Blood and Stone Unite
edited December 2022 in Just for Fun Contests
Just like my prior story Warlords of Stone and Blood, this is not a challenge. I will be writing lore for one of my sets, with hopefully less typos than the last. Feel free to read them, feel free to ignore them, but if you read them feel free to dm me about the stuff you enjoyed.
Prologue - ???
"The years following the war were the hardest..."
Art by Greg Rutoski
"Many struggled to cope with the loss of their loved ones. Mass cremations became the norm because any other methods of burial would be inadequate in the efforts of preventing rot, decay and infection..."
Art by PengZhen Zhang
"Kalvor fell to turmoil without it's king, but when the blazes of war had settled, a new glorius kingdom arose. A refuge for all manner of races, and kin, a utopia. Or so from the outside it seemed..."
Art by Lie Setiawan
Art by Francisco Miyara
"From the inside, corruption festered. Thugs, scoundrals, and peseantry were forced to yield to the demands of law as they suffered from attrition from the laws and sanctions imposed by the rich. As the poor followed mindlessly, the rich ruled with greed and indifference..."
Art by Trevor Cob (pinterest)
"Various kingdoms were reforming all around, but not all kingdoms reformed. Some nations fell forcing their inhabitants to seek refuge elsewhere or fall into lawlessness and disfunction. Murders, robberies, and killings became second place as all who found themselves outside the kindoms dealt with the unrully enviroments outside from safety. Alas, not all suffered in this environment of chaos and disorder. Those who chose to not join kingdoms or survived exile from their kingdom often formed groups that would carry out visious assassinations, and other crimes from within the established realms..."
Art by Kalmahul
"Fortunately, not all sought to cause harm. Various individuals from all over the realms ventered into the untamed in order to restore the stability of the realms...many died. Ultimately the realms saw some measure of peace, as some of the various mana channels opened by the wizard, and various others became closed...."
Art by Lyna (Pinterest)
Art by Terri (Etsy)
Art by E-will
"As for Flöghorn, the advancing winter had halted, but the frigid winds howled fiercely than ever. The remaining of the ice giants, despite their great tolerance for the cold, found themselves unable to fight the winters, and ended up frozen. As for the effects of the unleashed winter, they could be felt deep into grains of the red sands, and the bones of the forests of Northern Eskara. The fate that awaited my people though, was worse..."
Art by Alexandra Bell
Art by Andreas Rocha
"At first we tried showing solidarity, perhaps even empathy, and negotiating change with the Elves. After all we had also lost our queen to the Kalvorians, it was a time for unity. If we were to win the war, division was not the path to follow. We grieved with them, but they grieved against us..."
Art from pinterest
Art from pinterest
Art by Omupied
"Soon they began drafting laws that limited what we could do, where we could, and where we could not reside within the Kingdom, and the forests of Eskara. Many of us understood their rage and we even shared it, but we held arms in protest. Some of the Elves, Half-Elves and Humans alike saw benifit in solidarity, and stood against the high elves. So they intensified their methods. They drafted even more laws which granted lordship to pure Elves within Eskara, and second class to Half-Elves who stood against the protests, as they began to dispatch the Truillian militia to terrorize those who stood besides us. To stand with us, was to stand with the enemy."
"Many flocked at the opportunity to be considered superior, while others feared the reprocusions of standing with us and caved under the pressure. It was at this moment, that the second part of their plan came to fruition. They weeded out the highest rank among us in the militia through rigged trials, assassinations and slander campaigns, as they freed generals from Zariels troops and allowed them to merge with Truillian society as long as they promised unconditional servitude. They talked about how our generals killed Elves without mercy in combat, not granting them the dignity of death, as we tore hearts out of their chests, pomeled their heads to mush, and stabbed swords through their guts in the moments of their mercy. By the time they were done, the few that supported us, were hunted alongside my people...those were the lucky ones..."
Art by Bilbo The Tall (Pinterest)
Art by Sixmorevodka Studios
Art by Artur Mosca
"There is no greater indignity than being robbed of your freedom. I watched my brothers and sisters suffer as they sat in silence. They spoke of barbarity in the wastelands while the true barbarity lied within their confines. THEY...spoke of my people, THEY SPOKE of me as though I was lesser. Despite our pleadings they did not listen to reason. WELL NO MORE!"
"Ofcourse there have been those who fought alongside us, and those who fought with us, but thier efforts while appreciated, are inadequate! I have spent way to long, MY PEOPLE have spent way too long, awaiting the warmth of Eskara, and if they won't give it to us, I will torch Eskara down in order for my people to feel its warmth!
End of Prologue
Chapter One - The New Red King Part I
Art by Stevin Belledin
A ghost like silence floats above the air, as ghostly winds blow upon the flat, dry, grounds of the ruins of a temple that resides within the red sands. A figure emerges, it's feet heavy on the lifeless pale soil, adorned with obsidian colored garments, it's shield carving the very soils that meter the area. To most, these new wastelands are dead and devoid of sustinance, but the figure while not remebering much, knows it has not always been this way. It has been twenty five years since the war, times when this lands while unclaimed, could be roamed with only fear of ogres. Now, while the weathers seem calm, at any moment Flöghorn can send it's overwhelming colds, mixed with the scorching heat of the southern red sands, and cause a storm strong enough to pick up boulders, and trees. The figure marches into the world, filled with vengence, seeking the one who sent them to their grave.
Artist by JJcanvas
Meanwhile further inside the red sand deserts, drums blast like hammers through the overwhelming winds. Voices sing songs, a mixture of celebration, and sorrowful morning. There stands the Kingdom of Jotmir. Having survived the war, Jontar lived the rest of his dwarven life in comfort. Despite ruling a Kingdom of warriors, Jontar was able to not only rebuild his kingdom, but also have one of the least corrupt Kingdoms within the realms. Jotmir was a Kingdom founded by warriors so it had and still has a strong moral code. Be fierce, but honor bound in combat; be merciless, but swift in feuds; be glorius and fearless in the face of death. True to the code built within his Twenty Eight year reign, despite Jontars great dwarven longevity, he died at the dwarven young age of Eighty Eight years during a skirmish between the one of the great factions of the bandits within the unclaimed lands. An impressive army of two hundred men strong participated in the raid, when reinforcements arrived, Jontar and several other warriors lied amongst the bodies of one hundred and sixty six bandits.
