Ceril ran as fast his feet would carry him. He knew he was being followed by something. It was close, too close. The dark was playing tricks on him has he ran. He was in woods near the desert running from a shadow, a monster. He looked behind him, it was gaining.
Suddenly he felt weak and lost his footing, he fell and rolled over as a bright flash filled the sky. A body fell towards him from the clouds and landed on the ground near him.
Ceril stood up quickly and was about to run when the body groaned, “No, boy help!”
Ceril turned around and said nothing. The man lifted his head up, he had a long gray beard that matched his aged eyes. His body was covered in blood and clothing only covering half his body.
The old man rolled himself over, “Come here now boy, I need your help to get up. My weak bones can’t hold myself.”
Ceril thought for a moment, then slowly headed towards the old man, he reached down and helped him up.
The old man leaned on him and said, “My name is Gwelx, how may I serve or help you?”
Post by Christian Soldier on Jul 4, 2007 6:10:49 GMT -5
*Snap, crunch. Snap, crunch. Snap, crunch.* Gra'el heard the unusual noise. Opened his eyes to see what it was. He as in a small stone room. His side of it was partitioned off by a series of steel bars. On the other side of the bars, there was a work bench with all manner of odd tools. *Snap, crunch* Finally, Gra'el's eyes beheld what was making that noise.
Seated at a crude table sat a creature of hideous proportions. It was easily twelve feet tall. I had two heads: One, bald, with one eye set in the middle of it's forehead; the other, with ragged brown hair, had two eyes and a large mouth. Reaching to the table, the Ogre snapped a bone off of Gra'el wings and fed it to the one eyed head. The other watch Gra'el.
Pain flared through Gra'el's body as memory of the past several days came back in fragments. Hopefully, he would never remember all of it, but he remembered the rending of his wings in excruciating detail. Gra'el tested his bonds and found that he was still secured head to tail.
'Never, in all the history of the Dragons, has this happened,' he thought. When he looked up again, the Ogre's malevolent gaze locked onto his.
The Ogre's voice was deep and controlled. It almost had a scholarly sound to it. The two eyed head said, "So, Dragon, you awaken. " He stood and walked to the bars, his hands behind his back. "How are you today?"
"How do you think I'm doing," Gra'el's own voice surprised him: it was barely a whisper.
"Such insolence, such courage. You must be ready to continue, then. But first, I'd like to have a little chat." One big arm snagged a chair and pulled it up to the bars. "You don't mind if I sit do you? I find it tedious to stand in such confining areas as this, don't you?"
"That you wouldn't. Do you know what I do here, Dragon?" Gra'el shook his head slightly. "I'm actually a doctor. I've learned so much about physiology and anatomy here in these rooms. I've learned how to cure rashes caused by manacles and how to remove a kidney without killing the patient. Do you not fin that amazing?"
"How many..." Gra'el swallowed and tried again, "How many did you kill in order to fulfill your curiosity?"
Both heads smiled. "I knew you'd see that. Your right, it took the better part of the east wing before I figured out how to stop the pain and the blood flow."
Horror dawned in Gra'el's mind. "What do you want with me?"
"I've already finished on experiment. Dragon's can stand an enormous amount of pain before passing out, or at least you can. But I can't finish my experiment until you gain some of your strength back. Besides, Katrina won' let me kill you outright."
At the mention of that name, Gra'el remembered the person who had instigated these tortures. Cold steel blue eyes, long Blondie hair, and more power than any Human has ever possessed since the old days. What bothered him most about her was the way she smiled when she gave pain.
"I won't help you in your sick experiment."
"There you're wrong." The Ogre stood. "You are going to help, because if you don't, I'll just have to start on he next prisoner. I can tell you now that she won't last more than an hour. Nor will the next one. I can guarantee it. When they die, I'll eat them. Why should I waste the meat, like your wings?"
Gra'el retched, but nothing came out. "Your sick"
The cyclopean head said, "You are correct, but it will not help you. You WILL comply and you will rebuild your strength. " The head turned toward the door whilst the other kept Gra'el in it's sights. "Guards! Bring the meal I have prepared immediately!"
Both heads laughed.
