Marquis Bjorn Klein waited in his office, pacing from left to right, his patience on the verge alongside his nerves. His own body still felt drained from that fight, he had put his all into that barrier yet that monster of a mage still ripped through it. “Y-yes…a monster indeed…” he mumbled to himself, unable to contain his thoughts.
Klein was both elated at the existence of such a powerful mage and jealous, he could never stand the memory of being declined a chair within the mage clans yet also he was looking forward to making this hermit an ally. A tool.
“Why have you called, Marquis Bjorn?” exclaimed an elderly man as he barged into the office, greying brown hair and light brown eyes his scowl was only demeaned by his lanky appearance. Dressed in fine clothing yet none of it hiding his weak frame.
“A-Ah Marquis Selene, I’m glad you could come.” Klein greeted respectfully, this man was Thea and Kayle’s father. Druvia’s eastern Marquis. “Please sit, I have wonderful news.” Klein said as he offered the man a chair, then moving to close the door shut.
“Wonderful? With the demons outside our bloody yard?” The Marquis scoffed, “What could possibly have you on your toes Klein?” he asked, wincing as he sat down.
“Have you heard what occurred this morning?” Klein asked, “The foolish mage that assaulted a Sinbeni merchant?”
“Yes yes, from what I hear you swiftly dealt with it. Although you could’ve spared the construction costs.” The elderly man grumbled.
“That is the story going about but in reality…Fjorn, that man cast Dragon’s Swoop without a draconic core. He even knew the incantation! Not only that but he cast a spell I’ve never even heard of before!” Klein exclaimed, “He is no common mage I promise you that. If he hadn’t fallen to mana sickness you’d be preparing to tie my little brother to miss Kayle…”
Fjorn hummed in thought, “That is intriguing. Using your brother instead I mean.” the old man coldly joked. “Really Klein, what are you planning for this now criminal fool?”
“With the Selene and Bjorn tying together,” Klein began to explain,” with both our connections to the church, we’ll have the political grip over the people comparable to the royal’s grip on the military. With your ties to the merchant guild, we will equal the King’s even with their ties to the adventurer’s guild.”
Fjorn sighed, “You are aiming for the mage clans again?” he guessed.
“Not again, but still. I never stopped.” Klein corrected, “Trust me sir, this mage could be our ticket into the sorcerer’s committee. His output of mana is beyond even me, if he learns some control and is taught proper. The mage clans won’t be able to resist inviting him in.”
“And where is this man right now?” Fjorn asked, his interest caught.
“We can ease the merchant guild’s issue with him, but for now he’ll be kept under lock and key.” Klein explained.
Fjorn nodded, “Very well, and how do you suppose we befriend this mage that almost took your life?”
Klein raised his hands in defeat, “I’m afraid that is out of my control, the man seems to despise me. But you…He did save your daughters sir.”
“That he did…” Fjorn grumbled, “Has my request been accepted by your…friends?” he then asked in a cold, grim tone.
Klein cleared his throat, “I’ve spoken with them. Are you sure you wish to alter just for keeping face? The general could prove useful even after the war is over, taking him out doesn’t need to be an option. We both know on whose command he sent out those orders, sir.” he tried to reason with Fjorn, but the old man’s dreadful gaze did not falter.
Klein sighed, “Yes, they’ll do it. Many things can happen in the midst of war, they said.”
Fjorn rose from his seat, “Good, good. Now if you can excuse me, my daughters are back from what I thought would be their graves.”
“Of course, should I call for a squad to escort you home?” Klein asked as he opened the door for the man, glancing outside he noticed more than just a squad waiting for the Marquis. “Ah…never mind.”
Fjorn chuckled weakly as he stepped to the doorway, “I never go anywhere without my crimson guard, you should know this by now.” The dozen armoured guards wore dark crimson chain-armour with platelegs and wielded hybrid weaponry made by dwarven master engineers. Weapons of the same magical make as Thea’s old gunblade.
Klein glanced at the four cityguard he kept by him at most times, he found them lacking in comparison.
