"GLORIANNA, THE CHOSEN WORLD"
Saga One:"MEANING OF HONOR: THE LEARNER SAGA"
CHAPTER II - "A DAY AT THE ARENA"
A little man stood atop his perch, a large rockface; a darkly proud air about him as he looked down upon the 'hero'. And here I thought blondie would be somewhat powerful...or at least intelligent enough, or at the very least, witty enough, to provide some entertainment value. The little man's green, unruly hair remained nearly completely still in the gloomy day's bluster; barely budging against a powerful gust of wind, each strand as stubborn as a bristle. His clothing and hair then suddenly began fluttering and waving about under the force of an invisible aura of energy, which sprang into existence around him. He used this energy to lift himself into the air. Well, this project is pretty much done... Old Poouruvaluaze has a new home, and should be doing some fine redecorating...and I can't have my idiot slaves going and screwing with my investment. So... Well, I guess it's time to go do something interesting for a change. He thought to himself and sighed in mild irritation. He maintained an altitude of two feet above his perch, and turned around to face his companions. I'll send these three idiots away so I can have some me time.
"Yarimarg! Tulgehar! Y'ell Caminth! Here immediately!" The little creature's usually soft voice held a proud command in its tone; he knew well his underlings would never dare oppose him, and his order seemed unjustified as they stood only five feet away from him, but he enjoyed sounding commanding nonetheless.
"Yes master!" They each stepped forward and said almost simultaneously.
"I think we'll call it quits for awhile with this guy." The man grinned at the disappointment on Y'ell Caminth's face.
"But... You promised we could play with him!" Y'ell Caminth said, surprised.
"I know...but he's too weak to be any fun for even just one of you. I'm sure you want a challenge. Besides, he'll undoubtedly become stronger, as he is dedicated to such things." And if my little minion does its job right, he may even become strong enough to make a worthy servant...and with the memories of how blondie prevented Avoozl's summoning at his command, he can help me gain my freedom from my all-loving master. Well, wishful thinking... Anyway... "By the time our attention comes back to him, he'll provide a more sportsworthy battle." Morons actually think fighting that weakling would be fun? Phah! The little man hid his emotions well, his face showing nothing of his annoyed state.
"I guess you're right master." Y'ell said
"I know I'm right. Hah, I'm always right, isn't that so Yarimarg?" Idiots. At least Yarimarg is somewhat intelligent. He sometimes wondered why he even allowed them to serve him. They're weaklings, cowards, and fools... even more so than Shaedhala. He smiled inwardly. But at the same time, in their blissful stupidity, they think of me as a god. ’Zaduriosama' they call me. Well, at least as far as I know...the name implies divinity.
"The master is the epitome of intellect." Yarimarg said as he bowed. The little man grinned- a sinister, lopsided grin. Yarimarg always did take things too seriously.
"That was a joke, my faithfully worthless slave." Somewhat intelligent, huh? Nevermind that… The man's annoyance grew with his servants' continued display of a lack of intellect. I'd better send them away now, before I accidentally kill one of them...and get into trouble with the 'master'.
"As Zaduriosama says." Yarimarg said, attempting a humorous tone so as not to offend his master.
"Anyway," He shrugged it off, "I'm going to go do something...fun. I wish to be alone...to think for awhile. So why don't you three find someone else to torment?" This Erana woman that blondie is married to...I have heard that name before…but where? Where have I heard that name before? "I have plans," The man said, now straight faced, "so...you guys can do something if you want, or just go back home." Erana…this name is so familiar. If only I could place a face to that name! Erana...
"You mean, we can go kill whoever we want?" Tulgehar asked enthusiastically. Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill. The word replayed itself in his mind. Since the day he became undead, killing others had become the only thing that truly fascinated him.
"Well, sort of. You do remember the rules." They better stay away from Erana, I want to figure out who she is...and kill her myself. If she is married to a paladin then she's most likely one herself, or alot like one, giving me oh-so-many buttons to push... The little vampire laughed silently as he remembered torturing a young paladin some years ago. Oh...it was so fun. Bending the poor fool to every whim, just by threatening his loved ones...and other people too... Of course, carrying out those threats was fun too, but the paladin was the prize in the dirt pile. The little man shrugged thoughtfully. And killing blondie's woman may give Poouruvaluaze an edge in its little task.
