June 24th, 2002
The Prophesy of Karlisna - By Noelio
"Man I hate jerky," the thought rang through my head. All week long,
through the plains, the valleys, and the mountains all I ever had to look
forward to at night was jerky and waybread. Why did I ever take up
these dumb quests for long lost treasure for some fat duke who sits on his
throne and calls, "to all young brave souls," to help him slay the
"impure" beasts of the land. But tonight was going to be different.
Tonight, after months of walking and riding, I'd arrive in Karlisna, the great
kingdom ruled by its ancient king. Finally I could get my reward and
feast on plates of gold, eating fresh turkey and venison. My mouth
watered at the thought.
As I rounded a bend, I realized that it was only three more leagues through
dense forest to Karlisna. I started walking faster in eager anticipation.
As I passed another turn, I noticed a dead thing on the side of the
road. I approached it and after turning it over, realized it was a
human. It looked to be male, in the prime of its life. He was scarred with
burns all over his body, and his hair was gone, his scalp blackened.
His arms and chest looked as though they had been clawed practically into
nothingness. I withdrew revolted. I made a mental note to inform the
captain of the guard of this. I walked on, a bit paranoid and looking
over my shoulder more than once. Then I came upon another dead body, and
another, and yet another. All along the road were dead bodies, torn
almost beyond recognition, all burned and with a look of mortal terror in
their eyes. I passed around the final turn and turned toward the city.
I gasped in shock. Where what should have been the great city, lined
with a massive wall with parapets to fend off attacks, there was
nothing but charred ruins. Nothing moved - no noises but the sound of wind
through bare windows. All the buildings were leveled and smoking, with
charred rock littering the streets. I cast the protective spells over me
and headed toward the main gate, cautious of the world around me. As I
passed through the gate, the smell of death overwhelmed me and brought
me to my knees, choking. Could this possibly be the place where I had
dined so many times before? As I strode through the main street, a
nearby alleyway caught my attention.
Out of the darkness, several small heads turned toward me. I noticed
them with my magic senses, and called out to them, "Come, don't be
afraid, friends. You're safe now." Then came a snarl and the faces appeared
in the light, not attached to humans, but to black demons, covered in
splattered blood. As the image set into my memory, I recognized them as
the half-man, half-demon creatures I had encountered many times on my
previous adventures. But so many!
Without a moment of hesitation I summoned my magic in the form of a
pillar of flame hat burst from my outstretched hands, sending the first
demon flying through the air as though hit by a brick. Then, as one,
the shadows seemed to turn into hundreds of running demons, all bounding
toward me. Fireballs burst from my fingertips, smashing them and
hurtling them back, but they kept coming back. One made a great leap and was
two feet from my head when I let go a great burst of frost, pummeling
into the demon. The demon was sent smashing against a brick wall,
shattered the wall as though it was glass. The demon shuddered once, then
moved no more.
Still hundreds bounded for me, untouched by the death of their comrade.
Still my spells and incantations drove them back, but they did not
relent. I wondered how long I could keep this up.
Then from around a street corner, a great ox-like creature came
hurtling down the road, scattering the lesser half-human demons as it charged.
I summoned up all my energy and focused my powers. It ran on yet, still
I did not attack. Still it came on, no further than a yard or two.
Then, with a great roar, it leapt toward me, jaw gaping open. At that very
second I spun around to gain momentum, and as I was doing so, conjured
a Hammer of Faith, and struck the demon full force in the chest. There
was no time for the scream, and only ashes struck my front. All of a
sudden there was a great howl, and the demons charged with renewed
I was tired and did not have the energy to fend of another attack. I
knelt and, touching the ground, sought to regain myself. Too many demons
and not enough power, I thought to myself. My magic was beginning to
fail, and once that happened, I knew it was finished. Just as they were
about to reach me, a great shield of fire sprayed skywards in a circle
around me, directly in front of the charging demons. The demons own
attack turned against them and as they struck the shield, great red fire
streaked out and struck them, incinerating them where they stood. Still
they came on, and I felt my power begin to ebb. In an instant, I was up
again and let a great stream of acid flow freely from my outstretched
fingertips. The demons nearby screamed in pain as the acid struck them,
burning their bodies before their very eyes.
As I got back up, and dusted myself off, a great shadow overtook me,
and by pure instinct, I was saved. A great humanoid creature dropped upon
the cobblestone with cat-like grace, right where I had been standing
moments before. It snickered at me, as I noticed it was a battle scarred
Demonlord, straight from the plane of Hell. With a motion of its hand,
thousands more demons of all sizes appeared from nowhere. I looked upon
them, knowing I could not win this. Except....
I fell to the ground, feigning defeat. At least this would give me some
time while the Demonlord pondered my fate. In one last effort, I
focused my mana and concentrated as hard as I could. A surge of power erupted
from within me, as some deeply buried strength showed itself. It took a
moment longer to focus. Then, with everything I could muster, I targeted
the center of the city; the fountain. I had sensed the power of the
fountain when I had first entered this city. It was rumored that, long
ago, it was the source of power for this whole city. The power from the
fountain pulsated within me. This would have to be the end. I stood up,
and uttering the incantation and moving my arms to the beat of the
spell, I unleashed my most powerful spell. A bolt of pure energy burst
forth from my upraised hands and flew with supersonic speeds toward the
center of the city.
It struck with devastating force, shattering the fountain into motes of
dust. As it did so its magic was realized. A great explosion of pure
magic ripped through the city, sparing nothing. The entire city was
enveloped in it and was ripped and torn to shreds. As my last thought ran
through my head, I went to sleep with my ancestors.
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