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Hertanyth awakens the Second Hero

After learning what had taken place, there was no doubt we had to summon new heroes. Day in and day out, Albano’s guards would introduce us to newly awakened Verge. They were dozens now and the presence of more Starun around us helped them enhance their perception and start to manipulate the energy coming from the Flux. I was still not convinced extracting Starun was the wisest choice. If we were being able to withdraw it from the land, it meant the Seal in that area had been broken. What force could do such thing?

We figured the Rhino Hertanyth had told us about was certainly a First trying to make his way into our world. Given we had the Starun and the available Verge, a second ritual was to be performed. I had to lead the party since I was the only one who could and knew how to. But this time Hertanyth stood at the altar. His binding was very unlike mine. Whilst I felt nothing but peace during the process, Hertanyth was in deep pain. It was quite troublesome and we felt he was close to collapse when it finally happened. Tusk, The Righteous Shield was brought into Myridian. Even larger than Carlo, on one hand he wielded a war hammer which no Merid could dream of lifting. On the other hand, the Righteous Shield. Another magical piece which seemed nearly indestructible. Finely adorned with ancient runic symbols. The battle marks on it were nothing but scratches, and yet were certainly made by indeed forceful weapons. His cuirass shone bright silver and blue, much alike Carlo’s breastplate. Most of his muscular figure was covered by armor.

“I shall protect you all from the storms to come!”

As he was about to start telling us his story we were interrupted by an anguished guard who broke into the chambers. Wounded in battle, he was held by Albano, and before dropping unconscious to the ground he proffered words that caused great concern:

“King Albano, there are so many of them! We were crushed! The dig… from the ground… monsters!!!! So… many…”

“Ah, the first storm! Perfect timing dear friends!” Said Tusk – And thus he and Carlo marched to battle. “Glad to fight by your side once more, old friend!”, he completed.

Tome III: The First Great War – The Magical Seal

Since my new awakening it became clear that others like me had to be created in order to stand a chance against the end. And so Malthus and Emmarin travelled across the land for months trying to find the greatest warriors of Myridian and assemble the army to wipe the forces of evil away. So many failures… strong candidates whose souls were lost… Starun is as dangerous as it is powerful. But to our luck a few transformations were successful and it wasn’t long before we had the first lineage of legendary heroes. We were eight and our powers combined could face nearly any threat. From Mithaurian, I was followed by Donna – The Amber Arrow, Neeno – The New Moon and Tusk – The Righteous Shield. From Spellenrune there were Mirari – The Green Grimoire and Garrett – The Arcane Scale. From Technokrest, Guill – The New Mind and Fay – The Steel Feather.

Every time the first of a kind is summoned, a Verge must be bound to him to form a replicable matrix. That Verge can only bind with one hero, for their minds will be permanently attached. When a Verge is assigned to a replica, he can bind with as many as his powers allow, since the main conscience of the hero lies elsewhere. It’s always a symbiotic relation. If the Verge who binds with a First dies, all of its replicas will lose structure and go back to the Starun flux. Then a new Verge must summon the First again and so on. I am the First Carlo of this time, so I am bound to you, Nettor, and only you.

All of the available Starun and Verge were used to assemble the largest army possible, and we parted for war. The Verge that were left behind had the duty to find and produce new heroes in case our incursion went wrong. Dozens of new ones were made from the most worthy. Our role in war was to enter the damaged areas days .and make our way through thousands of corrupted Yrians. They had to flee or perish. Once the perimeter was secure, we would find the source of negative energy. Then the group would stand the ground while the hero connected to the strongest Verge would seal the source by returning a significant amount – 6 fully lapidated gems – of Starun to the land along with a conjuring and a protection spell. The Starun would create an underground magic seal and make it both undetectable and impenetrable. Should any force find its way in, a Maze would be created and challenges of Valor presented. Failure meant death. That was a way to make sure the Starun returned could not be extracted again.

