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 Order Of Illumination - Ice and Grief - The Pact by Vaknor

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Registration date : 2008-07-14

PostSubject: Order Of Illumination - Ice and Grief - The Pact by Vaknor   Tue Jun 30, 2009 11:43 am

'No.. No I said!' Vaknor bellowed at the shadows of the vault. He shuffled from foot to foot and paced a line around the low triangular plinth
'No, not yet. Please.'

The book in his hand trembled.

'Please.' His voice a whisper in the dark.

It was coming, he could feel it. A dark presence listed on the horizon and the air tasted bitter. The old man looked as if the last years had been drained of him, he dropped to his knees and bowed his head in supplication.

'Please. We have lost so much, give us time.' The darkness seemed to swell and deepen.

'The Order is finished and they will die broken and screaming upon my blade.'

Vaknor heard the words, he knew not from where but he knew doom was coming, death riding a steed implacable as dawn would come to the Order. Who would there be to oppose it, the Scion? He was the last of them who still stood with unbending faith, a beacon in the dark. The loss of his brothers had barely registered, but what could you expect from a being that walked a higher plane.

Vaknor placed his hands on the alter and went to stand, behind him he heard movement and from somewhere a dull groan punctured the gloom. Clutching only the Libram of Forgotten souls he rose and faced the new comer.

'I knew it would come to this, I have seen it in my dreams. I saw you fall to madness and still, I refused to believe.' His finger tips went white as he clutched the tome firmly as if it were his last grip on the holy Light.

'You did this to me.' A cracked voice issued from between blistered and pestulant lips. 'You who I cared for like the father I never had. You did this, and now you will suffer the agonies of the damned old man.'

The figure stumbled out of the dark, emaciated and worn but still the girl he had loved.
'Merri.' Vaknor wanted to turn away from what she had become, from her rotted frame and flee into the night but he didn't.
'My poor sweet Merri.' He hung his head, staring at the space infront of her feet. He felt weaker than he had ever felt before, as if the light in his heart had been extinguished. He barely registered her movements. There was a stabbing sensation in his shoulder and he tasted blood. He dropped to his knees to stare up at her rictus grin. Blood was flowing freely down his chin and his eyelids felt heavy.

'Goodnight daughter. What I did I did out of love.'
A second stabbing pain, another blade slipped up through his ribcage and found his heart.

The thing that had been Merrideath stood without ceremony and walked to the doors of the vault, a small raven landed at her feet and she whispered to it;
'The tombs of the Shadow-Bane are open to us, the old-fool has been silenced. Go to Hireath little one.'
The raven flew into the night sky and out of sight as she walked back into the tomb. Her anger burned hot at the betrayal and she rampaged back towards where she had left the corpse. Darkness there and nothing more, she roared in fury as the raven returned and whispered a single word into her rotting ear.

'Nevermore.'

*****************************************************************************************************************


He crawled on hands and knees, his robe wet with his own lifeblood. His mouth stumbled over the syllables of the prayers of mending, nothing happened. His hands trembled as he attempted to heal the damage done to his heart. The tremors turned into a fit, the fit to a seizure and in a dark corner of a forgotten vault Vaknor Stonehearth’s heart drummed out its last beat. With a final gasp the old man pitched forward in the dust and was still.

Time was running out. Time was the only thing that seemed to concern him in these times. Time. Time. Time. All fleeting, liquid, insubstantial, time.

The moon hung low and large over the night sky above the highlands of Arathi, a lone wolf raised its head to the sky and let out a strangulated cry. It smelt blood in the air. Tongue lolling from its mouth it bounded from the hills to the north, stalking, stopping to sniff the air for the scent of its prey.

No time.

The settlement rose above the beast’s head, it stalked through the streets, clinging to the shadows. A bird fell out of the sky, barrel rolling towards the ground and screaming as it went.

The Harbinger. No time.

The beast’s sky blue eyes fixed on the black bird as it swooped in landing on the arm of a figure in the distance.

Am I too late?

It broke into a sprint towards the far off figure that was receding into a stone archway, panting in time with its mighty strides.
‘Nevermore?!’ Merrideath’s rotten jaw spat the word back at the bird, and crushed the life out of the winged creature with her plate-clad fist killing it. She threw the bird to the floor and stalked into the catacombs.

‘Where are you, you old bastard!’

She peered into the darkness and found the trail of blood and excrement the old man had left and smiled.

‘I smell your shit old man, you can’t hide for long.’
Within three strides she found him, face down, dead.
‘Pity. ‘ She sighed. A shadow fell across her from behind. With her guard up she spun, blade held firmly. Cold blue eyes penetrated the darkness and the wolf growled a deep and guttural challenge.

‘Oh, is this your dog old man? I didn’t know you kept pets.’ She spat with bile, ‘I will just have to cause it the agonies I had in store for you.’

