Roleplay Write-Up: Bardoc's Quest
Hey there forumquesters, I previously wrote a Roleplay story on our guild message board to commemorate our friend Bardoc's obsession with finishing his Strength of the Elements quest. It is a rather long read but I hope you will all enjoy it!
Just wanted to share it with y'all. I at one time had ambitions to create screenshots Sneaksy style but alas, real life leads me with such little time in game as it is. I think it reads well as a short story / novel format anyways.
Its just a fun little story that I feel captures the spirit of EQ.
Anyways, let me know what you think! Here are the first 3 chapters (will release the others here and there).
Without further ado, here is chapter 1:
Bardoc was a battle hardened barbarian, born on the frigid steppes of Everfrost Peaks. So it was no surprise the stinging winds of the Wasted Lands on the western shores of Velious barely chilled his skin. The thrill of the hunt warmed his blood… today he was hunting for dragons. He lead his war party across the tundra, his fellow Azure Guardians did not thrive in this climate as Bardoc did.
“I’m cold!” Cheich whined, “Can’t we take refuge in a cave nearby and lure the dragons to us?”.
Bardoc scoffed at this softling, but he turned his disdain into a wry smile and patted Cheich on the back, “..and how will I lead them in without their favorite snack?”. Cheich trembled, the thought cutting him deeper than any icy wind. He looked over his shoulder and hustled along, close to Bardoc’s side.
Yakiee lead them across the icy plain. The tracks were difficult to follow, he no longer could look for the bent leaves and squashed berries that were plentiful in the Karanas. Only a truly seasoned ranger could track his prey in this wasteland. He closed his eyes and honed his senses as he walked.
Cheich looked puzzled, “How do you know we’re even going the right way? I can’t see a single track!”.
“…that is because the eyes do little good for a ranger in this rough country.” Yakiee said. “Dragons are heavy beasts, their tracks compress the snow very deep in the ground yet they leave no mark as their tail sweeps the snow to fill the void.” He let this fact sink in with Cheich before continuing. “The snow surrounding the track is dense and hardened to ice just below the surface, yet the fresh tracks remain soft.” The Halfling then noticed how Yakiee’s heel dipped low in the snow yet the ball of his foot remained on the surface; he marveled at the ranger’s skill.
All of a sudden the air was pierced by a sharp cry, but not of any dragon, but rather the howls of a madman, “ORE!!! Bring me MORE!!!!!”. They looked to Bardoc for guidance, dragons was their objective after all, not saving a raving vagabond from the surrounding ice burrowers.
Bardoc squared his shoulders and looked out across the land, debating the path they should take. “We are members of the Azure Guard, our duty lies with the protection of Norrath and its citizens”. They nodded in agreement and marched toward the cries.
They came to the edge of a shallow fissure and were surprised by what they saw below: Not some haggard lunatic that lost his way, but a refined wizard. Still, he muttered to himself constantly, perhaps slightly mad from the isolation he appeared to live in. “Curious, curious, curious… so curious… I need more data, how can this be? I must understand, the master must understand…” He paused slightly and sensed our presence, he looked over his shoulder then turned to face us. “Excellent! Place them right over here... Show me! Show me!!”
Bardoc grabbed the wizard by his robe, “Ho there! Easy my good man, sit down, you look like you could use some rest”.
“Rest!?” exclaimed the wizard, clearly put off at the notion. “How can I learn the secret of the elements while resting, hmmm?! Perhaps you should rest!” He waived his hands and a boulder shot out from the surrounding rock and buckled Bardoc’s knees, causing him to sit. He reached instinctively for his sword and would have cleaved the wizard in two if it wasn’t for Yakiee placing his hand over Bardoc.
“Easy now everyone, no one has come here looking for a fight. We merely came to see if you needed our aid”. He felt Bardoc ease and the wizard’s face lit up. “YES!! Splendid, quite splendid… help me you shall indeed… I need more Elemental Ore to research, I have so few samples and much testing to do!!”
“What’s so special about this stuff?” Cheich asked, he had found various glowing orbs of the precious ore in a crate and was juggling them precariously across the lab.
“AHHH! You fool! Stop that! Stop it!!” The wizard rushed over in a panic with his robe stretched out, chasing Cheich around the lab and catching his precious ore piece by piece. The wizard quickly put on his eyepiece to inspect the samples for damage, mumbling incoherently. Cheich had moved on to tinker with the various instruments seen laying around the makeshift laboratory.
“This ore is precious, derived from powerful beasts and dangerous landscapes.” The wizard’s voice turned distant, “The qualities they possess are magical, many different things can be crafted from these, staves of magic, spells of protection, armor with powerful enchantments…”. Bardoc’s ears perked up, “Armor you say?”.
“Oh yes, very powerful armor, better than most you’d find amidst a dragon’s treasure hoard” He kept his eyes focused on the ore before him and reached up on his shelf and grabbed a set of pauldrons and threw them on the ground, seemingly uninterested. Bardoc gasped at the site of such a fine piece: excellent craftsmanship, heavy gauge yet light weight, and a glistening aura of protection. Yakiee and Cheich gathered round and they all inspected the marvel that was before them. The wizard took notice and realized the advantage he had.
