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An Altadin's Aversions of Almighty Alliteration
(On a quick note; this was an old story of mine that I wrote my freshman year (two years ago) and only just recently rediscovered it, laughed at how bad of a writer I was back then, how much I've improved since then (because of CotH and outside sources), and pretty much reworked the entire dang thing. While I'm working on the other chapters, here's the first two chapters!)

(Also, if you think this is lacking proper writer stuffs, then please, feedback is for the strong (and you should've seen it -before- I rewrote it). I'm inviting you to provide feedback, and I apologize if some of the parts of the battle/resurrection are... A little more detailed then you might want. You have been warned.)

(Also do realize I'm still a fledgling writer, and this will likely burn at least two people's eyes. Again, you hath been warned. *Quits OOC banter*)

Chronicles of the Order of the Unknown

Written By: That One Dude

Part One: The Start of the Unknown


“Seek me out when the first moon falls on the eve of the black dawn,” the man whose robes were as black as the night sky spoke. The clearing they were in was kept alight by the light of the three moons of this world, and the many stars did not cease to also add to this.

“Aye, m’lord, I shall.” The peasant said, kneeling to kiss the draconite ring on the robed man’s outstretched hand.

“Then the time is set, the lord of this land shall join his fellow worshippers in the great dark.” The robed man said, raising his hand to his robes, and slipping it inside. The hand came out with a small powdery ball, and when it struck the ground, a flash of dark smoke erupted from the soft grass in the forest clearing.

From this flash of dark smoke came a portal that shone a dark red. The robed man prepared to step into the portal when an arrow flew from a nearby bush and struck him in the side.

The robed man cried out in pain and turned to the peasant, drawing a dagger from his robes. “You traitorous rat, your end is nigh!” He raised his arm and brought the blade down upon the peasant just before another arrow struck him in the back.

Both robed man and peasant fell to the ground, dead. With the robed man’s last breath, the portal fizzled and closed in on itself. From the bushes emerged two people garbed in chainmail; a man with taut ash blonde hair, deep brown eyes, a tight jawline, a body of medium build and a longsword at his hip, and a woman with shoulder-length dark brown hair, azure-blue eyes, a soft face, and a body of similar build, with a longsword at her hip as well.

The woman knelt beside the two corpses and rolled the robed man’s body off of the peasant. “A pity,” She said, the darkness of night keeping her face shaded, though the moons shined in her hair, “He was our best source on the cult of the dawn.”

The man shouldered his bow, the same he had used earlier in killing the robed man, and walked to the afore-mentioned corpse. “He’s wearing a draconite ring.” He said, tearing the two arrows from the corpse. The woman looked over to the corpse with that comment, a brow perking in curiosity. Draconite was a rare and magical gem, usually only found in the deepest of caverns; mountain dwarves were among the only ones to have access to it.

“Black draconite,” The woman said, slipping the ring gently from its former owner’s hand and inspecting it with a closer view. The gem itself was encrusted into the middle of a formation of what looked like three dark moons, which the woman knew to be the symbol of the cult of the black dawn. “I’d say this man had his connections.”

“I’d say the same thing.” The man said with a near sarcastic tone. He took a deep breath and sighed, looking around the clearing. The forest was quiet, and the woman did not enjoy the eerie quiet much, because she always felt there was something waiting for her in the darkness. “Well, we had better at least check the cultist for anything.”

The woman smirked slightly, knowing her partner’s aptitude for stating the obvious objectives, one after the other. She began sifting through the pockets of the cultist’s robes, naming the items off as she removed them. “Two small scrolls,” she unrolled them slightly to peer at the language they were written in, but could not discern the blocky symbols that were blotted across the pages. She assumed it to be some form of demonic.

“Several vials of…” The woman brought one of the vials up to her nose, de-corking it for a moment and sniffing it. She instantly found herself holding in a rough cough, and calmed herself after corking the vial again, “Whatever that was.”

She then sifted through the pockets once again and came upon a small black charm that was similar in shape to the ring’s symbol, though it pulsed lightly with a dark red color, leading her to believe that it was not a smart idea to hold it in her hand for a long while, and so she swiftly slipped it into a small piece of cloth. “And a small black charm, pulsing with demonic magics.”

The man nodded in response. “I suppose that closes this investigation,” The woman again thought him peculiar for always stating the obvious, “So we should get back to camp.”

When they walked under the light of the stars and moons, the woman looked up to stare once again in awe at the three moons of the world. She had always been fascinated with astronomy, as she knew her father to occasionally dabble in, and the tale of the three moons was one that dated back so far some say it was created by the gods themselves.

Urnel, the tear of Tirea, was always the moon closest to the west, and it was a solemn azure blue in color. No tales told why. Cerdra, the green eye of Tirea, colored a soft jade, was always in between Urnel and Dyndra, the golden eye of Tirea, which was a soft gold color and was the last to rise from the horizon and the last to set.

The old wives tales told that in the time before the world’s creation, the two moon-eyes of Tirea stared blankly into the vast darkness. After Tirea created the world, Tirea’s moon-eyes watched as the races he had created fought each other near endlessly. And so his moon-eyes shed a single tear, which gradually grew to become Urnel, the tear moon.

Together with the tale and their own colors, the three moons were a fascinating subject to the mercenary woman. Her thoughts trailed off for a moment, but she was brought back into reality when her partner called out. “Come on, let’s pick up the pace. We have to be back by sunrise.”

She nodded and began to sprint after her partner, luckily ignoring the darkness of the woods around her. The moons and stars were sufficient in lighting open ground, but that was all their tendrils could reach.

When the man and woman finally reached their camp, the sun was just peeking over the horizon, casting its light over the world and creating an orange cast with Dyndra across the horizon still staring down upon the world. Again the woman was hard-pressed to keep her gaze from the skies.

The once thick forest now rapidly shifted into a giant clearing marked by many tents, with stumps around or underneath them. Around the great camp was an awkwardly shaped circular palisade, though it was obvious in its make that it was not to be permanent. The woman often found herself laughing at the crudely made camp that housed their corps of mercenaries.

Through the small corridors formed by opening between the tents, the man and woman passed by several groups of other mercenaries who were both armored and not, depending on whether they looked to be returning or relaxing. Eventually, the man and woman reached the tallest tent in the camp, and entered through its open flap.