Art by Dmitriy Prozorov
Art by Creativerepositoryblog
As warriors and children sing of the mighty escapades of Jontar, mugs of ale ping against each other, as great feasts are devoured by warriors and children alike. Games are held, as strong men, and hardy women alike arm restle, spar, and have various other competitions of dexterity, constitution, and strenght. Children ran around with wooden weapons, as they mimic warriors enshrined in the histories of the budded Kingdom. Finally a pire is lit as the warriors hold a moment of silence for the king, and Jontar is enshrined among legends.
Art by Shen Fei
End Of The New Red King Part One
Chapter two - The New Red King Part II
Three days following the burial of the King, the two heirs Drovar, and Karth are called forth before the Kingdom. An old man of human appearance walks foward, preparing to adress the various races of warriors that reside within Jotmir. His eyes are deep with wisdom, and wrinkles flow like rivers through his chizeled face. The crowd calms their activities in anticipation. The transition of power has began.
Old Veteran: "Drovar Broodbone, first of Jontar Broodbone and heir till opposed. Karth Broodbone, second of Jontar and next in throne. We ask that any scores you have be set aside in the name of the Broodbone name. For as instructed in Joten tradition by your father before his death, you will have to face various honored warriors in battle for your bloodlines right to retain the seat. Upon yield or disqualification, you will simply step down with the honor of your family name in tact. With that said, is there anyone that wishes to challenge their claim?"
Most of the warriors though capable seem content with the rule of the Broodbones, most watch in silence. Several warriors step forward, each from a different line, and most from a different race, but capable nonetheless. The fight is moved outside the Kingdom into the red sand deserts, where all the warriors including the Broodbones, are outfited with the gears of their choice. Drovar uses his weapon of choice, a dwarven hammer passed on to him by Jontar. Karth scoffs silently at Drovar and grabs an axe from the weapons offered before him.The two of them stand side to side as the various challengers step forward two by two in order to fight the pair. Finally after hours the final pair enters battle. Metal clashes against metal as each side comes closer and closer to loss. Drovar swings his hammer shattering one of the warrior's shield, just as that warrior spins and kicks him in the leg tripping him. The warrior goes to subdue Drovar, but Karth rams into them, pushing them to the side. Karth looks down at Drovar with slight disgust, but Drovar laughs heartily, and puts out a hand to his brother right before the other warrior of the pair kicks Karth from the back. Drovar picks up his hammer and uses the hilt to knock the helm of the warrior who kicked Karth, followed up by disarming the warrior, and knocking them out. Meanwhile, Karth swings his axe ferociously and impulsively as the other warrior struggles to parry with his shield. It seems that Karth has entered into a sort of combat fury. Drovar among a few others notice too late, as Karth delivers devastating blow after devastating blow, shattering the wooden hold of the other warrior's spear in half. Drovar rushes to stop his brother, but then *slit*. The warrior facing Karth falls to the ground and begins bleeding out from the neck quickly. Karth looks arround at the disapproving warriors. Children are escorted away, as Karth turns to look at Drovar and begins to speak.
Karth: "I should have gotten the throne, birth age does not dictate that. I am the only one here willing to do WHAT it takes to become KING! Fathers last act of rule by combat, was to spite me. His first, was giving you that hammer as a symbol of inheritance. I was going to get rid of this CHILDISH GAME and make sure that I, Make Sure THAT WE! Maintained our name and lands! So go ahead and exile me brother, for winning by combat, for making up for your Weakness!"
The crowd stares in silence, before the warriors look to Drovar. Drovar turns his back on his brother, and walks back to the keep. Slowly by slowly, other warriors follow suit, as the body of the deceased warrior is carrier for burial by the remaining soldiers. Karth yells in anger, then walks north of the red sand deserts, vanishing into the sands. Following the battle, the warriors who fought in the trial are have their wounds dressed, and honored with a feast. As for Drovar, he asumes throne as the new king. Drovar is handed a hammer stolen from Alzars Ironkeep keep during the war, as a symbol of his rulership. Drovar goes forth being known as, Drovar, Firebrood.
Art by Raymond Swanland?
End Of The New Red King Part Two
Chapter Three - United
Art by Verhasselt
Old war scars line the walls of the Kingdom of Gladius. Walls that were once marble white, now murked by the shifting weathers of these new unruly lands. A caravan of three soldiers from the Kalvorian front gain passage through the gate. As the soldiers travarse the Kingdom of Gladius, they traverse with a dignity only afforded to nobles. Their horses are adorned with silver and gold, and most of them look to be the age of their mid twenties to early thirties. Citizens of Gladius give way, as gossip sings of how the Kalvorians where not only able to rebuild their economy better than ever, but they were also able to distribute wealth to a point where even guards are adorned. Statues of the various matyrs of Gladius, from the first King all the way to Niran, the recently deceased King line the sides of Gladius's structures. During the soldiers passage a child wonders infront of one of the galoping horses, and narrowly avoids getting hit. The child falls and begins to cry, as the Kalvorian soldier stops and looks in disgust, before continuing on with the rest of the soldiers. The child's mother rushes, and picks up the boy, then nurses his injuries. Meanwhile, Inside the stratergic quarters of Bruna, a Gladian guard delivers a letter to the Queen. For the past six months, the Kalvorians have been coordinating with the Gladians in order to go free the enslaved humans inside the forests of Eskara. The Kalvorians have drafted a plan, and have even discovered someone who they asume to be the leader. Bruna consults with her generals and decides to schedule a joined march with the Kalvorians towards Eskara the following day.