"Yeah, yeah. We remember." Tulgehar said. He basically had just received permission to kill whoever or whatever. Whenever, wherever, and however he wanted. "I know! That big city not far from here! It has an arena! We could go there!"
"What's it called?" Y'ell Caminth began to sound the name out from memory "Si.... Sil.... Silmaria! That's it! We can go to the arena of Silmaria!" He shouted excitedly.
"An army of trained soldiers, just waiting for us to kill them!" Tulgehar began to literally drool, completely immersed in the fantasy of a fun-filled bloodbath.
"Humph." Yarimarg snorted out, spoiling the revelings of the other two, "I guess I can go watch you two have fun then."
"He's right, you two." Their master cut in just as Tulgehar was about to reply. Even if he is a complete moron, he's still smarter than these two intellectual fleas. "Those fools in the city, they're even weaker than our yellow-haired friend out there." He said and nodded towards the pitiful human still repairing his toy in the far distance. So damn weak I find it difficult to believe they still exist. But then, with heroes like blondie out there wandering around…
"But it's a city-full! We could just have fun with tormenting them! We could divide them up evenly too!" Tulgehar enthusiastically argued in favor of destroying the city, as he danced excitedly from one leg to the other, like a man who desperately needed to relieve himself.
"Fine." Yarimarg said, knowing all-too well that Silmaria would probably be the only entertainment they could find within flight range.
"Well, if that's really what you three want, then go for it. Just be sure, since you'll probably be taking your time anyway," the man grinned sadistically, "to meet me up top Mount Draconis. Tomorrow morning, early." They better not be late; I don't want to have to endure more of this daytime light because they decide to procrastinate.
"Yes master. We will not disappoint you." Yarimarg said, and then they too used invisible auras of energy to levitate off the rockface.
You already have you stupid fools... He sighed quietly and annoyedly at the thought as his the three underlings turned towards Silmaria, pivoted upon the air itself using their energy, and launched towards the city at great speed. Their little master turned towards the northeast.
"Erana...I know that name." Yes, I do indeed know that name. It is a name that dear master Avoozl has told me about all too often... A name he hates. Yes, a name, and a face, that he hates more than I hate him. "Ah, yes. HAH! She is the only one who ever directly defeated Avoozl!" No mortal, or wizard, could ever match a Dark One's power. Not even I, an undead, even with decades to improve my unmatched power, could hope to oppose Avoozl openly and directly...or dare try. But somehow, she did. She must know of some kind of weakness...and she played on it! Well, I doubt I could get her to spill her guts... He smirked, Well; I could get her to spill her guts, just not Avoozl's weaknesses to me... But no matter, she's married to blondie over there, and has more than likely told him of Avoozl's weaknesses, seeing as he kind of defeated it too. And he's going to be my slave soon, so what I need I'll get from him. And then it will be freedom at last!
"So, that makes this little game with you, my dear," He laughed, "pure entertainment." The man remained silent for a moment, and then laughed some more. "And she's one of those goody-goodies too. Oh yes, so very many buttons to push. HAH!" He began rising higher and higher in altitude. "Saddle up…" he said as he lifted himself ever higher into the air, until he reached an altitude where the air thinned into nonexistence. Fortunately for him, he didn't need air to breathe. "CAUSE HERE I COME!" He shouted at the top of his lungs, too high in the air for anyone to hear, or even see, and then blasted off towards the east, at a fairly slow speed compared to his true capabilities, and yet faster than the capabilities of almost anyone else.
The three warriors flew at extremely high velocities, but took several stops to admire the scenery. They rarely left the underground network of caves they lived in; being outside was somewhat of a treat. After a couple of hours of this, they finally arrived at Silmaria. They ignored the gawking guards at the gates, flew over the city walls, and landed near a katta merchant selling fruit in the bazaar. The hulking Yarimarg stared with intensely glowing eyes at the katta as he turned, startled at such a sudden arrival, to face the three dangerous-looking arrivals.
"We have a question for you." Yarimarg's voice only served to frighten the katta further, his fur visibly standing straight out. He shivered at the chilling way the other two looked at him. The six-and-a-half-foot tall armored figure, even with such a chilling voice, did not take away from the menacing presence of the six foot tall man who appeared to be a sickly pail human, or from the orange-skinned monster who, though standing shorter than a katta, appeared just as dangerous as his two larger comrades. The katta, trembling, took a step back and tripped over his fruit stand, falling on his back.