You can't kill me, I'm already dead!
[br]This is the martyr's cry!
Post by Christian Soldier on Jul 9, 2007 19:28:20 GMT -5
One massive guard per limb. Gra'el was pinned face down to the table. The ogre's fingers probed his wounds with practiced ease. the ogre said, "Amazing! There's already regrowth. Have you ever lost a limb berfore, Gra'el?"
Gra'el winced. "No"
Thick fingers worked the joints on his back. "Already your joints have regained mobility. the sockets themselves are regenerating at an incredible rate, though I wonder..." The thick fingers left Gra'el's back.
"What are you going to do?"
"Since you have never lost a limb before, I think I'll amputate one and see what happens."
Gra'el's pupils narrowed to narrow slits. Strength flowed through his body as he called upon the power nestled within his very core. Alarmed, the guards tightened their hold. With a shriek, Gra'el unleashed his power in a shockwave that rippled from his body. The guards flew back against the walls.
A meaty hand clamped around Gra'el's neck. "Your not getting away that easy." Gra'el's tail lashed at the ogre's head and the grip lessened. A second hand clamped onto Gra'el's tail. With a surge of energy and strength, he pushed himself off the table. Head and tail still pinned, Gra-el kicked the Ogre in the groin. Both hands let go and the Ogre collapsed onto his side.
Upright for the first time in hours, Gra'el surveyed his torturer. It was almost pathetic now. So fearsome before, so evil, yet Gra'el could not bring himself to kill the beast. One last kick knocked the Ogre cold.
Gra'el used his remaining energy to shift his shape. He thought, 'Two heads are supposed to be better than one.'
Gwelx followed Ceril down the dune as they headed to the lush green valley where a little stream lay. Well, he hoped there was a stream; Ceril had said last time he went there the stream was full of water.
However, Gwelx had thought little of the water supply. Ceril was his only concern at the moment. The boy was in pain, and Gwelx couldn't blame him. He now understood why he had run away, Durth.
Gwelx watched the boy, his movements were silent; he had the looks of a lion on the hunt. The old man was sorry for the boy. He must of had a bad life to run away from royalty to live in the desert.
Gwelx shook his head; he would make Durth pay for this. Durth hated the Oracles, and since his son was one; Gwelx shuddered, he couldn't imagine what the king could have done to his son once he found out that he was an Oracle.
Gwelx looked longingly at the boy; he knew how it was to be an outcast. To be hated by world, to be dreaded. He thought of his past, he was the first Oracle appointed to guard the people, and now, he was seeing the last days begin.
He stopped and took a deep breath, “Ceril, let’s stop for a moment, I am tired and need a break.”
Ceril turned around and rolled his eyes, “Go ahead, I’m going to keep walking.”
Gwelx reluctantly started moving again, “I am not letting you out of my sight.”
Ceril couldn't stop thinking about how much Gwelx annoyed him. The man seemed to know a lot about him, and other people. Which bothered Ceril, he didn't like it when people knew more than him.
The sand was hot on the feet, but they were almost to the stream was. He hoped it was stil there. It had been a good waters source for him on all his travels and hunts. And he hoped it would serve him one more time.
He looked back at Gwelx, the old man seemed to be deep in thought not even noticing where they were. Ceril looked back ahead, the stream was minutes away. He couldn't wait. Ceril looked around, the sand seemed to be bright. But the little water bed and trees would be a nice place to rest.
He wiped his brow, sweat covered his hand as he pulled it away. Water would feel good.
Post by Christian Soldier on Jul 11, 2007 2:47:44 GMT -5
'Two heads are not better than one,' Gra'el thought. Gra'el's energy was gone. Shifting to another shape would be impossible till he could eat and rest. Till then, he'd have to get out through stealth.
Taking a deep breath, Gra'el banged the door open and strode out. The two guards at the door jumped, then hurried to catch up. He walked past door after door of suffering and condemnation. His heart cried out for those trapped inside, but he couldn't do anything. Just as he was nearing the colossal portcullis, Katrina stepped into his path.
Katrina's cold gaze bored into Gra'el's left head, the one with two eyes. She said, "About time you showed up. I know you want to play with that Dragon, but I've got a prisoner that must survive."
