In the distance a large, leather winged, being flew into view. Slowly through the cold night the dragon landed, allowing its rider to jump off and view his surroundings. The rider seemed to look at the dragon in a confused manner, for he had never seen a dragon so nervous of coming to an area. After receiving a pouch of gold from its rider, the dragon bolted upward, leaving the rider in the dark hills.
The rider quickly surveyed his surroundings until he spotted what he searched for, an enormous statue of a woman. As he slowly made his way to the statue, clinging to the shadows, he understood why the dragon had bolted off, if he had been sane he would have as well. When he reached the statue his heart froze in fear, the half ant and half woman figure of the Warrior Queen Toshi was a sight to behold. As Ter'nos, Prince of the Shadows, stared at the statue who couldn't help but feel his heart pound in anxiety. His mind was only slightly relieved by the fact that his quest didn't involve him confronting any ants, especially the Queen.
As he slowly crawled down a hole near the statue he prayed that he didn't into any bandits along the way. It seemed the gods didn't favor him, for as his feet hit the ground, a group of young thieves attacked him. Ter'nos quickly began to parry the attacks of the young newbies. Hoping he could end this without blood on his hands, he slowly began to back down a narrow earthen tunnel. Unfortunately, the two rogues continued to pursue him. Slowly the rogues backed him into a wall, forcing Ter'nos to decide between going left or right. He dodged to his right, down a small humid tunnel, and saw a glimmer of light from another hole above the ground. He hoped to climb out and pick the rouges off as they followed him, but a sharp pain in his leg, followed by his face falling onto a stone ended any hoped of that. Momentarily stunned, he tried to turn around just a fist collide with his jaw, knocking him out.
As his vision returned he found himself in a shabby tent, his feet and arms tied to a post and his left calf had a well-crafted dagger protruding from it, causing it to bleed heavily. As he looked around he noticed that from outside the tent he could see a few dogs and moles, followed by the occasional rat. The path outside seemed fairly well traveled and the heat from a nearby campfire brought a current of hot air to warm the tent.
Not noticing anyone in the room he attempted to free his hands so that he could cast a few spells to aid him form his current plight. Skillfully pulling his hands free he placed his hands upon his calf and mumbled a few words. His hands grew white, and in an instant the dagger was forced out and the wound was healed. Not wasting time to relax he chanted a few more words and his bonds burned up into a puff of smoke. A black cloud formed around him as prepared the infamous spell of malediction. As he rose, he felt assured that he could handle any threat presented to him by the camp. And that was when he saw Misikin.
The man brought utter and true fear into his soul, Mission leader of the bandits within Toshi, was a formidable man who was not to be underestimated. It took Misikin but a glance to tell that his prisoner was free and shut for his followers to attack. In an instant Miskin's body was surrounded by a white glow and 10 rogues charged at Ter'nos' location.
Ter'nos quickly cast the spell of acid blast, targeting the faces of the rogues, and sending them sprawling to the ground. Enraged, Misikin raised his hand, sending 5 small projectiles forward at Ter'nos. The young hero fell in an instant as the blades pierced his limbs and sent him into shock.
When he awoke again tied and bound to a pole, Misikin grinned in such a manner that Ter'nos didn't have look to know that their was a puddle beneath him. Misikin laughed and flashed Ter'nos' own blade at him.
Slowly Misikin rose and began to speak "Now why don't you tell me why you have come to my home".
Lost for words Ter'nos attempted to keep his mouth shut. And the he felt the larger man's knee come crashing into his ribs. Instantly Ter'nos began to tell the man everything. He told of how was sent by his clan to recover the items of clan member who had been murdered within the lake. He told of how hi s clannie had used his last breath to kill his opponent. And he told that both men had dropped the keys to their sacred clan halls, and that the first clan there would have complete access to the information stored in the vaults of knowledge stored by each clan. And then he told of sacred clan items, found only in the clan halls.
Misikin's devious mind already sought to gain the valuables of corpses for him self, but he was not foolish enough to enter the lake In which Shen Lung resided. Misikin also knew of a few insidious beings that resided within the depths of the lake. His greed overcame him and Misikin decided that he would have the Ter'nos recover the item for him. "Seeing that I can kill you now, I will give you one choice. You can recover the items for me, and I let you live. Or, you can die."
