March 30th, 2003
Rebellion in Dark Escarpment - By Noelio
"Excellent. Report to your section leader that I am very pleased. Urge
him to continue the search. Now, leave me."
The two klastakor rebels clapped their spade-like hands, grateful to be
given the chance to leave, and slunk from the room like hell itself was
on their heels.
Purgineus motioned with his hand and the door shut and locked as if by
invisible sentries. He then turned his attention to the items that had
been delivered to him only moments before. Everything matched the
descriptions that Purgineus had asked for. He put them in a small chest in
his basement and returned at the top of the stairs as a knock sounded at
Purgineus growled audibly and turned, incanting the spell to open the
Something strode in, a zagamite. It flapped its malformed wings briefly
as its bovine eyes looked around the room. It ignored Purgineus for a
moment before setting its eyes on him.
"You want this junk?" the zagamite asked, almost as an afterthought.
Out of the folds of his robes, he brought a small bag. He opened it
slightly, allowing Purgineus to see a strong orange glow coming from within.
"Heard you were giving a fair piece for it. Am I right?" the creature
added, already knowing the answer.
"Quite right, knave." With those words, Purgineus sent a powerful burst
of colors straight into the creature's face. The zagamite screamed and
dropped the bag, clawing frantically at his eyes.
Grinning to himself, Purgineus waited until the wretch's screaming
became tiresome before sending a shockwave directly at the zagamite's
torso. It burst him into fragments which smashed in a bloody spectacle
against the far wall. Purgineus grunted in satisfaction, and strolled
toward the bag now lying on the floor of his lair.
"How dare that thing speak to me like that? He got the fitting reward
for his disrespect. My powers dwarf anything he could possibly imagine,"
he muttered as he picked the bag up. He then, with a light gust of wind
from his hands, propelled the item to the chest in the basement. As it
dawned on Purgineus how close he was to completing the magical item, he
could not control himself.
"Finally! Only the treasure of those pathetic saultcanas soldiers that
serve the chief left. With that last component I can create the
masterpiece, the item that will give me power over all the others! Once
created with the treasure, Auranimus himself will be forced to pay homage,"
He could not control the eagerness within him. Too long now he had been
trapped in this place, waiting for his time to arise. Then, only a few
weeks earlier, he had received the news he had been waiting for.
The klastakor workers had been on the verge of rebelling. All they
needed was a mastermind to oversee, encourage, and direct matters. Quickly,
Purgineus had taken control, for the klastakors knew of his exile and
he made them see him as one of them. He used the workers to find the
components that he needed for his precious magic. The day had almost come.
Soon now, the veil of secrecy would be torn wide and Purgineus would
lead his rebel's and himself with the newfound power to destroy the chief
and all of his followers. They would pay for this exile.
Auranimus stiffened as if struck. His ears had not been idle, and he
had heard the shouts from Purgineus through the living obsidian that was
"Pay homage would I? Be turned into a slave myself?" he thought,
amused. "Maybe I should have done more than exile him." A wide grin split his
face. He stepped down from his throne and everyone in the room bowed
low to the ground. "Take this key. Go to the treasury rooms and have the
stores of magical items transported to my throne room immediately.
Then, kill the creators so no more can ever be made."
A nearby mage grinned with the anticipation of the death ahead and,
without a word, strode from the room. A contingent of lesser saultcanas
soldiers behind him.
The chief watched them go to their set task. After they had left his
sight, he turned toward the saultcanas scout to his right. The scout
looked up from his obeisance.
Auranimus shook his head slowly. "Come with me to the barracks," he
ordered. "Have all the klastakor swine slaughtered. After that is done,
have all the saultcanas to form up in the main workshop. We shall rid
ourselves of this pestilence before it grows any larger," he growled.
Purgineus strode toward the klastakor barracks and had almost reached
the door when a large contingent of saultcanas appeared, their great
robes billowing out behind them as they strode around the bend to the
Auranimus leader stopped abruptly. A small grin creased his worn face,
and his horns twitched in excitement. With a swift movement he commanded
his troops, and the saultcanas began shouting and throwing spells and
knives at Purgineus.
Purgineus dodged to the right and, slamming the door behind him, rushed
into the barracks. The other klastakors were already formed up and
ready for battle, using the weapons they had captured from the office of
their brutal taskmaster. They looked strong and determined, despite their
As he gazed upon his troops, Purgineus began to wonder if this group of
twisted things were really enough. They had bean beaten and tortured,
and they all looked like they had been through hell. None of their body
parts quite fit right, and their spade-like hands were trembling as
they grasped their weapons.