Gra'el thought fast. "My experiments are no concern of yours, but since I am here now, I'll see to him."
Her expression darkened. "Her you oaf, or have you forgotten already?"
"I was teasing. Let's go." Gra'el entered the cell ahead of her. What he saw there, he would never speak of again. The horror of what they did to her beyond understanding. She had been pregnant, very pregnant. In their fervor, they had removed the child and left her laid open. There had been nothing Gra'el could do. When she died, he was franticly pretending to save her. In reality, he had done the only act of mercy available.
Covered in the girl's blood, Gra'el made his excuses and left. The guards at the portcullis saw the blood and snapped to attention. Neither of them wanted to be next. Now his rage wasn't feigned. Going through bare corridors he remembered from his time there in the past, Gra'el finally saw the light of day.
The village at the base of the keep was hustling and busy. People went about their lives as though nothing were wrong. The sun beat down on him in a welcome heat. Gra'el pulled a lung full of fresh air. Off in the distance, he could see a forest. With a one-headed grin, He took off at a sprint for the tree line.
You can't kill me, I'm already dead!
[br]This is the martyr's cry!
Forn had been looking increasingly worried since they had left Warsu's tents. He didn't say anything about what was bothering him, and Teya didn't ask, but she made a point to watch him as constantly as possible, trying to catch clues of what was going on behind his eyes.
They had been traveling through the almost-desert that bordered Teya's beloved dunes, but the vegetation was perceptibly increasing and growing taller. Forn had been pointing out and naming some of the new plants they saw, but in a distracted way that seemed to increase with the greenery. Then, two nights out from the tents, around the fire in the early morning before dawn, he said abruptly, "I think it's time you learned a bit more about what it is that makes you special."
Teya nodded, a little curious at his timing, but waiting for him to explain.
"You know there are five oracles. We were appointed by a great king to be something like to groundskeepers - but groundskeepers of the entire world. We are orderers, and we each use our powers to maintain and make ready that portion we have been given.”
Teya didn't quite understand. “By portion, you mean … dividing up the land?”
“In a sense, yes. My ‘specialty’, as it were, is in keeping the forests. You, I think, feel most at home in the desert where you grew up, yes? You will always feel most at ease there, the most confident. It's more than mere homesickness, but it would seem like that.”
Teya thought about it. It wasn’t something she had realized, and it was small enough to attribute to the nervousness of leaving her family, but there was a distinct sense of discomfort that was inextricably related to the lack of the golden, undulating dunes that had surrounded her on every side her whole life. Now that she recognized it, she would watch and notice if the feeling changed.
Forn was speaking again: “We're coming into one of the largest forests on this continent, which runs almost unbroken from mountains to seabord; I have a great acquaintance with these trees. This is how I know that something deep in the heart of the woods is disturbed.” He paused to see if she would say anything, then continued, “I don’t know more than that, as we're still only on the borders, but you should know that we should keep alert.”
“A watch then, you think?”
He looked a little surprised, maybe because she was taking the news in stride, then shook his head. “Not yet, no. We are still only on the borders. I wish that I could warn the others, though…” he added, then sank into silence.
“Do you know where they are?”
“I know where they are supposed to be, but who knows what they may have encountered. Once the oracles could find each other in their minds alone, and pass messages across any distance, but that seems to have disappeared.”
Teya felt a thrill down her fingers with the knowledge of her secret. Did he know? As innocently and as ignorantly as possible, she asked, “Can you do that?”
“I don’t have the skill,” he said, but he stopped abruptly, as if he had been going to say something more. Instead, he stared moodily into the fire. “Just be aware. That’s what I wanted to tell you. Pay attention to what's happening and what has happened, within yourself and without. That’s one of the most important things you can do. Be alert.”
He seemed very grim about it. Teya only nodded, then went to roll out her blanket under a thick clump of soft-leafed bushes. Daylight was coming, and she would need sleep soon.
For all Forn’s talk of wariness, she noticed, he was still staring into the dying fire with the dawn light throwing shadows on his face by the time she fell asleep.