“Jealous, Klein?” Fjorn asked with a grin, “Worry not boy, after this bloody war is won, you’ll have more than just guards. Maybe even everything, if something would…happen to me.” The Marquis chuckled wickedly.
Klein gave a polite bow, “Be safe on your way home sir.” closing the door after Fjorn walked off. Klein stood there clenching the handle, grinding his teeth. (“Oh if only…but then that bloody daughter of yours would run off.”)
Sighing in annoyance, Klein turned to the windows. Walking over to them, he briefly stared at the city outside. “Marriage or not, war or not…All of this, it will all be mine.” He whispered to himself, wearing a cold smile.
“You mean ours.” Suddenly spoke a melodic feminine voice from behind him.
“Makaela…You know I do not speak Elven.” Klein said as he turned to find the cloaked Dark Elf standing right behind him, wisps of shadow still oozing out of her just materialized form. Her contagious smile adding onto his own.
“Oh, but I thought you liked it when I speak dirty elven.” Makaela teased as she leaned into him, her ample breasts squashed over his chest, as she put her hands over his shoulders.
“You know too much.” Klein said as he suddenly grabbed her by the waist and raised her onto his desk, “Overhearing my conversations again?” Klein asked, pulling down her hood and revealing her braided pure white hair.
“Just how you taught me, master~” Makaela moaned as Klein grabbed her left breast and kissed her neck.
“Let me teach you more then-” Klein began, when suddenly her body burst into shadow, converging onto the chair behind his desk where she rematerialized. Laying her legs over the desk after she picked up a few papers and began to read.
“Oh but not here master, you wouldn’t want the guards to overhear now? You know I like to scream.” Makaela continued to tease, “So, I hear your fiancée is back whole.”
Klein cleared his throat and fixed his suit, “Y-Yes, everything is fine. But as you heard, that old fool still wants Henry dead for even trying.”
Makaela hummed in disinterest, “And what’s this about a mage? I’m afraid I missed the scene but my babies tell me he even nailed you to the wall.”
“Not, in such obscene a manner.” Klein sighed, his eyes glossing over her net wearing legs. “The mage is a fearsome one though, his teleportation speed was beyond my senses, his chanting just as fast. And the spells he used…A draconic spell without a core to process it? Whatever that second enhancement spell he used was and then there’s the last one. Which if I’m not mistaken was the ninth tier spell of the old lightning school book. Unleashed Thor.”
“Hmm?” Makaela’s interest was caught then, “Ninth tier?” she asked while putting her legs and the papers down. “And in comparison to your magic, your Slayer equipment aside. What does that mean?”
Klein’s eyes were wide as he stared out the window, “Magic that is beyond my capability to cast. Magic that would procure one the rank of Arch Wizard.” he explained with an anxious chuckle. “Who or wherever this mage was trained by, are not ones to be trifled with.” He glanced at her as she sat backwards on his chair, “One man cannot learn these things alone, spells even the masters of the mage clan have difficulty producing.”
“And where might you think he gained his power from?” Makaela asked, leaning away from the chair while holding onto the back. Smirking as she continued to tease him with her body.
Klein returned to looking outside the window, he didn’t think he could control himself if he saw more. “Demons, it is the only way. That mage, Erik was it? That man is no man at all.”
“Oh? Then why not report him while you have him caged up?” Makaela’s form shifted to shadow once more, appearing behind Klein and leaning into his back. “Or does master have a…more maniacal plan?~” she whispered into his ear.
“Fjorn is a fool, he thinks we can gain control of the kingdom through this war. Things always go wrong, and with demons invading the walls? This, will not go as he plans it to. No, I will make sure it doesn’t.” Klein explained, narrowing his eyes as he noticed something odd outside the window.
Unsure of what he saw, or that he even saw anything at all he continued to stare at the window. There was nothing strange, nothing that he could see. Shrugging it off as nerves and not wanting to seem weak, he continued. “Trust me Makaela, none of them, not Fjorn, not the King. They all underestimate me, but none of them knows what I have planned for this city.”
