Mists of Kel Doran
Season 1 - Dragon-Touched
Episode 1 - The Weave of Fate
Prologue - Harbinger
Original Artist unknown...please contact me for proper attribution
Prologue - Harbinger
Approximate read time ~ 7 minutes
Dusk settled across the ancient Forest of Valshyr. After four long days, the eager moon had its turn in the spotlight. It crested the hills and imposed its will upon the still evening sky. The insects of the forest would normally worship this newcomer, but the air would be quiet this night, as it has for nearly a thousand years. Ordinarily, a harmonic reverie exists in a forest; however, this was no ordinary forest, and this was no ordinary night.
There would be no harmony this evening because there were no leaves, and no insects. As far as the eye can see lie rolling hills filled with one thing…ash. Mountains of decayed life blew across the ancient site, a blanket of gray waste. Where once stood mountainous oak trees now lies emptiness. Where once a breeze caressed millions of green leaves now lies a void. Where once voiced a chorus of insects now sits silence. Where once lived the great Forest of Valshyr now lives…the Mist.
It twisted and molded to each of the valley’s sensual curves in a sickened embrace. This blanket reflected the light of the moon, while it sucked the light from below. Within this mist, a darkness grew. Shadows were deep and the moon whispered grave thoughts. Once home to storied civilizations, this forsaken land now sits barren.
Nestled in the heart of the mist lies the ruins of Valshyr. Long abandoned, the jeweled spires still stand triumphant along the broken skyline. Giant walls encompass the ruins while wide streets wind through the wreckage, a conduit of blackened ash through a crippled city.
While the moon rises, a sinister shadow lurks across the broken streets. It emerges from the mist and snakes along the stone walls of an ancient cathedral. Along this shadow, a woman walks. Her skin is pale and lifeless and her eyes burn like fire as she staggers through a slanted void where a door once stood. The ancient, elegant framework had not held up to its years, both of the woman, and of the doorway she now occupies.
As she creeps across the broken floor, a stillness captivates the room. The breeze whistles through the open windows and across the shattered rafters, the moon still casts long shadows of a new night, but the center of this broken city was dark…and silent.
The woman lumbers toward the dais at far end of the chamber. Her shadow creeps past rows of petrified, collapsed pews as she basks in the glow of the newly born moon. Even without the moonlight, this figure cast a deep shadow upon the land. In this broken structure, a sharper shadow erupts from her frame, a wide net cast across the floor. This malevolence in the mist confirms that the being was definitely no woman. Not any more.
Atop the raised floor stood a coarse, rock altar. Its sides were rough and porous, worn to a finish over untold years. From this altar, the mist gathered. Thick fog surrounded the rock as an unseen breeze played a haunted melody.
As the female form walked toward the altar, the air began to glow an eerie, sickly yellow as it amplified the feeling of unholiness in the air. Within moments, the light was so bright the woman could no longer gaze upon it. Her eyes burned and her soul ached. She wanted to look away, to end the agony, but she could not…her body was no longer under her control. She continued to step forward, through no effort of her own. Her eyes sizzled as a slow, steady stream dripped down her face. She wanted to cry out in terror, but the ability had long since passed.
Her knees struck the floor. The ancient stone shattered as her body thrust down, followed by the unmistakable sound of splintered bone. Blood pooled into the cracks while the woman’s eyes remained fixed and unmoving. Her body was rigid, with no signs of pain, agony, or free will. As the light pulsed before her, she was entranced, though she no longer had eyes to stare, the empty sockets now the color of the starless night sky.
The mist swirled around the rock and the woman held captive before it. It spun faster as a vortex of sickly sweet light encircled the pair. When the mist settled, the outline of scars, scales, and teeth appeared beyond the rock. A voice boomed from the inhuman visage and echoed throughout the cathedral.
“You have done well, my fallen angel.” The words resonated within the bones of the woman. Their tone was grisly and broken, an overt whisper in the silent hall.
The woman, in full revelry of the being before her, became aware. She felt the absence of sight and the numbness in her legs. She sensed the unholy air and the unnatural silence of the cathedral. Her face, however, did not show pain. It did not show confusion, remorse, or guilt. It showed terror.