Post by Christian Soldier on Jul 12, 2007 16:47:47 GMT -5
Gra'el awakened during the still night. Nothing stirred, yet something was wrong. He feigned sleep and listened to the forest around him. *Snap* He opened his eyes and saw a small human child regarding him through large, round eyes.
For a moment, they just stared. "Hello," Gra'el said.
The boy jumped, but remained where he was. "Hello"
Gra'el heaved his massive body upright and looked down at the lad. "Why are you here so late at night?"
The boy shrugged. "I'm Lucas. What's your name?"
Gra'el thought of lying, but no one here shoud know his name anyway. "I am Gra'el"
Lucas just stood there for several seconds, blinking at Gra'el. Finally: "You're not really an ogre are you?"
Panic filled Gra'el mind. 'He knows!' "Lucas, how do you know that?"
"When I look at you, I see a dragon crouching inside of you." His eyes sought Gra'els'. "What happned to your wings?"
"The creature I imitate took them."
"Did it hurt?"
'Ah! The innocent questions of a child,' Gra'el thought. "Yes it did."
"I can make you better."
Lucas nodded. "If you can revert that is."
Gra'el took store of his energy and knew that he could tansform, but it would be one way till he could rest some more. resting in draconic form there would have been a kin to suicide. Yet, something deep within him made him trust this child. Trust...
Reaching within himself, Gra'el pulled his original from fromt he ether and unfolded. His wings flared in to pain. Gra'el clinched his teethe and looked squarely at the boy. Lucas raised his arms up high and called out in a clear, high voice, "Master!"
A hooded figure stood behind Lucas with his hands on Lucas' shoulders. His voice was deep and melodious when he said, "Good work, son."
Gra'el's eyes bulged. He leaned forward and bent his front legs. His forhead rested against the ground. "I'm not worthy, Master."
"Rise, Gra'el, and be whole."
When Gra'el's legs straightened, the Master and Lucas were gone, but his wings were whole! Arching his neck, he examined his new wings. 'They're better than before,' he thought. Feeling renewed energy course through his veins, Gra'el launched himself into the sky. The keep dwindled behind him. The night time sky had never looked so grand.
You can't kill me, I'm already dead!
[br]This is the martyr's cry!
Ceril sat by the little stream, his feet cooling in the water. Gwelx was standing behind him doing nothing. The little wood was full of life, the birds sang and animals scurried about.
But Ceril, was disturbed. Gwelx had followed him loyally and not questioned anything he did. Ceril didn't trust the old man. Yet, he felt as if he should, Gwelx seemed completely loyal.
Ceril turned around and looked at the old man. He was gazing at nothing and looked like he was thinking deeply.
"What are you trying to find Ceril?" asked Gwelx suddenly.
Ceril stood up and raised an eye brow, "What are yout talking about?"
Gwelx sighed, "You know perfectly what i mean. What are you trying to find oh son of Durth?"
Ceril's eyes narrowed, "You know who my father is!? Why did you not tell me!?"
Gwelx looked at him curiously, "Tell you? Is your memory so filled with pain that you cannot remember the love once shown to you?"
Ceril sneered, "Love, i hate the word! It brings pain no matter how it is directed! My father said he loved me! Then beat for living! Then my mother dispised me! And everyone i knew stayed away from me! Love, i have seen no love except the love of pain!"
"That is not true love."
"Then what is old man!? Tell me, when did i recieve love ever in my life? Who ever once said a kind word to me? Who has ever been kind to me?! I hate love! And everyone hates me!"
Gwelx sighed, "Dear boy, your are lost in your hate and anger. You have forgotten the hand that brought you into this world and held you while you were only hours old and blessed you with a gift."
"What gift!? Being an Oracle has only brought curses out of everyones mouth! I am a cursed human, not blessed! I hate who i am!"
Gwelx said nothing and sat down. Ceril glowed and said, "I'm going to take a walk. I'll be back in an hour or so."
Ceril walked along the stream. His thoughts burning, he didn't know what to do. He didn't know what to think. Love had been his enemy for so long that he didn't know how to do it. He had lost what it felt like. Love was foreign to him.
He sat down hard on a rock. He was upset and wished he had never been born.
"What bothers you angry one?" asked a voice behind Ceril.