It took us a few years to finally restore the whole planet. There were many casualties and much of what the citizens had was lost. The more areas we recovered, the less Starun we had to keep the heroes incarnated, so our armies got shorter each day. And the Verge grew weaker since available Starun is the source of their power. There was a last seal to be made. 6 last gems. I was the only Hero still around and Malthus was the last Verge who could still manipulate magic. It takes Starun to cast the spell and there was none left. Malthus made sure the isolated area would provide him with enough supplies to spend the rest of his days. He sealed himself inside the last source, and as he vanished inside the mist of the spell I too parted. There was a lot to be done by the people. A new world to be discovered. One without magic. From the old world, we were the first and the last. And that was the end of the war.

Tome III: The First Great War – Malthus, the Aluminous Sage and the three trials

Once the wisest and most powerful Verge, Malthus was the high priest and leader of his kind for decades, a post he resigned for the greater good. His obsession with the origins of Myridian sent him on a journey of isolation from which he was forced to return due to the events of his time. He had spent years traveling, researching and gathering all information he could find about the Book of Ages, Myrandium. It was said to be the oldest book ever written, in archaic runic, and contained the secrets to Myridian’s origins, much prior to the first Merids we had notice of. He had been able to put together enough information as to have a clue of what to do to help.

There was a spell that could be performed in order to create heroes to fight the battles they couldn’t. It was not simple or easy, and the toll could be high, but it was the only way. The Verge’ ability to create was limited to what they could envision. And they were not creative people. So somebody else would have to take that part of the job. The painters from Craftsmir were the chosen ones. A soul was also required. Should it be worthy, it would not only be saved, but also become one with the flow of Starun energy around the planet. Were it not, it would be broken and doomed to eternity as a wandering shade.

I was the first volunteer to become the first of my generation. The king of Mithaurian back then. I would stand the trials. Emmarin, a blind painter was brought before me. His physical eyes were taken but he could see energy with the eyes of his soul. The first trial was inspiration. My aura would have to inspire him to paint the portrait of the better version of me. An ideal lion warrior. His paints and canvas were enchanted with Starun so they would never fade. The very portrait you used to summon me here was produced that day. Then Malthus conducted the following procedures…

The second trial was that of the spirit. A soul or a mind would not withstand the transformations of the body of the first. It would be crushed by the pain, anguish and fear, so it would have to be removed from the shell. It would take the power of seven Verge, each depleting a Crystal Rune, to detach the soul from the body, and keep it contained throughout the ritual. If we were to think of good and bad, from the perspective of the people of the surface, Starun’s energy is the good one. If the nature of the soul encapsulated by it is of a similar nature, they will merge and become one. That soul will imprint its register into the Starun flow all over the planet. What you have summoned is the exact version of me back then. All my knowledge and all my will, added to all each of me has learned as we walked the land as heroes. From this portrait you can summon as many of me as you like, provided you have the necessary amount of Starun and will. I can not recall my time within the Starun energy though. It is as if I was merely dormant.

The third trial is that of the body. While the soul is out, it takes another seven Verge, each depleting a Crystal Rune to morph the original body into what they read from the painting with all the power they can drain and deliver. There is a limit to what the body can resist, no matter how much Starun you imbue it with. If you demand more than it can take, it will collapse. If you do not ask enough of it, the unused energy and radiation might tear it apart.

Only by completing those steps the soul can finally be merged with the body, which will take the last seven Verge, and seven more Crystal Runes. Once the process is complete, the twenty-one Verge involved are completely drained. They need weeks, perhaps months of rest before they can perform the ritual again. But at least, a hero shall rise. Stronger and Mightier than any other. One of its kind. Along with its portrait it becomes the source. It needs to be fed with Starun in order to remain in the material world. If by any chance its reserve of energy drops to a minimum, it will use the last of it to deconstruct itself and merge with the Starun energetic flux, from where he can be summoned again by the same ritual you used to bring me here.

Malthus was the only Verge strong enough to stand and conduct every step of the ritual. He was the conveyor of all the energy involved, and it seems his descendant is up to the role now.