Within was a wooden desk at the center, several piles of papers decorating its top in a disorganized manner. Behind the desk sat a grey-haired man dressed in tattered steel plate armor, who even on his outside bore the look of an official in the corps. The woman stopped in her tracks and saluted the armored man, standing at attention. Her partner soon followed in the motion.

“At ease,” The official said. “Katrana Silverberg and Johnathan Deklin, it’s been a while since you’ve graced your presence at my desk. I take it your investigation is done with?” He looked at them both, his eyes nearly peering into their very souls. In all the time she had known the sergeant, Katrana had always been intimidated by him.

“Aye, sir, we have.” Johnathan said, stepping forward and setting the satchel containing the cultist’s items onto the desk. Katrana had put the items into a satchel during a small moment of catching breath that they had taken earlier.

The sergeant opened the satchel and poured its contents carefully out onto the desk. He inspected each of the items in turn, stopping at the ring and staring it over. “And our contact?”

“He is dead, sir.” Katrana spoke up, though she felt a shrill of guilt for admitting to such a mistake. “We followed him to the arranged spot, but the cultist slew him before we could react swiftly enough.”

“Well,” The sergeant said, his face dropping in what Katrana believed to be a mix of amusement and a feeling of being impressed, “Good work in spite of the contact’s death. The cult of the black dawn will probably be in hiding, but they were going to drop sometime anyways.” He leaned back in his chair. “I’ll fill out a report later. For now, get yourselves to the payment tent. Dismissed.”

Katrana and Johnathan both saluted, before turning and exiting the tent. Katrana was not altogether happy for the result of this mission, but at least the twenty-five gold stipend per completion would cheer her up, and fill her now roaring belly.

“Twenty-five gold isn’t worth going into these kinds of things.” Johnathan said, likely complaining more with his stomach than his thoughts. Katrana had known him to always have a large appetite.

Katrana rolled her eyes and slowly shook her head. “It pays for living.” She said, to which Johnathan grumbled incoherently, and she laughed cheerfully.

They turned and found themselves at the entrance to the payment tent, which they entered silently. Like the command tent, this one too had a table in the center, with a man sitting behind it. This man, however, had light brown hair that covered all around his head, his pate completely bald. Resting on his long nose was a pair of slightly cracked round-framed spectacles.

The bald man spoke with a squeaky voice, which Katrana thought either to be a disorder or simply because the man never cleared his throat. “Names.” He said simply, his hands resting folded atop the table.

“Katrana Silverberg and Johnathan Deklin,” Johnathan said, giving a two-finger salute to the bald man before resuming a relaxed position.

The bald man nodded slowly, and scanned a small list on the desk with his eyes. “Twenty-five gold pieces each.” He lazily leaned back in his chair to reach for two of the pouches that sat in a large pile behind his chair. Katrana, however, made a silent prediction that the man had gained some weight on himself, and he was likely to fall over.

To not much surprise, the bald man did indeed fall out of the chair, hitting the bare ground with an ‘oomph’. Katrana stifled a laugh, placing a hand over her mouth, and she saw Johnathan doing the same. The bald man grumbled annoyingly and pushed himself back to his feet, brushing off his brown robes and adjusting the position of his spectacles. He set two of the pouches onto the table with a clank of coins from each.

Katrana thought the man was simply too compulsive, because he would unlace the pouches and pour out their contents to count out every single coin within, as if the amounts needed to be exact. She watched eagerly as the bald man counted out twenty-five gold coins for each pouch, and then strung them back up. “You may leave now.” He said with an obviously faked smile, showing yellowed and out-of-place teeth.

Katrana offered a fake smile of her own, and picked up one of the pouches, turning and quickly making her way out. The bald man had always been a horrible necessity in the camp, not only for his magical abilities, but also for his precise points on the job. However, she never did get used to his whiny voice, and always felt the need to punch him in the throat.

Johnathan emerged behind Katrana, and barely moved out of the way when a scout sprinted by him. Again he fulfilled Katrana’s expectation by pointing out the obvious, “Looks like he’s in quite a hurry.”

“I’ll bet you it has something to do with a failed mission.” Katrana said with a friendly grin. Johnathan rolled his eyes in response, which made her chuckle heartily. The two had their moments of not getting along, but for the most part, Katrana thought she and Johnathan did quite well together.

They started to make their way to the tent that served as the corps’s makeshift mess hall, a wide tent that was rather high in build, but were interrupted when a deep bell rang throughout the camp. Katrana grimaced as she knew what it was; the call to arms. Katrana and Johnathan were soon amidst the large crowd of mercenaries now rushing through the maze of tents to the corps’s rallying point.

In the large clearing that was at the center of their camp, a very thick stump served as the announcement platform for the sergeant, whenever important issues needed to be discussed or when drills were being examined.

There were just less than fifty mercenaries now gathered in the clearing, half of them not even armored, fully armored, or fully clothed. However, all of them stood at attention, as did Katrana and Johnathan. Despite how they were in other situations, when the call to arms was made, everything in the camp was soon to being quiet; sometimes a little too quiet for comfort.

Barely a moment passed before Katrana saw the sergeant stepping onto the stump at the far end of the clearing. “I’ve just received word that the members of our corps that were sent to slay the hill troll menace harassing Faltern’s eastern fields were unsuccessful. Now, the remaining hill trolls and their goblin play-things are headed here.” He shouted across the crowd.

“We may be looking death in the eye right now, but they won’t be catching us with a foot up our ass. Die with honor, brothers and sisters in the corps.” The sergeant finished his statement. Katrana had always known him to give short and concise speeches, and this time she was not sure if he expected victory or defeat. The mercenaries saluted to their sergeant, and quickly departed to prepare themselves.

Katrana went with Johnathan to grab a swift bite of food from the makeshift mess hall before rushing towards their tents. The camp was in a fury, with men and women of the corps swift in getting armored and armed all throughout. Katrana thought she could compare it to an anthill in all her remarks as of late.

Within moments, the mercenaries were ready in their various armors and weapons, and were situating themselves behind the palisade logs that formed a simple wall around the camp. Katrana and Johnathan stood at the eastern edge of the camp, each with bow and arrow in hand. In all the battles they had fought in this clearing, Katrana feared this might be their last, if not the corps’s last.

For what seemed to be like hours they waited at the edges of their camp, weapons ready for the approaching invaders. When Katrana finally caught sight of their opponents, she took aim with her bow. “Goblins, eastern flank!” She shouted, waiting for her fellow mercenaries to ready their bows as well.