“MINE!” He swiped the piece from their hands. “So you wish to possess the Strength of the Elements, do you? Very well, it shall be yours, but I require more ore to study!!” He reached again on his shelf and threw a crate at Bardoc with 4 carefully padded compartments. “Gather me the 4 specimens of the elements!! For the first you must find the being that roams these lands, known as Kozzalym… a task easily suited for your ranger” Yakiee smiled at the compliment. The wizard continued, “The second lies amidst the fires of the Skyfire Mountains, spewed forth from the earth. The third is said to be held in the clutches by the last Knight of Kedge.”
“And the fourth??” Bardoc eagerly asked. The wizard’s face turned pale and his stare became distant, “The fourth… the fourth is said to reside in the First Minion of Brell, a powerful elemental said to have annihilated Old Paineel. His wrath knows no bounds, he ripped apart each inhabitant so ferociously that Innoruuk dare not reincarnate them, and their spirit roam their former lands seeking a new host. Women, Children, Beasts… any matter of being was destroyed. The survivors who managed to flee later learned his true name: Master Yael.” The wizard shifted his focus back to the group, “Pray he never learns your name”.
“Do not worry wizard, I have stood with Gods and seen them fall before me, Dragon’s breath has singed my beard as I laid siege to their lair, and I have slain monsters so vile they dare not be pictured in your tomes. I will find you the ore you seek… and I shall return for my prize.” With that Bardoc gathered his guild mates and set out in the tundra in search of Kozzalym. He contemplated his quest with his friends.
“We will hunt down this being that roams this forsaken land, then post scouts in Kedge to notify us the moment Phinigel returns. Skyfire, while dangerous, should be easily accomplished… But for this Master Yael that resides in the depth of the Hole we will need a guide…” They looked at each other and said in unison, “Wedar”.
Chapter 2: The Origin of Wedar
Wedar was an Iksar, trained in the ways of the monk under the tutelage of Grandmaster Glox. He, however, was not born on the shores of Kunark, but rather hatched in the depths of the Underdark in Odus. Wedar’s father, Kirn, was a powerful Knight of the High Scale who forged a strong alliance with the Heretics of Paineel. Kirn had many wives, but Wedar’s mother was his favorite, so they always had free reign over the tower in which they resided.
Wedar woke one night to dreadful cries and shouts of pure terror, he slowly walked to the window. To his horror, he saw an army of elementals, imps, and muddites ravaging his town. It seemed surreal… was he dreaming? Then his mother burst through the door, “WEDAR! Come! We must go at once, leave your things!!”. His mother took him by the hand and lead him through the halls of the tower, as they ran the shadow knights and necromancers that worshipped alongside them were attempting to fend off the impending army. It was of little use.
Everywhere he looked he saw carnage… the Imps feasted on the intestines of those they disemboweled, faceless beings of rock tore away limbs, and giant golems smashed through armor and bone. They reached the top of the tower and her mother bolted the door.
She dragged him to the back of the room to her alchemy lab. “Momma, what’s happening?” Wedar said with teary eyes. “It’s OK Wedar, everything is going to be fine, just watch me, don’t look at the door… hand me that Sandalwood root, quickly!” He did as she said, as she crushed the herbs and blended them carefully together, then he saw the door bulge. The demon army had reached them. “Momma..?” The door bulged again with a resounding thud, one more hit and it would be off its hinges.
Wedar’s mother spun him around and poured a vile liquid into his mouth, “Drink it! Drink all of it, HURRY!”. He swallowed it and immediately began to feel ill, he looked up and saw the door burst open and the faceless beings pour through. He noticed his hands begin to glow, his mother quickly said, “Go to Cabilis, find Grandmaster Glox, he will..!” but the elemental had grabbed her by the tail and pulled her into the frenzied pack, ripping her to pieces before him.
“MOMMA!!!!!” he wailed. One of the elementals left the feeding frenzy and floated over towards Wedar. He did not cry, but his eyes narrowed into a stare of pure rage and hatred. The being outstretched his hand and would have crushed Wedar’s skull in an instant, but he magically dematerialized and was gone.
Flashes of light passed before his eyes as he transcended the planes of existence, he finally rematerialized amidst a dry field, filled with the bones of an ancient dragon. The blood of his mother splattered across his body, he squeezed his fists together and swore an oath of revenge. He looked to the horizon and recognized the banner of Cabilis. He wiped his tears and made his way towards the great city of his kin, in search of Glox.
It wasn’t long before he reached the gates, normally the guards would stop even their own kin and question their business in the capital, but the look in his eyes told everyone his purpose: Vengeance. He came to the House of Pain and saw the great Iksar Master meditating before him. Wedar was about to speak when the powerful monk opened his eyes and observed the broken child before him.
