Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2007149-Storm-of-Chaos---Prologue
Printer Friendly Page Tell A Friend
No ratings.
by Fic12
Rated: 13+ · Novel · Fantasy · #2007149
The land of Kendalla has many legends, and this is its most well-known.
This is the prologue to a fantasy novel I've been writing for several years.  I'm no longer happy with the title, but I'm sure something more suitable will occur to me as the story progresses.  Thank you for taking the time to read.


Storm of Chaos


The Tyrant’s Fall

King Eltyon, leader of the Elven kingdom of Dethaira, was started awake by nothing more than the exigency of his dreams.  Only when the elf felt the cold ground around him did he remember that he was not at home in bed next to his wife and instead camped on the edge of a forested swamp.

“Bad dreams?” he heard Arturanos ask.  The Darric Prince was seated across from the fire, his golden eyes glinting in its light, already boiling water for the gruel that passed for breakfast.

“You could say that.”  Silence fell for a moment.  “I wish I could say that I’m not afraid.”

“We have not the luxury of fear,” Arturanos said, an almost rueful smile on his face.  “But we all have something to keep us going.”


“Your wife and son.”  There was no question in his tone.

“I couldn’t just sit in my palace and wait for Kost to come.  Even after my father told me his dream.  To die for them . . . it’s an honorable death.”  The vivid memory of his father’s parting warning was a ruthless plague on his thoughts:  You will partake in this quest, and you will perish.  Elven dreams of prophecy were no mystery to him, and never questioned, but he wanted to believe that this one had been misinterpreted.

Arturanos appeared lost in thought a moment before he finally replied, “Indeed.  Kost has committed enough horrors to justify any price we may all pay here.”

Both pairs of eyes surveyed their companions.

The two other darroks, Icthion and Vendon, both of them Arturanos’s friends since childhood, did not require the warmth of the fire, even in the cool early autumn air, but had stayed close nonetheless.  Icthion used his manicured claws to scratch a pointed ear in his sleep, and Vendon opened his golden eyes to glare at the offending noise so close to his head that had disturbed his restless slumber.  He caught his friend’s eyes and flashed a fanged smile at his amused expression.

Ellemyn, one of the three of King Eltyon’s Elven subjects to accompany him, was already awake and testing the readiness of her bow.  She gave her king a bow of the head, and Eltyon returned it with a warm smile.  Her volunteering had been unexpected, her family’s name a noble one, and had prompted the assistance of her brother, Elwyn.  Both were praised for their archery skills, even above and beyond the usual Elven precision, and Eltyon was glad to have them with him.  Even more grateful to have Garahd, his army’s General, a brilliant strategist, and a close friend.

A loud belch drew the attention of all those awake, and awakened some others.  Der, the dwarf clad in well-worn black leathers, shrugged and returned to gathering his equipment.  His clansman, Beron, only shook his head and went about strapping himself into his dented and scuffed gilded iron breastplate.

One of the humans, Sinas, a young man hand-picked by his school and the only mage among them, laughed aloud into the thick tome he often studied.  Next to him, Tobyn, the priest, prayed over the holy symbol of his deity that neither of his fellow humans recognized.  Dae, however, was from a far-flung tribe of outsiders, known more for their strength than their knowledge.  Sinas, having been secluded to studying magic the whole of his life, knew little of the outer world, this being his first excursion farther than the marketplace near his school.

Belrak was still asleep, snoring loudly.  In his arms was cradled a massive two-handed mace, almost as large as the young mage.  The baiven’s massive strength allowed him to wield such a weapon with ease, and his seven-foot frame and intimidating appearance had made their haggling with various merchants along the way both easy and advantageous.  He and Yrlekh had spent many of their nighttime watches sharing tales, and the ertuk learned the easiest way to wake Belrak was with a tug on one of his bovine ears.  It often earned him an answering tug to one of his horns, but Yrlekh feared he might inadvertently do more harm to one of the others and accepted it.

King Eltyon was proud to see so many disparate cultures before him, not only uniting in a common goal, but also becoming friends.  All had stood up in defense of their homes, and all were prepared to sacrifice their very lives to see Kost defeated.

The villain, a once respected darrok priest, began carving a swath of terror little under a year ago, slowly gathering followers all the while.  Merciless and malicious, Kost planned to either eradicate or enslave all races in Kendalla save his own, raising darroks above all others.  The would-be tyrant spared none in his path, evidenced in the small human village come upon by the fourteen in their travels.  It had been decimated, houses torched and livestock slaughtered.  Corpses skewered on spikes lined the streets, leading to the gruesome scene of the bodies of the village’s children piled atop one another in the square.  One child had just enough life in him to tell them that he had seen the villain himself.

