VELKANS - REUNION: Empires and Ashes

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VELKANS - REUNION: Empires and Ashes

Post  Mammona on Tue Jun 13, 2017 8:40 am

“It’s starting.” Denryo muttered, before turning to the assembled adventurers. “Weapons ready!”

The collective ring of steel being drawn echoed through the smoky air of Cinderstone Moor. Armour-clad warriors brought their swords, axes and shields to bear, stepping forward eagerly – a wall of tempered metal, ready to challenge their foe. Behind them, archers nocked arrows, ready to fire at a moments’ notice. Hundreds of hawkish eyes sighted down feathered shafts, narrowed in anticipation. Further back, staves and wands were waved as spellcasters gathered their powers to them, causing the very skies to crackle with barely-contained energy. As one, the Trikora Army looked to their commanders. The three of them stood at the head of the legion, Denryo at the centre.

“Well, good to see they listen to you…” a sarcastic voice mumbled from Denryo’s right. “Last time I asked them to do anything, they flipped me so many birds I could have opened a chicken ranch…”

Despite the carnage about to break loose, Denryo could not help but crack a smile. “Well, you did ask them to destroy a brothel, Devotchka…”

“A tasteful brothel, as well…” Yommie added from Denryo’s other side.

“Hey, there’s no such thing as a tasteful brothel,” Devotchka spat indignantly. “It flies in the face of what a brothel is there to do!”

“Not a reason to burn it to the ground!”

“Let me explain…” Devotchka’s voice was silenced by a raised hand from Denryo.

“The rift opens…” His voice was lost in the howling winds as the Crimson Rift exploded into existence in front of them. Enemy soldiers spewed forth from the tear in reality, streaming towards the assembled Trikorans. They yelled in an alien tongue as they brandished their weapons. Denryo merely raised a hand and made a swift chopping motion. A hail of arrows and bolts of energy arced from his forces, slamming into the oncoming Crimsons Tide with all the eagerness of war.

“You’d think we would have had enough of this in the other world…” Yommie said softly.

Denryo could not help but agree. Twenty years had passed since what he now referred to as ‘The Breaking’. The final act of the Velkan guild. Ten years and a whole dimension apart. The Velkans had disbanded after the death of Egami Kalimaru and their subsequent revenge on the foul guild of Ecril. The remaining Velkans had gone their separate ways to live their own lives. Some had settled down, while others had continued adventuring. The common thread was that they had done so alone, continuing their own paths. At least, until ten years ago.

Portals had suddenly appeared across the Black Desert land without warning or reason. It was soon discovered that the portals lead to other worlds – some better, some much worse. Many an adventurer was lost to the burning old worlds of the universe. However, where some found death, others found opportunity. For Denryo, it offered something else. The chance for a fresh start. She had shed her life as a ranger and now found herself with purpose once more. She would travel through a portal. She would start anew in a fresh world. One without the painful memories of the Black Desert. Still, she also felt that old comrades should be offered the same chance.

Denryo had searched high and low for the Velkans. She succeeded in locating only Devotchka and Yommie. Vahlmorn, Jaim and Parma were nowhere to be found. While the newly reunited trio were overjoyed to be in each other’s company again, they still mourned the dead Egami and the missing members. However, it was decided that they would still travel through a portal. “If they’re still out there, they have their own paths,” Yommie had said.

The journey through the portal was a rough one. They soon found themselves in an alien world and alien bodies. Denryo was horrified to learn that he had even changed genders upon exiting the portal (to Devotchka’s immense delight and unending amusement). However, despite the pain and discomfort, the new world offered the trio exactly what they needed – a fresh start.

Over the next ten years, Denryo, Yommie and Devotchka built a name for themselves in the Nuian Empire. They joined one of the premier military guilds in the land – The Trikora Initiative – and rose to the rank of commanders. The word ‘Velkan’ only existed their memories now. As military leaders, they lead scores of soldiers and adventurers across the worlds on missions of conquest, trade and mercenary work. They even fought against the Haranyan Empire, the opposing continent’s faction. They learned from their past mistakes, becoming shrewd tacticians and pillars of the Nuian Empire, supporting the great heroes in their endeavours.

