Mar 8, 2012

Origins of the Founders: Times Change

The agonizing screams erupted from ravaged town folk as the minions of Zhaitan poured in like the relentless waves of the sea. Instead of the usual salt water scent in the breeze, the overwhelming coppery aroma of blood clung in the air. The flood of destruction and devastation was unmatched, and the people of this once peaceful fishing community had little chance or warning. These minions came in like the tide, quiet and unnoticed and struck like a rip current, sharp and violent. Villagers scrambled in every direction just hoping for a sliver of a chance for survival. Homes burned, families were torn apart, and lives were lost. From the fires of the ignited huts, a thick cloud of smoke rose and filled the surrounding air with a vaporous fog.

                Further north over a slight hill a group of figures emerged, silhouetted through the haze. “Are we too late!?” roared the largest of them. He was a mighty Norn, a Warrior to be precise. The sturdy leather straps and metal armor clanked together with every footfall. Dark hair skimmed his massive shoulders, its umbrae color almost absorbing the foggy morning light. His muscles flexed solidly under his tanned and rough skin as he gripped his twin stygian reavers tightly. The Norn’s verdigris eyes expressed rage at what he was witnessing, all while his linier tattoo down his left eye flinched with the furrowing of his brow. 

                From under the massive Norn’s shadow a smaller figure emerged. “This may even be over your head Verd but with the evident burning domiciles, bloody corpses strewn about, and the crystal clear sounds of helpless screaming… yes. I’d say we’re late.” The Asura said sharply as he took in the unfolding chaos. The large intellectual orbs observing and analyzing every detail, painstakingly calculating all relevant and possible scenarios. He lifted his grayish hand to his chin in careful thought and tapped his cheek where his ritualistic skull style marking etched his skin. The fog flowed over his head as it caressed his viridian braided hair. With his other hand he swept his scholarly cloak aside and rested it in his pant pocket. 

                Another Norn stepped forward. He too was large and had a similar demonic marking adorning his skin, red and vibrant.  He pulled his dark hair back and tied it with a leather cord, knotting it tightly. His face was young in appearance and clean shaven, which was odd for a Norn, but wisdom lingered behind those dark eyes. He rolled up his cloak sleeves, revealing his tribal tattoos, and folded his arms over his chest. He scanned the ravaged village taking note of all the dead bodies. “The battle is still raging, we still have time to get down there and destroy Zhaitan’s pets.” He said to Crikk.

                “I said we were late, not once did I make mention that we were out of time, Ragnar. Do not presume to correct me less you find yourself the one being corrected.” The Asura retorted with a stern look. Ragnar said nothing in return, but focused his gaze back at the unfolding massacre.

 From behind the trio, a slender and feminine form swayed with the darkened fog. Her ash white and brown multicolored hand twirled the fog around in the air. Her pink curious like eyes gazed at it as it flowed and circled around her twig like finger. She seemed to see things in the fog, her mind taking in every sense and feeling associated with it. Finally she turned to the fight down below with a renewed focus in her stare. Her branch like appendages creaked slightly as she moved. Her hair, more like a bushel of dread like foliage, ran down her leafy back in the form of a ponytail. “Life deserves to live.” Her words were as gentle as flower peddles, “These undead minions had their chance at it once, now we need to stop them stealing it from others who deserve it. You agree with that, right Galzar?”

“I agree Sirona.” A gruff voice said from the shadows of the trees. With a muffled puff, a slender but strong Charr dropped from the canopy above. Every move was graceful and fluid. Galzar studied the unfolding battle with a predators gaze as the morning breeze brushed across his dark patterned fur. He pulled a razor sharp dagger from its sheath and crouched down, flipping the weapon in the air in a playful manner, all the while surveying the area. His leather armor made not a sound as he moved. 

“Crikk, at least we’ll have plenty of bodies for our undead army.” Ragnar suggested to the Asura.

Sirona whirled on the Norn Necromancer with a disdainful look, like an ember to a raindrop. “Don’t you dare defile those innocent people down there! They have been through enough already don’t you think!?”

“Ragnar is correct in his tactical thought process regardless of your nonessential feeling in the matter.” Crikk answered back, “We’d just as well run ourselves through for not taking full advantage of the environmental weapons at our disposal. Besides, to put it in bookah terms, we’re giving the dead a chance to fight back.”

