Medievia Mudslinger

March 4, 2001

The Ascension - By Menary

The pursuit of knowledge; the pursuit of blood. Combat! From my assigned position in the battle formation, I watch my companion's life slowly fade from her. Rain pours heavily upon us. A mixture of heavy rain and splattered blood blurs my vision, and I close my eyes, desperately trying to recall the incantation taught by my guild master. I lift a small hand, placing it atop Bethica's shoulder. I chant aloud, my thoughts hazy from fatigue, body weary from battle. "Vas Hani!" I say, my eyes closed tightly in concentration. I feel more of my magical strength seep through my fingers. Nothing. Bethica drops her weapon, her form barely recognizable through the pelting rain. A last attempt at healing her, I lunge forward, coiling a thin arm about her broken frame. I whisper as my hand brushes her bloodied cheek, "Vas Mani."

A shimmering aura of the palest white envelops her body, and she stands, lifting her sword from the mud at her feet. With the grace of a feline, she raises a sword forged of a magnificent ice above her head, arcing down quickly. Deftly, the sword's blade slices through the Crocodile King's shoulder, rendering his arm a useless mass of flesh. A deafening roar emits from his thick, scaly throat, and he throws himself forward, his full weight forcing Bethica to the ground. A loud scream startles the King. Was that tiny, helpless voice mine? His attention averts to me almost immediately, his small red eyes fixated on my face, as if I were a meal he was about to devour.

This massive figure stands before me, dwarfing me in size by measures uncountable. I cast a single glance at my fallen companion, who has yet to regain consciousness, lying in a pool of crimson. With only one viable arm, I sense his weakness, and extend my arms, chanting loudly, my voice ringing out as a shadow of itself, angered and shrill. "Vas Corp Hur!" I scream, and my fingertips release tiny, electric blue ripples, which gradually grow, and strike the Croc king painfully in the chest. He staggers, clutching his wounded arm, and loses his balance. Opportunity! Though I feel my magical energy slip away with each phrase spoken, I am undeterred. I channel shockwave after potent shockwave at the enormous beast. Almost unbelievably, he withstands the damage, his one arm battering me. One prevailing blow catches my temple, sending me crumpling to the ground.

With hazy vision, and a cloudy mind, I make out Bethica's slight figure running out the fight. As I drift off into blissful unconsciousness, I see her run into the room, lunging at the Croc King with a dagger resembling a white dragon's talon. She lands a breath taking backstab, her knife plunging into his reptilian back twice. Though I no longer have the strength to open my eyes, I feel the ground tremble as he falls. Faintly, I hear a subdued gurgling sound. My head throbs with indescribable pain.

After what seems an eternity, I am able to open my eyes, and peer around slowly. I roll from my back to my stomach, every joint in my body screaming in indignation. As the rain comes to a halt, I turn my head slightly, watching Bethica intently. "Are you wounded badly?" I manage to say, ignoring the fact that my jaw is quite dislocated. She shakes her head, a simple gesture to let me know she is okay. I press my lips together slightly, and the bitter, rusty taste of blood pangs my tongue. Without speaking a word, Bethica and I mutually decide to rest awhile, and regain our health and strength. While she prepares a rationed meal of salted beef, hard cheese, and bread, I watch the stars.

Clouds drift by aimlessly, as if having no destination, and I reflect upon my own destination. I already know what my training will consist of. Bethica had explained to me long ago, what would become of us. She had passed her training as a healer, and was now trying her luck as rogue. She had mastered the art of backstabbing, and sneaking undetected through rooms. Though I would never say it aloud, I respect her. I myself, had only been a healer, and now a powerful mage; near mastering the magical arts. I like being a caster, I suppose. Magic is where my heart lies. Do I prefer healing to harming, I ask myself? Dismissing the thought, I stand, my armor creaking softly; still damp. What shall this eve bring us?" I ask, expecting a sarcastic reply.

"Fine wine, many bruises, and, with a little luck, a new task." Butterflies rise in my stomach at the thought of yet another task. What shall it be this time? Rogue, warrior? My guild master speaks little of what lies ahead for me. He is a source of comfort, all in all. When I go to the hidden room within the portal in the center of Medievia, he often reassures me that the road I am traveling will lead somewhere. I follow in my father's footsteps, a master Warrior named Kilannon. He and I speak regularly about what he wishes for my future. He wants me to bear life, to further his bloodline; though he tells me this can only be attained once I am adept at all he himself has learned. Shrugging off the thought of children, I gather my things, and open a mysterious bag, given to me by the leader of the Kinship of Lost Souls, the clan I belong to. As I untie the bindings of the bag and begin tossing various things into it, I am haunted by the pitiful wail of all souls lost, and I shudder silently.

Bethica gawks at me a moment, and I loft a thin, mahogany brow. "What?" I say, my tone hinting annoyance. A low giggle escapes the bare part of her lips, and she speaks aloud.

"You were daydreaming again. What of this time, your husband? If you would stop staring off into space, we could get back to Medievia and make him join us for a little adventure." I offer no reply, though the thought sounds appealing. How I miss my husband. Bethica and I had been gone nearly a week, and I had only been able to reach him by courier once. A slow nod translates my approval, and she seizes my hand in hers, chanting a simple phrase. I feel my body break into millions of tiny pieces, becoming one with the invisible particles of matter around me.