This was why the trio now stood at the head of the Trikoran army, ready to claim the latest Crimson Rift as their own. As the red soldiers streamed towards them, Denryo gestured for Devotchka to continue the next wave of attack. With an evil grin, Devotchka shouted. Immediately, tendrils of energy shot forth from his command, striking the oncoming adversaries and reducing them to spectral dust. Yommie shook her head at the sight, while directing her healers to use their magics on the few Trikorans who had been injured by wayward spears and arrows. Denryo glanced at their forces. A few injured, but nothing the healers could not fix. No dead. He allowed himself the briefest of smiles, before an unfamiliar sound reached his ears.

A long, haunting note carried across the battlefield. The Crimson soldiers stopped their attack and tilted their heads, trying to make sense of the strange sound. Trikorans looked this way and that, confused, their careful formations showing signs of breaking as they also sought to find the source of the note. Suddenly, Denryo straightened. “A war horn,” he muttered, before pointing at the Rift. Or, more precisely, beyond it. Towards the bleak coast of Cinderstone Moor. Towards the myriad of unfamiliar sails becoming larger and larger. Soon, a symbol could be made out on a flag, whipping in the harsh wind.

Interracials!” Devotchka snarled.

“Why are they here?” Yommie asked, worry creasing her features. The fledgling Interracial Nation was new, but powerful. They occupied the Northern Continent and occasionally made forays into Nuia and Haranya. However, no one had ever seen them appear in such force.

“Two reasons,” Denryo answered tersely. “One, to secure the Crimson Rift for themselves. Or…”

“To see us dead.” Devotchka spat.

“But they have no reason to attack us!” Yommie protested. “The alliances and agreements – “

“ - Have held for a while.” Denryo finished. “I think the Rift is more likely their target. They would not just be here for us. Trikora is powerful, but not so much as to send a huge army after us. I think – “

Denryo’s next words were drowned out by a massive roar from the approaching Interracial fleet. More warhorns blew, and the ships seemed to accelerate, carving through the choppy grey water, making for the shore at speed.

“Well, the Rift may be their target,” Devotchka observed darkly. “But they don’t seem to have any qualms getting us caught in the crossfire.”

Denryo swore, and turned towards his stunned troops. “Trikorans! Battle formations! Prepare for onslaught!” Training overtook surprise as the Trikoran army snapped to attention, bringing weapons to bear.

As Devotchka and Yommie readied their own battalions, Denryo offered his prayer. The same prayer he had made before every battle in this new world.

“Velkan watch over us. I pray Jaim, Vahl and Parma are all right…”

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Warhorns tore the air as the ships thundered through the seas towards the ashen coast of Cinderstone Moor. The commanders urged their bosuns to pour on the speed and they responded by bringing their rowers to bear. The Interracial fleet was over twenty ships strong and loaded with warriors of renown who had sworn their loyalty to the new Interracial Nation. They roared and cheered in anticipation of the coming battle. The Crimson Rift would be theirs.

The lead ship surged ahead of the others. The fleet commander’s voice rang out like a booming gunshot, reaching every man and woman on the ship. “Today, we make a name for ourselves! Today, the Rift will be ours! For the glory of the Interracial!”

“FOR THE GLORY!” came the thunderous reply.

“Commander!” A lookout cried. “Nuian forces! Behind the rift!”

“What?” came a warrior’s response. ”Do they mean to attack us?!”

“Silence!” roared the commander, before he addressed the lookout. “What mark do they bear?”

“Trikoran!” was the reply. “Three commanders and battalions!”

“Trikora would not stage an attack on us alone,” The first mate mused. “They must be after the Rift.”

“Let them try!” the fleet commander scoffed. “Ignore them. We’re here for the Crimson. If they get in the way, they will pay the price!” Another cheer sounded at this. The commander shouted again. “Full speed! I want landfall in five minutes!”

“Aye!” shouted the bosun. “Onward, lads! For the glory!”

“FOR THE GLORY!” howled the crew.
Interracial warriors cheers and readied their weapons and magic as the ship shot towards the coastline. Spray flew in all directions, striking those standing near the ship’s railings. In particular, two figures stood apart from the howling commotion on the ship. Two sets of veteran eyes surveyed the coastline, before exchanging glances with each other.