All of this set into motion through the calling of an old and powerful jewel.  Kost once lived in the darrok kingdom of Nidal, a wise and honorable priest of the ancient Order of the Blood Moon, one of the protectors of the black jewel that had perverted his mind.  There was a reason the gem had been hidden away, protected by both steel and spell.  It had beckoned Kost, promising him immunity, and then twisted his mind to its will.  Its power was immense, but it was still just a jewel, and jewels can be broken.

King Eltyon shook away the displeasing thoughts.  He would have enough of those before the journey’s end.  He joined his friends in their repast, but his words soon broke the silence.  “When most of you appeared at the gates of my palace at the onset of spring, appealing to the Three Elven Ancients for a solution to Kost’s evil, I knew then what my duty should be.  All of you represent the best of each race and kingdom in Kendalla.  I am proud to stand among you all.”

Most nodded in respect to the solemnity of his speech, but Der turned to his closest neighbor, Tobyn, and whispered, “Speeches like that never bode well.”  He received a glare of disapproval for his insight.

After a tasteless breakfast and hurried packing, they began their trek through the swamp in silence.  They did their best to avoid falling into the foul, muddy waters on either side of the narrow patches of decaying grass.  The smell was nearly unbearable, more so for the elves and darroks, whose sense of smell far surpassed that of humans, but they all forced themselves to march on, keeping in mind their one purpose as a soupy fog settled around them like a shroud.

All fourteen had their weapons drawn.  Sinas held his carved oak staff before him like a shield, the thought of his magical barrier escaping him.  Neither he nor Tobyn noticed the hems of their robes dragging through the muck, nor did Belrak complain of his need to duck under low branches.  Vendon adjusted the shield on his arm for the fourth time.

“A bloody, gods damned festering swamp!” Der complained.  He lifted his boot and shook off an unidentified glob of thick, black ooze.  “It had to be a swamp!”

“Quiet!” Arturanos snapped.  Something before them loomed heavy, putting his heightened senses on alert.  He angled his head to sniff the air, noticing that his darrok and elf companions were also vigilant.  Satisfied with the silence, Arturanos motioned for them to move forward.  He shot the dwarf a glare that caused him to grip his daggers tighter in apology.

The heavy fog began to clear, revealing an enormous fortress at the bottom of the steep embankment on which they stood.  Positioned on a large patch of solid ground, its battlements rose high and its walls were thick.  But there was an eerie lack of guarded protection.

“I don’t trust this,” Icthion worried, keeping his voice low.  “He should have guards, patrols, barracks for his army.”

Ild,” Arturanos answered an affirmative, his eyes searching for anything else amiss.

Before any of the others could wonder about the strangeness of such a calculating enemy leaving himself so vulnerable, a towering shape dressed in black armor emerged from the gate of the castle.  Kost.  His breastplate was shielded with spikes, each seeming to bear the remnants of blood and gore, and around his neck on a heavy chain of gold was encased a black jewel the size of a goose egg.  Arturanos knew it on sight.

Though surprised, they stood their ground as Kost advanced towards them.

“He presents himself before us from the first?” Garahd questioned. “Why does he not send forth his minions or vast army to deal with us?”

“I don’t know,” the Darric prince admitted, confused by Kost’s sudden appearance.  Arturanos studied his enemy.  The two had often conversed during the Royal Family’s visits to the Temple of the Blood Moon, and Arturanos remembered the priest as being intelligent and clever.  “He knows who we are and of what we are capable.”  His voice lowered and his eyes narrowed.  “He fears us.”

Kost now stood at the bottom of the embankment, challenging one of the fourteen to embrace suicide.  Eltyon looked upon the darrok and, remembering the morning’s conversation, suddenly found the courage within him to accept the demon’s challenge.  He drew his sword, a shining Elven blade crafted by the finest smiths both Dethaira and Kendalla had to offer, and restrained his voice from quivering.  “This is Ninellath, ‘The King’s Victory.’  It shall be your demise!”

A twisted smile appeared on the enemy’s unguarded face.  His fangs and blood-red irises set off the deeply sown evil lurking behind his pupils.  Magic flared; his eyes brightened and glowed red.  He began to whisper under his breath.

Kazik!” Arturanos cursed, realizing the spell that Kost had begun to weave.  “Everyone move!”

A fireball materialized above the group, causing them to scatter from its rapid descent.  The impact knocked them all to the ground, some harder than others, but Eltyon had been spared, shielded from the blast by Kost himself.

Before anyone had time to recover, the sword in Eltyon’s hand went up in flames and melted away to nothing.  The Elven King then began moving, walking towards Kost against his will.  They tried to get to him, but were frozen in place upon reaching their feet.  He looked back at his companions and realized that they had all been immobilized by Kost’s dark magic.  Seeing the helpless looks on all of their faces, Eltyon knew that there was nothing that they could do for him.

