August 15, 2000
Lightning arced across the jagged sky, forming a dazzling corona above the trees where Archsion stood, contemplating his next move. In the distance, he could hear the howling of the wolves as they searched for the one who had decimated their pack.
With a grimace of pain, Archsion sat down to rest beneath the branches. Slipping on a ring of mana regeneration, he grabbed a hunk of beef from his food supply and ate it quickly. Washing it down with a cool drink of water, he stood and surveyed the land around him. It had been nine days since he had entered this accursed forest atop the mountain and he began to weary of the incessant fighting and constant race for survival. Around him, the trees were closely knit together, menacing in their towering splendour.
Suddenly, in the distance, he noticed a cloud of smoke rising above the treetops. Hope flourishing in his heart, he began to walk steadily towards the smoke. He had barely gone ten paces, however when he heard a menacing growl in front of him. As he watched in apprehension, three large wolves loped into the circle of light around him, watching him intently. Their mad eyes rolled and foam dripped from their fanged jaws.
Archsion, realising he was no match for these creatures in his present state began concentrating, willing his shadow cloak to protect him with it's powers of invisibility. The wolves watched in confusion as their target slowly vanished into the night. A night that even they could not hope to penetrate. Archsion walked slowly forward, inching between the wolves, careful not to startle them. He again made for the billowing cloud of smoke rising above the treetops. Twice more as he walked, his way was barred by the vigilant wolves and he was forced to pass them by in his attempt to reach the smoke.
After walking for quite some time, he came upon the source of the smoke. He saw before him, a large wooden hut belonging to a hunter. He walked forward, relief flooding him as he realised that this could be his saving grace. He slowly moved towards the door and, opening it without a sound, stepped into the hut, glancing about himself warily. As he stepped into the room, the door slammed shut and he knew at once that he was not alone. Snapping his fingers and muttering a spell, he sent a billowing purple fog around the room, briefly revealing the form of a large, menacing man. Archsion moved towards the man and hand outstretched, outlined him in pink as a weakening spell took effect.
Archsion grabbed a wand of fireballs, carefully setting down the jar he had been carrying. Carefully holding the wand towards the man, he muttered the words for blinding. The man stumbled, suddenly unable to see and began swinging his massive axe at Archsion in rage. Archsion levelled the wand at the lurching figure and a volley of fireballs flew from the tip, striking the man full in the chest. He lurched towards Archsion and brought the axe down in a full arc, to strike him a glancing blow on the side of the head. Archsion stumbled and fell, dropping the wand on the confusion.
Quickly standing up, Archsion cast a healing spell on himself, his wounds closing immediately. Now wary, the hunter stood in the corner of the hut, readying himself for another attack on his unseen assailant. Archsion brought his hand down quickly, sending a lightning bolt straight into the man's chest, knocking him into the wall. Quickly, Archsion called down a storm of flame upon the man, knocking him to the floor. The hunter stood and lunged at Archsion but missed in his wounded state. Archsion touched him directly, feeling his hands burn as the man's flesh withered away from his fingertips.
The hunter swung again with his mighty axe, embedding it in the flesh of Archsion's thigh. Crying out in pain, Archsion fell to the floor, unable to move. The hunter, victory written plainly on his face moved in for the killing blow. Archsion, his vision blurring slowly and painfully stood to face the hunter, knowing that if he did not succeed in his next move, he would die here and now. He reached out to the man and with the last of his power, his life ebbing out from his many wounds, sent a massive lightning bolt at the man, striking him in the forehead and knocking him across the room and through the walls of the hut.
Seeing that his opponent was at last vanquished, Archsion fell wearily to the floor to rest and recuperate. Looking about himself carefully, he noticed a trapdoor. At last, a way out of this nightmare, a way perhaps to freedom and the final return the city he had left so long ago.