He gave the orders anyway, and the klastakors prepared themselves for
the battle ahead. Purgineus had barely given the warning when the
black-robed horned soldiers stormed into the room to be confronted by
hundreds of fully armed klastakors. They skidded in their tracks and, without
a word from the leader, turned tail and fled the room.
Purgineus led his group in fast pursuit. The klastakors tripped and
fell often, unused to the speed of which they were traveling. A lifetime
of digging gave them a shuffling gait which was unsuited to the pursuit
of their former masters. They fought their way all the way to the
entrance of the great hall of the saultcanas, more against their bodies than
The enemy soldiers continued their flight straight ahead, but Purgineus
ordered his troops to veer to the right and head for the side rooms.
They had nearly arrived when they intercepted a large group of saultcanas,
their great cloaks showing their elevated status amongst their peers.
The saultcanas were carrying a great litter amongst them. In their
surprise they dropped the litter, spreading the contents spread over the
Furious combat began as the onetime slaves began to attack their former
masters. Purgineus took the chance to dive into a cleft in the wall,
watching as tools were used as makeshift weapons.
Many of his kind fell to the klastakors, screaming in their death
agonies. Emboldened by this, the klastakors pressed their advantage until
the first blast of magic smashed into their ranks.
Unused to fighting, they fell back in confusion. More and more of them
fell to the saultcanas' magic and, within moments, the klastakors had
turned tail and fled. Purgineus took advantage of the distraction and
grabbed what he needed from the scattered magical items on the floor.
Auranimus watched his troops massacre the rebelling klastakors. The
result was inevitable, he mused, but he felt something amiss. Where was
Purgineus? This rebellion was his doing - it held his taint and he had
seen the exile only recently - but there had been no magic from the
klastakors in the battle. Had Purgineus fled? That was not his style,
yet there was no sight of him.
The litter - Auranimus could see its scattered contents in the distance.
Those fools had dropped it when the rabble had arrived. He hurried
across to the debris and paused. Something moved in the shadows.
"I thought you'd be here, skulking," Auranimus said.
Purgineus emerged from the shadows, clutching something closely.
Auranimus looked at him closely. The once-exiled saultcanas displayed
none of the fear he should be showing. "So, traitor, you return to
your death," added the leader.
"I think not," Purgineus replied, lifting the object up and into the
light. He laughed, a chilling sound, as he placed a strange device on
"The Crown of Proximation," Auranimus hissed. He could feel the
magical power of the saultcanas drain from them and into the device. Legend
had spoken of it, yet now he saw it in all its glory. It drained his
power as he stared on. "Attend me!" he shouted, knowing fear.
The saultcanas ran to defend him, though their power had been stripped
as well. They ran on and died.
Purgineus incanted spells quickly, his strength augmented by the power
of the crown. Saultcanas burned as they attacked, or were struck down
by bolts of lightning. Rank upon rank of saultcanas perished,
powerless against the might of the device.
Auranimus motioned and a glowing shape ran from the depths of the hall.
Flickering flames covered its body, casting dancing shadows on the wall
as it forced its way to the battle. Auranimus watched it closely - the
fire golem was his last reserve and if that failed..
Purgineus recoiled as the golem smashed against his mana shield. The
shield held but the golem beat against it time and again, draining his
power. Purgineus blasted at it with his magic, opening great rents of
flame in the burning flesh, but the golem continued.
Auranimus felt the power of the crown fade as the golem did its work.
He could feel his power begin to seep back, but there would not be
much. He needed to save it for one blast, and he knew that his timing
would be critical.
The golem fell away in a pyre of cinders, its energy spent. Purgineus
stood back, panting and drained from the fight. Savage scorch marks
covered half his face and much of his body showed wounds.
Auranimus seized his chance and sent out his remaining magic, forming
razor sharp icicles that flew at Purgineus. Purgineus looked up and,
unable to form a shield in time, desperately sent a blast of fire back.
Both fell, wounded desperately. Amidst the smoke and noise, few saw
the crown as it flew from Purgineus' head and into a thickly tarred wall.
Accounts of the battle differed according to the sides consulted, but
what is certain is that a klastakor dragged his fallen leader back to
recover and that the saultcanas revived Auranimus. Of the crown, nothing
more would be seen until a lone zagamite found an interesting item
protruding from a cavern wall.
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