the strange burning energy with little effect as it's scales glowed white-hot.

The Soliters were off to one side and, with the Vril, were at the edge of the attack's ‘spent’ zone. They felt rough caresses, ruffles and movements from it compared to those that bore the brunt of the attack. Nevertheless it affected their response

Sigrun's arrow went awry, almost hitting Wilderen and going to shatter against the steps.

Owesion paused for the onslaught to ease then drew another arrow from the bag-quiver, nocked it perfectly as time seemingly stood still. He drew well using his chest and arm in unison as the straight arrows fletchings touched his cheek.

The finality of striking or missing now loomed heavy.

If he missed, as he did on his first shot, it was over. There were no second chances against the scale-entity, which even now readied another terrible attack, this time directed absolutely at the Vril
and Soliter forces still standing.

Everything almost seemed to hover at his mind-sight.

Miss and they were all to perish and a moment in time was lost forever.

Strike and they stood a chance.A breaking crack sounded from one of the Kaslar being crushed. His miss had caused their pain, now he must kill.

Owesion kept a cool heart and loosed.

A ray of relief filled him as his three-foot arrow went winging into it’s mark.

It was an armor-piercing arrowhead plunged into the creature's bulbous chest-cavity, ripping past strange anatomy and burying itself nearly up to the fletchings.

The ‘entrapped Kaslar’ at the walls were released horribly to the stoney floor in a heap, two unmoving in death while a third clung to fading-life. It was a cruel outcome for them, as parts of them had been somehow joined to the wall in an unholy fusion of man and rock.

Their aggressor now uttered a loud, blood-choked ululating noise of defiance that echoed through and past them, deeper into the tunnels.

As it’s attention was shifted, the air had almost returned to normal.

But then it began to get heavy again and Owesion, like a slick, oiled machine drew, nocked and loosed off another arrow, this one with an expansion crystal at it’s head.

The arrow whistling into the beasts body. It did not penetrate as far as the last one, but did not have to, for the muted explosion told it’s own story. Fragments of bone, sinew and scales erupted out to shower those nearby.

The lizard-beast had long inflicted pain and suffering on the unwary, so for it to be dealt such a brutal blow shocked the mind and body-collective of it's race intensely. A croaking roar from the thing as it began to realize the doom was shifting. Now it was the endangered and the raging pain from it's legs and body affected the mental focus for it's powers.

Despite the setback it refocused what remained of it’s pressure-mantle to try and surge forth one last blast towards the three archers.

Then a brightness flared in it's eyes as Ghone sent waves of flame licking out, damaging it's vision, Nireth whirled her sling and released it, sending a globe of fire to ignite in a stunning shower of liquid flame against the creatures upper body.

From the other group, the black clad ones were recovering and one of them, a blonde leaned backwards then with full hurl sent a whirling sling-glade out and it flashed across the space, ripping aside it's jutting throat.

A spray of dark liquid, it was too gloomy to tell what color, plumed out to soak the steps and those nearby.

As the disc returned to Faern's gloved hand she drew back her arm and debated whether to launch another cast. There was no need though as the on-fire guardian began to tumble down the raised steps in an awesome display of fiery defeat.

At the bottom, it stirred and moved briefly, then Ghone let another jet of flame from his weapon incinerating it utterly just to make sure.

Ghone was insensed; he was only mildly injured but three of his tribe were dead. Their terribly mangled forms gave him much grief to look upon and the adventures optimistic shine was now soured.

Anneas, in rough humor attempted to console Ghone, who now nearly wept at his folly.

“You can take your artifact Kaslar. That thing won’t bother anyone now.” He said with the flicker of a grin, he helped up the young Kaslar girl and another.

“By Yalder! Look how it killed my men. An oath on this place and against them.” Ghone said muttering gloomy curses and utterings. He made a few howls and exultations before gesturing and raving. Even Nireth felt for his very reason in those intense moments.

“Hold your peace!” Anneas said brutally. “We intruded remember, therefore we are their enemy Kaslar. This is no game of dice and trade. This is life or death, the very walls are alive here. But their sacrifice is an orb of infinity, bear up now!” His truthful words causing many to agree.

Ghone took a breath and composed himself.

Nireth had already moved forward, wishing to not dwell any longer than necessary as the Vril and Kaslar spoke.

The Vril's powerful death-wands had been no use but she could see they were as scattered and shocked by the powerful lizard-beast as they were.

Only Faern had kept her feet to counter-attack effectively.

She carefully picked up the stone without incident.This one was circular like the last one, but colored blue and yellow. Before she put it in her waist pouch she held it up high, showing the others what it looked like. It’s beauty went some way to cooling Ghone’s hot heart and anger at the death of the three Soza.

“It wasn’t meant to be this way brothers.” Ghone said to his dead fellows loudly so all could hear.

Ghone went over to the wrecked and ruined bodies and said prayers for the dead ones.

“A life-giving stone in exchange for three of their people.” Faern said to Wilderen.

“A fair enough trade given their clownish haste.” Wilderen muttered tactlessly.

“We've yet to gain ours remember!” Anneas chided him.


Tyler Danann
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Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 9:38 am


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