Tome III: The First Great War – The Beginning of the End

All was well before the age of excavations. As the digging sites for Starun extraction went deeper underground all over the planet, surface civilizations had their first encounters with Yrians, and also their first combats. Overwhelmed by the strength and speed of the subterranean breed, the first magical weapons were built. A collaboration between Craftsmirians and Technokrestians, they were the first weapons made of Starun-imbued Mithrall. Much stronger than the average weapon and also capable of energizing projectiles with different characteristics, the armies of Mithaurian became fit to resist combat against Yrians, and occasionally win.

Every step taken towards evolution made Myridian more dependent on Starun, which ultimately led to a frenetic extraction rhythm. Little did they know that Starun’s magical properties included maintaining the balance of the planet. It was one of the components that regulated the magnetic fields, gravitation, tides, retention of magma beneath the crust, and it also encapsulated a power beyond all forces known. An energy of putrefaction and destruction, righteously named “The End” by the Ancient Merids. The more they dug, the stronger “The End” got.

At first there were draught, loss of entire crops, waters’ acidity rise, tidal waves, volcanic activities… No one related those tragedies to the decrease of the ever shrinking protection Starun offered. Wherever “The End” struck, a cloud of poison and radiation remained, and the contaminated area could not be accessed by any other creature than the Yrians. Nevertheless, the dark energy corrupted them even more. They got stronger and more ferocious. Upon the scarcity of resources and constant attacks, conflicts between villages and clans terminated entire cities.

The Verge knew they were the only ones who could stop the imminent extinction of life. There were attempts to fight the end with magic, but it turned out that the energy of “The End” was immune to it. Then they tried equipping soldiers and engineers with Starun-imbued Mithrall armors , reinforced with magical protection and seals, but nothing could resist the radiation of the contaminated areas. Technokrestian engineers noticed, though, that the expansion of the end was related to a low concentration of Starun underground. They immediately ceased the extractions all over the planet and reported to the Verge that all Starun should be returned to the land in order to reestablish balance and recover the land. The idea was to somehow enter the damaged areas, locate the critical points of destruction and seal them with Starun. Enters Malthus, the Aluminous Sage.

Tome II: The World of Myridian

Before the war, Myridian used to be a fertile planet, abundant in resources. 2 great continents, spread into seven distinct biomes, not too distant from one another, were bathed by 2 great oceans, Algaro and Nimus, and cut by several rivers, the widest being Hondur. Some take it for an ocean even up to this day. In the Sky, one sun and three moons could be seen. They governed the tides and the seasons. It was also a land replete with minerals, Starun being the most important one.It is the source of Ether, the fifth element, which is capable of generating magic in all of its forms, and in the right hands, even produce matter.

The first known inhabitants of the land were called Merids, a name they still proudly carry. They had a peaceful and organized clan-based society and were first responsible for developing farming and archaic engineering. Their bodies were bulky and they were able to stand against climate adversities with ease. An inborn exploring nature led them to the extremes of the planet, which forced them to constantly mutate in order to adapt and that originated several other subspecies we will bring to the story soon. Later on in history they developed the first kingdom, the first weapons and war tactics.

Then there are the Verge. The most brilliant minds carried by very fragile bodies. Mostly isolated in caves at the earlier days, they relied on shelter, fire and garments to survive. They had the ability to draw the energy from Starun and mold it into whatever they could think of, provided they had the right tools for the job. They would leave mundane things like gathering resources, planting, harvesting, building and sewing to the Merids as they propelled the world into an age of magic. They would use writing to record history, develop spells and instructions for generations to come to continue evolving. They blended Starun with other materials in order to enhance its capabilities and applications. Their group was organized as a single society, led by the wisest elder alive. He would become the high priest in the temple and his duty was to ensure the safety of the archives, and also that magic was put to good use. Their blood-mixtured descendants were the first artists, modern engineers, artisans and blacksmiths.