Despite their bodies’ paralysis, Kost’s spell still allowed them the use of everything above their necks.  “Dispel it!” Arturanos commanded, turning his head to find the mage behind him.

The young human looked frazzled, but he was the best spellcaster Kendalla had to offer.  “I’m trying!” he reassured, and returned to frantically whispering spells.

Only feet away, King Eltyon noticed the jewel that was dangling from Kost’s neck – the jewel that was the source of it all.

When he was within Kost’s grasp, Eltyon fought the spell just long enough to draw his knife from his hip and tried to find a way to destroy the black jewel.  The mage had finally found the counterspell, and Arturanos rushed to Eltyon’s aid.  He reached the villain and, taking him by surprise, grasped the chain around Kost’s neck. It snapped easily, and the prince threw it and the jewel in the direction of his companions. The weight of Belrak’s heavy mace crushed the black gem to shards.

While Kost was visibly weakened by the loss of his possession, Arturanos struggled to help Eltyon recover from the spell and bring him to safety.  But it was too late for Eltyon.  Kost, in his great rage, picked up the weakened king and threw him against the wall of the castle just as Eltyon desperately flailed his knife, burying it deep within Kost’s left eye.  While Kost wailed aloud in pain, King Eltyon motioned to the shattered jewel and, with his last conscious breath, proudly sneered at his murderer, “What control do you have over them now?”

Kost, blood dripping through the fingers that covered his ruined eye, turned his head and realized his magic was now useless.  Without the black jewel he was no more a sorcerer than the dirt under his feet.  His sword would be his only salvation, but the blade embedded in his eye blinded him to the point of dizziness.  He was beginning to stumble, unable to see clearly his surroundings.  In his desperation, Kost needed a show of power.  He ripped the knife from his eye, drew his sword, and plunged it into King Eltyon’s nearly motionless chest.

Chaos erupted around them.  Fumbling for the upper hand, Kost used the last remnants of his magic to summon forth undead minions form the ground.  The shambling corpses soon shielded him, but he knew his protection would not last long.  Arrows from the bows of the elves were skillfully taking down the horde, while the rest of the group tore through the undead wall.

Vendon drew the attention of as many as he could.  His shield became as much of a weapon as his sword as he used it to bash them aside.  Belrak swung his mace in wide arcs with ease, crumbling the old bones to dust.  Der did his best to position himself behind his targets, severing their spines.  Beron’s axes were blurs, and the others wielded their swords with expert precision.  Elwyn and Ellemyn stood on the embankment firing their arrows, both Tobyn and Sinas behind them casting spells and healing the others when needed.

Kost was beginning to weaken.  Several arrows pierced his armor and blood flowed from various wounds.  His eye had nearly swollen shut, but still he would not yield the battle.  The remaining thirteen were also wounded and tired, including the archers who had joined the melee after running out of arrows.  The priest was exhausted, all his healing magic drained in his efforts to keep the group alive.  Something needed to be done before they all fell.  Arturanos charged at Kost, his sword coming down in a powerful arc over his head only to be deflected into the enemy’s shoulder.  He ducked Kost’s counterattack and swung the sword again, this time plunging the sword into Kost’s abdomen.  He struggled but a moment against his adversary, looking him in the eye without fear.  He then ripped his blade from the darrok’s gut, disorienting Kost long enough to slice the sword through his neck.  The others backed away in shock as Kost’s head landed at Arturanos’s feet.  Blood from his neck sprayed far beyond the onlookers, giving them need to dodge the falling liquid.

“Well, that was rather anticlimactic,” Der stated, somewhat unimpressed.

“Can’t you be serious for five seconds?” Tobyn admonished.

The dwarf shrugged.  “Just seemed so easy is all.”

“Enough!” Arturanos snapped. “Help with the torches.”

They quickly set ablaze Kost’s body, armor and all, and watched as his flesh dwindled away to nothing but ash. Then, as instructed, they packed the scorched armor.  Sinas reached for a shard of the jewel, but had his hand pulled away.

“Don’t touch them,” Tobyn warned.  “Even now, a simple shard could corrupt you.”

The young man nodded and watched as the priest cast a spell that gathered the shards in a jar.  They then joined the others, now circled around their friend’s lifeless form. Ignoring their own wounds, they lifted King Eltyon’s body and carried it out from the swamp, where they then crafted a stretcher in order to carry him home for burial.  After a short prayer from the elves, in the tradition of their people, they began on their journey homeward.
© Copyright 2014 Fic12 (fic12 at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates have been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work.
Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2007149-Storm-of-Chaos---Prologue