He turned to face her, but the Dark Elf was gone. Not a trace within his office, had something occurred?
When suddenly a loud knock came at his door, “Come in.” Klein said while turning to face the door.
A guard opened the door with somewhat of a rush, his expression pale and eyes wide. “R-Reporting in sir! There has been a breach from the dungeons! The mage from this morning h-has disappeared!”
“Disappeared?…” Klein repeated, his eyes widening in disbelief. “H…How?”
“The entire cell looks like the sight of an explosion sir! We…We think he blew himself up or…was incinerated.” The guard explained.
(“Suicide to hide their intentions? Tricky fiends…”) Klein thought, (“But the opposite is possible, who knows what he’s truly capable of after all…”) he wracked his mind, trying to figure it out. “Form a search, if he escaped there must be trails of mana left behind, of spells other than what was used for the explosion. Get the enchanters to scan the cell, if he’s still alive…Find him.” Klein ordered the guard, who left right after saluting. Shutting the door behind himself.
(“Where have you gone…hermit mage?.”) Klein mused as he stared off at the suit of dragon-made armour, decorating the office’s corner. (“Why was he so ticked off about the Bjorn relic anyway?”)
Makaela’s form rematerialized within the damp and dimly lit hall. This entire church had long been abandoned. Still standing only as a sign of fate by the kingdom, who did not have the funds or available manpower to rebuild it at the moment.
She walked up to the alter, dragging her hand along its side when suddenly the wall at the very end shook. The bricks moved inward then apart, revealing a hidden passage. Makaela stopped at the entrance, glancing about before walking in.
The wall closed behind her, and the staircase before her lit up by a single torch. She descended the stairs, torches going off whenever she passed by them and lightning up the next one. For over a minute she descended the stairs, until she finally reached an old wooden door.
Pushing it open, she walked through. Finding herself within a vast room. Flame lit all the way through. Torches held by dark statues that decorated the room’s edge. Each statue with its left hand up, holding a torch. While in the other they held a crooked blade, piercing it into the floor beneath them.
The statues were of Elves wearing bladed white armour, their helmets, impossible not to recognise what they were shaped after. The head of a dragon, something the kingdom of Druvia had copied by shaping theirs after a wyvern’s.
“How goes, sister Makaela?” Asked a hissing voice in elven, as three shadows burst into existence before her. The smoke dissipated revealed three more dark elves, each cloaked to hide their faces.
“It goes, brother Ascal, the blind beast is plotting against their king and the old marquis.” Makaela responded, chuckling coldly as she watched the three unhood.
“What about the demon infiltrator? What shall we do about him?” Asked one woman, shorter than the rest she also had a bald head with crimson tattoos covering her scalp.
“Hm, nothing as of yet sister Zentha. Let Azruxan play his games, although, I never took that warrior for one to play.” Makaela responded as she stopped before the last dark elf, one that hadn’t spoken yet. “How are our preparations, sister Pyra?”
“The dreads have all been fully informed, they will manage the rest of our enslaved brethren when the battle begins.” Pyra answered, the tallest female dark elf in the room. “Freedom has never been so near.”
“Ah but it is not freedom what we seek, sisters.” Said Ascal, the lone male dark elf among them. “We seek redemption from our shackles, to then shackle the humans in return. I would not call that freedom, I would call it rebellion!” The dark elf exclaimed in enthusiasm.
Enthusiasm that was cut short, as a wicked laugh resonated through the hall. Each elf turned, giving the others their backs as they scanned the hall for the source. They saw nor sensed no one, only the deafening cackle as it echoed about.
“Hahah…Ha…Oh…Oh give me a minute…” said the deep yet quiet voice, a voice that should have been inaudible but clung to their ears like spectre’s whisper. “Oh…Oh that was good. This, this is just priceless.” The voice continued to chuckle, as the elves kept searching for it with wild surprised eyes. “So, let’s recount! The King is being backstabbed by two of his land-owning nobles! One of which is backstabbing the other with your group who is planning…Oh and here’s the best part…Planning to backstab all of them!”
