Prologue for Deadzone, about Gorlan and the chalice, how he saved many people, and died.
Gorlan grabbed the chalice off its pedestal. He was inside the Great Chamber of Ork’Tonkalae, the monastery in the Black Hills. Outside the monastery he could hear the battle raging, the battle for the chalice. The screams of men and animals filled the air as they died. As Gorlan grabbed the chalice he felt a rush of energy flow through him, the power from it was almost overwhelming. Behind him he heard footsteps.
“Gorlan, you must hurry, the enemy is about to overwhelm us.” The voice came from a young soldier.
Gorlan looked at the monks; they were standing in a circle around him, dressed in white robes. The one exception to this, a monk dressed in all black, apart from a white band across each arm, stepped forward. “Go, my son, and take our blessing with you. You are the chosen one, save who you can.” The Elder said as he kissed Gorlan lightly on the forehead.
Gorlan rushed through the corridors of the monastery, the young soldier beside him. The sounds of battle grew louder as he got closer to the entrance. He came to the massive wooden doors that led outside.
Gorlan pushed the door open and a wave of noise hit him like a blast of wind. He stared around at the carnage for a few seconds, the bodies of men and animals, and of the twisted creatures that they fought. The ground was muddy, soaked with blood and churned by thousands of feet. More men lay on the ground than the creatures. The soldier was right; the enemy were about to overwhelm the human army.
He lifted the chalice, holding it up to the light so it shone, humans and creatures alike stopped to stare at its beauty. The chalice was made of solid gold, gilded with silver, and was encrusted with many gems. A giant ruby, the size of a hen’s egg, was set in the middle, front and back, a line of opals beneath it, and a ring of lapis lazuli around it. As Gorlan held it up, he drew on the power that it held, spoke an incantation, and suddenly the ground erupted beneath the twisted creatures, fire rained down on them from the sky, the air around them became solid. The humans stared in amazement and shock, horrified by what they saw, but joyous of their victory.
Gorlan drew on more of the power; this would be his only chance to kill Ol’Shaba’Lon, the warlord who commanded the army. He would be further back, likely running for his life having seen this turn of events. He used the energy to sense what was going on, feel the thoughts of everything around him, where it was and what it was doing. The senses he got from the creatures still dying made him want to vomit, the pain and the stark fear. But beyond that he could feel a horse moving, running over the ground, with several more trailing it; he could feel the fear and anger, the evil coming from it. It was Ol’Shaba’Lon. Gorlan concentrated and the ground erupted beneath the horse, sending both it and its rider flying. The other horses behind it screamed and bucked, knocking their riders off before bolting away.
Gorlan released the power and looked around. It was the first time he had really taken any notice of the human army. Most of the soldiers had bandages around an arm or leg, some had crutches as well. It was the dead that filled Gorlan with anger and sadness though. Men lying on the ground, bodies torn and broken, some of them even had bite marks where the distorted creatures of Ol’Shaba’Lon had fed off of them. Men that would never return home to their wives and children, mothers, fathers and siblings. They wouldn’t even be buried, returned to the earth from which they came.
“Bring me a horse.” Gorlan snapped. A horse was led to him quickly. He jumped on and kicked it to a gallop. He sped through the forest that covered most of the black hills, still clutching the chalice with one arm. The forest was dark, large trees towered all around him, everything was covered in moss and it was very damp. Once again he drew on the power of the chalice, using it to find the people who he had previously sensed, before knocking them off their horses. They were not far ahead; once they became horseless they had started running. He rode out into a clearing and immediately spotted the people he was chasing. Ol’Shaba’Lon was in front of them and the first to notice him. He was clothed in black silk; lace at his throat and wrists, his blood red cape was tossed about by the wind. When he saw Gorlan he went wide-eyed with fear and started running harder than he had been before. Gorlan felt only contempt and anger for the man. He reined the horse to a slow canter and slowly gained on the men. He caught up to them just as they entered the forest once more.
“Give up!” Gorlan shouted.
“You will never get us!” shouted one of the fleeing men.
Gorlan saw one of the men run in front of him, dodging between the trees. He had almost caught up to him, when the man suddenly swerved off to the left, running around a tree. At that very moment, Gorlan realised what had happened, he had been too arrogant, too confident. They had planted a trap. Gorlan’s horse ran into the trip wire and fell down, with a piercing shriek and the sickening crunch of bone. He was thrown forward, out of the saddle, and headfirst into the ground. All Gorlan remembered before he hit the ground, was the sound of laughter, and then everything went black.
Gorlan awoke from a sudden shock. He opened his eyes, trying to look around the room, only to find he could not move his head. That was when the fear gripped him. He tried to get up, tried to move his legs and arms. He found that these were also tied down.
“I believe he is awake,” muttered a voice from behind Gorlan.
The owner of the voice appeared in Gorlan’s view. He was a tall dark man, with black wavy hair that hung below his shoulders. He turned around so that Gorlan had a view of his face; Gorlan cringed at what he saw. The left side of the man’s face was burnt and scarred, his entire left eye missing.
“Ah good, I have something to tell you Gorlan.” The booming voice of Ol’Shaba’Lon came from directly behind him.
Gorlan had begun to take in his surroundings. The room appeared to be part of a low-ceilinged wooden house. One of the walls in his view was covered by a tapestry. The corner to his right held a fireplace; sweltering heat was coming off the burning logs inside it, causing the room to feel oppressive and stuffy. A small table and two chairs sat in front of the fireplace, some small gems rested on the table glittering from the firelight. The gems drew his attention, mesmerising him; he could feel magic resonating off them onto him. He heard the heavy footsteps before Ol’Shaba’Lon came into view.
“You can feel the magic,” It was a statement, not a question. “You know what they are; you know what they can do.” He said to Gorlan. A feverish light burned in his eyes as he stared at them.
And then Gorlan realised what they were; Linking Stones. A panic far greater than he had ever felt rose up inside him, he struggled to break free from the bonds; wriggling desperately and clawing at the surface beneath him. The Linking Stones were named so, because they were used to link magicians such as Gorlan, who were able to wield magic only with the help of a conductor like the chalice, known as magen, to each other. Ol’Shaba’Lon was also a magen, when two or more magen were linked they became much stronger, however, once the bond was completed, it could not be undone. The biggest problem was that if one of the magen died, every other magen linked to him also died.
He was being linked to Ol’Shaba’Lon. The link would be changed though, so he was partly under his control; disobeying his commands would cause great pain to Gorlan, and if he turned the chalice on his master, death would be agonizingly slow.
(To be continued, please R&R, also, some of this has not been properly edited yet, so sorry for any mistakes.)