“Could be a bloody battle,” Parma stated flatly.

“If things go south,” Vahl replied, flicking salt spray from his weapon.

“And they always do.” Parma smiled a rueful smile.

Vahl said nothing. He merely turned back to the coast. Oars were being retracted as the ship began to shudder. The keel scraped sand as the first ship of the Interracial Fleet made landfall. Warriors began to press forward, eager to be off the boat and into the fray.

Parma and Vahl stepped forward. Vahl cast his eyes heavenward and made a prayer. The same prayer he made almost every night.

“Velkan watch over us. I pray Mother, Devotchka and Denryo are well…”


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Re: VELKANS - REUNION: Empires and Ashes

Post  Mammona on Fri Jun 16, 2017 8:44 am

“Well, that went well…”

Devotchka’s words were punctuated by a cough as she trudged through the cloudy air. The grit and dust caused by the Rift’s close hovered over almost the entirety of Cinderstone Moor, clinging to clothing and skin alike. The Abolisher was a grey spectre pushing through the bleak atmosphere. Her omnipresent smile still etched her features, but this time it was one of bitterness. Blood leaked from a shallow cut across her scalp – the legacy of an arrow that had almost found its mark. Her voice, however, cut much deeper.

“No warning. Nothing. Not even a goddamn ‘hiya, we’re here for the Rift, but we’ll also settle for yanking down your britches and giving you a royal rogering as well!’”

Denryo shook his head, glancing behind him. The remnants of his unit also walked through the ash, heads bowed in defeat. Several sported serious wounds. He gritted his teeth. Many more lay dead upon the Rift field. He returned his gaze to the front. To his right, Devotchka’s voice kept up an endless tirade against the Interracials, the other guilds and heroes for not coming to their aid and just life in general and how it constantly dealt them loss and death. To his left, he heard the soft sound of Yommie fighting back tears. Her battalion had taken the most losses.

The Interracial fleet had attacked swiftly and without warning. The Crimson soldiers were swept away in a tide of steel and magic. The rift was claimed without incident. However, what had happened next was not only an act of war, but an act of treachery as well. Several units of Interracials had broken off from the main group and charged the Trikoran forces. Ignoring proper hailing and rules of engagement, the attacked without mercy. They had swept through Devotchka’s forces like a spear through paper, slamming into Yommie’s healing core. The poor souls closest to the Rift had died swiftly and brutally. Without healing support, Denryo’s forces could not hold back the seasoned warriors of the new empire. Every one Denryo and Devotchka cut down, three more took their place. Soon, only the Trikoran commanders and a score of their most talented troops remained. Denryo had steeled himself, knowing that if he were to die, he would doing so taking as many of these Interracial cretins with him.

However, luck had been on their side, for the Rift had chosen that moment to destabilise. As the Crimson portal energy had reached its peak, a quick-thinking Yommie had launched a bolt of arcane energy at its core. The portal had exploded, rending the very earth beneath them an wiping out the Interracial forces closest to it. The vaporised earth had cascaded down upon the battlefield as dust, giving the surviving Trikorans enough cover to make their escape. However, many of their comrades had not been so lucky.

“Why would they have broken the treaties? The peace agreements?” Yommie choked, her voice quivering.

“Trikora has enemies,” Denryo replied, staring straight ahead.

“You bet your old bosoms we have enemies,” Devotchka snapped. “Even half of the Nuian Empire wants us dead! And for what? For refusing to get involved in their political rear-ending!”

“Well, there’s the answer,” Denryo shot back. “Someone told them to disregard the treaties. There’s no other reason they would attack!”

Devotchka began to yell, but shut her mouth instead. After a few deep breaths, her voice returned to normal levels. “So what now? We can’t stagger around in this dust cloud forever.”

Denryo sighed. “We head back to Dewstone. We need to convene the council.”

Yommie hung her head. “The bodies…they need a proper burial.” The druid screwed her eyes shut.

“We cannot.” Denryo said softly. “Not yet.”

Yommie was about to reply, when war-horns tore the air. Despite being muffled by the ash in the atmosphere, it still sounded loud and indimidating. Devotchka whirled around, her Nodachi flying to her hands as if by magic.