"Come here, furball." Tulgehar's form fazed through the air, then suddenly appearing; standing over the katta. He bent down and took the katta merchant by the collar, standing and lifting him to eye level with one arm. "We have a quite simple request for information. Tell us what we would like to know, and you will come to no harm." The merchant nodded. Several guards began approaching from the far end of the bazaar; one of them restraining another katta, a female, who appeared to have been rushing to the rescue of the katta who Tulgehar held. "Okay then. Who is the strongest fighter in this city?"
"Why..." The merchant struggled to speak, uncomfortably dangling from the 'human's' grip. Trembling, the katta merchant continued; "Everyone knows...the greatest fighters... are those who always try to avoid fights at all costs...the paladins..."
"That was plural." Y'ell Caminth said gleefully. Tulgehar chuckled.
"You have more than one paladin here? In this city?" Tulgehar asked.
"No...no paladins in the city...I was referring in a general manner." Tulgehar tightened his grip on the katta's clothing.
"Nevermind!" Tulgehar spit the word hostily into the katta's face. "Who are the strongest fighter in this city!?"
"The king...Elsa von Spielburg. And the guildmaster." The katta began trembling as the man held him out at arms length, lifting his other, now glowing hand.
"Thanks, fuzzywuzzy." Tulgehar laughed haughtily, and tossed the katta to the ground. He lifted his glowing hand, pointing it at him with all fingers extended and spread. "I'll reward you with a quick death." The katta erupted into flames as a ten-foot wide pillar of fire burst from the ground underneath him, engulfing him and destroying him completely, as it stretched ten feet into the air and then vanished. The guards that had been running at them shrank back from the incredible heat, which lingered even after the flame pillar dissipated.
"The arena's back that way." Y'ell pointed back over his shoulder, "Let's go." The three monster-warriors lifted into the air, and shot off towards the arena.
Over the arena walls they flew, and took a position several hundred feet in the air. They watched the action; it seemed to be a sparring match between several pairs of guards. One on one, one by one, the pairs took turns in melee combat. Several practice targets lined the southern wall, ten spears sticking out of each. A rather ingeniously set obstacle course took up the entire north end of the arena, though it had apparently served its purpose for the day's events much earlier.
"Looks like they've begun the party already." Tulgehar said. Looks like some sort of training session to me. I wonder if it has made them strong enough to be fun to kill? He thought to himself as he waited for his comrades to reply to him.
"Let's mingle." Y'ell said, and the three descended into the crowd, landing with a thud amongst the Silmarian guards, who watched one of the pairs sparring with quarter staves. The invaders' entrance being more than obvious, all the guards turned to them immediately. The sparring pair stopped fighting, dropped their quarter staves, and ran for their spears.
They look ready, and well trained. Yarimarg thought to himself quietly. Maybe this will be a challenge after all? Yarimarg raised his gauntlet-covered hand and pointed at one of the guards. "DIE!" Yarimarg screamed the word as loudly as he could; the word sounding all the more frightening on his already spine-chilling voice. Mysteriously, the guard fell down. The guard next to him knelt with him, almost panicking, and trembled as he checked his friend's pulse, and then breath and heartbeat. The body was already cold; the man was dead.
"Now, now. Yarimarg, that wasn't very sportsmanlike." Y'ell Caminth said, breaking into laughter as he spoke.
"HAHA! Now, that's what I call a good soldier. Always following orders!" Tulgehar could barely keep himself from rolling on the ground as he doubled over laughing. One of the guards began approaching cautiously, spear in hand. The terrifying voice of the huge armor clad knight stopped him in his tracks.
"I would advise you against such actions." Yarimarg said calmly. His voice still horrible and frightening, it echoed as if emanating from a deep labyrinth. The hulking knight's charred plate mail armor crackled as he took a step towards the guard, the glowing orange orbs that served as his eyes shining from behind the slit in his helmet. He turned and looked down at the six-foot-tall vampire Tulgehar, who also took a step forward, brushing a few stringy strands of his unkempt dark brown hair from his pail face. He placed his hand over the painstakingly etched amulet that hung at his chest from around his neck.