Even though Starun could be found on the surface, its concentration of magic radiation grows stronger as it is collected deeper underground. That was the reason for the age of excavations to begin. But the undergrounds of Myridian still sheltered another civilization. The Yrians. Unknown to the surface peoples, they emerged from the first large craters opened by Merid miners. Despite being much larger than the average Merid, they were also a lot faster. Their skin was thick and rough, almost like scales. No one had ever reasoned with an Yrian because they would always strike in rage and attack until they would either kill or be killed. For all we knew, they were only beasts, unable to think or to do anything but kill and destroy.

From this first encounter with anand enemy civilization came the need to change the way Myridian was organized. Each continent tried their best to group up and unite, and put their best skills at the planet’s service. This first alliance made Myridian what it is up to this day…

Tome I: The Races of Myridian

Each of the planet’s seven biomes had unique natural and climatic conditions, and evolution played its part ensuring survival through mutation and blood mixture. When the First Alliance was assembled, walls and gates were built. That made it difficult for new species and mutations to occur since life took its course within short boundaries from then on, and most creatures alike would mate more often than not.

Mithaurian was founded by the oldest Merids and it became the kingdom of warriors. They would be responsible for training new warriors and offering trained soldiers to protect all the other kingdoms. Ruled by a king, recognized unanimously by the citizens and soldiers as the bravest and fairest among all warriors. If there were two or more candidates the matter was to be handled by withdrawal or combat. Combat was never necessary, for they were humble enough to recognize a superior. They would train any creature to handle any weapon.

Some Merids though were not born warriors. Those would be trained in combat just enough to be able to ambush small parties of monsters that might invade the land. The rest of their training would be farming and producing fabrics. They were allocated in Grymill, a land of fertile plains, where they would harvest fruits, vegetables and honey. This kingdom was the biggest in area, and its roads would lead anywhere, since they were responsible for supplying food and fabric. They also had vessels that could travel overseas or cross Hondur river.

Some of them also migrated to Agadeera, the land of the beasts. In the south coast of the continent bathed by the salted waters of Nimus, swamp and mangrove forests are the most common landscape. This is where funghi, herbs and Will o’ the wisp can be found. Some of them contain magical properties as well. The Merids that settled there had to master stealth abilities since engaging the native monsters of the land could bring unnecessary casualties. It is also the land where most elementals appear. A treatise was arranged with Lunkao, king of the crocodiles and the elementals of water and leaves. That allowed for the construction of the Agad forest, a magical barrier in form of deep forest that keeps unknown monsters away from that portion of the continent and inprisioned the foul creatures of the swamp inside Agadeera.

Basiliah was the last piece of land occupied by Merids. It is a kingdom built to protect the northern seas and the spring of Hondur river. The convergence of three waters on that spot carries with it the greatest dangers that could come from sea. A thick fog is always a bad sign, for the fog brings monsters within. The settlers of Basiliah learned the hard way how to fight on water. Their battleships keep constant watch in order not to let any creature reach Hondur.

Spellenrune was built to shelter the elder Verges. They would be responsible for all the knowledge. Magic, History and Research. They were to explore all the possibilities of Starun manipulation and develop tools and constructs to thrust the planet forward in evolution.

When Verges and Merids mated, their descendants would merge the skills of both, but one side was always predominant. That mixture brought many new talents into existence. The finest artists Myridian had ever seen. Blacksmiths, Painters, Dancers, Carpenters, and so many more. They could imbue their pieces with Starun and give them unimaginable magical properties and applications. They were sent to the mountains where they founded Craftsmir, the land of the artisans.

The youngest of all Kingdoms is Technokrest. Some of Craftsmir inhabitants discovered Mithral, a metal that was not only very resistant, but also a good host for Starun. They found its biggest reserves in a rocky region and decided to settle there in order to extract it and develop new technologies from it.

Last but not least, there is the legendary Yriartra. Home of the Yrians, its existence has never been proved, but some say it is a never ending sequence of tunnels that can connect any two points of Myridian through the underground. At its heart, supposedly lies the black obsidian stone, the hardest mineral on the planet.