The camp erupted into motion as the mercenaries adjusted their positions, Katrana again beginning to doubt their victory as her eyes caught more and more opponents pouring out of the woods. Some two hundred were there, but that was an impressive number either way.

“Loose!” The sergeant’s powerful voice erupted from his position, and near twenty goblins fell almost instantly, the shafts of arrows protruding from their wounds.

“One more volley, then swords forward!” Katrana heard him shout again, and she strung one more arrow. Again, twenty more goblins fell to the ground, those who survived these wounds being trampled by their brothers behind.

Katrana hurried to throw down her bow and draw his sword, grabbing her shield by the leather strap and tugging it off the ground, staring at her approaching adversaries.

“Give them hell!” The sergeant shouted, his voice resounding throughout the camp. Katrana raised her sword and cheered, the goblins barely meters now from the palisade line. Katrana’s first opponent, a goblin who, by all of her regards, looked terribly ugly and asking to be killed, was swiftly slain by a swing of her sword.

The goblins spread themselves thin against the wall, and the mercenaries quickly eliminated them through the openings in the line. Katrana looked over at Johnathan’s position after she had finished off those goblins near her, and chuckled to see how his first encounter began. His shield slammed hard into a jumping goblin, sending the frail-boned goblin hard into a nearby palisade, which caused the goblin’s last remark in the world to end with a deadly snap of bones breaking.

Katrana turned herself to stare out into the trees once more. Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted several large stones soaring over the canopy. “Stones in the air! Down!” She shouted, and knelt down with her shield up. She wondered exactly what it was that was throwing these stones as she heard the screams of those unlucky enough to not notice the falling stones.

“Looks like the trolls are here! Target them with your volleys!” The sergeant’s shouts rang across the field, and Katrana swiftly grabbed up his bow once again, stringing an arrow and taking aim.

Coming from the trees were a small mass of hill trolls, each tall, a sickly greenish color, wielding a large club made of wood or stone and naked save for the occasional loincloth. Arrow shafts soon decorated their legs and chests, and a few of them fell to the ground in pain, stirring up the restful dirt. Katrana was disgusted to spot those of the hill trolls that didn’t wear the crude loincloths, and Johnathan’s incessant chuckling nearby at her reaction was all she needed to get back into focus.

Before another round of arrows could fly, the hill trolls had reached the palisade, and now battered down the thick and sharp logs with their mighty clubs. They were soon pelted with arrows and swords, but Katrana was convinced they had already done their damage before they fell to their deaths.

“Ready to charge!” The sergeant shouted, raising his sword in triumph over a hill troll’s corpse. Katrana was not the least surprised to see the man had taken the creature down alone.

From the trees, however, came another wave of goblins and hill trolls. This made Katrana wonder just how many of them the contract-maker had expected the now-dead group of mercenaries to slay before dying themselves. She also considered that they probably brought a lot of friends along. But now with the palisades destroyed, the mercenaries would have to face them in open ground.

“Sound the charge! Death or glory!” The sergeant shouted, Katrana almost felt he said the last part with an amount of glee, and sprinted forward with sword in hand. The goblins and hill trolls were taken slightly aback by the sudden charge of the mercenaries, but quickly erupted in battle cries of their own.

In the minutes that followed, the clearing soon rank with the smell of blood, sweat, and death. Hill trolls, mercenaries, and goblins alike decorated the ground beneath their feet as the two forces fought. To Katrana’s slight amusement, however, she heard off in the distance the sergeant’s powerful voice reciting an old mercenary’s tune.

Oh, the merry men fight! The merry men fight! The merry men fight! Oh, the merry men fight for fame and glory!” The sergeant sang it with such pride as his blade danced among his enemies, slaying most all in his path.

Katrana returned her attention to the battle, turning to see where Johnathan was. Her eyes widened, and she gaped, ready to cry out, but stopped herself. A hill troll swung its thick club at the tall man, and Johnathan soared through the air, crashing into a palisade and falling to the ground.

Katrana’s eyes ran red with rage for a moment, and she swung her blade wildly, without thought or care. What she struck soon fell to her blade, and she yelled incoherently about the loss of her friend. Before she knew it, however, she felt a sudden pain in her back, and she herself was sent soaring through the air.

She slammed into a palisade, the log snapping under the force and tumbling to the side. Katrana, however, toppled to the ground. She attempted to move her arms and legs, but was unable to. She came to the ironically obvious conclusion that the impact had paralyzed her entire body, and so she resigned herself to watching her friends die.

Before long, the sergeant stood with what was left of this mercenary corps; two women with halberds, a man with a bow, a man with a claymore, and the bald man from the payment tent.

“Enough of this,” a deep, evil voice echoed through the clearing, and Katrana could only guess one thing; a troll mage, which would explain how the former mercenary party had failed. “Move aside, imbeciles.”

“Hail, Zarog!” The mob of combined goblins and hill trolls erupted in this heavily accented phrase of the common tongue. They parted in a small line to make way for the approaching troll mage, foolishly leaving the sergeant and his comrades alone to gather into a formation.

From the trees came a tall, blue-skinned troll that wielded a long wooden staff that clinked with the sound of many trinkets dangling from its top. Katrana was physically unable to laugh at the fact that this troll was even uglier than the green ones. The troll mage had blood red eyes, and its face was covered in a scraggly beard.

“I am Zarog, pale-skins.” The troll mage said as it reached a point it had apparently determined sufficient in distance away from the remaining mercenaries. “Your companions gave quite the resistance.”

The sergeant and his comrades laughed loudly. “Better have if they’re the same men and women I trained!” The sergeant shouted in response, grinning with sword in hand. Katrana knew the sergeant wasn’t this arrogant, so she assumed he was masking fear with insult and aggression.

“I grow tired of hearing your screams, and wish to offer you simpletons a chance for life.” Zarog said with an apt tone of arrogance as it scratched its chin with its free hand.

“Go to hell,” The sergeant said in quaint response, “And burn in there.”

Katrana could not believe before that Zarog could get any uglier, but he did when his face contorted in a sneer. “Then you have sealed your fate.” Zarog turned and began to slowly walk away. “Kill them, and do with the dead what you wish.”

Katrana caught sight of the sergeant and his comrades raising their arms in challenge to their approaching enemies, and she was heartened by their apparent courage in the face of death. The bald man’s staff erupted in a cone of flames, and a large amount of goblins was engulfed in the magical fire. The sergeant’s blade cut down a hill troll with one mighty swoop. However, as Katrana expected, they did not last very long, outnumbered as they were.