He turned around and saw a tall cloaked person standing there. His face was hidden by a hood but his voice had the sound of royalty.
"Nothing," answered Ceril quietly since he didn't have any more energy to yell.
"But something does. I know something is eating you inside. It is the curses of the mockers that make fun of you. That curse you for being a chosen one."
Ceril wiped his eye, "Please, don't talk to me."
"I can't Ceril. I made you, I chose you. You have lost what Gwelx was talking about. He too understands how you feel."
Ceril stood up, "How if feel, no one can understand how if feel! I feel like Gorgalro is in me, torturing me every moment."
"You can stop it. You can make the feelings go away."
Post by Christian Soldier on Jul 13, 2007 16:58:16 GMT -5
Gra'el's wings felt like lead. Each beat costing more and more precious energy. To make matters worse, his stomach was growling. When he thought about it, he realized he hadn't eaten in some time.
Scanning the terrain below, his eyes fastened on a herd of sheep. Tiny white puff balls of meat. Maybe even cooked a little to remove parasites...no. Definitely raw. At least the first one. Lying on a nearby hill, a shepherd boy laid on a small hill overlooking his flock, his livelihood.
Gra'el conscience bothered. 'Here I am, about to eat one, or three, of this boy's sheep just because I'm tired and lazy.' Disgusted, he began to turn away-
There! A small wolf pack was slinking out of the surrounding wood. Predators never taste as good as herbivores, but where else could he have found a good deed and a meal all at once?
Gra'el lined up for his approach. It was essential that he be completely silent till he hit the ground. No swoop and grab this operation. The pack had at least four members and they would scatter if he made off with just one. Besides, Gra'el was hungry.
His wings ceased their tireless(?) beat and he glided the rest of the way. The pack didn't been know what hit them. The first died in Gra'el's jaws without a struggle. Gra'el's tail slammed down on the second one, killing it instantly. The last two went under his massive forelegs.
The sheep all surrounded their shepherd in terror. The shepherd stood his ground, raising his staff to ward off the menace. For a moment, Gra'el stood in awe of this one's bravery, o stupidity. He carefully scooped up his kills, bowed, and took off.
The lad scratched his head in wonder. A dragon was a very rare thing, much less one that catches wolves and leaves the sheep.
You can't kill me, I'm already dead!
[br]This is the martyr's cry!
"Where are we?" asked Ceril as they stepped out into a desert area ringed with trees. The sun had already set and the stars lit up the sky. The air was chilly and Ceril began to wonder why he had followed the man.
"We are in Sacred Desert Mirror." answered the cloaked man.
"Where is the Mirror?" asked Ceril.
"It is in the sky, use your powers and see what it is that you need in order to become content." said the man.
"What do you me-?"
"Watch," said the man interrupting Ceril. Then he pointed into the sky, Ceril followed his finger until he saw the stars. They were moving. He shook his head, no, this wasn't right, stars can't move unless they are the legendary shooting stars.
But as Ceril starred, he realized that the stars were changing and moving until they had made a square of blackness. Suddenly the blackness turned white and a vision filled Ceril's gaze.
He watched the vision and saw himself, standing in a great city, walking by people who were bowing to him. He looked handsome and royal. A large sword swayed at his side and a crown was resting on his head. Knights stood around him guarding him.
Ceril watched as the vision faded and another appeared. The vision flew into a castle and he saw himself sitting on a throne, entertainers all around the room dancing and doing other things.
Another picture came to him to show slaves working for him building beautiful houses and monuments of himself.
Then it faded as suddenly as it appeared. Ceril looked at the cloaked man, "That is what it takes to make my feelings go away?"
The man nodded, "Yes, then you will be free of all the torture and you will have everything you want."
Ceril nodded, "But how do I get those things?"
The man pulled his hood off his head to reveal a young man. A crown was on his head, it was made of black metal. His eyes were like the ocean and his smile was warm. "Come with me, become one of my sons. I will give you everything you need."
Ceril grinned, "You mean, I can just come and leave behind everything I once had? I can leave behind Gwelx?"
"Of course! The old man doesn't really understand you. He is a fool," said the young man.
