Year 226, month of 3rd Opal.
The Sinbeni slave mining city of Lahihr, falls to The Dragon Empire.
Year 226, month of 4th Amethyst.
The Dragon Empire continues its invasion, a horde always on the move, leaving Sinbeni with only the one option of defending itself.
Yet still, another city’s sky is blackened by the Dark Citadel, reinforcements never to arrive since the fall of Lahihr.
Year 226, month of 6th Jade.
Again, the bright sky blackens, as the long-awaited storm arrives.
The Dark Citadel looms over Abu Katra’s outskirts, as its lords and ladies fear the damnation to come.
As such, the Sinbeni Council gathers…
Sinbeni, Abu Katra
The Hall of Golden Sands
The oval hall was vast, as vast as it was decorated. Various gems and crystals embedded into life-like paintings that filled the curving walls. Pillars of gold and silver laying just ahead of those walls, the paintings briefly ending behind them before another began on the other side. These paintings depicted scenes of glory from each of the ten lesser seats.
The ceiling though was a single decoration, depicting only the three crown seat’s family insignias merged into one.
A crest of gold with thin silver linings and even more gems of sapphire, emerald, ruby and even diamond.
It showed three beasts intertwined in battle.
A panther with eyes of diamond, a crocodile with eyes of ruby, and an eagle with eyes of emerald. Chasing one another, while at the same time striking at what lay in the center of the crest, a wingless Dragon made solely from silver and with narrow eyes of sapphire.
The paintings were fairly new, for the lesser seats did change house from time to time.
But the crest upon the ceiling was old, archaic even, for the crowned seats never changed.
Thirteen of these ornate seats lay around a long oval glass table, yet only twelve were filled. The crowned three lay spread out on one side of the table while the other lesser ten lay closer together on the other side and facing them.
Each of the three crowned seats was filled, one holding a young human boy no older than twelve, a strong looking elven woman with warrior’s armour and spear nearby, and the third an old chubby dwarven man with fine bejewelled clothing.
The nine filled lesser seats were a mixture of mostly human and some dwarf. Then all around the table, stood several others, ambassadors from other countries and continents. Amongst them, stood Clayton O’Connor, the half-elf Ambassador of Druvia.
“The Dragon nears,” said one of the lesser seats, a rough looking male dwarf with golden tattoos decorating his mostly visible body.
“Nears? The beast lays outside our walls, laughing upon us from his castle above the clouds…” Grumbled another, a thin, almost sickly looking human man.
“We have lost many a Wyrm defending Lahihr…” Then groaned the chubby dwarf at the crown seat, as he glanced at the empty lesser seat, “Ramzi’s disappearance must be his doing as well, Ai’Sen was his territory after all.”
“And Lahihr was your damn territory, Shakeel, but that lord you set to do your job failed and look where we are now!” Exclaimed another crown seat, the female warrior.
“Jannat, lord Shakeel was here for the council we had planned before we even knew this Dragon Empire existed…” Argued the young boy sitting over the third crown seat and in the middle of them.
Jannat sighed, “You are too kind Samir, this bulge of fat will never learn his lesson unless we two teach him it!” she exclaimed, clenching her spear whilst glaring at the ever-shrinking dwarf.
Samir chuckled coldly, young he was but empty his expression was too, hollow eyes that seemed to stare into one’s very soul. As he set those eyes on Jannat, who immediately froze beneath his chilling gaze. “Fighting amongst us will prove and gain nothing. Let us instead speak of the real threat, this resurrected Dragon which plagues us and threatens this kingdom’s extinction.”
Shakeel coughed and cleared his throat as he straightened his sitting posture, “Indeed…The storm lays just over our beloved capital’s outskirts, unmoving but ever looming over us. It has been hours, and not a word has come from it, whilst any scouts we send near those clouds are instantly incinerated by lightning.”
“How do our numbers stand against what lies within that storm?” Asked another of the lesser seats, a human woman with unusually dark clothing and a cold demeanour.