Katrana could only watch as the goblins then swarmed over the dead, violating corpses by both consuming flesh and pilfering goods. One goblin in particular came up to where Katrana lay motionless, and for a moment she hoped to Tirea that the goblin did not do anything to her corpse.

It simply cackled, brought its deadly blade up to Katrana’s throat, and swiftly slit it across. Katrana felt her entire body shiver at the sudden, sharp pain in her throat, and she gasped for some form of life to return to her lungs as the goblin then licked the stained blade.

Her vision slowly went from spots of color to black, and she felt cold, and then… Nothing.


Katrana’s eyes opened again, and she jumped at the first sight of her surroundings. She was lying in the middle of a clearing, a great pine forest all around her. However, there were patches of snow throughout the forestry, and the small white flakes solemnly fell to meet Katrana’s exposed face. Surprisingly, she did not feel cold.

Katrana stood, looking around herself for a moment, gathering thoughts. This place reminded her greatly of the days when she fought alongside Etrec Reshy, a friend of hers from the Kingdom of Deneria, in the war torn Albage region.

Katrana had a swift flashback, remembering only that Reshy had gone missing in combat shortly after being promoted to captain, but preceding the declaration that he was a traitor to the crown. However, Katrana snapped back to her current state, and then it swiftly dawned on her.

Ilnara. The after-life. Tirea’s sacred land.

By what she was taught, she would soon be greeted by Tirea’s manservant, Melkara the Peacekeeper, who would lead her down the silver-laden path to the gates of Delmar, Tirea’s court. There, her accounted acts in life, good and evil, would be judged, and she would be either found worthy of the serenity of Ferena, or the damnation of Derak.

Katrana jumped in place when a man appeared before her. This man had long, pure white hair, as well as a long beard that extended down to the collar of his silver breastplate. His pupils were a radiant white.

“Greetings, child,” The man spoke. Katrana did not need to guess to know this was Melkara the Peacekeeper. “I am Melkara the Peacekeeper.”

Katrana opened her mouth to speak, but no words came out. She found herself unable to speak. Why, however, she knew not. “What is your name, child?” Melkara asked, his voice light and musical, inviting Katrana to relax herself just slightly. “I knew your name as soon as you entered the forests of Ilnara, but it would honor me should you speak it yourself.”

“Katrana Silverberg.” She managed to mutter, growing silent thereafter.

Melkara bowed low, an inclination of respect. “Katrana Silverberg. Many in Derak speak that name in hate.” He said, rising to look her in the eyes. “Will you walk with me to Delmar, Katrana?” He stepped aside, and held his right arm out to indicate the silver-laden path that now stretched into the forest.

Katrana nodded sheepishly, and then they walked for a short while. Katrana caught a glance of Melkara’s humble gait, and bowed her head as she walked.

When Melkara eventually stopped in his stride, she raised her head to look at what stood before them. A great hall of a bright stone with two great doors stood before them, with one man standing between the two and the doors. Katrana faintly remembered this figure, the gatekeeper of Delmar. He was a little remembered figure in Tirean faith, but he held the sole purpose of keeping evils from entering Tirea’s sacred halls, and so was honored for that role under the paladins of the Kingdom of Deneria. He was not known for any name save the gatekeeper, though, and Katrana wondered if he had a name.

“Stand aside, gatekeeper. This one bears no trace of evil.” Melkara said, looking at the gatekeeper with a soft glance.

“Pardon, Melkara the Peacekeeper, guardian of Delmar, the court of Tirea. Tirea will not allow this one to enter his hallowed halls.” The gatekeeper said, his voice resonating through his helmet.

Katrana immediately gaped, holding her hands over her mouth. To be denied even passage of the halls was worse still. “He has deemed this one unable to be judged in his hall.” The gatekeeper continued, standing still in his position of guard.

“Pardon, gatekeeper, but what does the lord Tirea mean by unable?” Katrana meekly spoke.

Melkara looked at her and frowned slightly, nodding as if to confirm something. “As you walked the silver path to Delmar, weeks on your world have passed.”

“In those weeks, a man of unknown intent has taken your corpse and now seeks to resurrect you through the use of magic.” The gatekeeper continued where Melkara had left off.

Katrana’s eyes widened. Her body had been taken out of the camp? Who would do that, though? And why? Her mind was filled with questions of her own, but her thoughts were interrupted when the gatekeeper stared directly at her.

“As commanded, by my power, bestowed unto me by Tirea, lord of lords, king of kings, god of gods, ruler of Ilnara, as gatekeeper of Delmar, the sacred court of Tirea, deem you, Katrana Silverberg, to be cast back into the living world where this man of unknown intent seeks to revive you. Such is the word of Tirea, our lord, and such it shall be.” He raised his right hand from its stoic position and pointed his first two fingers at Katrana, a ball of light releasing from his fingers.

The light touched Katrana’s chest, and she suddenly felt a mix of emotions and physical feelings. From relief to severe, striking pain, she wondered how anyone could handle being resurrected if they went through this.

Katrana slowly felt warmth, and she could feel her body again, she felt all that had happened to it since her death, and the sharp pains of all of them coursed up and down her limbs. She felt the blood rushing from her restored heart and warming the freezing veins all through her body. It was a mix of two things for her; bliss of feeling alive again, and living hell from the sheer willpower it took her to not mentally scream.

She could feel blood rushing through her eyes again, and in an instant, she could see again, but her vision was heavily distorted with colors and a bright light, the irises having to readjust to seeing light again. When her sight had adjusted itself, she looked around what she could. She took a wild guess that she was in some form of cellar, because it was dank, dark save for one lantern above her, and had one entrance; a wooden door on the far side.

The severe ringing in her ears that indicated she was beginning to be able to hear again was a confusing sign to Katrana. She wasn’t sure if it was good that she could hear, or bad that her ears were ringing so severely.

She felt her lungs give one mighty pump as she took her first breath since death, and she fought the urge to gasp for air after that. Katrana again looked around the room, seeing six shapes, though they were slightly blurred.

Katrana’s gaze widened. She looked to see a table covered in various scrolls, with a few tools she couldn’t make out next to them. She remembered, however, hearing of a cult that took bodies captive and resurrected them to experiment on living specimens. She was determined to not let that happen to her.

