Joined: 09 Sep 2005
|Posted: Fri Jun 30, 2006 7:55 am Post subject: The Gates of Fate, Whispers in Akarra Fan-Fiction
|I will attempt to dive into some history of Akarra... in my own style. Do not consider this to be canon, as I was not part of the Old Akarra development team. This is strictly a fan fiction, though some of Braiba's plot ideas work their way in eventually in subtle ways. (Epidra and the Five Tomes)
If you disagree with my mixing of Sharindar's Tower/Tarian/Iwid Takeover of Gates/Bekarton's Hammer/Magor/Ghosts in Magor's Cave/Render of Flesh/Kal Zatra plot lines into one story, you can suck it up.
Please note that the protagonist in the first two chapters is Jakili, Mistress(Not wife) of Kal Zatra. Her grave is located in a secret room in the original Akarra maps of Kal Zatra's Tomb's second floor. However, her name is not associated with the word 'Sharindar' anywhere. That link is an idea of my own. If you're wondering how I expect to progress from the Gates to the Peninsula and Tomb then you'll have to wait for more chapters.
|June Sixth, XL BC (40 years Before Council)
|The plains of Jesterloch to the north stretched as far as the eye could see. Through the tall thick grass I saw their bulbous blue heads march in carefully organized ranks. They marched out of Great Viom Forest in intricate and overwhelming formations. The sunlight glinted upon Iron Staves, Scimitars and Glaives. The brown leather of the militia and watchmen was like mud splattered across the plains. Among them were dots of royal blue. Those were the warriors and the wizards. Before them the wind-etched devils of their summoning etched paths through the thick grass. They fled their forested dwellings in Viom for reasons even Benedek may not know. And soon it would be our turn to do the same, to run and flee. But we would not do it so gracefully. Alas, we fled the fief of the Sharindar's like archaic animals disturbed in the woods.
- Journal of Gregosh the Travelling Minstrel, Page 203
*Dexter's Footnote: The rank of Iwid Mage was not yet appointed at this time.
When I look over this point in history, I feel sympathy for the Gifted. I view this period of history not as a faithist jihad of Shining against Gifted, but as a genocide of Iwid against Human. The Iwids have a completely separate discinct view of the religion known as 'the Shining'. It is unfair compare these vile wretches to the civilized human that follow the same god. I reiterate: from a historian's perspective this is a genocide against humans, not a battle against those that worship Benedek. I find it blasphemic that Ambus would ever tell their prophets to wipe out the Gifted to spare them from whatever haunts the depths of their beloved Viom Forest. Violence is not the answer to our religious disputes.
- The Tome of the Iwidian Genocide by Dexter Grey, Page 3, Introduction
Their lips met in a bond of taboo, forbidden behaviour. Their warm saliva mixed and all Lady Sharindar could think of was the promise she had made to her widowed-father. She was not to see Kal ever again. Yet there she was, sitting in his house -- and kissing the lovely bastard too! However, she knew it was time to leave. She gently pushed him away and arose from her chair.
All the while, Lord Sharindar's watchful eyes gazed down upon the houses around Rimsin Cathedral with sense of paranoia. He wanted what was best for his daughter. He did not want the fleeting image of his lost love to be married away to a despicable necromancer. Lord Sharindar sat quietly on a chair within the top floor of the highest spire of the twin Towers of Vigilance; which would later be the only standing tower of the two, known as Sharindar's Tower. The tower's magical enchantments allowed him to focus his gaze out the window upon the settlement around Rimsin Cathedral. He knew that's where his daughter had gone and he knew she was doing more than simply praying to Benedek.
Poor deluded Lord Sharindar had ruled since the moment he had married Lady Hilde Esmith-Sharidnar. It had been forty long years, and his ability had degenerated. It seemed, to the populace at least, that he was no longer fit to rule his fief only to command armies in combat and watch over his heir. For months now, he had been skirting the edge of the Northern Gate's vicinity, fending off Bagarogs that got too close to the fief's main defence. The lumbering old creatures, akin to trolls, seemed agitated latelt and he had no doubt that the other residents of Great Viom Forest were also.