Sirona released a breathy sigh. She didn’t like the idea, but the Asura did put a positive spin on this unfortunate situation. At least those killed by the dragon’s minions would have a chance at avenging themselves… even if they are being controlled by a volatile Norn and a know it all Asura. “Fine… but don’t use them if you don’t have to.” She asked.

“I can’t make a guarantee like that in a tactical battle scenario such as this one.” Crikk said bluntly. 

                A loud mechanical click startled everyone out of their intense focus. “My apologies.” A Human said as he stepped up on the hill, “Did I interrupt your serious moment?” He smiled slyly as he loaded a round into his rifle. His face was bright, but not as bright as his blazing red hair. An old life with the Charr had yielded an interesting cut style, short in the front, but wild and untamed in the back. He past a lithe hand through it then lifted and placed his goggles atop his brow. The backpack he carried was filled with odd flasks, containers and gadgets. He strolled over to a clear spot on the small hill and retrieved an interesting contraption from his beneath his pack. Setting it down gently, the Human pressed a series of buttons in a specific order. The mechanism hummed and rattled, and after a few moments unfolded and extended into a mobile mortar station.

                “Ziggy, I take it you’re going to be adding support fire from up here then?” Verd, asked with a grin.

                “Indeed my large friend.” Ziggy replied as he continued to rummage through his pack, “I’ll make sure I mostly pay attention so I don’t blow any of you up. If worse comes to worse, Crikk or Ragnar can just enslave your corpses and we can continue being one big happy family!” 

                “Assuming we don’t get blown up either…” Ragnar retorted. 

                “Well yes, that’s true. Just keep moving you know. Duck and dodge and all that and I’m sure you’ll be fine.” Ziggy winked back. 

                “Alright!” Verd exclaimed, “I think that’s been enough talking. There are undead down there who have a destiny being at the sharp end of my axes. I’m sure Galzar’s blades are itching for action as well, so let us not waste any more time.”

                Nobody objected, and everyone’s looks showed they agreed. With weapons ready and minds focused, the band of heroes charged down into their favorable battle positions, which included Verd running head long into the heart of the undead infestation. Both necromancers cautiously headed down to the perimeter of the village outskirts. Galzar and Sirona both trailed behind the battle ready Warrior, ready to provide assistance, and also to test their own mettle against the hoard. Meanwhile, Ziggy tweaked and adjusted his mortar station, making sure to aim at the densest portion of undead for maximum devastation. 

                BAM! Ziggy fired his first round. Little did he know that as clever of an idea as it was to hit the largest group of enemies, it was Verd’s dumbest idea to do the same. The shell whistled with a high pitch whine as it sailed over head. Galzar and Sirona looked up simultaneously, and then looked back down at each other with concern in their eyes. Verd continued to charge at an uncanny pace, his twin axes out at the ready, and a twisted smile spread ear to ear. The mortar round and the Norn were about to get a little more intimate, and not in a pleasant way. The Charr tried to call out to the Norn, but his roar fell on deaf ears. 

                A brilliant flash erupted from seemingly nowhere. The blinding light came before the deafening sound. Undead rained down across the village square, their body parts slapping against the compacted earth and rubble scattered about. Verd found himself a mere foot from his first kill, and then the next moment, time seemed to slow down. He found himself being lifted into the air away from what he desired; his first kill, as if this was some sort of nightmare. Suddenly time caught up with him. He shot back into the air, landing with a sickening thud against the wall of a still standing building. Groaning, Verd picked himself up, wobbled, and steadied his body against the same wall. He saw the Charr and Sylvari rushing up to him, but he waved them off with a gesture. Luckily he held on to his weapons through his rough flight and landing. Taking a few slashes in the air, Verd nodded and jogged back into the frey.

                Back atop the hill, Ziggy cringed as he realized where Verd was headed. Too bad the trigger had already been pulled. The human thought for a moment, really he should have figured that would be the first place the suicidal Norn would head. As soon as the explosion went off, Ziggy pulled down his eagle eye goggles and scanned the impact area. He was relieved to see Verd standing back up on his own. A little worse for wear, but an engineer can’t let little setbacks like this get in the way of progress. Ziggy made a quick note of where all his allies were and proceeded to adjust his next shot's coordinates.

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