“I would think you’d know that more than any of us Inaya.” Jannat scoffed at the shadow of a woman. “And with Ramzi gone, I can only guess where his resources went to…”
Inaya chuckled lightly, “With the numbers they first showed at Ai’Sen, they were small, barely a company of mercenaries. But between freeing the slaves of Ai’Sen and soldiering them, and now with the collective number of slaves from Lahihr’s outskirts, mines and city proper…Well, this is only a guess, but I’d say more than twice our own forces.”
“Twice they might be but there is no way they can equip that many slaves in this short amount of time.” Said Samir, “Even if they gathered every piece of armour and weapon from both the Ai’Sen and Lahihr guard, barely a third of them will be.”
“I wouldn’t be so sure my lord.” Clayton suddenly spoke up.
“Rude, but please explain.” Inaya said with a wide cold smirk, as Clayton moved to stand at one end of the table for each of them to comfortably see him. The sand which covered the floor, rising with every step he took.
Meeting Inaya’s glare, Clayton smiled as well. “The Dragon is a powerful ancient being, equipping a few thousand…even a million people, wouldn’t be an issue for a creature of its natural standing. Not to mention, it has the equipment from both the Slayers of Druvia and many a Sin Wyrm to dischant and use. We’ve heard of these Dragon Knights, they exist and have probably only increased in number.”
“What about Druvia? Will our older cousin be sending any sort of aid then?” Inaya asked.
“I’m sure Seeri and New Druv would love to send their resources where you ask them to Inaya.” Clayton said, deeply amused by the grimace his words produced on her. “No, Druvia is unfortunately busy with the Orcish invasion occurring to our south. Trade will remain open of course as the north remains safe, but the southern seas are blocked, therefore it shall be somewhat slow.”
“Silence,” Jannat then suddenly groaned, “Your bickering grows me a headache. No aid shall come, no country’s response will be quick enough. We are alone.”
“You are alone.” Suddenly spoke a deep rumbling voice, as it echoed out through the hall.
“Wh-Who goes there?!” Jannat exclaimed, rising from her seat as many did, spear clenched and ready.
As lighting suddenly surged across the hall, sparking out from the ceiling and pillars, bursting out into tendrils of energy which clashed mid-air and at the hall’s centre.
Wings spread wide, Erik appeared out of the rabid energy, hovering in place as he glared down at the table. “I am Erikathyr, Guardian, Destroyer, Devil Slayer, Emperor and now once again Conqueror.” He announced himself, his eyes focused into serpentine slits as they scanned the seats below. “Those which protected you from the shadows, have since left this land.” He said, his eyes moving from the wide-eyed Samir to the now trembling Inaya.
“This hall is sacred and barred against entry to all Dragon kin!” exclaimed Jannat, as flames burst alive across her ornate spear.
Erik chuckled coldly, (“And a strong enchantment it was, but with an agent on the inside, it was merely a simple trick to enter.”) He thought in amusement, glancing at Clayton. “Oh? But here I am…” He said, suddenly pushing himself downwards with his large wingspan and crashing through the glass table, shattering it and blowing both glass shards and sands about the hall.
Filling each seat holder and ambassador with cuts, all but Clayton who raised a wall of tree bark to cover himself and Jannat who twirled her spear and burnt aside most of which came her way, her armour protecting her from the rest.
“Dragon or not you lay at the heart of our city! The Wyrms will be here and even you cannot fight them all alone! Y-” Jannat said, aiming her weapon at the Dragon.
As his eyes turned to her, wide and fiery as they were, she froze with terror. “In this age, numbers are for some reason considered better than singular power. Amusing as it is to watch you lessers squirm about my feet, annoying it is as well.” He sighed, closing his eyes briefly.
“Earth which I protect, earth which feeds and fuels me. Bend and flow, move and change. Draconic School; Drako; Quake!” Erik chanted, opening his eyes as the ground began to shudder before suddenly the entire building around them rumbled and crumbled.
Lighting sparked off his body, ravaging his surroundings, as if out of control.