The following morning, the Gladian army leaves, with Bruna as their commander despite the warnings of the various commanders in her Kingdom. Bruna sights that the King Of Kalvor said they will be there, so it is only fitting that she resiprocate. The army of six hundred heads towards Eskara leaving only two hundred soldiers guarding the Kingdom. Together with the Kalvorian armies, Bruna expects a combined march of one thousand two hundred men. Bruna's father never stood for injustice, neither will she.
End of United
Chapter Four - Frozen Hearts
Art by Jack Eaves
Footsteps disappear rapidly on the icy snows of Flöghorn, as piercing cold winds shriek through the dense fogs of these dead lands. A figure, hunched despite being coated in layers of animal hide, trailes red mist as they wander aimlessly through out the lands searching for any vestiges of comfort. Frozen limbs of frost giants dot the lands, as if a mockery towards any who dare explore these glacial lands. Just a few meters away, the skinned hide of a beast lies already frozen on the grounds, as it is swiftly covered by the encroaching snows. The figure Karth, shakes with discomfort as the grasp of a cold death enters their mind, the fingers already beginning to feel the breaths of winter as they march against the pushing winds. After hours of marching, a gentle sigh is let out as the warrior reaches some montainous protrusions, signaling a cave.
Art by Constatine Marin
Art by Regnar3712
Art by Creative Uncut
Inside the cave, the temperatures are more managable. The isulating nature of the cave offers reprieve but not comfort from the assailing weather. Various creatures, presumably once seeking refuge, now decorate the interiors of the cave as they lie inside jagged icy protrusions. This appears to have been home, to someone or some people, due to the barbaric tools encapsulated a few layers under the icy floors. Karth marches through the cave with frozen axe in mind, before finding a warm enough spot to gain rest.
Karth awakens hours later to a vacuum like winds threatening to pull him deeper into the caves. He grabs on to an stalagmite as he desperatelhy attempts to pull himself into a walled off pocket of the frozen cave. The warrior's rations unbuckle, disappearing with the deafening winds. He pulls himself to the area, before putting his axe down and passing out. Upon opening his eyes, Karth notices a soft glow, eminating from deeper within the cave and opts to explore it. As he delves deeper into the cave, he has to occasionally hide behind walls every half an hour due to the repeatig vacuum of air that gets colder and colder with each delve. Eventually the dwarf approaches a glowing section of the floor before the winds from before pull from across the halls yet again. Karth, ragdolls throught the air, as he swings his axe side to side, trying to cleave on to the rock ice surroundings, eventually the axe finds home in a frozen structure, where the warrior holds on for mercy as the chilling blasts try to pull him backwards.
Art by Michal Ivan
Cracks begin to form on the structure as Karth removes his axe, and backs up. A massive yeti, standing over six feet, towers over the already short dwarf. The ice breaks, and the beast breaks free unleashing a devastating roar. Stalagtites begin raising from the cave forcing Karth to take cover. The beast rushes towards the weakened Karth, and grabs him, launching him across the cavern halls like an old stick. The warrior falls, smashing into the glowing spot of the hall, which to his suprise, is not that firm, causing it to crack lightly. Karth grabs his axe and rolls away, right as the Yeti leaps and lands in the same area causing a massive hole to open up in the area. Karth grabs on to the sides, but the falling yeti grabs on to his leg, threatening to tear his right left arm, and right leg if held any longer. Suddenly the ice beaks sending them falling, tight as the gust blows pushing Karth into a wall, before sending him falling right on top of the incapacitated yeti.
Art by Toronn
Karth awakens yet again within an hour. This time, he is inside a crystaline area of the cavern. The pulling winds from before can be heard up above, but they pose little threat now. Karth limps within the caverns, as light from an opening above refracts, illuminating the pocketed area. Karth marches under the icy roof of what was once the ground he was walking on. After hours of walking, Karth reaches the source of the glowing, it is the core of winter. Massive gusts of wind whip every which way, as the core simultaneusly releases tearing winds, and pushing gusts. The winds go through multiple cavern openings of the cave. From observation, Karth seems to notice that this area, hasn't been touched in a long time. As Karth gets closer and closer to the core, some how miraculously dodging the sharp winds that slash narrowly on his fur made garments, icy protrusions begin to appear from the ground as if living, threatening to stab him. He dodges and hacks, as the winds become more intense to the point of obstructing breath. Right when Karth is about to touch the core, he limps to the side as with force, as the wind suddenly pulls back to the core violently, de-gloving his left palm.
Chilling winds blast through the uppermost nothern parts of Eskara, as the trees bend and flex before the torrent. The sands of the north western red sands are coated with snow, as rain begins to pour before turning into a heavy blizzard, then a light snow. Storms churn, and airs chill in the surrounding land, causing flashes of lightning and heavy rains not seen in a while. A wizard sits in a tower in Eskara looking furiously, before walking away. Meanwhile, within the Icy caves, blue light begins to incase, Karth's body and axe, as he draws his last breath. As the blasts get wilder. A figure emerges from the caves of Flöghorn, unbothered by the winter cold, with vengence in their heart.
End Of Frozen Hearts
Chapter Five - The Hunt Part I
Art by Josh Rife
Far in the outer south east bounds of Eskara, the crackling of branches, and soft folliage can be heard. A calvary of six hundred heads towards the capital of Eskara, lead by their fearless queen and general, Bruna. The warriors expect to rendevue with the Kalvorians deep in the center of the Eskarian forest, for a joint launch against the Truillian tyrants who enslave even children without mercy. Due to the joint reconnisance between Kalvor, the soldiers are able to move through the forests easily, too easily. Bruna and a lieutenant remark about how odd it is for the Truillians to not have a heavy presense during their short rest, but assume that they must be preoccupied, since the Kalvorians seem to have made it with little to no signs of struggle. They march for two hours and thirty minutes before reaching the spot of the encounter, but the Kalvorians are no where to be seen.
Art by Elderscrolls
Soft slushes can be heard, as two soldiers drop from their horses dead, surely a mark of Truillian accuracy. Bruna realising it is a trap orders her men to fall back to more open grounds, due to being I'll equipped to deal with archers. It appears that they have been betrayed.
