Mists of Kel Doran
Season 1 - Dragon-Touched
Episode 1 - The Weave of Fate
Chapter XVII - Rage of the Ancient
Chapter XVII - Rage of the Ancient
Anduin gripped the hilt of his sword while dozens of frenzied creatures barreled down the embankment. Their shrill cries of blood echoed off the boulders and city walls, adding an element of terror to the horrific scene. The alabaster waterfall flowed down the rocks, its blood-red eyes and razor sharp talons focused on the pair of men perched atop a single boulder, awaiting their arrival.
“So this is how it ends, eh friend?” Amoran spoke, his words offering no reassurance to the disabled Lieutenant. “Suppose it will hurt, yes?” he continued, filling the uncomfortable silence with equally uncomfortable observation. He tugged at his pointed beard, his mind lost in quiet reflection.
Anduin turned his gaze away from the horde to look upon the old man. The soldier’s eyes were sad, but not for their deaths. His face was long and solemn, but wore the expression only a grieving father could bear. No words were spoken, just a simple nod between old friends, then they set their attention back to the highway…to the sea of claws and fangs descending upon them.
“Very well then,” Amoran said, renewed vigor in his voice. “If this will be my end…I at least want songs about it! Damn good ones!” he continued, reaching for Anduin’s broken sword. The old man tore the weapon away from the Cambrian soldier and raced headlong for the creatures, matching their screams both in pitch and intensity.
Anduin lost his balance, leaning heavily against the now absent weapon. His knees hit the rock, summoning a painful grimace. “Davilla! No!” he shouted, but Amoran was no longer interested in conversation.
While the colorfully clad merchant scaled the rocks, the Macaran forces slowed, then stopped. They exchanged curious glances and looked to the ground, then to the skies. In time, they screamed again… in fear, scattering in all directions. Anduin looked on in disbelief as the ravenous horde raced up the slope, pouring back into the abandoned square. As a curious chuckle fell from his lips, the boulders beneath him began to rattle, along with the chatter of rocks nearby.
A steady vibration overtook the rocky slope as boulders banged together in unison. Amoran had little time to revel in victory as the rocks beneath his feet gave way and slid toward the blackened sea. Crumbled earth tumbled down the hill as the edge of the highway broke free, sending boulders and Macaran soldiers rolling downhill.
The shaking grew more intense as both men collapsed onto their boulders and slid helplessly away from the safety of land. The earth gave way and the entire slope toppled over itself in a cascading display of ash-coated rock, albino-skinned creatures, and blue-armored humanity.
Anduin tumbled head over heels before feeling the cold waters of the Abyssal Sea, surrounded by a chorus of large splashes. Waves hit from all directions as the land caved in around him. The Lieutenant swam as fast as his arms would allow as rocks and debris crashed against his body. His shoulders and chest ached from the exertion while he dove under the waves to escape the turmoil.
His efforts were in vain, however, as the rock slide overtook his efforts. The weight pulled him under as the avalanche filled the bay with blackened debris.
A line of crimson-cloaked soldiers stood at the ready, crossbows armed, aimed at a pack of cowering men, women, and children. They huddled together in shock as their minds twisted to understand the sudden turn of events. Some men stepped in front of their families while others flung themselves over the rail to escape.
The Cyrean sergeant’s arm ascended toward the sky while the women and children tightened their embrace, forever tangled in the weave of fate. Cooper looked on in disbelief. His eyes darted from the rail, to the soldiers, to the civilians, and finally to the man ascending the stairs, unconcerned with all of it. “This can’t be…” Cooper whispered. He scanned the line of fellow pirates along the edge of the ship, all wearing the same mask of confusion.
“Bullshit!” he yelled, jumping to his feet. He lunged for the nearest crossbow and wrestled for control. Cooper spun the soldier, along with his armed weapon, toward the back of the ship. He fought to line up the crossbow and pulled the trigger, sending the bolt whistling across the deck. Through soldiers and sails it raced before hitting its mark. Captain Ferael screamed in pain as the bolt lodged deep into his back. He braced himself against the stairs, but his strength failed him. The seasoned soldier tumbled backward, his pristine armor crashing onto the deck.
The line of soldiers spun around as their leader fell, one of their own bolts protruding from his back. The sergeant, arm still raised, looked on in horror, then set his eyes upon Cooper. His stare grew menacing and his jaw clenched, “you.” He took a giant step toward the young pirate, flinging his arm forward, “kill him!”
“Gotta go,” Cooper said as he raced toward the rail of the ship. While the line of soldiers took aim, the pirate sprang over the rail, soaring into the black abyss. The rail splintered and cracked as the sound of bolts echoed across the sea, but the distant splash signaled their failure.
Quinn surfaced, surrounded by several dead bodies, sharks weaving in and out of the masses. He looked up to see soldiers lining against the rail, rearming their bows. He then scanned the waves, searching for his brother. “Taryn!” he yelled. “Taryn!”
He found his brother floating on his back, a scared, helpless expression stretched across his face. Cooper pulled with his good arm and dragged him against the belly of the pirate vessel.