Clayton’s expression paled at the sight, “W-Wait y-”, this wasn’t what they had agreed on.
“Stop him not, ambassador.” Spoke a hiss from behind Clayton, as Makaela suddenly appeared out of the shadows, grabbing hold of the half-elf’s shoulder as the building fell all around them.
Flames and lightning rose, piercing through the ornate ceiling as it fell upon them, searing a hole through and every single floor above. Revealing even the sky, as the sun shone down into the building and upon Erik.
He glanced about, briefly watching as Clayton rose from the floor, shaken and covered in tendrils of shadow. Makaela had saved him from the collapsing building.
And as the dust cleared, Erik chuckled after seeing that only four of the seat holders managed to avoid the rubble. Inaya and another lesser seat holder being two, whilst Jannat lay holding Samir nearby as a barrier of flame covered them.
“Pitiful, and you would dare call yourselves leaders. Since when do sheep lead sheep?” He growled in amusement, glancing at the broken and buried body of Shakeel, the dwarf’s chest was caved in with blood splattering out and onto the now ring-like golden ceiling half his body was crushed beneath.
“The panther has grown fat from avarice.” He said, then glancing at Jannat. “The Croc, blinded by fear and empty pride.” His gaze then ending on the now terrified Samir, as he hid behind Jannat, “And the eagle, desperate and frail.” Erik growled, as suddenly his eyes flashed brightly before dimming back, the golden light fading and revealing his deep blues.
Blue just like the two sapphires at his feet.
Bringing a chill to both royals.
“Your ancestors recognise me, your blood trembles before my presence. Yet I sense you not, where have the three houses of this kingdom gone to? Where are the three champions meant to protect these people? This land? Gone they have, lazed throughout time, their remnants now shaking before me.” Erik said, as his wings closed up and he turned to walk towards Clayton. “The Dragon Empire stands with Druvia, but this kingdom here we claim. As such, does Druvia have any complaints?”
Clayton shook his head, his eyes and face frozen in bafflement.
“I thought not.” He mused, turning back to face the two crown seat holders, “Seven days I give you, seven days to gather all slaves within this city and send them out through the northern gate, unguarded but most importantly…unchained and uninjured.” Erik hissed, his eyes right then regaining their golden glow.
“If even a single slave remains within the city walls by the end of those seven days…Then I and my army shall walk through your streets and gather them ourselves. Walk over your homes, over the corpses of your families, over the bones of your people.” He warned them, watching with great amusement as even Jannat’s expression paled.
Erik turned around, spreading his wings as if to leave, “Also, for every chain I see, for every injury…scar…or scratch. Lighting shall strike down within these walls.” He said, flapping his wings and soaring up into the sky before lightning raged out of his rising form.
Bright blinding light shining out of him, before dimming and disappearing completely, as did he.
Inaya watched with mouth ajar, falling to her knees as he left, but the fear still remained within her. “We…We’re finished…”
The Dark Citadel
The long hall lay dim and dark, though its marble white smooth pavement, carved walls and pillars, glowed a mild white with magical power.
Suddenly shining brightly as Erik appeared within through a surge of lightning that descended from the ceiling, a ceiling covered with dark clouds.
Closing his wings, Erik sighed as he stared at the two marble thrones before him, one of them shattered and broken. Empty his eyes were as he stared at the broken one, unable, unwilling to clean up the mess he made of it weeks ago.
“How fare my people?” He asked, and a shadow burst into existence behind him.
Makaela kneeled, “Better, most of them were starving when we found them, but with the Citadel’s clean lands agriculture is flourishing. Although, we have little of those lands.” She said in elven.
“Soon they will have more.” Erik said, walking up to the whole throne and sitting down. “Come in.” He then said, sensing those who waited behind the large white doors. They opened, revealing the other side of them to be pitch black, along the walls, floors and ceiling. A stark contrast with open doors.
Nerick entered with Kayle, Shizuka and Quinn in tail.