"I cannot give you the items of my clan."
Flashing a blade Misikin stared into a corner. Slowly he held up two bags, one with Ter'nos's inventory and the other was an egg sack he had left by the statue. Then from within the egg sack he pulled out Ter'nos's clan hall key. And then Misikin pulled out the mystical heartstone. "You did leave a few details out. Perhaps I can fill them in." The thief's expression grew cold and stern as he began to speak. "You were going to the lake to revive a clan member using this," he said. Then he lifted up the heartstone and gave a malevolent smile. "Then you would use your magic to kill Shen Lung to restore the honor to your clan mate. After that you would take all the possessions of the man who killed your clan mate before he could reach Shen Lung. And lastly you would take back the corpse of the other man, revive him, and then use him as a prisoner. Feel free to wet your pants again, because I know I'm right."
Ter'nos could do nothing but prevent his mouth from gaping. He was humiliated, not only had he disgraced himself and his clan member, he had lost the sacred heartstone. "What do you wish of me?" was all he could manage to say.
Misikin gave out a malevolent laugh as he gave his orders to the young hero.
Ter'nos slowly crept along the bottom of the lake. His breathe water spell did little to insure his well being as he headed for the lair of Shen Lung. As he walked towards a small hole underwater, he noticed flashes of movement by the surface. He quickly rose to the surface and cast a levitation spell. He scanned the area, and saw an eel nearby. Carefully keeping a distance, he went to see if this was really one of the mighty gulper eels of the lake. From what he had heard, their scales were a great addition to any man's armor; it would truly be a prize if he could get himself a scale. Or better yet, if he could find a bunyip, and make a belt from its fur. He laughed in glee as he approached the eel.
A dome of blue flashed around his body, followed by energy reflecting off his fireshield. As he spun around and gasped as he realized six or seven odd creatures of the lake had surrounded him. He then noticed a sull, more eels, a bunyip, and even a lungfish. As the creatures attacked his mana shield, he felt the energy drain from his body. Pulling out a large staff from a pouch he wore, he began to combat the monsters of the lake. Quickly he began casting spells first tremor, then launching fireballs, and then calling forth lighting and shards of ice, followed by powerful waves of energy. One by one he killed each monster and regained a great deal of his energy after each fight. Finally the last belligerent beast was put to rest. He then quickly regained all his energy and dove into the lair of Shen Lung.
At first it seemed like an underground cave, and then he saw the two corpses he had been searching for. And above both slept the might dragon, Shen Lung. Making preparations to cast the malediction spell, he realized that resurrecting his friend first would be a wiser decision. Pulling out the heartstone he felt the life force drain out from his body, and into him clan mate, Ra'Lin. As Ra'Lin's eyes popped open and his body once again filled with life Ter'nos smiled happily. Ra'Lin however did not share his friend's joy, for as the water filled his lungs he began to drown in the depths. It took Ter'nos a moment to realize that his friend's spastic movements were due to the lack of oxygen, and not gratitude for life. It took him but a second to cast an assortment of spells, including breathe water on his friend. He then motioned for his friend to begin an attack on Shen Lung. The two men both prepared themselves to cast the spell of malediction. As their bodies were surrounded in darkness the pointed their hands at the dragon. Two bolts of black energy hit the body of the dragon, instantly killing the dragon on impact.
"Overkill," replied Ra'Lin as he chopped Shen Lung's head as proof of their kill.
Ter'nos searched the dragon and found a beautiful green orb. "Wow, we should be raised to Dukes for this," he noted. He gave a wide grin to his friend and moved on to the second matter at hand.
They found the corpse of the man who had tried to kill Ra'Lin, Mattrim of the Clan Sacred Inner Nemesis. The two men laughed at the thought of a warrior attempting to kill a triple class mage. They looted his body and took his key. Then they dragged his body to the edge of the Lake.
"Ra'Lin how the hell could this pathetic lout kill you. He's a just a warrior brute!"
"Not my fault, he hit me just as I attacked the dragon"
"You thickheaded fool! Didn't I warn you of Toshi, there is almost always someone like him ready to get a thrill in killing others who enter the lake."