Without much thought, she screamed, and raised her arms and legs. The strength of her limbs had returned by now, and for some reason they actually felt stronger. The leather bonds that once bound her to the stone table in the center of the room tore out from their fastenings. Katrana immediately turned and grabbed one of the tools from the table – it looked sharp to her – and brought it down on the nearest blur.

A scream of pain erupted from her successful target, and Katrana swiftly turned to the other five blurs, her vision still unable to make then out despite her renewed strength of limbs. The other five blurs jumped up in reaction to their presumed comrade being slain, and Katrana threw the tool in her hand at one of them. It struck home in its chest, and the blur fell motionless to the ground.

One of the remaining four removed a small object from its persons, and Katrana presumed this to be a spell book, and so she grabbed for the nearest heavy object she could find and threw it at that specific target. The object hit the blur in what she presumed to be its head, and it toppled to the ground. Katrana thought she heard voices, but to her ears it was all an annoying ringing, only accomplishing in angering her further.

Katrana turned to look at the table of tools, and began to shuffle for something sharp to use. However, two of the remaining three blurs approached and, with ringing shouts, tried to restrain her from behind. Katrana turned in an instant, however, and swung herself into both of them, making them stumble back. She then grabbed them by their heads and threw them at the table she had just been laying on. They joined the dead with resounding cracks of their own.

The last remaining blur began stepping back, its voice a deep ring, but still inaudible to all of Katrana’s confused senses. She reached over and grabbed the tool she deemed sharpest, and made her way towards this last blur. Within an instant, the tool ran through the blur’s open chest, and the blur lost its will to hold itself up. Katrana tore the tool from its chest, and kicked it to its knees, breathing heavily now from the excursion.

Katrana was now satisfied with her accomplishment. Recently back from the dead, and she had slain every single one of her captors. She was about to triumphantly smile when her senses began to take this calm to readjust themselves again. The ringing turned to a voice. A voice that was familiar to her.

“I had predicted this,” The blur – who she now saw to be a bent-over man clutching his wound – raised his face to look at Katrana. “You have grown so much since I last saw you, my daughter.” He said, coughing in pain. “Remember that I will always,” He coughed once again, life obviously leaving him now. “Love you. As I watch you from... Ilnara.” He bent back and fell against the stone wall.

The man spoke ‘Ilnara’ with his last breath as he fell against the wall, and Katrana gazed at the body for a moment, the lantern on the ceiling reflecting light into her solemnly glowing azure-blue eyes. Her mind raced, and suddenly all of her precious memories flowed back to her, and she remembered who that voice had belonged to.

“Father!” Katrana cried, diving to her knees and bringing her father’s corpse into her arms. She could not speak save for her sobs, and so she simply rocked back and forth, holding the corpse of lord Leon Silverberg in her arms, as if it were some childish fairy tale, and he would come back to life just that instant.

Katrana brushed back her father’s hood, his long black hair hanging towards the floor of the room. Katrana brushed his hair from his face, and sobbed. “Father… What have I done?” She simply rocked back and forth, not even bothering to restrain her emotions.

Katrana kept crying, and for what seemed like hours to her, she told herself this was all a dream, and she would wake soon, and she would find that she and Johnathan had return safely to the camp, and that none of this had ever happened. However, the truth hung over her as time slowly went by.

Eventually, after she had decided she should compose herself for her new life, she gathered her strength and stood. Still garbed in her chainmail from the battle in the camp, she reached up to touch her neck. The wound was completely closed, save for a small, thin scar line. She touched her back, and felt the dents in the chain, though her back was only slightly bruised after being healed.

Katrana looked down at the corpse of her father, and slowly dragged him to the table on which she had been resurrected. Katrana put the other five blurs – all she recognized as priests of her father’s Silverberg Keep – around the base of the table. She put the tools and scrolls atop the table, and used a flask of oil atop the table to soak the contents of the small pyre in the substance.

Katrana then tore the lantern from the ceiling of the room with her newfound strength which she noticed by all regards was rather refreshing despite her emotional circumstances. She stepped to the door of the room, and tossed the lantern onto her father’s body. The only burial she knew to give at the moment.

“Pass now,” Katrana spoke as the makeshift pyre erupted in flames, “to the land of Ilnara, where you may enter Delmar, the court of Tirea, and by Tirea’s will be deemed to Ferena, or judged to Derak.” She gulped, and bowed her head again. “And so ends the tale of Lord Leon Silverberg, Knight of Deneria.” She silently muttered the ancient prayer of passing in the Tirean faith.

Katrana then turned, and opened the door to the room, inviting the smell of dusty stone steps into her nostrils as she looked upwards, the stairway’s darkness marred by torches on either side. She began stepping up the stairs, and thought to herself. She knew that her honor had been ruined. She knew she could no longer be a Silverberg. She would no longer be known as any name of any lordship or of any peasant or of any warrior. She would simply be Katrana the Unknown.
(Warning: Contains Foul Language)

(This was a piece I wrote back in... October, I think. Needless to say, it was for my creative writing class, and I just felt like sharing it with y'all. Feedback is for the strong.)

(For those of you who recognize some names, yes the characters are based off of each other, though not quite fully in some of them. Spoilered for size.)

“The leaders of three nations are under one roof today, and yet still we cannot hold back the demonic hordes.” A man with short blonde hair and bearing ceremonial silver armor spoke, a hand brushing across the edge of the great oaken table before him, a large map of his kingdom pinned by its corners laid out across it. The room was a simple square shape, the walls made of a fine stone.

“Two nations, milord,” A sturdier man said from the other end of the table. He was dressed in full plate armor, as was the tradition of his people, and he had a sternly built face, his hair short and brown, and his eyes shone a light blue in the light of the chandelier. “Palad has long been nothing but ruins.”

“Then Palad is in ruins. Axeliar may soon fall, no?” The first man looked to a third, who stood to his right. The third man was hunching forward, and his back was hideously deformed. Yet, the man who stood in a dark red armor had a sense of pride about him.

“Axeliar may still,” The third stopped to cough into his arm, and then eased himself. “Rise again. However, we have no hopes of standing. We will fall eventually without Arnalian aid.”

A fourth man sat, beside a woman of equal stature and armor to the sturdy man, on a wooden bench on one edge of the room, two diamond windows to each of his sides on the wall behind him. He casually interrupted the hunched man, saying “I believe Axeliar has already fallen, Arack. If what your contingent showed us on first appearance, I doubt any of your kingdom fares any better.”

