War Of Storms,...
Souls of Chaos,...
Wolvskar pulled hard to a stop, crouching low,... defensively. Teram's shields igniting as bolts of power surged from the darkness ahead and to their sides.
The knights mount went down in a smoldering heap as the man was seized by dark forces and brought low. The mage reaching into one of the many pockets within his cloak tossed a pure white stone into the fore. Erian could vaguely see shapes as they fled, seeming to sense something.
Light!... blazed into being, the ravine igniting in blinding daylight even as the sun dropped from the western horizon. White bolts of power shot forth from the area of the stone, past the mage to envelope the knight. Writhing,... shredding into the dark magics which held Erian.
The knight not understanding why?... He could feel the touch of his patron My'Drath, reach forth and hold him. Strength flooded into his being as he stood and drew his sword.
Teram moving forward upon Wolvskar,... magics searing into the dark ahead, creatures screeching and thrashing within walls of blue steel.
Erian could see clearly their enemies, foul wraiths and deformed Wolfen fell within the mages magics. Teram all the while, looking to the knight,... as though he was more alive within the death, than at any other time he had seen the Gray One.
The ravine sloped up,... braking into dense forest as Teram tore through the creatures and darkness. The knight battling anything left within his path. Some few wraiths and Liches. Sword blazing silver white scares into the currents as the light from the stone dimmed with each passing second. Leaving Erian alit as a beacon in the coming darkness of the ravine, his armor aglow.
Moving forward as quickly as possible. Trying to keep ground with the mage whose magics on several occasions attempted to envelope the knights own. Erian feeling the touch of his patron rebuke the forces each time, as he prayed for more strength,... and skill at arms!...
Wolfen flooded into the break between the chasm and forest, tearing into the enemy. Many of the great beasts sacrificing their lives in the attempts of destroying the wraiths and Liches, their dark touches alone bringing death.
Teram had stopped... was staring at an area of the forest... gray power ripped from him as lightnings of blue steel tore from the skies into the forest ahead. Trees the size around of houses, exploding into shards.
The mage summoned flame into being, creating a firestorm of cinders and superheated ash, igniting the very air itself to flame. An eerie blood red glow, streaked with black, encompassing all and everywhere around them.
The forest seemed to battle back, blackness and dark energies rising from the flame and bolts. Teram released himself from the beasts back, Wolvskar bolting into the fray to the north.
Gray/blue steel enveloped the mage as deformed Wolfen and wraiths were incinerated. His shields bursting to life, securing the area around the gray one. His staff was seen to be raised as the sky alit in a web of gray/blue power, falling upon the area, twining... grasping... battling all magics within its snare.
Erian's armor flared to life combating the mages magics. Still!... He had to get further from the gray one, as he could feel his defenses weaken with each assault. Teram all the while, walking calmly through the fray, as though death incarnate, come to collect the souls of the fallen.
"He is a demon most assuredly!..." Thought Erian as he moved to the north. Where the Wolfen even now fell to dread magics.
An orb. A swirl of black/red and green could be seen as smoldering ash and limbs settled within the area. Shoots of power snaking forth and seizing pure Wolfen as they tried to near it.
Teram searched the orb, traces of the goddess' power flickering to life within its heart,"Selesa?..."
The gray mage ripped into the orb, night flaring to day upon its surface as the magics collided. Teram's powers seizing hold of the nimbus, literally dragging it from its resting place. Sheets of night flitting from its core to ride the winds toward the Gray One.
Blue/red lightning blazed from above to smash into the surface as sheaths of gray/white power flared from the mage. His staff alighting in coiling magics, which seized the wraiths as they neared, dragging them down to the ground. They, flaring to flame as the energies ignited them.
Thunders crushed into the area as spells assaulted Teram. The aura surrounding the mage igniting in a fury, being pushed,... thrown backwards as something emerged from the blackness.
Skeletal arms of shadow reached forth into the sky, slamming back down into the earth as the creature rose to stand before the mage, a giant!...
"Shit!... What the hells?..." The gray one reinforced his shields as he studied this creature, a Dread Lord which towered over him. A man or elf at one time?... He would think?... Shaded and emaciated, elongated in its form,... and sharp!... A practitioner of the arts fallen victim to the powers it had sought to control. Warped and possessed. Deformed and tortured within its spirit, mind and body.
Now a part of the darkness it had sought to subjugate, enslaved to those powers it had sought to dominate. Its eyes watching,... as though calculating the mages power, but Teram felt no magics being used.
The gray mage looked around... where was the knight?... Seizing the currents almost to late!... nothingness!... assaulted him... a palpable and most assuredly deadly, nothingness, washed over him.
His magics though, were not undermined. They surged to life around the mage again in a brilliant display of powers. A rainbow burst of magics rocked the area, as the two energies collided. Thunders crushing into the forest from all sides, as flash lightning flared white and gray within the plethora of magics.