"Pardon my interruption, but I believe…" Misikin walked out from the shadows of the cave, and pointed at the corpse of Mattrim. "…that I get that."
Ra'Lin drew out a massive war axe and stepped between the corpse and Misikin. "Over my dead body Misikin. You don't have any bandits protecting you this time." A shield of fire formed around Ra'Lin as he stepped into a fighting stance.
Misikin snapped his fingers and a dozen bandits appeared from the shadows with daggers in hand. "What were you were saying boy? Over YOUR dead body." The bandits all grinned as Misikin gave out a laugh.
Ter'nos quickly intervened and placed a hand on his friend's shoulder. "A deal is a deal." Ra'Lin looked stunned as he watched his friend pull out Mattrim's key from a pouch and hand it to the thief. Then Misikin and the bandits stepped next to Ter'nos as he lifted the heartstone once again. As the heartstone radiated light, Mattrim's body filled with life, rose up. Ter'nos looked at Mattrim and said, "Give me your key Mattrim."
Mattrim realized that the gods had placed a second key on him, and he attempted to see if he could flee with his key. After counting twelve bandits surrounding him, he forfeited his key to Ter'nos. Misikin grinned and tossed the remainder of Ter'nos's equipment back to him.
"Well boy I gave you your life, and you gave me Mattrim's key"; Misikin laughed and stepped back. "Oh, by the way..."
Ter'nos turned and looked, "Yes?"
"Now I have to keep the other half of my bargain."
"What other half?" Ter'nos looked at Misikin, knowing he wasn't going to like the answer.
"Why, Mattrim's half of the bargain of course." Misikin raised his hand and signaled for the bandits to capture Ter'nos and Ra'Lin.
"Well, that was a lot easier than I had expected." Mattrim threw back his cloak and wielded a small dagger and a mighty blade. He move toward Ter'nos and raise his weapons to strike him down. As he blades came down, two of the bandit's holding Ter'nos fell.
"What!?" Misikin pulled out a fearsome blade and sliced Mattrim in the back, causing him to fall to the floor.
A heated battle ensued as the two mages channeled bolts of lightning upon the bandits, and Misikin began to hack further away at the flesh of Mattrim. Eventually Mattrim was able to kick Misikin into a wall and pull back to where the clerics were fighting. The three combatants made short work of the remaining bandits and turned to face Misikin.
Misikin looked upon his attackers in awe amazed that they had been able to defeat his best men, "Why?"
Ter'nos laughed, stepped forward, and said, "Different clans Misikin, but all part of the same clan town." He grinned as raised his hands for a shockwave spell.
Ra'Lin stepped up to launch a fireball, "Over your dead body Misikin."
Mattrim, on the other hand, had sneaked up behind Misikin. He slashed at the tendons in his legs, causing Misikin to collapse to the ground. "Now Misikin, we can have the riches of your camp. You are far too greedy, Misikin, you should have killed us all while you had the chance."
As the two spell casters attacked Misikin relentlessly while Mattrim watched in the back. As Misikin collapsed to his death the two casters began to exult in joy. Then Mattrim swung a mighty axe, slicing the backs of both casters. "So who's a pathetic warrior?" His laugh echoed through Toshi as he killed the two casters. "Now the gods can have some resurrecting you. Now who's pathetic?" He collected their things and began to walk towards the surface.
As Mattrim reached a small hidden shaft he thought he heard a faint sound. He swung his axe catching a young thief, who he did not recognize in the chest. The thief only mumbled, "You're pathetic."
"Who's pathetic? I'm the one that just killed you. I'm not pathetic."
"Yes you are." A figure faded into view, giving Mattrim only a second to curse as the shock wave burst his body into pieces.
"And so goes the trend in Toshi. Where you may not make deals with Misikin… and you may not ever kill Shen Lung… you will most assuredly pk a player… and someone will pk you… and someone will pk them. So heed my warning and remember... Toshi is the home of pk'ers." The old mage stood up and instructed his class to quickly leave the vicinity of the lake. He rose and stayed at the back, hoping that none of his students would be harmed. A small thud was all the class had to hear to know that their beloved sage had to be killed in the Catacombs of Toshi.