Summoning the First Hero

It took us seven days at the forge and almost all the Starun Technokrestians were able to collect to assemble 21 Crystal Runes. The process is actually simple but it takes time. While we devoted all of ours to that task, the engineers from Technokrest created new machines to escort us back to Mithaurian. Their ability to adapt and create never ceases to marvel me. Not only were they able to turn two more harvesting ships into fully equipped battle aircrafts, they also managed to enhance their weapons and structures through Starun energy. It’s relatively new tech, they say, but a shard of Starun can replace most of the fuel required and increase weapon capacity by 100%. Besides, it generates less than 10% of the heat should you compare it to standard weapons. I stand divided whether weapon enhancement is either healthy or a priority at this time, but it sure fascinates Hertanyth. He has a passion for combat and weaponry which is unusual to a Verge.

Upon packing for our journey back, Danta’ar brought a container to us. It was made of a metal alloy nobody had ever seen. It reflected silver-bluish and was more sturdy than any other metal.

“Only now we could identify traces of Starun in this alloy. But we have no clue how to build this. We just started to learn how to use Starun energy, but making a stable alloy out of it is almost impossible. We are working on it but the results are not very promising so far. And we can’t reverse engineer it. But you can use this box to seal the Crystal Runes. It blocks the Starun radiation emissions, so those desert beasts can’t track you down. We think they follow this energy trace. After the forge was lit they have been spotted all around our outer walls. We are afraid they will attack soon.”

And so we left our new friends behind for a while and headed back to Mithaurian. It was indeed a safe and easy trip, and did not require any intervention from our winged companion. Danta’ar might have been right about what had driven the desert beasts towards us the first time. Approaching Mithaurian’s gates we were welcomed by Albano himself and his full high guard. It was the first time I had seen all of them in full combat armor. Grandiose and imponent, their breastplates shone bright as the suns hit them with piercing light. The aircrafts remained around the borders where they were meant to patrol day and night, as we ran to the crypt.

“Your calling to the new awakened back at Spellenrune worked better than you may think! After your leaving our guards spotted quite a few adventurous skinny folks like yourselves lost around our woods. They carried your leaflets and quivered in fear at every noise they heard. We collected them all and they were brought safe to Mithaurian. 46 of them they were. And they all await back at the castle.” said Albano.

Entering the room where they stood was shocking. Our exposure to extensive amounts of Starun had changed Hertanyth and I in ways we were still to understand. Our auras immediately expanded and connected with all those Verge, to the extent we could even point out one that had not yet been awaken and had been there just for the adventure. Once we arrived, though, he was hit by the truth and ready to join us.

It would take 21 of us. Hertanyth and I selected the ones that seemed to be stronger and the most in control of their newly acquired abilities. We entered the crypt. Albano shut the brass door and stood guard from the inside as his guards did it from the outside. Twenty of us stood in around the table, each in front of an aperture. They were each handed a Crystal Rune and I carried one myself to the altar. Not a word being said but in full synchronicity we loaded the apertures with the Crystal Runes. The lectern at the altar was illuminated with Starun energy and runic writings appeared in form of pure energy. It was different now. The symbols translated into words as I looked at them. That was the ritual I should perform. As i raised the Athame and pronounced words in a language I did not know, a strong beam of light came from the chamber of portraits. Albano headed there and to our surprise he brought Carlos’s portrait. It glowed so bright it was hard to see the picture. His hands trembled. Making an enormous effort he was able to hang it on the column where the stage ended. I carried the ritual on. Once I read the last symbol, a burst of energy blinded all of us. The loud noise of thunder impaired our hearing and every one but Albano was thrown to the ground by the pressure in the air. We slowly recollected our senses to find him there, standing at the stage. The Golden Blaze. His roar was deafening. “For Myridian!” It was.

“Greetings to all of you Verge! I am Carlo, The Golden Blaze. The first to be summoned and the last to be dispensed. If I was brought to this land yet again, then the world is at stake. I must first put you wise to what has truly led you to this path I now take part of.”

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!

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