“Th…thank you, My L...Lord,” she muttered as she attempted to bow toward the swirling mist. Her arms trembled and her lips quivered as the featureless face absorbed every ounce of fear.
“You have served truly, and faithfully,” the face continued. “As such, you shall be rewarded.”
The woman relaxed, though the fear in her heart supplanted any efforts to appear calm. She opened her mouth, but no words would come; instead, the mist grew tighter. It enveloped her body and pressed upon her form, a cocoon of shadow and moonlight. The mist swirled faster until it bound the woman in a sinister vortex. Her meager trappings flung free to expose the wrinkled skin of a woman far beyond her years.
Her eyes contorted in fear and wonder as she was consumed by a torrent of sick, yellow energy. A calm overtook her expression and her face relaxed. Within moments, however, the sedated expression washed away as the pressure culminated around her wrinkled flesh. The energy had nowhere else to go…but in.
She dropped her head, flung out her arms, and let loose an earsplitting scream. The mist continued to press through her mouth, nose, ears, and blackened eye sockets while her arms remained fixed, pinned by the energy as it violated of the prone female form. She began to transform, though this only heightened the pain wracking her old, decrepit body.
As the agony intensified, her wrinkles receded. Her skin tightened and muscle tissue reformed from within. Wrinkled flesh gave way to soft, toned tissue. Flattened breasts reshaped into firm, supple mounds. Matted hair lengthened into a long, flowing mane. Teeth regrew to form jagged, sinister points. Her skin tone grew darker, twisted from a silken white to a polished onyx.
After several moments, the mist diminished and gave way to the penetrating silence of the cathedral. The blackened, toned body of a young woman descended and came to rest on the cold stone, a couched, shapely figure before the stone altar. The mist settled into the crevices of the fractured stone as it leeched its way into the streets of Valshyr.
The young woman gasped for air and her ribs pulsed. Her fingernails scraped against the stone as her hands forged a tight fist. Small nubs formed on her forehead while a ridge chiseled across each shoulder. The nubs grew long and came to sinister points while the ridges expanded and lengthened into long, arm-length appendages behind her kneeling body. When the pain subsided, the polished onyx figure became aware…aware of her transformation, aware of her power, and aware of the face that studied her from altar. She also became aware that, after several terrified minutes of blindness, she could see.
She was not granted any normal vision, however. She opened her eyes to discover loose figures of light swimming through the fog, figures forever bound to the land. As they swirled through the cathedral, they took on the shapes of men and women, their faces in disbelief. The young woman looked upon the figures with a child-like curiosity.
She held up her hand to survey each slender finger and her sickly yellow eyes sharpened as she examined her elegant, toned arms. While she studied her new body, her lips curled into a faint, sinister grin. With her eyes fixed on the back of one hand, she struck out to the side with the other and grasped a shimmering figure by the neck.
The young woman drew her fist tighter to reveal the devilish nails of pure, blackened hatred. She squeezed harder as the spirit twitched violently, then grew limp and dissipated like a snowflake upon the warm ground. Her smile grew and her eyes sharpened at the sight. She then stood, her full, imposing form brought to bear before the rock altar and the twisted face.
The long appendages on her back unfolded to reveal an impressive set of wings of smoke and shadow. Her jeweled, yellow eyes focused with a look of satisfaction. The ancient voice once again boomed as it resonated through the remnants of the cathedral and the bones of his onyx apprentice.
“With duty comes power,” it said, as a father to his enthralled young daughter. “With absolute duty comes absolute power.” Dust fell from the stone walls as new cracks formed in the ancient rock. The voice echoed throughout the fossilized holy site as timbers crashed into the broken stone floor.
The young woman remained silent. She acknowledged her master and brought her legs and feet together. She drew her body to a perfect line and bowed her head. She brought a fist across her bare chest, held for an exaggerated moment, then released.
The voice echoed again, felt more than heard, “this world will burn, my apprentice. And you will be the torch of damnation.” The face dissolved as the mist swept through the ruin’s crumbled windows. When the last remnants swept into the streets of Valshyr, a whisper of evil echoed. “Rise Kryxys…take your place as the harbinger of extinction.”
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Mists of Kel Doran