As they backed tightly against the ship, stray crossbow bolts vaulted into the churning waters with an unceremonious ‘ploop’. Cooper looked up when his back hit the hull, satisfied he could no longer see the deck, or the shadows of the crossbows leaning toward them. He motioned toward Taryn and wiped excess water away from his eyes. “Taryn,” he whispered. “You still in there?”
Taryn groaned heavily and twitched his eyes, but otherwise laid unflinching in the water. Cooper winced as he examined his brother’s wound, then looked around for something, anything that would help them escape their current situation. “I see we found ourselves all wet again, eh brother?” he added, trying to lighten the mood. “Looks like it’s my turn this time. Always coming to your rescue!”
Screams came from the deck, but not of the soldiers. A chorus of panicked calls echoed from above, but Cooper could not make out the words. The tone, however, was dire. The rhythmic sound of boots danced across the planks, away from the brothers while the yelling and screaming intensified.
The profanities continued, a distant echo as they lined the far edge of the ship. Cooper’s curiosity could sustain no more. He gathered Taryn in his arm and leaned along the hull toward the bow. He pulled his way until he cleared the front of the vessel and peered west, back toward the skyline of the fabled city. He wiped the water away from his eyes and squinted. His expression drew blank, his eyes fixed. Cooper let go of the ship and drifted with his brother while his eyes remained transfixed on the broken city. “Looks like we’re in the hands of the Gods now, little brother,” he whispered as he pulled Taryn close.
Ava clung to her fallen friend while chaos ensued in the streets. The sound of shattering glass and cracked wood echoed from the tavern below, accompanied by screams and frenzied terror from those rushing about. A dull groan ushered in the sound of crumbled stone from beyond the west wall. Screams resonated from the inner city as shattered stone filled the air.
Ava tugged on Di’Jor’s body, but it would not budge. She was tall and strong for her age, but could not muster the strength to pull him out of harm’s way. She jumped over his body and pushed as the ceiling split open from one side of the chamber to the other. Frantic, Ava kissed Di’Jor on the forehead and threw the rug over him before crawling toward the north window.
Have the Gods returned? She thought as she crept along the floor. Is this how it ends? Her mind raced while she reached up and grabbed onto the windowsill. Ava clutched the curtains and yanked them to the side as light showered the northern end of Varin’s chamber. Dust choked out the sun over a city now littered in crumbled ruin.
She leaned toward the window and pushed it open, then covered her mouth in horror. The young girl’s body shook as she stared out the window, toward the ruins of Castle D’Vayne. A tall, stone spire stood defiant against the backdrop of a ruined city and a keep stood stalwart against the outer city walls. Nestled between the two was a giant, black claw. Scales the size of houses penetrated the dusty air while massive talons protruded into the city, crushing anything underneath.
As she stared into the city, a second massive claw joined the first and the outer quarter of the city rose toward the sky. The ground broke and walls collapsed as the old castle courtyard fell away, revealing giant fangs, teeth, and blood red eyes. A colossal body rose from the earth and erased the surrounding highlands from view. Black, armored scales covered the creature as the morning sun reflected the beast’s sinister red glow.
When its full body reached the ground, its wings outstretched, shrouding the entire city in its umbrella of darkness. Wyvern’s Rest, the capital of Ventera and jewel of the highlands, now sat in shadow, dwarfed by the enormous creature emerging from its depths.
Voices screamed in Ava’s mind, louder and more defiant than before, as tears ran down the young girl’s cheeks. She covered her ears in pain while the voices turned shrill and angry. Ava slowly turned back toward the room and rested against the windowsill as the beast let loose a colossal roar. Buildings collapsed, walls shattered, and shingles flew from the rooftops. A hot, desert wind burst through Ava’s window as the curtains ripped free and flew to the far side of the room. Dust and debris engulfed the young girl, filling the chamber with the scent of coal and ember.
Ava looked up, her eyes red and swollen. She did not understand what had happened that morning, nor did she know where her life would go from here. As the city she knew her entire life crumbled behind her, one thing became clear. After nearly a thousand years, Dragons had returned to the world of Kel Doran.
Shrill cries of panic echoed through the vacant cobblestone streets, the alabaster army of Macaran in full retreat. While the remnants of stone and earth fell away from the gargantuan dragon, the pale creatures fled for their lives in terror. All semblance of structure was lost, all order abandoned.
Dozens of these creatures raced through an alley on their way to the safety of the outer quarter, flying past a small, shadowed form. Her long, black hair cascaded over her blue dress as she strode with confidence through the center of their ranks. Her head held high, her shoulders tall and proud, the creatures parted around her like a rock amidst a mighty river.
Camille looked upon the creatures with disdain, vermin of the world in need of extinction. She eyed them as they raced around, her gaze daring their approach…but they would not. When she reached the center of Tindera Square, she looked back toward the stone dragon statue, letting loose a quiet chuckle. She then turned her attention to the ruined castle, and the colossal beast emerging from its depths.
Camille studied the massive wings that enshrouded the city and the incredible form that brought them to bear. The great dragon let loose a terrible roar, shaking the stone courtyard and shattering nearby buildings. Dust and debris blasted past her, the sulphurous scent of destruction filing the air. With sinister intent in her eyes, she sharpened her lips, narrowed her gaze…and smiled.
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Mists of Kel Doran