Bruna: "Those darn Kalvorians."
Meanwhile, deep in the unclaimed lands, an army of two hundred and fifty men, march on horse back heading east towards the Kingdom of Gladius. They are adorned with battleworn, but quality armor, and they kick up dust with their chorus of tramples, as prepare for an invasion. Deep in the courts of Kalvor Augustus, discusses matters with the Grand Council.
???A: "We must say Augustus, we are very impressed by your tactics."
???D: "Yes, we are very much impressed, as long as your service continues, we will continue to reward you greatly."
???B: "I must ask though, how do you intend to deal with the Gladius army when they decide to retalite"
Augustus: "Don't worry, their defenses are down, we will take them down once and for all"
Art by Paul Ozzimo
Art by Mathew F
As the Gladians prepare to retreat, arrows strike various of their horses causing soldiers to fall. The remaining soldiers on horseback find it difficult to manuever, as they run into branches, among other obstructions due to the heavily forested environment and the spooked horses. Bruna is forced to flee, as some of her soldiers fend of the ground forces. During her fleeing, the soldiers guarding her fall one by one. Suddenly an arrow tears with brutal perfection through her horse's hind knees causing it to throw her off and fall. As Bruna falls to the ground, spraining her leg. Out of nowhere a lone archer appears and addresses her as she crawls away.
Fergith: :" As expected of you animals, you send invading armies through sovereign lands, then you fall and whimper like hogs when you inevitabely fail."
Bruna: " Better to have the heart of a hog, than to have a heart of ice.
An arrow zips and lands inches away from Bruna's head
Fergith: "Watch your tongue! I have never missed a shot in my entire life, it is by my graces that you beg for mercy."
As Fergith is about the finish Bruna off, he turns, as he hears the screams of his troops. He turns back to see Bruna gone. He returns the arrow to his quiver, and rushes to aid his soldiers.
Art by Beamdog
End Of The Hunt Part One
Chapter Six - The Hunt Part II
Art by Ire Azure
Bruna stumbbles out of the heavily obstructed Eskara forest. Her sword soaked lightly in Elven blood. She has survived but at the cost of her fellow brothers and sisters in arms. She has to make it back to her kingdom, she has to return to Gladius before that traitorous Augustus attacks. With the standing army in her kingdom now reduced to about two hundred men and women, the armies of Kalvor could easily crush them withot expenditure. She limps forward, which causes the pain in her knee to spike, then passes out.
Gantu: "You can relax Bruna, I am only here to assist"
She looks around and sees various other humans who managed to get away and some elves that were sympathetic to the humans. She looks down at her knee, and while it still hurts, it is tourniqieted.
Bruna: "How do you know my name?" *she inches the sword closer to him*
Gantu: "I know many names." *Gantu pushes the sword away* "Whenever I mend people's minds, I not only learn their names, but I take on some of their traumas away."
Gantu: "You are free to leave or stay as long as you want. I have placed your armor and sword at the corner of the cabin with the other's weapons and gears. I would advice agains going through the forests again."
Bruna extends her thanks, and leaves.
Meanwhile deep inside the forest, elf after elfs are sent flying as they try to flee through trees. A force of nature leaps from tree to tree slaughtering creature after creature. Fergith enters the forest to see a blood massacare. Elven shields sit shattered, and Truillians fall from the cannopies above. His soldiers begin to flee, when sudenly a massive force lands behind him causing a shock wave. Fegrith turns around and jumps out of the way, only to receive a slash on his arm, as an axe tears through it. Fegith tries fires an arrow, but a second axe splits the arrow, then the bow, right before slashing him in the chest. Fegrith barely gets time to think, but gets beheaded before he can react. Fegith's head floats in the air as his vision fades away. The figure heads deeper in the forest, trampling on the fallen elves.
End Of The Hunt Part Two
Chapter Seven - The Red Bandits
Thick light grey clouds slide amongst the skies gently overlooking the two hundred and fifty Kalvorian soldiers as they march through the unclaimed wastelands. The lands are bone dry, the grass on them, if any metered with the light pigments of oldness. The soldiers are forced to rely on their rations as they march towards Gladius. Being noble men, they are granted more than their shares worth of rations while the citizens of Kalvor barely pool enough coins together for a meal or two. Regardless the soldiers exercise caution despite being given permision to raid Gladius during the assault.
As the soldiers move through the grainy lands, suddenly approach a make shift barricade. A man and a woman dressed in common attire holding daggers. Two men in mismatched gear sit under a make shift shade, holding a mace and a hailbeard respectively. The inconvience of the barricade is further insured since dangerous terrain surronds all the soldiers. The squad leader instructs his men to keep moving forward, eventually they stop before the man and woman.
Woman: "Care to make a generous donation in exchange for passage?" She puts out an open pouch with her other hand with a dagger on the remaining arm.
Kalvorian SQL: " We have no coin and It would be in your best intrest to move." The squad leader says as he hints at the men behind him.
Woman: "I wasn't really asking." The woman says as the two men behind her get up.
The other man blows a horn and arrows fly from the side taking out five soldiers. The rest lift up their shields in time to block. Suddenly, a fifty two other figures appear from their hidding, thirty five of them charge fowards with their various weapons. The remaining ones hide behind the barricades as they fire poison laced arrows from hiding. The red bandits clash with the Kalvorians, holding their ground surprisingly well, but the Kalvorian soldiers with their military gear are able to over come them. Seeing a significant amount of their men lost, the man and woman from before, along with three other archers, flee up the path. Before leaving, the woman taunts "You don't wanna mess with the red bandits, we have killed kings before." When the soldiers finish dealing with the bandits, they assess their casualties, thirty two bodies lie before them. The Kalvorian soldiers in their greed and/or cold stature, collect pouches of gold coins, wine sacks, and rations from both the dead bandits, and their own dead soldiers, making sure to finish of the ones who aren't dead yet.