It had been three months, but little had any of them changed. In appearance, but in expression all of them differed. The laid-back warrior that was Nerick, was no more. The Nerick of now stood like an unmovable pillar of black armour, eyes narrow and expression resolved.
Whilst playful as ever, Ivara stormed in after them, now almost as wide as the giant doorway itself…She sat down next to Nerick, even then being three times his own in-human height. Her barbed tail sneaking up behind him, slithering onto his shoulder and about his neck which he slapped away. Causing the adolescent wyvern to snarl, but much to Ivara’s pride, only Quinn was startled.
Rolling his eyes, Nerick sighed, she had grown so much but still deemed his neck as her roost…
“How did I do?” Erik asked, glancing at Kayle as her eyes suddenly filled with white.
“Well, you only left four of them alive, so it’s moving slow.” Seer Kayle said, her eyes then returning to normal. “Will it work? Will they really surrender?”
“It will work, you teleporting me in and out alongside the destruction I added in, it shocked them to the core. But even if they do, the bloodshed isn’t over.” Erik warned as he relaxed into his throne, “Zrosa might interfere, Nerick, Makaela, make sure we remain vigilant.” He said and both the Dragon Knight General Makaela and Wyvern Lord Nerick nodded in understanding.
“Then I guess…you’ll just have to wait and see?” Shizuka said, stepping forth alongside Quinn.
“You’re going? Made up your mind have you?” Erik asked, eyeing the two Spirit Beasts.
Shizuka nodded, “This world has forgotten my kind, the kind I am now. And hers, needs a new perspective, together we will change that place. That, is my quest now.” Resolved she declared, turning to meet the Dragon Emperor’s gaze. “I…also wish to learn, I wish to know more of what I am now. With Kyllix’s training before, and Quinn’s guidance I’ve grown stronger, but I know there has to be more to us than just power.”
“Wise, wise words those are.” Erik said in agreement.
Shizuka’s hands clenched then, as her gaze fell. “I’m going to visit her one last time before I go, so you won’t see me after today. Not for a while probably.”
Erik’s eyes narrowed, “I’m sure she’ll enjoy your visit, for some reason, she saw something within you I failed to see…”
Those words filled both of them with dread, “She saw the same thing in you.” Shizuka then responded.
Erik silently nodded, gesturing then for them to leave. “I wish you well in your quest, Shizuka, hopefully when you do return I’ll have finally fixed this one.”
“Yeah…She’d enjoy that too.” Shizuka said, then each of them turned around to leave, Makaela disappearing in a burst of shadow.
The doors closing behind them as Ivara’s long tail dragged out.
Makaela reappeared outside the hall and next to them, forming out of nowhere as usual and startling Quinn. Further hurting Ivara’s pride. “He’s still…”
“It will take time.” Nerick sighed, “But yeah, he hasn’t been the same since.” Then holding Kayle closely as he said that.
“None of us have.” Kayle said.
Makaela nodded, “And then there’s…”
“I feel it too,” Kayle agreed, “Something with his mana…has changed, and keeps changing.”
Shizuka sighed, “Maybe I shouldn’t leave yet?”
“You couldn’t help even if you wanted to kitty.” Ivyieth chuckled as she appeared across the hallway, turning to walk towards them. “The nature of his change…even I know little of it.”
“Yet you won’t explain s***.” Nerick growled.
Ivyieth shrugged, “With the little that I know, you wouldn’t understand no matter how much I tried to explain it. All I can say is, it’s up to him how badly it affects his mind.”
Makaela rolled her eyes, “It’s fine, maybe you can’t explain but I’m sure your elders can with ease.”
Her words causing Ivyieth to look at her with a raised brow.
“You and Erik aren’t the only dragons remaining, there is a third, and I’ve contacted her. Whenever she might decide to…reply…” Makaela cringed, she had heard stories of the Ice Dragon, and none of them spoke of her mood nor personality. She could only guess, and knowing Erik and how most Ice based creatures acted…Her hopes were dim, but there nonetheless.