However, Lord Sharindar spent his time at the opposite end of his fief. He had chosen to stay away from religion in his political strides. Unlike his predecessors, he settled his rule over his family's fief in the tallest Tower of Vigilance rather than in Rimsin Cathedral. Meanwhile, the populace muttered rumours of aetheism and the Lord's favour towards taller towers than the Cathedral offered. In his younger years, some residents of the fief muttered something about the towers being phallical compensation. It was sad really, and with each passing day the populace waited the inevitable rule of his daughter Lady Jakili Sharindar, as he had no male heirs despite all his efforts with Lady Hilde Esmith and his three concubines.
The Towers of Vigilance, infact, were outside the walled boundaries of his fief. Down the shoreline from the Southern Gate, the tower's magical observatory was all that kept him close to his people. Within the walls of the four gates, the people knew otherwise. They understood that the closeness only went one way. Their ruler was far away, and they hated him all the more because of it. Not even a decent assasination attempt could be plotted without careful infiltration of the hand-picked employees at the Towers of Vigilance.
Lady Sharindar put on her veil and slid the hood of an abbot's robe over her head. It shadowed her face. She silently bid farewell to Kal and left his house with a gentle closing of the door. Her gaze was to the west, where the sun was dropping below the horizon. A raven flew across the horizon. It was a sign of destruction, an omen of a swaying of fortunes. Outside of mainstream religion, the raven was a trickster spirit. Jakili realized that something might indeed be wrong. She felt it in her heart, it was not just normal superstition.
The engagement ring slid silently into her icy blue robe that she wore overtop a traveller's outfit. Then she quickly fled towards the refuge of the Rimsin Cathedral. To her father's watchful eyes all she could be seen as is a faithful abbot leaving the high priest's house after spending dinner there.
Lord Sharindar watched unknowingly from the tower. The magical magnification of what would have been a brown speck across the countryside was the limping figure of an abbot. Harriot the Low-Legged, he thought. It only made sense that she would visit Kal, and Harriot would certainly report to him if his daughter had been eating dinner with them. For the story goes, if he had been less pre-occupied with his daughter, he would have seen the horde of Iwids marching across the Plains of Jesterloch in the north.
Jakili wandered onwards, feigning a limp to deceive her father. She knew the chances that he would be watching, like always. And if not, the Chamberlain would be watching. Several staggered steps later, Lady Sharindar opened the door to Harriot the Low-Legged's room and returned the robe to the quiet abbot.
The old woman smiled contently, "Oh, to be young again. Alas, I have lost the spring in my step. But when I was younger.... oh, the boys always looked at me so attentively. But then... then the first Bagarog to breech the Northern Gate in ages came. Wham! That club hit me hard..."
As Harriot lost herself in horrid reminiscences, Jakili turned out of Harriot's room, leaving the door wide open. There, in the Entrance Hall of Rimsin Cathedral, was a man she had seen only in paintings. The famed Travelling Minstrel was speaking frantically to the abbots and high priests around him between sipping wine from a chalis. His right arm was bleeding, wounded by some sort of serrated blade. The realization flowed through Lady Sharindar. The Minstrel would never be able to play his harp again nor fire his crossbow. As they bled his arm into a bucket, the abbots and priests tried to use magic to heal him, but to no avail. For in his wound, glinted a small red shard that made his arm sting like fire. She identified it, a fragment of an Iwid Tablet of Fire. The truce was over, and she knew it.
Within moments she had burst through Kal Zatra's door without hesitation, without fear of her father's gaze. This visit could be excused. Kal Zatra was startled as he looked up from a tome filled with descriptions of ancient Menite tombs. Clearly, he had not expected his lover to make an undisguised appearance. It means something was wrong.
He reacted to the news calmly, as if he knew it was coming. He spoke to her in a fluid charismatic voice, "The visions make sense now. Send a runner to Rimsin Castle and the four gates. We need reinforcements at the Western Gate, if that is where Gregoth claims they are headed. Send the townspeople to arms! We shall sound the great bell of the Cathedral."