End Of The Red Bandits
Chapter Eight - The Wasteland Giant
Art By Jose Danoso
The soldiers march through the scared lands for hours on end, seemingly with no end in site. They pass the dried lands, the long rotting stench of the war soaked in to the dusty air; They pass the aching lands, as the bones of their landmarks creek from the scars of a long forgotten battle; They walk under the grey clouds as the winds whisper tellings of a comming storm to them. Eventually, they decide to set camp on a nearby area, as dusk quickly approaches, and the storm begins to roil. The night is long, so the noble soldiers of Kalvor, in blood if not in spirit, trade stories of their cruel exploits, and rapacious schemes. The lands cry as soft winds turn to torrents, and whips of lightning graze the land. Inside the caves the sounds of the raging outsides turn into soft muffles, and a warm glaze of a calm fire crackles in the silence as the soldiers sleep. A few paces near the opening, the secured horses neigh, as the night passes.
Early dawn the soldiers awaken to some distant noises. A large crowd of bandits, larger than before, stands outside. It is the red bandits. The soldiers mount their horses, take up calvary postions, and begin to charge. Arrows fly towards the heavily armored soldiers, but only two sustain serious injuries due to the Kalvorian's quality equipment. Right as the calvary approaches the group of bandits, suddenly a large projectile lands causing a moderately sized shock wave. Multiple soldiersand horses are knocked off their feet, while others are simply crushed. A soldier gets up from the mud disorientated, wounded, and confused. He looks up an sees two towering structures of gold roughly about three feet tall, and twenty three inches wide, forged ornately in the shape of calves, dangerously close to him. His eyes wander, following the structures, as an additional two feet of fourty inch wide thighs, equally as incased in ornate gold plating, link to a towering gold plated torso of a man with equally large proportions. The tall ten and a half foot figure, wears a large helm over his dark face and wields two large obsidian daggers the size of a great sword. The woman points to the squad leader who sits far from the epicenter, as to the soldier near the hulking giant's path horror, the giant moves without paying him heed and crushes his skull causing it's contents to splatter. This is the Giant Of Goltar. Blood and gore flies into the air, as the giant gains momentum, and rushes towards the squad leader, crushing the Kalvorian soldiers affected by the blast who fail to get up in time. As the giant charges, the bandits follow its path, finishing of soldiers, as the giant knocks of soldier, after soldier, with each effortless swing of its towering daggers. Soldiers are launched into the air, their weapons bouncing aimlessly on the giant armor with each attempted strike. After thirty minutes of what would have been an hour of fighting, and the squad leader, and his ten remaining men being cornered, they surrender. They soldiers plead, offering their money, and the money of their dead allies to the thugs, but after looting them, the lady instructs the giant to kill all the men but the squad leader. She takes the honor of killing him. Her last words to the man, "nobody messes with Skarla of the Red Bandits, we kill kings, and nobles all the same."
End Of The Wasteland Giant
Chapter Nine - Slave To None Part I
Art by PengZhen Zhang
A fresh breeze blows in Kalvina's upper district of Lordstown. Merchants, noble-bloods and rich heirs rome the calming scenery free of crime. Clean waters fill ponds, lakes and fountains in all around the district. Seperating this district of affluence from the others is a massive marble wall, gated, and guarded all hours of day and night. This is a stark cotrast from the reality of the other Kalvorian districts where most have to slave away their time for just a bit of comfort and food. Outside of this district, the only other district with fresh air, water, and food, is the agricultural/marketing district of Therisia. It has been two days since Augustus sent the two hundred and fifty man march. Inside the food halls of the castle, Augustus sits with twenty individuals, each affluent in their respects. They discuss how to further exploit Kalvina while still keepin it's citizens relatively content. The conversation goes on for hours with bribes being cast, votes being passed, and Augustus deliberating. Suddenly the conversation is interupted by a dove flying inside the food halls, and dropping a sealed letter into Augustus's hand. He glares over it for a moment, before crumpling it discreetly. He concludes the meeting and excuses himself to the stratergic halls, where he rages to his commanders about the incident mentioned, he then heads to the council for deliberation.
Art by Ludovic Ribardiere
Meanwhile deep in the forests of Eskara, the six armed figure lugs around it's heavy body. Elven blood drenches from his Axe as traces of hanged humans begin to appear in the forest. The figure stops for a while, then continues.
Art by Llyramyr Quira
Deep in the forest the screams can be heard as a man pleads from a far. "Please, I will do better," and "I am not old yet," among other things can be heard from a far. As the figure gets closer and closer, it notices a man held up by two elves, with several more standing in the side. A much properly dressed elf stands infront of him antagonizing him. The man is coated with heavy lacerations, and has a wounded leg. It is clear that he doesn't have long to live. Right as an elf is tying a thick vine around the man's neck, suddenly a large axe desends decapitating the elf forcing the elves holding the man to jump back. The man, now on the ground, smiles, then lets out a thank you, before passing away.
Truillian Noble: *Clearly frustrated and angered* "Filthy beast, how dare you!" *He adresses Gorsharr, before with a snap, he orders the remaining eight elves to capture him*
The elves while truillian, are not truillian soldiers themselves, so they put up little fight. The elves surround Gorsharr, before two of them leap from behing. Gorsharr turns swinging his axe with one of his many arms, obliterating the elf's skull while with his other hand, he graps the other elf. The elf squirms helplessly before its neck gets snapped. Noticing this, the noble makes a quick retreat, as four of the elven archers fire arrows at Gorsharr. The arrows hit Gorsharr, but do not deter him, as he approaches the elven archers, and with a single cleaves them in half. The remaining two elves or half elves as they appear, try to flee in different directions. Gorsharr leaps, landing on one of them, killing them on the spot. He then throws one of his axes the other direction hits a tree, with a decapitated head on top of it. Before Gorsharr can move further, a heavy blast of ice pushes back, forcing him to kneel, before freezing his arms, and legs into the ground. Suddenly from above the cannopies, figures dash from the sky. Truillian soldiers. Standing in front of him, is an Elven mage. Arrows rain from the sky from all angles around Gorsharr. Gorsharr unable to break from the ice, receives muliple fatal wounds.