“Hm, I’d love to meet Elder Sister then~” Ivyieth mused, her eyes seemingly shining with excitement at the thought of another.
“Ugh,” Shizuka groaned, the little brat still annoyed her. “We’ll take our leave then.” She said, turning to face Makaela, Nerick and Kayle. “Thank you, for everything. Is something I’ve only ever said to Erik and…Her, but you all have done much for me as well…” She leaned forth, bowing, a stance of respect in Zrosa.
Nerick grinned, “It’s fine kid, go and have your adventure.”
“I’ll be keeping watch on you too~” Kayle said, a cold thin smile across her face which always gave Shizuka a chill. She had changed the most, her strange powers utterly creeping Shizuka out.
Makaela then stepped forward, putting her thumb beneath Shizuka’s chin and raising her head to face her. The Dark Elf stared into the young Spirit Beast’s eyes briefly, before smiling, “You’ll be alright, she’s always with you, isn’t she?”
Shizuka’s gaze faltered, yet she too smiled. “Yeah, she is.” She said, rising away from them. “Farewell, for now.” She said her goodbyes, and they gestured back the same. Shizuka walked off, there was much still to be said, but not here…Not to them.
Quinn followed, anxious as always by the Citadel’s dark theme, and even more so nearby those four. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen her smile like that…” Quinn mused after they reached the stairs, ascending them then.
“Who?” Shizuka asked as they walked.
“Miss Makaela…” Quinn answered, “She’s always so…Brash and chaotic…grinning like a madwoman!”
“Ahhah…” Shizuka chuckled awkwardly, “She actually smiles a lot, that was probably her least freaky one though.”
“She terrifies me.” Quinn admitted.
“Good…Cause she might not have the sight Miss Kayle has…but she can still probably hear us.” Shizuka warned, chuckling as she saw Quinn’s expression pale.
They chatted, for the length that took to reach the top of the castle they talked the time away. Until finally, they ascended the last flight of stairs and walked across the hall.
A rich gold making up the very pavement, walls and ceiling…Erik held back no expense in the creation of this new level of the castle. They glanced at the design on the walls, emerald and other beautiful greenish materials forming the shape of vines which grew out from the ground and about the room.
Merging on the ceiling, where the Selene household crest lay.
And then, filling what the large stained-glass window on the back wall did not. The window taking the shape of a figure, a beautiful woman with unkept short blue hair and narrow light blue eyes. Armoured in plating of full white with drapes of blue, and wielding before her an ornate sword of white and gold.
Shizuka and Quinn squinted their eyes due to the rays of bright sunlight that shone through the window, as they stared up at her visage. Their gazes then falling to what lay at the centre of the room.
Laying on a pedestal of mixed gems, was a coffin of the deepest black onyx.
They approached it, climbing up the gemmed stairs to stand before it.
Glancing over the words inscribed upon its lid.
Theaviss The Chosen
Empress Of The Empire
Shizuka lay her palm over the coffin, her eyes closing as she felt the coldness of it. “I’m leaving, Miss Thea, I’m off to start my life anew. This…This is all thanks to you. You who saved me, a mere street rat, you who took pity in me and held me close. You changed me, and my fate…” She said in a whisper, opening her eyes to look up at the visage of glass once more.
“I’m ready, let’s go.” Shizuka said, turning to Quinn who nodded at her.
Quinn closed her eyes and focused, as did Shizuka. Holding each other’s hands, they then raised their free ones forward and open wide. Feeling the thin veil that separated realities beneath their touch.
Each Spirit Beast clawed their hands downwards, and the rift opened.
Quinn stepped through first, but Shizuka glanced back at the coffin once more.
“I’m sorry…Thank you.” She whispered those last words, before stepping through the rift herself.
Year 226, month of 6th Jade
Two Spirit Beasts leave for another world.
Three Dragons still live, one of them broken.
One Devil still remains in hiding, awaiting the opportune moment…
Another Devil’s ploys and plots continue on too.
And as this age comes to an abrupt close.
A new age…begins now.