Within the next five minutes, four horsemen rode out to the gates. Lady Sharindar quickly volunteered to be the fifth messenger to go to Rimsin Castle. She would do anything to escape the wrath of her father. It was inevitable that he had seen her run into Kal Zatra's house. War or not, it would not matter in his eyes. She was entrusted with the Minstrel's horse, for he could not ride in his present condition. He had a valiant steed, bred for rapid but with the trained reaction to slow down whenever the bard encountered inspirational landscapes. It seemed as if the horse itself could recognize natural beauty. Luckily, the horse was used to the twisting paths and bridges that lead to the castle and the Eastern Gate.
As she sped out of the Central Gate that surrounded the Cathedral and across the grasslands of House Sharindar's fief and then east towards Rimsin Castle, the last of the falling sun cast a purple haze across the sky. She realized now why the carrier pidgeons had been found shot out of the sky this week. The Iwids had been preparing for this very moment. Messages that should have prevented this had gone astray. Still, something was not completely there. How would they shoot them down without being within the fief? Jakili tossed possibilities in her head as she clung to the horse. The concept of human traitors seemed unimaginable.
When she reached the castle it was entirely dark out. She demounted the stallion the Minstrel had lent her and looked up at the doorwar. She withdrew her staff, a blue-ish metal staff with a diamond-shaped hoop at the end. Though the staff was made of iron, she had enchanted it with a charged mixture, a secret recipe known only to the noble houses and the gatelord defenders. With a quick motion of the staff, the doors moved open upon her own free will.
A man in a dark black cloak stood behind the door. A steel rapier shone in the darkness as the man quickly drew it to the noble womman's throat.
"Lady Jakili Sharindar, I presume." The man spoke with contempt. He seemed to blend in with the dark hallway behind him. The torches that the night watchman was supposed to keep lit all day were not lit.
"Stand aside, knave, or I shall have you arrested for treason in the name of Lord Sharindar, Princess Alesta and the Priesthood of Benedek." She replied in a serious tone that revealed her hesitant readiness to cast a spell.
"The duchy your father rules over will be no more come midnight. And he has no jurisdiction near Rimsin Castle. Princess Alesta Haroon resides here -- you know that, right m'Lady?"
"Duchy? It is a fief!" she corrected the term commonly used by the Shining with their Dukes and Duchesses. Then here eyes noticed the fresh blood on his rapier, "Add my blood to that sword and I guarantee you'll be reprimanded by Princess Alesta."
"The young princess and her lowly regent... how comical... what princess is this?" He replied with a smile, edging the rapier an inch closer to her neck. It was clear whose blood was on his rapier now.
A swift kick delivered a blow to the man's loins. She ducked as she kicked so as to avoid the expected reflex of a swooshing blade. Her boots hit a metal codpeice conceiled beneath his cloak.
He smiled down at her bitterly as he took another swing. At the same time, he slipped his foot infront of her and tripped her.
Clang! The drops of blood flew off the sword and splattered her robes as it swung down only to be blocked by her staff. Narrowly missing Lady Sharindar's head as she lay sprawled on the pavement, the blow sent vibrations down the charged staff. Jakili had moved her staff into the path of his strike just in time. The force of his strike bent her staff and chipped the blue-ish coating. She knew the bend in her staff meant her magic spells would not be so strong.
With a quick feint towards his feet, she provoked another strike which he assumed she would not expect. She stood with a quickness that surprised him as she brought the side of her staff around to block his strike once more, bending the staff's shaft back into a straight line. As the two weapons met in a cross-like form, she slid the shaft of her staff away. The blue coating chipped away even more along the edge of her staff as it grinded its way down, but the result was a magnetic re-alignment of the iron.
"You foolish watchman, you've just corrected the only damage you've done to my powers. Haaa!" with a scream of fury, her staff let loose a blast of ice that ran down his sword and up his hand. With great effort, he flailed his arm about as it became trapped in a cold glacial chunk.
|The process of forging a weapon is not simply labour for those that work upon the tools of a caster. The caster relies on the emotions that were put into their staff as well as the emotional charge they put into their magic. Consider the widdling, crafting and forging of staves to be an art rather than a labor for the community.