Arack turned with an un-amused glance to the man behind him. “Yes, Arthillo, as ever your comments on Axeliarian matters are…” He tapped his chin to think for a moment, “Grim, to say the least.” He turned on his hips and stared once again at the map of the region. “Needless to say, your western borders,” with this he poked with his finger the appropriate part of the map, “are engulfed in war.”

The first man looked to the sturdier man. “And your thoughts, Gideon?”

“I and the Paladins will follow your commands, milord Richart. Whether by our deaths or by our free service and victory, you will see us to the end.” Gideon replied, bowing his head in respect to the higher-classed man.

Richart nodded in return, and eyed the woman behind Arack. She offered him a gentle smile of reassurance. The fair woman of Palad, he had been entrapped by her since the moment she removed her helmet. Her name was Madyth, and she had a warrior’s heart and yet a fair face. The man beside her was her brother, Arthillo. They were Paladins, under Gideon.

Richart took a deep breath and looked the strategy field over again. He grabbed a small club and began to move pieces around the field. “Cavalry will patrol the eastern borders. Scouts will head north to contact the Hillmen of Brackner, Vanar, and Raven’s Peak,” At this Arthillo once again scoffed, as the Paladin was a just man, though he held an apparent disliking for the Hillmen of the North, “Infantry and Magi battalions will reinforce the southern defense, and we will have to convince the hunters of our western borders to trade in their hoods for armor. The rangers will be our western defense.”

“Scattered.” Arack spoke up, coughing into his cloak as Richart looked curiously to him. “Our forces are scattered. The Knights would be best at the southern front, yet we cannot risk an eastern flanking.”

“Then the Paladins will reinforce the east.” Gideon said, looking down to the strategy field to reaffirm his thoughts.

“No,” Richart said, looking to Madyth, Arthillo, and Gideon in turn. “I will need the Paladins to charge westwards, to evacuate those Axeliarians who still fight.”

Gideon knowledgably bowed his head to the command, but Arthillo stood up in protest. “My lords, with all due respect, are you mad?” He stepped forward to the table. “We are currently the Arnalian Elite, whether you wish to admit it or not. Sending us on such a petty trek would be suicide for the primary front.”

“And what would you have him do, Arthillo?” Madyth said, standing herself. “He cannot relinquish Arnalian forces from any of the fronts to reinforce Axeliar. We are the only stand-alone. We are the only choice.” She approached her brother and defensively stood before him, their gazes meeting in a rather angry glare.

“Silence!” Gideon shouted, taking a deep breath afterwards. Both of the siblings turned to look at their superior, and instantly they both drooped with shame. “Continue, milords.” He turned to regard Arack and Richart again.

Richart looked between the four of his companions before frowning. He opened his mouth to speak, but no words came out before his ears were alerted of a disturbance. The opening behind him erupted with a clatter. Shouts echoed through the halls. “After him! High alert, the King’s in there!” A castle guard shouted.

A man with finely trimmed braids, and an equally treated black-haired beard, sped into the chamber. He wore an elegant leather suit, and did not seem armed save for a ceremonial sword at his hip. He was obviously dressed for such an occasion, though not quite welcome.

Richart’s eyes narrowed as he turned and saw the man. “Danard Bane.” He said only moments before Arthillo and Madyth together slammed their shoulders into the man’s chest, sending him toppling down to the floor.

“Oh god, god, god.” Danard said ill-fluently. He stopped a moment to roll on the floor, groaning from the pain of being tackled by two people in plate armor. “God damn, Richart. Didn’t know you played like that. Would you mind-“ He was stopped when Gideon stepped forward, blade drawn and placed at Danard’s throat.

“Choose your words carefully when addressing royalty, knave.” Gideon said, and he took a moment to look up at the three guards rushing into the chamber. “We have this handled, guard. He will not trouble the King.”

The guards all looked at Gideon and then warily stared down at Danard, who had a nervous yet professional smile on his lips, a finger resting on the flat of Gideon’s blade. They looked at each other and casually shrugged; turning and gruffly leaving the chamber.

Arack stood with a rather smug smile on his face as he was allowed the privilege to look down on Danard. “Danard Bane,” The man coughed hoarsely into his arm, “Your face is familiar to many.”

Danard allowed himself a small smile to Arack before Richart stepped forward. “What business do you have in the Arnalian capital, Bane? Most of all its palace and my chambers?”

“I would rather like to explain myself,” Danard slowly spoke, eyeing the blade at his throat, “If I could do so without a sharp metal thing at my neck.”

Gideon turned to look at Richart, awaiting a sign of approval to the remark. Richart raised a hand and sighed, waving for Gideon to release the blade. Danard loosed a sigh of relief as the blade left his neck, and he stood up, promptly brushing himself off.

“I’ll ask again,” Richart insisted, “What is your business here?”

Danard smiled casually, and gave a courtly bow. “Danard Bane at your service, milord Richart Jalenson, esteemed King of Arnalia. I’ve come to offer a little aid in your predicament here.” He motioned with a hand towards the strategy table.

Richart looked at Arack, and then to Gideon. He then set his eyes back on Danard and began to very boisterously laugh. “And what would you have to gain from aiding Arnalia, Bane? We’ve been at a subtle war with each other for the past several years, and you suddenly wish to offer aid?”

Danard raised a hand. “On the contrary, my good and annoyingly idiotic counterpart, I have much to gain.” He took a casual step away from Gideon as he spoke the sarcastic insults.

Arack, picking up where this was going, stood at full height, and looked at Gideon, Arthillo, and Madyth. “We should,” He was interrupted by his rough coughing, “Go.” He added, and slowly herded the other three from the chamber.

Richart walked around to one side of the table, Danard on the other. “I’m listening, Bane.”

Danard gave a sarcastic bow, and smiled quite pleasantly despite his situation. “It’s under my understanding there’s a gigantic army of big bad red guys called demons coming up on your doorstep, and hey look, they’ve broken into your southern borders.” He tapped a finger lightly on the map. “But you haven’t forgotten about the west and east, have you?” He motioned to the relatively empty regions.

Richart sighed softly. “You aren’t my strategist, Bane. I already know our situation.”

“Yet you sacrifice the Paladins from the southern front? Stand-alone forces rescuing people from a warzone isn’t my idea for a battle that’s supposed to be won.” Danard cleared his throat. “There’s another army. A little smaller, but decently armed and armored.”