End Of Slave To None Part One
Chapter Ten - Slave To None Part II
Art by Silvana Massa
The clink of metal rings on the bone dry prarie like areas of the unclaimed territory. Where bandits of the shield breaker faction had thought a place of rest, now a place of demise. Soldiers struggle to maintain balance, as an overwhelming force bests them in combat. Arms are slashed like butter, and femoral atteries, and tendons dismantled from the very foundations of the sorry excuses for bones that build the terrified bandits. Silver blade after silver blade, dance towards the air, before swiftly stopping upon a wall of black obsidian, rounded into a shield. With a loud near hypersonic bang, the shield meets the bandits face, caving it in with an easy right ward swipe. The poor thing is sent into the air, before landing in an uncomfortable angle. Arrows fired towards the night in black, but all deflected the same. The bandits fight a futile battle as their comrades fall like flies left, and right. The remaining few try to flee, but they are encountered by the dead faces of their rising allies. They let out screams of horror as they meet their end.
Art by Nb Monkey
Meanwhile in the forest, a figure approaches Gorsharr's corpse, as his life flashes before his eye as a figures begin to surround him. He think back, on how once he was proud to be a part of the Truillian nation. His great grandfather, one of the first humans to be allowed into the forests of Eskar before the merging of Kaltara, and Eskar; his grandfather one of the first human generals in the line of generals in Eskara that would follow in his bloodline. He looked up to Yora, she was a kind queen, born from the marriage between the Elven princess of Eskar, and the prince of Kaltara. So it was only natural that her death caused so much hurt. At the age of twelve Gorsharr not only had to deal with having lived through a war, he also had to deal with the loss of his father, and mother. First the elves killed his father in anger towards the humans for Yora's loss, then under their same tyranical rule, and enslavement, his mother died of starvation. In only five years Truillia went from being his home, to being a place he harbored hate for. He watched as other humans were enslaved, killed, and hanged in the forests he was forced to work. Until he was one day set free, set free by a man cloaked in black. He would be a slave no more, in exchange he would lend his arms to the clocked figure. With the deal struck, Gorsharr traded his humanity for freedom, and all that was left was burning rage for the elfs that killed his family. Gauth walks into his fading vison
Gauth: "You are certainly a foolish one. I can tell what you once were and it digusts me. At the end your power was not powerfull for the means you sought"
???: "But mine is"
Art by Suzanne-Helmigh
Gauth turns to see a black mist spread through the air, he watches as the soldiers surroding him and the trees above fall from the sky and begin to suffocate, and decompose. He surrounds himself with ice right as a cloaked figure walks out. The outer exterior of his ice begins to blacken, and the air begins to eat through it like acidic rot on a soft fruit. With fear, Gauth thickens the ice then begins to propel himself away with ice, making a cowardly retreat. The figure approaches Gorsharr, and lays a hand on his corpse, as it withers under the same air that killed the elves.
Jambu: "Just like me, you were a slave to none. You served well, and saved many, for that I am greatful. You may rest now my friend."
Chapter Eleven - Death and Skulls
Art by Cristian Chihaia
1 week later
Roars and cheers blast through a tournament. Metal, dust, and wood can be heard within the arena, as dust, and blood fly through the air. Outside the sands from the northern red sand desert seem to have shifted down south, and a figure approches the makeshift arena from the distance. Inside the arena chants can be heard all around "Garguth!" "Garguth!" "Garguth!" The crowds go wild as a warrior downs opponent, after opponent. Some of the fighters attempt to flee, but are forced back to the center by the tower archers. Garguth unleashes a strike, shattering the shield of an opponent making them fall. A Orc turns to the crowds full of bandits, criminals, exiles, and warriors, all looking to prove themselves. They show an overwhelming thumbs down, as Garguth turns to the now terrified warrior, and delivers a strike. At the arena gate, the imposing figure of black steel approaches the shady organizers at the gate.
Toll collector 1: "Fifty coins to watch, two hundred and fifty to participate. Final reward is fifty percent of the money made during the tournament" *The toll collector quips as the figure gets closer and closer.*
Toll collector 1: "The silent type huh?" *The figure keeps approaching closer and closer*
Toll collector 2: "Alright lad, yer better hold your ground before I c..." *Right before the organizer finishes their sentence, a blade meets their throat causing them to gurgle.*
The second organizer pulls out their sword and rushes forward to attack but they get disarmed and get slashed in half. Two bandit like figures, friends of the collectors approach.
Artist N/A (Pinterest)
Meawhile inside the arena, a fighter in full gear is getting overwhelmed. Before getting in the arena, all the fighters had to sign a death contract. The contract stated that, should the participant lose their life in the arena, it will not be held against them. This fact becomes very apparent as the terrified fighter's shield get's disarmed from him, followed by one of Garguth's steel maces launching him to the ground, and knocking the wind off his chest. The unfortunate fighter heaves, as chants bellow from the crowds, and Garguth turns to the crowd. He turns to turns to his right, and sees his shield. All he can hear, is the crowd yelling "kill him!" "kill him!" kill him!" The fighter manages to muster strenght, and begin to flee. He picks up his shield and begins running towards the exit. Arrows from the tower archers begin to pelt his armor, but he raises his shield. The fighter runs desperately towards the exit, with the crowd booing his cowardice, suddenly the tower archers open a trap door, and he falls to his death.