"Good thing I got this little present from master," He whispered with his baltian accent, "Otherwise the sunlight would be killing me." He flung his black cloak back to reveal an unarmored, muscular physique clothed in a red tunic. He looked down and wiggled his toes, enjoying the sand under his bare feet and laughing at the thought of the blood it would soon soak. He looked back up at the guards, grinning as he rested his hand on the hilt of a large, glowing, inwardly curved knife.
"Yeah..." the shrilly, high-pitched, rolling voice of the smallest of the monsters said, "It was real nice of Zaduriosama to give you that... now you can go with Yarimarg and I on our daytime outings! Ain't it fun?" Tulgehar chuckled, as he looked down at the orange-skinned monster whose head was level with his waist. Y'ell Caminth tried to smile, but found it difficult with his elongated snout. An arrangement of five gill-like slits on either side of his neck opened and closed in time with the inflation and deflation of his chest.
"Why are you here?" One of the guards, seemingly one of higher rank than the others, barked out as he made his way to the front of the formation.
"Well," Y'ell Caminth sneered as he turned his eyes back towards the group of guards, "we hear your ruler is a decent fighter. We want a good fight!" An entertaining fight; and yet, I sense nothing within this city that is a threat to us.
"Our proposal is simple." Tulgehar continued, "Bring her and all the other fighters of mentionable power here, so we can kill them like gentlemen. You idiot guards are just too weak for good sport." Elsa, before the three had begun making their demands, had begun walking out to meet them. As she neared, they heard her footsteps in the sand and, one by one, turned to face her.
"I am here!" She shouted hostily, drawing the dragon slayer given by Garriott and the magical shield she had been given by visiting diplomats. Who do they think they are? She thought to herself in anger. "Who are you and what gives you the right to invade my city, enter my arena, and interrupt the training exercises of my soldiers?" Elsa spit in the sand at Tulgehar's feet, as he replied to her demands for answers with nothing but uproarious laughter. "What gives you the right to kill my men? And what reason do I have to not end your pathetic lives right here?"
"So," Tulgehar sneered just as hostily in reply, then added a disappointed tone to his voice "the 'king' of Silmaria, Elsa von Spielburg. Forgive me if I am not impressed, but I sense nothing about you worth comment, except for stupidity, that is."
"And we were hoping for a real fight. You're just a little girl, who talks big, but isn't really a warrior." Y'ell sounded genuinely disappointed.
"Well, isn't the burnt one going to insult the king?" The guard who had lost his best friend said suddenly and boldly.
"No," Yarimarg said coldly as he turned to face the guard, "But I'll kill you to compensate myself for the disappointment." Before anyone could react or reply to the threat, Yarimarg pointed his hand at the guard, and released a torso-sized, crimson colored fireball. The other guards next to him leaped away as the fireball struck its mark, and could feel its heat. The fireball incinerated the guard almost completely, sending the pieces that weren't reduced to ashes shooting through the air to land among the audience stands.
"KABOOM! Heheh." Tulgehar chuckled quietly, making light of the death of the soldier. What a lovely, hearty red fluid he had flowing through him. Shucks, what a waste of good food.
"That always cracks me up, the way each piece leaves its own blood trail, like a shooting star." Y'ell Caminth replied in kind, and then pretended to wipe a tear from his face. "How...beautiful..."
"DIE!" Elsa screamed, and took a swing with her dragon slayer. Tulgehar spun around to her side, and jabbed his elbow back into her face with enough force to floor her.
"Ah, you can have 'em all, Tulg." Yarimarg said, "There's not enough to go around, more than one of us would be a crowd."
"Yeah" Y'ell added, "It's your turn anyway. I took out the last army... Yari took out the one before that. Have fun!" The two invading warriors used their energies to levitate into the air. Y'ell Caminth and Yarimarg rose, side by side, to an altitude of fifty feet, in order to catch a good view of the action while not being forced to interfere.
"He moves like lightning..." Elsa got to her feet and turned to face her now lone opponent. I don't want to endanger more of the soldiers, but I don't have a choice. Elsa grunted something incoherently in her native tongue. "GUARDS! ATTACK THE INTRUDER!" She shouted; her loyal soldiers instantly springing into action.
"GLORIANNA, THE CHOSEN WORLD" introduction/summary page