A blinding light forces me to close my eyes, and when I am able to again open them, I notice we are back at our starting point. Bethica and I choose to wander around the town, browsing through market places. We exchange few words; neither of us are in spirits for a conversation. Finally, bags full, and pockets empty, we reach the town's portal, a swirling mixture of gaseous rainbow, which allows us to travel freely about the world via astral plane. We giggle at each other, proposing a race. "We'll see who gets there first!" she exclaims, and giggles again, adding, "Loser owes winner a cookie," she decides, and of course, I do not challenge it.

Such a childish game, but I simply cannot resist. "Deal!" I shout, and leap into the portal. Something does not seem right. I am dizzy, lightheaded, and this trip seems to be taking entirely too long! I purse my lips together, pondering the journey. "Am I lost in the astral?" I ask aloud, knowing I will receive no answer. An exasperated sigh escapes my lips, and I flop my weight onto the gases beneath me. Strangely, they bear my weight, and are remarkably comfortable. Suddenly, the 'floor' collapses beneath me, and I fall heavily to the ground. "Ow!" I yell, and I scramble to my feet, rubbing my bruised bum. I take in the area around me, examining my surroundings. A flush rises to my cheeks as I spot a wealthy man looking me over. I incline my head in a slight nod of acknowledgment and ask him plainly, "Excuse me, where might I be?"

A throaty laugh erupts from his belly at my words. "You have no notion of where you are? Look around, child! You are at the most glamorous of towns in all the land! Behold the beauty of The Nashites!" I know little of that clan. I murmur a mild "thank you," and disappear into the feral nothingness of the portal.

Dusting off my pants, I curse aloud, silently reminding myself that soon I will be able to bathe. Slowly, I feel the world stop spinning, and I step out of the portal, and right into Bethica. She purposely enunciates her words, savoring sweet victory. "You...owe..me," she says, suppressing the urge to laugh.

"It wasn't fair! I spun... right into some weird old guy." A shrug of her dainty shoulders relays the fact that she doesn't care.

"That happens, you still owe me." I roll my eyes dramatically, and take her by the hand. We weave our way through the crowd, shoving various merchants and janitors aside to clear our path. The walk is paved with the rotting corpses of janitors, and mercenaries.

"Disgusting!" I mutter softly, and glance around. There it is! I turn to Bethica; mustering the sweetest voice I can possible. "I have to stop in the guild a moment. Will you find Kilakilo?" She nods a few times, and scuttles off. My eyes trace the outline of a sign beside the portal. For luck, as I always do, I drag the tips of my fingertips across the letter 'L'. A dim smile animates my swollen lips, and I walk through, nearly falling onto my guild master. He merely smiles, and nods slowly, speaking not by mouth, but by the power of telepathy.

"Good afternoon, my child," enters my mind, his voice deep and bass. "What mystical feats have you accomplished today?"

I remove a vibrant purple cloak from my backpack, and lay it across the floor, dropping atop it. I relay the story of the day, and its victory over the Crocodile King. A witty grin climbs across the peaks of his lips, and before he can think of a sly remark to tease me with, I speak again. "When shall I learn the ways of the Rogue?" A large hand dismisses my question, and his voice again enters my head.

"Soon enough, dear. Focus not on tomorrow, for it is promised no one. Instead, complete the task I have set before you. You are nearing its completion." With that, I stand, and gather my belongings. He bids me a fond farewell, and again I am off to brave new wonders of Medievia.

I exit the room, and a shimmering rift of the daintiest icicles appears before me. Out step Kilakilo and Bethica. "Kila!" I yell, flinging myself at him. I cover his face in little kisses, and playfully lick the tip of his nose.

"I have missed you", he whispers, and draws me close to him. His powerful arms envelop me, and I tap his arm.

"Need air." I giggle, and he shoves me gently. After a few minutes of playful remarks, and attempted tackles, he joins our adventuring party, and we decide to travel to the Dark Forest of Wittermark. I only groan once as he instructs us to portal to the nearest clan town, and then call upon a dragon for easy flight.

I arrive shortly after they do, and again, they tease me, telling me I am a slacker, among other things. I snicker beneath my breath, and bow deeply, sarcastically asking Kilakilo to show us his wisdom by leading us into the deepest part of the forest. Much to my surprise, he does just that. We all swap stories along the way, occasionally stopping for a brief snack, or rest. Kilakilo swiftly stands, and closes his eyes, scanning the area around us. "Dryad." He says, his tone plain, yet serious. We nod knowingly and stand, reciting incantations to allow us the ability to endure more damage. I peek my head in the next room, and whisper to my companions. "The dryad has cast the sanctuary spell - you two attack, and I will dispel it's magic." I nod at myself, not caring if they respond, or even listened to me.

We step silently into the room, and I close my eyes a moment, whispering the spell inaudibly. The glimmer around the dryad's lovely form fades, and we waste no time. Adrenaline fuels our veins, and we scream spell after spell, conjuring shockwave after potent shockwave to defeat our foe. She collapses in a heap; her lifeless form broken and bloody. A sudden surge of power overwhelms me, my entire body livening, my fingers emitting little sparks. Many voices enter my mind, several of 'congratulations', and others of bestial 'whoot's.'

A bright smile lights up my face, my violet eyes twinkling dimly in the light of the moon. "Yes!" I shout, my voice ringing out clearly and of course, loudly. Another voice enters my mind - a familiar, soothing voice. "Father." I tell him, in our own way of speaking.

"You make me proud, Menary," he tells me. "One step closer, little one. Go on to Mount Vryce, and accept your next task." Before I can reply to him, Kilakilo tackles me to the ground, pinning me beneath his weight. I laugh loudly, and he continues to smother my face in kisses. He leans in close, though Bethica tries desperately to pull him off.

"Come on, love. It is time to complete a new assignment."

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