"But, I thought you said that Gwelx went through the same thing I did."
"Well, he did, but that old man is not Gwelx. I am."
Ceril gazed at the young man, "You are Gwelx?"
"Yes," said the man who claimed to be Gwelx.
"And why should I believe you? It seems as you are pushing your story a little far," said Ceril backing up a little.
“Because, the old man is not really what he says, he is hiding things from you. If you come with me, I will give you everything you could possible want.”
Ceril sat down, “Give me until morning, if I am still here then, I will come with you. If I am not, I have declined your offer.”
Ceril sat there, silent, the crickets making a racket in his head. He sighed, he didn't know what he wanted. Gwelx, he didn't like the old man, but he didn't know why. Perhaps it was because of how his father was.
"Ceril, who are you?" he asked himself aloud.
"You are the son of Durth, chosen to be an Oracle. Chosen to do great things," answered a voice in the dark.
Ceril stood up, "How you would you know!" he shouted into the darkness.
"Ceril, you have broken my heart once to many times, i chose you and you rejected me. Dear Ceril, i showed you love, and you showed me hate. I showed you truth and you spit on it. Ceril, i am scarred so you could live and you mocked me!" A shinning man came out the brush, his golden hair fell to his shoulders. His head bore a white crown and his appearance revealed great authority.
"Do i know you?" asked Ceril stunned by the beauty and greatness of the man before him.
"You did, but you ran away from me, and now i have found you," said the man.
The man nodded, "Yes, i am Adonai, i am the Master."
Ceril's heart raced and he bowed, "Forgive me, Adonai. I am sorry... i was lost."
Adonai smiled, "Ceril, i already have forgiven you. Do not worry, you will not be lost any more.. But our business is not over here. The creature you talked with earlier must be delt with."
Ceril stood up, "What do you mean?"
"You must face him, and over come him, he has had a hold on you for too long."
"But, Master, i don't have a weapon," said Ceril.
Adonai drew a sword out from under his cloak, "Use this sword of light and defeat the darkness that has long held you prisoner."
Ceril grabbed the sword and pulled it out of it's sheath. It was long and beautiful, he looked up to thank Adonai, but the shinning figure was gone.
Post by Christian Soldier on Jul 20, 2007 11:31:40 GMT -5
Gra'el flew through the day time sky. The sun brightly illuminated his scales and warmed his skin. 'I haven't felt this good in years,' he thought. He was in his element, in his territory, and he would not be removed.
Reaching inside himself, Gra'el pulled a small spark of power and sent a message on the winds.
Forn sat in a small clearing. the forest was alive around. The birds sang, the crickets chirped, and the frogs croaked in melody all their own. The small camp fire had burned itself out an hour ago and he was starting to feel the chill in his bones.
Until a few days ago, Forn had been the youngest of the Oracles. His natural charisma, charm, and strategic skills made him the natural leader among his kind, yet there was always the question of his age, till now.
His eyes took in the majesty of the forest. He could feel the life abundant around him, yet he could also sense its fear. Something was wrong. Forest fires/ quakes/and floods never caused this sense of...loss, being natural. No, whatever this was, it certainly was not natural, but what was it?
A sound penetrated his thoughts and he jumped into a combat stance. It was only the wind, but not. Wind wasn't his domain, but...
His eyes widened as the message came through:
Through troubles deep and troubles past I know not how long it can last. Yet through it all and to the end the Master awaits his adopted kin.
My enemies rest inside their citadel, my enemies rest inside their keep. Their security rests in hearing others weep, so I shout for joy and wait and pray until my Master comes that faithful day.
An Ogre's failure, my reward. A daring escape in this time of war.
A forest's protection, my Master's gift, renewed strength from wing tip to wing tip.
I fly to thee, with stories no few, and tidings of enemies new. Watch the skies, old friend, I am coming.
Forn groaned. It had been ages since he had last deciphered on of Gra'el's cryptic poems. It wasn't just him either, all dragons were that way. Even the few that were left. With a glance to the sky, Forn sat back down to wait. 'Regardless,' he thought, 'Gra'el is coming here. I can ask him then'
You can't kill me, I'm already dead!
[br]This is the martyr's cry!