Month: August 2018 (Page 2 of 2)

The Rune Forge

Danta’ar was very excited telling us about their recent discoveries. Technokrestians speak too much!

“Here is what we know so far… There is this mineral… Starun… It used to be a source of magic according to the tales we had heard. The odds of those tales being real were below 4% but since the first readings of a kind of energy we had no record of we figured it could only be Starun. And if Starun is real, then magic is real and the chance of the legends being true is now about 82%. So that huge weird machine our elders always told us not to mess with might after all have some use. But I must warn you we have tried and tried to make it work. We know every piece of gear in there and there is nothing missing or malfunctioning but it simply won’t start.”

“We might just know how to make it work.” Said Hertanyth.

We walked for nearly an hour down a narrow path which led us to a chamber made of metal structures that resembled a gigantic oven. It was so dark and cold that we thought it would take all the energy available in the country to light a spark. There was a main burner with encryptions at the top. That led to a series of pipes and gear, and at the other end there was a lid where the product of the forge could be drawn from. I was still not sure how that structure was powered though.

“You can play with it all you want, I’ll get some Starun and show you something fun!” Said Danta’ar, as he lit a series of bulbs that illuminated the room enough so we could see that the furnace was much bigger than we had previously thought. It was composed of a series of interconnected compartments. There were lids, tuyeres, retorts and burners of all sizes, and chimneys that went up beyond the ceiling. At a point though, there was a different structure, similar to the altar I had seen in Albano’s crypt. There was a lectern engraved with runic symbols and a small slot underneath it. And in front of it, the charging door to a primary combustion chamber six times the size of a lion.

As Danta’ar returned, he carried half a dozen shards of Starun just like the one Hertanyth had collected. He placed them inside the slot below the lectern and as soon as he closed the lid the Starun’s glow became more and more intense. Once the glow lit the runic symbols, Hertanyth and I were hit by an energy wave that expanded our senses even more. I immediately knew what had to be done.

“Now that’s new! I’d seen it shine but not beam at people! Are you hurt?” He asked. Without hesitation I drew Malthus’ Athame and traced over the runic symbols that lay ahead of me. As the dagger completed the drawing cycle, a spark of lightning was cast from the lectern to the ground and it drew a stream of energy all the way forward until it reached a small opening at the bottom of the combustion chamber and lit it with the strongest and most colorful flame I had ever seen. The stream of energy from the lectern to the furnace became steady and mildly warm, and it would go through skin and metal as if nothing could stop its flow. Nothing we could do would stop it and the lid to the stocked shards was jammed.

We had no idea how to stop it, but it was running. The first furnace. And thanks to the contact with the Starun ignition Hertanyth and I knew just how to operate it in order to forge the first Crystal Runes.

“Get all the Starun you can find and bring it to us! There’s much to be done! Myridian will rise again!” Hertanyth yelled as loud as he could.

Technokrest, the city of machines

As our caravan crossed the plains that divide Mithaurian and Technokrest, more than once were we able to spot unknown raiders in the distance. Some of Albano’s assassins split from the group in order to ambush them through the flanks. It wasn’t long until we lost track of them. They never flared as they had promised once the enemy was defeated. The smaller party that remained started moving as fast as they could in order to reach Technokrest’s gates and find shelter. There was no construct already at sight when we perceived two clouds of dust speeding towards us from both sides. Our mounts at full speed couldn’t take us farther from them and the enemy party seemed to outnumber our small party by far.

I had an impression those raiders were both mount and soldier at the same time. They had long tails and gigantic fangs, and their skin was made of thick scale, seemingly solid rock. Their front paws were strengthened by claws and could easily overcome the assassins’ spears reach. Our caravan leader took the group to higher ground, set his assassins around our wagon and slowed down to assume defensive position. Maybe standing still they would be able to outbid those creatures.

The enemies spread around us and proved us not only outnumbered but also at unit-to-unit combat disadvantage. The Mithaurian general told us to take hold of their fastest mount and flee west. They would thrust forward making way for us and we could trample any enemy troop that stood in our way. We would reach our destination a few miles ahead. If only we had had the chance…

The enemy took initiative and struck towards us at a such speed we could barely react before they were few feet away from us. That was when a low frequency noise came from above and all I could see was a horde of creatures climbing through the air like something was covering the ground we stood in. Blue, pink and purple sparks appeared at specific points their claws touched. We were covered by an energy shield.

A few seconds later there was another noise. A huge one. Three harvesting drones equipped with state-of-the-art machine guns opened fire against anything that moved. The barrier worked fine and we were kept safe, but to our bewilderment the bullets did nothing but scatter our attackers. That of course provided us with time enough to regroup and carry on, now accompanied by flying guard as well.

Upon our arrival at Technokrest’s gates we were welcomed by Danta’ar, a Technokrestian elder, who was recognized by his fellow citizens as a leader, even though there was no government in that country. They were ruled by science and logic. At least that’s what they were known for bragging about . Their sense of fairness was extremely accurate, and their inhabitants had the highest morale amongst all of Myridian’s civilizations. Their work division was that of an equal amount of daily work per person. It did not have to be much, since they were aided by the highest known technology. They were a people of peace. There was no crime and the weapons we had seen back at the journey were the first ones they had developed in centuries.