Cheers can be heard all around. Garguth turns arround lifting his bloody maces. The announcer begins to conclude the tournament, since no more warriors are stepping up. Garguth turns around to what looks like one of the event organizers bleeding at his throat, and shambling towards him with a sword in hand. Garguth puts the first one down, only for two of them to come shambling in, then three, then five, but each time the leathal warrior dismantles them with ease. The crowd is ecstatic at first, but as the assault grows, the crowd gets more, more worried. Eventually silence falls in the arena, shortly after a scream of terror interupts from the stands. More undead dressed like bandits begin attacking from the stands. Warriors, bandits and other criminals alike, rise to defend their lives, but as the zombies fall, more rise in their place. Inside the arena, the figure cloaked in obsidian colored steel walks in. Few of the older warriors stop in shock as they recognize the figure. To many a villain, to the ones who knew the truth a hero, but now to all a villain. Gander was a legendary sword fighter in life, a hero of unshakable morals, and brave to the teeth. Seeing him in this form makes one of the fighters, a soldier of his saddened.
Garguth seeing Gander as the source of the problem leaps in to action. Garguth swings his mace at Gander who swiftly paries his swing, a rookie mistake which all in the arena make, infact one that the soldier did make which it left him open. Garguth reads Gander like a book, as his second mace swings after. Gander lifts his shield as expected by Garguth. Garguth knows the power of his mace, it is powerfull enough to shatter most if any shields but this time, upon collision, the mace is stopped by the shield. The reverbaration of the strike leaving Garguth open. Gander's sword glides towards the air effortlessly, as Garguth in a last ditch effort, blocks with his mace. Gander lifts up his sword during the strike disarming the Garguth, and launching him to the ground. Another strike follows forcing the prone fighter to use his other mace to parry the strike. Garguth slides his mace under the sword as he rolls out of the way, and delivers a crippling strick to Gander's knee causing him to buckle. Garguth then rolls forward, picking up his other mace, before spinning, and delivering a surely leathal strike to the knight in dark steel.
Garguth turns his back in triumph, lifting his mace. "None can defeat the skull king!" he yells. Some of the warriors stop to cheer for him between their fight against the horde, but their looks of excitement, soon turn to ones of horror as a black blade pierces through the orc fighter and he falls to the ground dead. Behind him Gander stands, unharmed, and unhindered. Quick work is made of the remaining warriors by Gander, as the arena, and its surroundings, are overrun with undead.
Art by Verhasselt
Meanwhile in near the walls of Gladius, a woman covered in dirt, blood and dust walks towards the walls. On her right hand a blade, on her left a severed decaying head. The soldiers are quick to recognize her. Their Queen has returned. Gladius is at war.
End of Death and Skulls
Chapter Twelve - Returned QueenArt by Jordan Grimmer
Deep inside Castle Areles in Gladius servants tend to the queens wounds. Cold water, alcohol as well as the use of magic is used to tend to her to help her recover. A quenching glass of grape wine is poured for her to drink as she recovers her wits. She sits in the room with an air of dark thoughts looms over her. After a warm bath, and re-dressing in fine garments, she joins her generals, lieutenants, and commanders in the brefing room.
General Malatar: "My queen, it is great to see you alive...no thanks to you of course"
Bruna: "MIND you tongue general" *Bruna snaps, catching the General of guard with her change in manerism*
General Malatar: Apologies, it is just that as I have been always saying-perhaps you could *he pauses noting Bruna's eyes slant* - benifit from having a strong arm to take care of your business"
Bruna: "I already have enough strong arms, and sholders willing to help my cause, all the men and women in this kingdom have given themselves to the cause of the kingdom"
General Malatar: "Surely a woma..."
Before his sentence can finish, he is thrown off his chair into the wall. He opens his eyes to a blade at his neck. Lieutenant Cass, a young man about his twenties hesitates to intervene, but a hand is put on his shoulder by a woman in her mid ages, who dawns garments of rose and silver.
Major Berise: "Bruna, my queen, he is not worth the end of your blade. Malatar can be brash at times"
She widthdraws her blade, and walks away, stabbing the blade on a map on top of the strategy table, and without speaking a word, all the people in the room know what it means, Gladius is at war. Maltar gets up with a scowl on his face and wipes the blood off the corner of his mouth. He walks over to Beris but stops himself, before instructing Lieutenant Cass, among other men, to follow him.
Art by James Cornbridge
Letters of conscription are passed to all men of age, and letters of allowance for all women who wish to conscript as Bruna begins rallying her forces. Camps are errected, and Bruna gives a galvanizing speech to her people. As she finishes her speech, she whispers to herself as she walks off "Dark times are ahead of us, dark times."
End Of Returned Queen
Chapter Thirteen - Trouble Brewing Part I
Art by E-will
Deep in the southern red sands footsteps flatten the ground. An icy crisp of the cold crisp winds follow a figure as each tread it makes turns the red sands white. Snow gently follows behind him. Meanwhile a caravan of Jotens treading on their return from the Kalvorian diplomacy meeting return with procivisons. They note that ever since the war snowy gusts from Flöghorn have always traveled to the northern red sands, but never far this down. They disregard it as an irregurality and march forward.
Art by Vodim Sadovisky
Meanwhile, deep in the Nothern forsest of Eskara but outside the outer bounds of the Kingdom Of Truillia, Jambu marches on his horse through the now rot corroded air. Silent ruffles above the cannopies can be heard as he moves through the forest between the occasional ambushes. Corpses of humans, a few half elves and the occasional elf or two dangle in the surrounding enviroment. Some of the corpses have been their for months, some for weeks, some of them even let out dead groans as gnats feast on their gangrenous wounds. Bodiliy fluids from the decaying corpses have teamed with the surrounding fungi to create a biosphere of infection, any wound sustained here could prove lethal.
After hours of marching, Jambu begins to hear a familiar but hunting sounds as he approaches the colder North of the Eskara forests. Before him elves inside a wooden Carvan driven by a half elf yell commands at enslaved Truillian Humans. A crack of a whip like object decends from a soldier on the back of one of the enslaved, who fell from exaustion, forcing them to get up.
Elf Noble F: "Stand up right now you animal, least you get the ire of Gauth breathing down my neck."
Elf Noble F 2: "Only the skies knows what expirements Gauth does with these animals, however we must also remember that some of them are needed by our districts for labor. We can't simply let all of them be killed....not yet at least not yet."