She stepped forward and raised the blade, a sudden wave of pressure bowled her over and slammed her into a wall. Scrambling to her feet and regaining her footing she reappraised her opponent. Where once a wolf had stood on its four legs stood the cloven hooves of a male Dreanei.
‘Leave this place rotted one,’ it made no motion to attack or defend itself, it simply stood impassive. Merrideath looked into its cool blue eyes and felt her anger rise, how dare this outsider interfere with her revenge?
‘I’ll leave, when I am done with you.’ Her rictus grin flashed once again and she moved with a grace unbefitting one so rotted. Her blade flashed forward and met with nothing but air.
‘One more chance, leave.’ He was now stood behind her, his eyes started to flare with inner fire. Merrideath roared with anger.
‘Why won’t you just die?!’
She aimed more blows at him, each he blinked away from. Her blows could do nothing to touch him.
‘As you will have it.’ The Dreanei reached into the sleeve of his robe and from it pulled an extending quarterstaff. He took one last look at Merrideath and smiled coldly. His voice cried to the skies in his own rumbling tongue and he slammed the staff into the floor.
A bolt of lightning struck Merrideath square in the chest. Before she could recover a shock of fire enveloped her and forced her to her knees. Through the flames she could see the old Dreanei laughing.

‘Die.’

He launched a bolt of lava towards her, sensing her doom Merrideath placed her hand upon the locket at her neck and smashed the glass vial that hung there. The doomgate opened between the pair of adversaries and swallowed the burst of lava. She knew she was outmatched, Vaknor was dead and the vault was vulnerable, that was all that mattered. She dove into the gate from the other side and it closed with a pop of displaced air.

Shattnoor folded his staff back into his robe sleeve and walked to the corpse in the corner of the room. He scooped up the old and frail man as if he weighed less than nothing. A small motion of his hand summoned a totem that bended and distorted the light drawing them into it, folding dimensions. The totem of astral recall did what it was designed for and returned them to the Moon-pack’s lodge.


It started as a tug at first, then a sensation like falling and finally a rush of air.
Vaknor sat up and roared. His bellow of pain shook the walls and made those in the room flinch, only Shattnoor seemed unphased. Vaknor tried to breath but couldn’t. He reached for his heart, no beat. Wait. Something, something faint.

‘What have you done to me?’

He pleaded with the group of Elves and Dreanei around him.

‘We have returned you to life friend.’ Shattnoor’s rumbling voice attempted to cut through the old man’s terror.

‘But I was in the nether, I was dead, I was dead, in the nether. Why did you bring me back?’ He was hysterical; tears rolled freely down his cheeks. ‘Why did you tear me out of the heavens?’
Shattnoor shook his head sadly,

‘We could not allow you to pass yet.’
Vaknor’s hysteria was replaced by a feeling of indignant rage.

‘Allow. Allow?! Who are you to allow anything?’
‘We are the Pack.’ Shattnoor stated as if that were enough. He could see the rage in Vaknor’s eyes still blazed and continued, ‘We are a sect of seers, we work to bring prophecy to fruition. You have a part to play in the coming storm. We could not let you go.’
Vaknor was still furious, who were these xenos to interfere with the future. He was about to raise that exact point. When an elf to his left spoke.

‘We do nothing different to you and your Inquisition old man.’ She indicated the faded stylized I that was tattooed on his neck. ‘You interfere. We interfere. Only we are not short sighted enough to believe that we can accomplish a victory for the light on our own.’

Vaknor was left speechless. He was angry and hurt at being torn from bliss by these self-righteous xenos. He struggled to get out of the bed but was restrained. Shattnoor spoke:
‘You are not ready yet, the heart of elements needs time to establish control of your vital systems.’ Vaknor looked at the puckered wound that ran down his chest.
‘What have you done to me?’
‘Your heart was beyond repair, I have sacrificed a piece of my own elemental heart to extend your life.’ Shattnoor pulled his robe open so that Vaknor could stare upon the matching scar that ran across the giant's blue chest.
‘Extend?’ Vaknor muttered.
‘Yes, the heart cannot give life only extend it. You no longer require air or food, the heart provides for you. The extension will last one full rotation of the system star.’
‘A year, I have a year to live?’ Vaknor stared at the scar in amazement.
‘Yes, once your time is up you will simply... stop. That is if you can avoid being dispatched by your foes. You are not invulnerable but the heart will lend you strength...’
Vaknor laid back in the bed and raised a hand to stop the blue giant from continuing,
‘I owe you no thanks xenos, you have pulled me from bliss and placed this work of alien magic in my chest. You have defied the light and defiled my body and soul,’ he spat in disgust.
‘We must all make sacrifices to see the prophecy fulfilled.’
‘I fail to see what sacrifice you have made, leave me.’ Vaknor closed his eyes and wept.
Shattnoor stepped to the door with his entourage and bowed before closing the door to the old man’s room, he limped heavily and clutched at his chest for a moment and whispered to himself.

‘More than you could ever know human, more than you will ever know.’
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