“Greetings travellers. I am Danta’ar. Let’s waste no time. I see two Verge escorted by a Mithaurian army… So you are friends. We’ve also traced tons of Starun energy being dragged by your little knife. That’s got to be good news! You must be here for the forge. Let me take you to it. You can introduce yourselves as we walk.”

Starun and the Heroes of the Past

As the torch cast light onto the walls of a secondary chamber my first glimpse was that of a portrait. Painted by a very gifted artist indeed. The perfect figure of that legendary lion I first met in my dreams. Carlo, The Golden Blaze. The frame seemed to be centuries, maybe millennia old. And yet the paint was as clear as it had just been applied.

“They never age, these portraits.” Said Albano.

And there were more like the first. Three more paintings, each with a different creature and a different name. Donna, The Amber Arrow . Tusk, The Righteous Shield. Neeno, The New Moon.

“Mithaurian’s Legendary Four. Not our only legends, but surely the first and last to stand. The secret passed from king to king until the time comes when they must rise again. And it is about time they do. Thirty eight kings have passed this torch on to the next, waiting for this very moment. It takes 21 Verge and an insurmountable amount of Starun to summon one of them.”

“Starun?” Asked Hertanyth.

“Indeed. The mineral that was the source of all magic in a distant past. Sunken and buried for centuries in order to protect Myridian from all harm it could bring. And ironically our only hope now. The Starun must be forged into Crystal Runes in order for this to work. The only forge I know of that is still within reach lies in Technokrest. Let’s pray those little inventors haven’t turned it into some of their turbines or thermals. My emissaries have reported quite a few occurrences of Starun emerging due to the volcanic and seismic activities. Technokrest drones have been spotted all over those places and I am willing to bet three barrels of Ale they have found a way to extract it. But they can’t trigger the forge without the device that serves both as a lever to start it and as an Athame to perform the rituals in this very chamber. Glad you have brought it with you unaware of its power. It will also take a king and his army to hold this place, for the enemy’s retaliation will be frantic once its powers are unleashed.”

I’m afraid there isn’t much we can do here right now. My emissaries are looking for more Verge descendants as we speak. Even if they are not fully awaken, I believe once exposed to any form of Starun their senses will be elevated too.

The two of you must part at once. You shall be escorted by my finest assassins. Take this message with my seal to Technokrest. Look for an elder and demand to be taken to the forge. Once there, you must gather enough Starun shards to forge 21 Crystal Runes. Then hurry back to Mithaurian. Hopefully we will have found enough Verge by then so we can start to purge evil from this land.”

On to Technokrest!

Mithaurian’s under palace

We were rushed through the corridors and made our way into the undergrounds of the castle in total silence. The buried portion of the castle is actually much bigger than what is at sight from the land. It felt like king after king there was great concern to dig deeper and build higher. All those similar stairs and passages were surely placed there to confuse anyone bold enough try and enter the maze.

“Many secrets have been passed from king to king along these dungeons. Only the king and his high guard can reach the last corners of this labyrinth safe from all lethal traps that surround the right paths. Our greatest treasure, though, is one we do not fully understand. And yet the dagger you carry in your garments led me to believe this puzzle is about to be solved.” said Albano.

“Your highness, I fear I might disappoint you then. This blade once belonged to my late ancestor, but I know nothing more than you do about it. There is no record regarding the meaning of the engravings, neither is there reference to it in the textbooks. It proved useless even to clear the path I came through back in the woods!”

“Very well then… Should both of us come to a frustrating denouement at the end of this very path, there might be not much left to do than celebrate our unfortunate encounter over a pint of ale as we watch Myridian come to an end. You see… there is an enemy which can be seen but no one has lived to tell what it looks like. They strike in organized waves. Their raiders leave no trace or life behind. That is all we know. And it feels like the land itself has grown sick of life. There have been more natural disasters over the past year than we have record of in all of Myridian’s history. At least the documented one.”

As he finished his statement the three of us were standing in front of an enormous brass door. Probably the biggest and heaviest I’d ever seen. It took Albano most of his strength to push it just enough for us to slide through the gap. He needed a moment to catch his breath. Hertanyth and I entered what appeared to be a crypt. A dome surrounded by columns filled with symbols that resembled those in my dagger. Despite the many torches on the border walls it was nearly impossible to see the whole of it. It was simply too big. I took a torch and delved into the place where I ended up finding an altar. There was a round table for performing rites, a lectern with no book, a candelabrum and some sort of a stage right in front of it. Large enough for a handful of people. It was made of cobblestone and yet there were cracks and marks on it that could only have been made by sabatons. What amazed me the most was that no forger would make them that size. And even if one did, their wearers would have to be much heavier than the average creature to get to crack the ground they stood on. They were too big even for Albano, who stared at me then. He laughed gently as he saw such astonishment in my eyes.

“Go a little farther, child. As you were asleep in my chamber I could hear you mumble about a special someone… words of hope and visions of a being… Perhaps it is time you truly see him for the first time!”

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