“We’ve already sent emissaries to the Hillmen, Bane.” Richart looked at him with prying eyes. “What are you getting at?”

Danard gave an expecting glance to Richart, and then his face fell into a sigh. “Are you truly this clueless, Richy? Can I call you Richy? Sorry, I’m not one for ‘milord’ and ‘sir’.”

Richart gave a simple glare, and then his eyes widened. “You don’t mean…” He rather loudly scoffed. “No. I will not take the shame of employing brigands.”

“Well,” Danard quickly added in a reassuring tone, “You aren’t technically the one employing them. I am. You’re just… Directing them, per say?”

“Brigands, thieves, rapists, murderers, and outlaws are your armies, Bane. Is that really what you would want defending a Kingdom, were you in my position?” Richart said.

“As always, the way I see it is that you aren’t exactly in the position to decline, my friendly old bastardly fun friend.” He motioned to the board. “Your soldiers are stretched thin, the Hillmen aren’t a guaranteed success on diplomacy, and I seem to be the only one with armies to give.”

“One army,” Richart corrected, “Of outlaws. Why do you say ‘armies’?”

Danard smiled softly, and moved towards a high-backed chair, sitting in it and setting his feet up on the table, fingers linked behind the back of his head. “Poor, poor Jalenson. Thinking yourself so smug in your nice little castle that you’ve forgotten that where there’s one there’s more. I’m not just running outlaws, my man.” He motioned lightly with his head to the northeastern part of the map. “Coastline mariners.” He then released one hand to point at the deeper forests and mountainous areas. “Rough’n’gruff mountainmen and forest rogues.”

Richart now seemed to grow annoyed. “And yet for some reason you haven’t fought off the demonic hordes single-handedly, Bane. I begin to question if these loyalties are true or just there for show.”

“Think of it, Richart. I have experience. You have gear. I have big men with very mean-looking faces and a knack for smashing skulls in, and you have a disciplined army that feeds off the land and likes to piss my big mean-looking guys off. But when there’s an army of bigger red men who want to smash both of their skulls in, well… The enemy of my enemy is my friend, right?” Danard smiled.

“I’m surprised the demons haven’t found some way of convincing you to join them.” Richart commented, grunting with disapproval.

“Oh trust me, they tried. But I turned them down.” Danard said, a smug grin on his face.

Richart narrowed his eyes. “Why?”

“Let’s see it from my point of view for a moment, shall we?” Danard nodded to Richart, who nodded back. “I make a living from severely pissing you off,” He said with a smug grin, “So. If the big red men who like to kill things come around and kill you and demolish your kingdom, well… I don’t have a living to make because there’s nobody to piss off!”

Danard smiled to Richart and clapped his knee, chuckling at the blank expression that now decorated the King’s face. “So for the sake of my own entertainment and for the sake of keeping the money going towards the unrightfully gaining men and women of Bane’s employ, I’m offering all of my contacts to aid you in your most dire hour.”

Richart stepped forward, and for a moment a smile licked his lips. A gauntleted hand rose to scratch at the King’s chin, and then fell roughly on Danard’s jaw.

The un-expecting Danard toppled out of the chair and slammed into the stone floor. However, rather than grovel in pain, he began to chuckle in amusement. “Thank you for showing me your ability to handle annoyance, my man.”

Richart pointed a finger at the grounded Danard. “That was for having such a poor excuse for causing crime and havoc in my lands.”

Danard laughed still as he stood, and extended a hand towards the King. “So, my terribly witty counterpart, what do you say?” He gave a simple nod. “Shall we unite?”

Richart took a long moment to stare at the outstretched hand. Cautiously his hand rose to meet it and give it a brief and firm shake. “I had better not regret this later, Bane.”

“No need to worry, my good man. We’ll be back at each other’s throats in no time. Just need to smack a few big bad red guys around first.” Danard said with a cheery smile. He released from the handshake and straightened his coat. “I’ll take my courteous leave, then.” He gave a low bow and a slight tip of his invisible hat, and then turned and walked from the chamber.

Richart watched him leave, and then eyed the doorway. Arack, Gideon, and Arthillo proceeded to follow the criminal’s footsteps, while Madyth stepped into the chamber.

“We have another ally, Richart. Arnalia grows stronger.” She said with a reassuring smile, stepping forward and grasping her sovereign’s hand, lifting it to her lips and kissing the back of it.

“Is this a mistake, Madyth? Is it the right thing to trust one who has caused so much havoc?”

“You have trusted the Axeliarians, despite their history of war and slaughter. You are willing to trust the Hillmen, despite the rumors of their brutish ways. Why not trust one who comes to you rather than you coming to them?” Madyth said, smiling and again kissing the back of his hand. “I will leave you to your thoughts, milord.”
(Again, something out of my creative writing class. This one was written in an assignment where we were to take a myth (modern or ancient) and make our own version of it. This one was based off the Greek myth of Oceanus and Tethys. Spoilered for size.)


“Orik.” A voice came over the intercom, and the finely dressed man with a finely trimmed beard rolled himself forward in his wheelchair to stare at the window in front of him. “The program is ready.” The voice was easily told as a woman’s, gentle and soft in tone. The room in which the man sat was an observatory and a command center, and half of the room’s walls were clear windows revealing what the man stared at.

Orik nodded slowly and thoughtfully, reaching up to stroke a hand through his long beard. “Put it underway.” He said as he looked up and out of the window again. What he saw was saddening; a world that was red and dying. Humanity had thoroughly over-populated Earth barely years ago and the great wars had not helped. Through wars and severe pollution, Earth was left as nothing more than a desert world. It had no other purpose now than to serve as a savage reminder of human nature. Humanity had lived in deep space since then, searching for a world to populate or to make habitable, but they had had no luck.

But Orik Arkil of Arkil Corp had discovered something that nobody else had. He had succeeded in creating an alternative to finding a world that was habitable. Why not make a dying world into a habitable planet? Why not fuel it with artificial water to bring back the planet’s spark? He had created such a device, and now he stood in the observation platform of such a creation. But there was an opponent. There was always an opponent. Giga Corp, a company trying to rival his own creation, had resorted to simply recruiting thugs and goons to take over the device and claim the fame for them.