The talking noble turns to the other noble only to notice a black mist suffocating the other noble. Her skin being to rot as the horses they are riding on begins to neigh in fear and takes of. The string connected to their caravan snaps as the wooden structure begins to rot. The noble calls out for assistance as the dark fog rapidly encroache, but is met with no response. Eventually the noble slips out the fallen caravan, noticing all the guard protecting her dead, as she looks up and sees Jambu on horseback.
Jambu: "Do not worry, as long as you give me directions I won't kill you"
The elf noble looks around noticing all the guards dead, however the enslaved individuals are unharmed save for one of the half elf slaves who seems to have gotten slightly sicker. She then looks back at Jambu.
Elf Noble F2: "How do I know that you will keep your word? Your kind is not known for keeping their word"
Jambu: *Jambu biding his irritation replys* "You have my promise, no more harm than you have already cause to 'my kind' shall come to you"
The Elf reassured, tells Jambu all that she knows. Jambu expresses gratitude then heads to free the enslaved individuals. He then take a bow and throws it to the half elf, and looks to the now fleeing noble.
Jambu: "Shoot her"
Half Elf Slave: "But..."
Jambu: "You are either human, or elf, now shoot her"
The half elf complies, and fires the arrow into the back of the noble who falls to the ground. Despite the months the half elf spent in slavery, its Truillian accuracy remains, all though slightly deminished. The elf noble falls to the ground and brings to crawl just as Jambu, the half elf, and the other humans approach
Jambu: "Finish her"
Elf Noble F2: "Wait" *The elf says weakly* "You promised not to kill me if I told you what I knew."
Jambu: "And my promise was kept. I will not be the one to kill you, one of your enslaved will"
Elf Noble F2: "I will give you whatever you want. Money, goods, power, just please let me leave" *The elf pleads*
Jambu: "That is in this slave's hand, just like her life was once in yours"
Elf Noble F2: "I should have known you halflings were the same as this animals. Go ahead and kill me, the Truillian army will deal with you"
With that the Half elf kills the elf noble. They continue on towards the inner kingdom, freeing enslaved, and gathering their army. As Jambu continues on, he whipers to himself "I will torch Eskara down for my people to feel it's warmth"
End Of Trouble Brewing Part One
Chapter Fourteen - Trouble Brewing Part Two
Art By Nathan Miranda
Jambu continues of freeing more, and more of the enslaves he finds as he continues his journey through Truillia. Eventually he, and is gathered company of a hundred and fifty humans and half elves approaches the inner districts of Truillia, Outside the gates, an army of trained archers and soldiers awaits them.
Truillian Sql: "By the order of King Traben's right hand Lord Gauth, you have been ordered to surrender for your crimes agains Truillians. Do so freely, and you may be granted due process as a former Truilian"
Jambu: *Jambu taunts back* Traben, what a farmiliar name. Is That Who Commanded You To Rally Against US?!?
Truillian Sql: "Mind your tongue beast, it is King Traben to you. You will either come willingly, or I will be forced to take your head as compensation"
Jambu lifts his hand disregardingly as his dark mist assails the wooden bows, hilts, and arrows the Truillian elves wield.
Jambu: "YOUR KING IS NOT MINE, NOR AM I TRUILLIAN. I AM KALTAR AND YOUR PEOPLE WILL RULE THE DAY THEY CROSSED MINE"
Jambu's dark mist yet again begins to spread as the now terrified soldiers begin to gasp for air. Jambu's men attack, assured that the dark mist will do little to no harm to them as they move in and slaughter the guards. Truillian soldiers and civilian elves both children and adults are slaughtered as Jambu continues his campaign. Suddenly ice begins to pour from the sky, as floating high elves rain piercing shards at Jambu's campaign. He tries to use his magic, but the mages are out of range. He is forced to jump off his horse right as an overwhelming blitz turns it into a puddle of minced meat. He struggles to dodge right as a blast of ice catches his leg freezing it. Elite mages surround him from every corner of the sky, then rain one final assault on him, killing him.
Deep in the inner courts of Truillia now known as the United Kingdoms Of Eskara, Gauth stands before a council with his six elite mages. Traben, the King Of Truillia sits in the throne.
Gauth: "I stand before this council today asking you, what type of ruler allows this many deaths from his people."
The soldiers besides Traben move into an offensive stance, but the Traben dismisses their stance.
Gauth: " My mages and I have taken the liberty of handling the situation. We have endured, but at a great cost."
Traben: "Speak your mind Gauth, we have no time for theatrics. Are we to forget that I was the one who proposed the founding of this union under the will of our queen"
Gauth: "That half breed animal sympathiser? Her ideals must have corrupted you. Had we killed all those animals when I proposed it, we would not have such a problem in hand, HAD I had the throne, we would have not been in this mess."
Council member 1: "So your propose treason?"
Gauth: "I propose safety for elf kind. If the council allows me to be king, I will clean out home of these half breed filth and the animals with them."
Traben: "Guards, Execute Him!"
Before Traben's guards can move, all four are frozen in place, forcing them to the remaining two to drop their spears. Traben attempts to grab his sword beside him, but an icy protrusion busts through his chest from the back of his throne seat. Most of the council begins to panic, and prepares to evacuate, but behind them stand Truillian Traitors, ready to kill them.
Gauth: "Please men, and women of the court, allow me to finish. To keep things simple, you can side with me, or die agains me."
Council member 2: "I for one agree with the reclaimation of the Elves, no need for coercion. I willingly submit my power to you"
Slowly by slowly all the remaining council members to so willingly, and unwillingly, except for one. Gauth makes quick work of him and assumes the throne.
Art by Artist Andrew Kuzinskiy
Meanwhile in the wastelands, an army heads for zombie heads for Kalvor lead by Gander. It has been a while since the warrior of darkness has seen his home, and despite it being a long, he still holds a dark desire to be one with it. The longing for his home, fuels him towards it, and the hatread for the people who failed to bury him in it rings coldly in his empty soul. His home will reunite with him, even if it is only in death.
End of Trouble Brewing Part II