“They found us!”

“No!” Denryo hissed. “The dust makes it seem closer. That came from back at the Rift zone. It’s a different horn than their last ones.” He quickly motioned for his remaining troops to double-time their forced march. Devotchka and Yommie did the same.

“Different horn,” Devotchka echoed. “What does it mean?”

Denryo also quickened his pace. “No idea. Something’s happening over there, though. And I don’t intend to hang around to find out. Come on!”

The remaining Trikorans disappeared into the hazy landscape.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

“What have you done with Khalasar?!” Vahlok demanded.

The Fleet Commander’s hand flew to the hilt of his sword. “Watch your tongue when you address me, cur!”

Parma stepped forward, hands parted in a gesture of pacification. “He meant no disrespect, Fleet Commander. We simply wish to know where our friend is.”

“You’re friends with that dog?!” The Commander scoffed. “Maybe you can join him in the pits. We always need more labourers!” The moustached man laughed at his own brevity.

“The pits?! Why?” Vahlok pressed, ignoring the Interracial guards who slowly began to edge closer to him.

“Because he refused to obey me, that’s why!” the Commander shot back. “When the empire tells you to do something, you damn well do it!”

“Sir, with respect – “ Parma began, but was cut off. With a wave of his hand, the Commander ordered Parma out of the command tent. As his guards advanced, Parma had no choice but to withdraw. As he did, he cast a pointed glance in Vahlok’s direction. Don’t do anything rash.

“At least he has some level of obedience,” the Commander observed. “He lives… for now.” The old man turned to Vahlok, a sinister smile on his lips. “As for you…”

Rough hands grasped Vahlok’s slender shoulder, forcing him to his knees. The Darkrunner gasped in surprise as a booted foot crashed into his ribs. Air exploded from his lungs, leaving him retching and spluttering. The guards still held him tight as the foul breath of the Fleet Commander washed over his face.

“Interracials have no need for disobedience. You won’t be joining your friend in the pits. You’ll die right here and now for your insubordination and we’ll leave your corpse to rot with those Trikoran vermin outside.” He gestured to his guards, who drew daggers.

Vahlok spat blood from his lips and grinned at the Commander. “Do it yourself, pig. Get your own blade dirty for once.” He chuckled.

The Fleet Commander smirked, drawing his sword. “You’re going to wish you hadn’t said that.” He signalled the guards. “Hold him up.”

The guards hauled Vahlok to his feet. However, as they did, they were met by the Darkrunner’s elbows. Planting his feet earlier than expected, he launched upwards, striking each guard under the chin with the points of his elbows. As their unarmoured heads snapped back, Vahlok’s hands flew to his quiver, still strapped to his back. They came hurtling back towards the guards, an arrow gripped tightly in each one. As the guards reeled from the elbow blows, they never saw Vahlok’s hands striking. One was hit under the armpit, through the joints of his armour. He never felt the razor-tipped shaft plunge deep into his heart. The second was hit under the chin, the arrow slicing into his brain. Both fell without a sound. The Commander stepped back in shock, his remaining guards crowding forward, making sure he was out of reach. However, nothing was out of reach for a Darkrunner.

Vahlok tossed one arrow to the opposite hand, catching both between his fingers. With a flick of his shoulder, his bow appeared in his other hand. In a flash, the two arrows were nocked and drawn. He leaped back, avoiding an on rushing guard. He sailed back through the entrance to the tent. He caught the Commander’s eyes and offered a bloody, knowing smile. He spoke two words.

“I quit.” His fingers released.

The Interracial Fleet Commander’s head snapped back as both arrows struck him at the same time. His body followed, crashing to the floor behind his stunned guards. Vahlok’s arrows protruded from his eye sockets, blood pooling around the burst eyeballs. When the guards finally tore their own eyes away from the horrific sight, they saw that they were alone in the tent. Vahlok was gone.

The frantic horns sounded throughout the Interracial camp as Vahlok vanished into the ashes. The Darkrunner moved swiftly through the dust, ignoring the chaos around him. He needed that chaos. Especially if he was to find Parma and Khalasar and make their escape from this empire of blood.
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