But Orik and his wife Arrina were not stupid. They had hired an exact amount of three thousand mercenaries from the popular organization that called itself Oceanid to guard the platform. The nickname of the brigade of Oceanid mercenaries was the Nymphs.
Orik’s thoughts into the past were interrupted by the woman’s voice returning over the intercom. “Five percent completion. Giga Corp’s ships are en route as I speak, Orik. The Nymphs are moving into position on the landing docks.” The woman was his wife, and his sister. Years ago marrying one’s sister would be frowned upon, but in such a small population and desperate situation it was a necessary sin.

Orik’s eyes turned to look out of the edge of the superb window, watching as the long and thick ships of the Giga Corp dropped from their high cruise, reverse gravitational methods being taken for the ships to slow in their advance of the endless space. They did not have much time. Orik turned his attention then back to the world he was to save. He felt like a god, holding the life of a planet and race in his grasp. But he would not get overconfident. The world he looked at was scarred and deserted, a world so much like what Earth might become after thousands of years passed and the fallout passed away.

He wondered at its history. What had happened to this world? Had his ancestors been the ones to populate this world before, and done the same thing to this world as what Orik’s generation had done to Earth, in which days they had crashed or forgotten their knowledge on Earth? Or was it simply born with no life on it, a desolate place that was forever the ugly duckling of the planetary cycle in this solar system?

“Ten percent.” Arrina’s voice came over the intercom again. Orik looked down to regard the small glass podium that was the monitor for a vast computer network attached to the device. A hand reached up to quietly prod the visible yet transparent modules on the monitor. His ancestors might’ve called it a marvel of science; his kind called it a monitor. He chose to open the intercom to the landing dock, and for a moment he twitched at the noises that erupted all around him; gunfire and orders. He focused the image and sounds, and the computer generated a virtual view of the great battle that was occurring in the landing area. Giga Corp unloaded ship by ship, but the Nymphs held strong.

It would be a race for time, Orik thought. He sat back in his wheelchair, and lazily planted an elbow on his right armrest, holding his head up by his chin with his right hand, thoroughly bored in such an intricate race for time. Again he examined the field of battle, feeling like a strategist of old enhanced by advanced military tactics as well as a scientific mind. He knew that the battle went slow, as explosives had not been permitted aboard the device. If the room’s floor or walls could not handle the explosion and shattered, the device’s vents would quite swiftly open to unleash the vacuum of space.

Orik watched, and waited. The universe seemed to blankly turn its gears around him as he waited. Gunfire and orders continued to pour through the intercom, until at last the fighting ended. The Nymphs had been defeated. He looked at the progress bar that Arrina had placed on his monitor for him. Seventy percent and he could even now hear the boots pounding against the metal corridors. He would have to stall them.

The wheelchair turned with only his thought. Technology had grown so advanced that anything he needed to operate could be operated with mere thought or memory. Orik was now facing the platform bridge that extended from his part of the room to the entrance platform where the majority of the computers and hardware rested. The Giga Corp goons flooded through the doorway, and began to make a mundane fortification on the entrance platform, as if Orik presented a threat. Or because they were to wait for someone.

Seventy-five percent, his wheelchair-attached reader said. He sat as he had been for the last few moments, staring intently at the goons barely meters away from him. The crowd parted for a man in a suit to step forward, casually offering Orik a wave. “Orik Arkil, esteemed CEO of Arkil Corp and scientist extraordinaire.” The man’s smooth, almost snake-like tongue flitted with each word, taking careful pronunciation as if Orik did not understand English.

“Verrin Albask. A pleasure, as always; I assume you’re not here for afternoon tea, old friend.” Orik spoke, rising to a proper sitting position while still in the wheelchair. He could see in Verrin’s eyes that while he was in a wheelchair, Orik was quite obviously the smarter and greater-minded of the two.

“I am afraid not, Orik. Not today, at least, if you agree to my terms in your… Apparent surrender.” Verrin twisted his words with a sinister tone, stepping forward and onto the platform bridge. “We have your wife, Orik.”

“I am aware of that. I am also aware that all of my mercenaries are dead.” He casually motioned back to the virtual display. “We are both willing to give our lives for this cause, Verrin. Threatening me will only be trying to disable the inevitable. The human race will remember Arkil Corp as the one that launched this device, not Giga.”

“Are you willing to die for that cause?” Verrin threatened, his words turning to a more direct and blunt tone. Orik’s eyes darted to his armrest display. Eighty five percent.

“If it must be so, Verrin, then do please try.” Orik’s hand and wheelchair turned to wave at the main monitor. “You need not kill me to press three buttons.”

Verrin’s grin widened and he ran forward, beginning quickly to format the buttons into order, but he was stopped from his own loud cry. “What is this?” The monitor flashed red; a 3-D exclamation mark with the words Warning: Password Not Detected under it. Verrin turned to give Orik a very intimidating glare. The man’s right hand reached into his suit and withdrew a pistol.

The shot cracked throughout the room, echoing through the spherical structure. The projectile had penetrated Orik’s lower chest, and he could only loose a pained grunt at the current event. Verrin then ran forward and violently threw Orik from his wheelchair, tossing him to the glass floor of the middle of the platform.

Orik faded in and out of consciousness as he lay there, pained all across his body. The dried and withered lower half of his body cracked all at once, instantly excreting massive amounts of blood, hence the reason Orik had so delicately had himself in a wheelchair. That, added to his gun wound, was merely speeding the process. Orik loosed a smile as he blindly stared at the monitor’s counter. Ninety-five. Ninety-six. Ninety-seven. Ninety-eight. Ninety-nine. One hundred percent.

The station shook, and Orik’s smile widened as he stared up at the roof. Slowly, his hearing dissipated. He did not need ears to see Verrin cursing loudly and the hired guns start looking around as if there could possibly be an earthquake in space. Orik turned his neck to look out the great window and watch his creation come to life.

The device’s long arms turned slowly in a circular motion and gathered their energy before expelling it all in the form of a blue sphere towards the planet’s surface. When it hit, Orik’s eyes flashed along with the great booming shower of blue water. He could see the artificial ocean begin flooding through the planet’s architecture, filling into cracks and craters to form lakes and rivers. Water. The one resource humanity required, and they finally had it.

Orik knew his eyes to be playing tricks on him. A hallucination of near-death. He could swear he saw the water’s embrace already turning the planet green and lush with plant and animal life. Humanity would survive. Humanity would persevere. One man died so that hundreds of thousands could live.

Orik had saved humanity, and one tear fell from his eyes before his humble smile took hold on a lifeless body.


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