The beast, Nothingness, charged toward the mage, its huge clawed arm raising backward and swiping. Teram's shields rebuked the attack, though he was launched with his shieldings into the air, magics snaking immediately to the ground to secure the mage once more, just tens of yards from where he had been... thrown upon his knees.
He rose, grasping the earth upon which they stood, it surged up the beasts form. The Dread-Lord screeched,... black lightnings streaked from the sky to demolish the earthen prison before it could en-seal half the creature. The lightnings assaulting the gray one as he seized the currents themselves in an attempt to destroy the beast. The earth wailing in protest as the ground ripped open from the force of the energies being torn from their courses. Surging into the nothingness... the dread lord flailed as the magics contested for supremacy!...
The evening exploded in colors once again as the energies dueled within the forests edge. Teram reaching up and into the ethers surrounding him. Ripping his way into the planes of Su'ld'har Rh'aus, a plane of non-existence, where lived the creature Rhu'a'thrus.
The nothingness seemed to know something was wrong. Stopping,... the dread lord staring from the mage to some unseen point in the air. The sky shattering within seconds as the Mystress Of Shades stepped from her own plane.
Erian spun as a brilliant rainbow of power ripped from the mage and some beast of the dark. Looking to be a man, twisted and pulled, deformed and sharpened. The thing was near the size of the dragon they had been assaulted by at Even-Down. The mage was thrown into the air as the beast swatted him. His magics acting instantly to re-secure his position. The beast igniting in a blaze of fiery magics as the earth moaned in protest, the sky shrieked. The air around them literally screeching as though a woman being tortured.
The Evening air exploded as something stepped forth from it. A woman cloaked in darkness and as tall as a dragon herself stood before the mage, seeming to look upon him in a familial way. She was herself!... in her very nature... evil!... Erian could sense this with every fiber of his being... Still!... He wanted her. No?... Not her,... some deep seeded vision of her,... as he saw her in the back of his mind. As he felt her within his emotions,... desire raged unchecked within his blood and thoughts. He tried to pray but stumbled over every word... he stared,... wanting!... needing!... desiring!...
The darkness that was a woman sped forth, enshrouding the other! As the beasts struck one another Teram surged power once more upon the orb which was the source of the problem. Someone!... Or something?... was within, casting spells of immense power. The gray one moved forward as he looked around... seeing the knight he waved the other to himself. Standing before the orb, he waited as he searched.
Erian, his breath heaving, sword in hand. "What is that mage?..." He pointed toward the two forms of darkness, battling ferociously several hundred yards from them. Teram ignored him as usual. "You may want to pray knight... and stand back." The mage struck the orb which rose above and spanned away from them for dozens of yards with his staff. Magics fell upon and wrapped the mage within them... the knight staring did not know what to do for long seconds, as the mage was struck by several lightnings from the sky. Erian prayed... and prayed again. Over and over, as fast as he could!...
A voice... light and faint as the evening breeze floated through his mind. 'Strike swiftly,... with purity of heart.... desire for only that which you cherish...' The thought rose from some lost little place within his subconscious... so far away. For a moment Erian almost did not grasp that he had even thought it.,
Desire!... he thought. He had desired something... just minutes before. Had felt urges rise within his blood and body. Feelings and needs... wants!...which he had not felt for a very long time. Lustful thoughts, urges to do things, a need to please her!
Thoughts of the Mystress Of Shades crept within his mind. She was everything he had ever desired in a woman!... but that was not right?... He did not need her! She was nothing more than a phantom... Evil! He could ill afford to fall into that trap! She was a creature summoned by the gray one... that in its own should tell the knight beware!...
'Selesa,...'the thought floated through his mind. She was his only desire... he felt a pervasive feeling twisting within his blood!... polluting his thinking of her in lustful ways, As he thought thoughts of her, in ways he had never before. She was beautiful... arousing... he would like it should she-
He stopped himself!... She was the daughter!... She was as his child! He had it seemed, known her all his life!... He felt sickened as he pushed those thoughts from his mind!... Praying to the Mother and My'Drath in repentance.
Selesa?...' Where?... Erian looked around,... within the orb, it had to be, that was why the gray one wanted within.
He raised his sword and struck home with all his might, thinking of nothing but saving Selesa and pleasing his goddess. White hot silver flared to life with the blow! The orb seeming to grab his sword... would not release it. He felt his hair standing a split second before silver lightnings struck him and threw his scorched and blackened form to the ground. He writhed in agony!... Knowing deep within himself, that this was the punishment for not being pure within his heart when he'd struck.
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(c)copyright2004___no part of this book may be reproduced, or used for any other purpose, without the express permission of the author. T. M. Mason
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