- The Weaponsmith's Handbook
He recoiled with a sense of fear. Had he underestimated this aristocratic magician? She had been educated as a scholar and yet she wielded the raw power of an untamed vagabond wizard! The watchman's eyes caught the green glint of the venom on his ice encrusted rapier as he backed away. Surely she would see it as well and know that the princess and her controlling regent were both dead for certain. The venom clung to the rapier while the blood flung itself everywhere with each strike.
He reached under his cloak as she advanced upon him into the doorway of the castle. Strapped to the back of his waist, he unsheathed a bronze sickle. It was generally a farm tool, rarely used as a weapon. He withdrew the bronze sickle. It glinted in the moonlight. It was the standard of a Salamite Mystic, clerics of lowly creatures of the sea converted to the Shining Faith by the Iwids in the same fashion as the Tizfolk.
Jakili saw at once the trouble before her and her people. Those that denied the Cathedral. Those that denied the faith. Those that the Iwids had converted, they were among them. They had shot down the messengers and planned it all in a far more elaborate way. This was no genocide as some history books would write it. This was a war based on faith and religion. Some historians might try to untaint their religion for this betrayal of humanity, but she knew that what would happen was a tragedy by human standards. Were the mortal creations of the divine brothers meant to battle just as Ambus and Benedek did constantly in the heavens above? She avoided losing herself in thought and focued upon the task at hand. The humidity of the air sublimated into an icey ball that her magic propelled towards the watchman.
The sickle cut the ice off his rapier as the iceball condensed around his sickle. Then he used the rapier in his right hand to cut the ice off the sickle as he had previously done to the rapier with his left.
Lady Sharindar observed his dexterous movement with each hand, and realized that he was actually left-handed.
The watchman's yellow teeth glinted in the shadowy entrance to the castle. And he said, "I was left-handed from birth, a sign of sinister evil in this land, forced to use my right instead as I was educated and trained. And now you see, I have the legendary skills of a famed sword-dancer -- but who said I should be limited to swords? I am a follower of Ambus afterall!"
As the man boasted, Jakili's keen eyes scanned over him for a weakness. She ignored his metallic immitation of the Iwid claw. He wore armour of a low heat capacity. She could easily send chills down his spine if he were not protected by the dark cloak that seemed to let him blend into the shadows around him.
He advanced upon her once more, swinging both sickle and sword as if to massacre her in a chaotic fashion. She ran along his left side, as his sickle had less range to swing at her, and tucked the end of her staff under the back of his cloak as he swung around violently. With a vigilant focus, she let out a chilling blast of ice down the back of his cloaked armour, restricting his movements and distracting him with a painful chill.
As the watchman swerved to continue his rampaging swing, Lady Jakili Sharindar had already jumped up onto a ledge in the castle's entrance room where she began launching chunks of ice with her magic. As she did so, she herself shivered as a cold wind blew through the halls of the castle. Upon the ledge of the table where she stood, a hardened figure touched her. She turned her back on the watchman to see a stone gargoyle of slate blue perched into the upper corner of the arched room. Yellow jewels shone in it's eyes.
As the watchman was caught in an icey mayhem of being frozen to himself in several places, she was distracted by the gargoyle. It had not been there in her last visit to the castle only a month before. She certainly did not recall moving back before it's knee had grazed her back. Jakili decided she was simply overwhelmed with paranoia. She turned back to the fight. With a few more icey blasts, the watchman was no more than a frozen pale figure against the slate castle floor tiles. Frozen in mid-swing, an expression of dread on his face.
Lady Jakili turned around from the watchman and looked into the four corners of the room. They were empty. The stone gargoyles she had seen moments before perched in the two northern corners of the room with wings spread wide, were gone. Was this some trick of her mind? She evaluated her recent thoughts and memories for some inconsistancy. Was this some twisted dream?
Then it hit her. The legend of the Tarians, a race of gargoyles magically bred by human mages to immitate and replace gargoyles in architecture as guardians of castles, temples and churches alike. Was that what she had witnessed? Some bizarre creature of human creation?
There were too many things on her mind and she knew now that it was no use to be here at Rimsin Castle. Here, the battle had already been lost.
If you turn a blind eye to any side of a discussion, if you disallow what may be and what actually is the truth, then you've no credibility whatsoever. You end it by saying "I don't want to talk about it." Classic regression.