The loud laughter continued on from there, an unrestrained howl of amusement.
“W-Who are you?!” Ascal demanded, as each of the elves watched their respective corner warily.
The chuckling ended, silence now filling the hall, causing the elves to only become more alert. Jumping at shadows once the voice suddenly continued, “One could say, I am your creator. Your founder. Your lord. Your God. Now I would settle for introducing myself, but normally one would speak their name before asking another’s.”
“Our god?” repeated Pyra in annoyance.
Ascal though snorted in amusement, “You wish for my name intruder?” he asked, stepping forward and away from the others. Much to their chagrin. “I am Ascal Xilfir, Captain of the southern druvian dreadblades.” He announced proudly.
“Please don’t…” Zentha sighed, cringing as she resisted from holding her face.
“And these,” Ascal continued as he gestured at the other three, “Are my Xilfir sisters, Pyra of the east, Zentha of the west, and our commander…Elder sister Makaela of the north.” He dramatically introduced each of them.
Zentha calmed herself by gripping her blade and mumbling about slicing off Ascal’s tongue.
“Yes, yes. And you talk too much.” The voice responded with a bored tone, “Blazes, I thought you’d never shut up. And they say I monologue!” chuckling into a sigh. “Where was I? Ah yes.”
Each elf spun on the spot as they sensed a surge of mana, two spheres of golden flame appearing before them. Like eyes, they blinked and stared at the elves. “Xilfir, I am the one known to you as the guardian. The one known to the rest of the world, as the destroyer.” Each elf paled severely as the being’s mana rushed out, unable to protect themselves the power flowed directly into their minds, paralyzing them.
“I, am Erikathyr, the white drake.” He announced with a resounding voice, each of the four elves were suddenly forced to kneel. “Yes, you might say that I was killed over a thousand years ago. But it is a fact that I have returned…” he trailed off briefly, waiting for their response.
But each of the elves was wide-eyed baffled, the mana that filled them was indisputably their master’s but they simply could not fathom…all of this.
“Err…Are your brains still functional in there?” Erikathyr asked, seeing that none of them spoke back.
Makaela snapped out of her daze first, “G-Guardian?…”
“Yes?” Erikathyr immediately responded.
The four elves glanced at each other, most of them speechless, while Makaela continued to stutter. “Y-You’re…You’re here? The Guardian? The Destroyer?” she asked in continued disbelief.
“Ugh…Yes, it is me.” He now grumbled in response, “Do you need further proof? I can…incinerate something?” Erikathyr offered awkwardly.
“N-N-No, no!” Pyra begged, “D-Don’t…Please?” as she glanced about at the expensive and ancient statues.
“Whatever, point is. I’m back. So now tell me, Xilfir.” They saw as a glow of golden electricity sparked before the two fiery eyes, forming the brief shape of a hand rising. To which, each of their heads rose. “Where do your loyalties lay today?” Now suddenly freed from their paralysis, still, none of them dared stand or look away.
“Are the Xilfir, still my blade?” Erikathyr asked.
Makaela met the being’s fiery eyes, her own reflecting the golden energy in response. She could feel the drake’s power frolicking her surroundings, giving her a taste of what waited to awaken within her blood. “Erikathyr, the guardian, the destroyer, the white.” She chanted as the other four glanced at her, ”We Xilfir repledge. We follow, we obey. Eternally, we serve.”
Makaela looked back at the other three, without needing to say a word, with only a glance they knew she was serious. Nodding back, before also turning to gaze into the fiery spheres of gold. “Eternally,” they chanted in unison “We serve.”
Erik clapped his hands together once. “Then our bond is remade. Now, onto some pressing matters,” he said, his shape starting to shimmer. “Provide me with some…clothing.” He paused as his form gradually faded in from invisibility, “To cover up this horrendous human vessel.” Finishing with a nonchalant tone, his gloriously still naked-self revealed to all.
The elves glanced away, “Now I wouldn’t call that horrendous, guardian…” all but Makaela, who shamelessly looked him over with a grin.