“So my child, you have come to me seeking knowledge… to learn the ways of our ancient masters to one day crush all the enemies that have wronged you.” Glox paced around Wedar, his silence indicating the truth of his words. “The soft skins of Quellious will tell you to cast aside your rage, forgive your enemies, and seek the enlightenment of tranquility.” He hissed and spat on the ground. “I will teach you no such thing, but rather to channel your anger and instill the fear of Cazic himself into your foe! To make them cower before your fists as if they were kneeling before their demon overlord! The skill you need is mine to give…” He reached into his pouch and pulled out a dusty shackle engraved with the sigil of the House of Pain. “…you merely need to ask.”
With that Wedar knelt before Glox, held out his arm, and spoke a single word, “Master.”
Glox slapped the shackle on his arm, and with that, Wedar’s training had begun.
Chapter 3: A Chance Meeting
Wedar learned the ways of the monk very quickly under the guidance of Glox, every test he was given was easily overcome. Glox pushed Wedar hard, whether it be to test the limits of his body by leaping from the gorges of the Overthere or by testing his patience and prowess in reaching the depths of Droga undetected. Most contributed this to Wedar’s natural abilities, yet little did they know he was fueled by revenge.
In time, Wedar exceled to a level unattainable by Glox, and was time for him to leave the shores of Kunark in search of new knowledge and power. His master sensed this, and offered his final lesson.
“Wedar, every master wants to see his disciple achieve greatness, but few want them to exceed the boundaries of their teaching…” Glox paused, “Even as I swell with pride to see you grow strong and represent our House, bitterness flows on my tongue to see you master our ways so effortlessly and see you on the pinnacle of knowledge beyond my comprehension!” Glox pounded his fist on the wall with such force that Wedar assumed a defensive stance, yet then noticed the brick and mortar give way to a secret compartment.
He reached into the compartment and pulled out a long staff that was carefully wrapped, as he unfolded the dusty cloth the great weapon was revealed. “Take this, my prized pupil. This fighting staff is imbued with the strength of Cazic himself, may it serve you well in my final task for you.”
“Final task..?” Wedar asked, half distracted by the sheer power that emanated from the weapon before him.
“Yes, a final lesson to embolden the hate in your heart and set you on a path that culminates in your ultimate revenge. Let this staff feast on the crude elemental blood that has infested your homeland… slay 10,000 of these primordial beings! Rend their spirit to dust and sit upon their hollowed husk! Only once this task has been completed will you truly know Tranquility”.
He smiled at the challenge Glox laid before him and nodded his head in acceptance. Long have been the years in Kunark! It was time to return to Odus, vengeance would no longer be an unfulfilled dream! He grasped the staff and slung it across his back, and headed out into the night to catch the first boat to the mainland.
Some days later, his vessel ran aground on the sands of his homeland. Wedar allowed himself a moment of nostalgia, remembering the times his mother brought him to this beach to chase the various wisps that dance back and forth across the shores. He savored the memory, but quickly dismissed it from his mind, today he must maintain focus: today his blood quest begins. He ventured through the forests of Toxxulia, and there in a brief clearing of mist was the gates of his home city: Paineel.
The skeletal guards quickly recognized his bloodline and granted him safe passage. He wasted little time and headed towards the newly built city of his ancestors, however he was stopped in his tracks as he witnessed the large chasm that was before him. The sheer power that was needed to move so much earth was staggering and beyond comprehension, Wedar peered over the edge and although the sun was at its highest, he could barely make out the bottom below. He could, however, smell the sulfur that emanated from the great hole in the ground.
“Elementals…” he cursed them under his breath and clenched his fist with such force that blood seeped forth from his calloused hands. He proceeded to the entrance of the great Ruins of Old Paineel and brought forth the key he always kept in his satchel, ever since he was a hatchling. He found the hidden groove just below the water line and gently twisted the key. The great boulder creaked open, Wedar held his breath and swam headlong into the darkness.
It wasn’t long before he emerged on the other side, a faint orange glow filled the room from the torches left burning. He brought only his eyes above the water line so he could assess his surroundings undetected. There, after so many long years, he saw his sworn enemy… 6 large elementals floated silently in the hall before him. Once great statues graced this hall, honoring Paineel’s heroes… now these defilers! They must all be cleansed. He silently crept onto the ledge before him, careful to keep his tail in the water so no droplets fell into the pool below and gave away his position. Like an assassin he sulked, moving in the shadows along with the flicker of the torches.
He contemplated how he would draw first blood, he studied his enemies for what seemed like an eternity, yet they remained unmoving. Then he saw his opportunity, a guard was coming up the hallway on patrol, heading right for him. He sheathed his shuriken and waited, as the massive earth elemental reached the pond before him, Wedar struck. With every fiber in his core he grabbed the hulking beast and pulled him into the water, using his agile lizard body to gracefully pierce the water with but a sound!
With his prey in the water, alone, he went to work on the great body of earth. He struck the shoulders and joints, searching for a pressure point, yet the rock was sharp with bits of obsidian. He struck it his staff with all his might, yet the rock shook his weapon so violently he was nearly disarmed. He rolled with the punches of his foe, but they hit with such strength his flesh was nearly ripped from his bones. Wedar was in the fight of his life, and he was losing, badly. The minion wrapped its enormous fist around Wedar’s throat and plunged him deep under the water, holding him there and squeezing the life from his body.
There was no escape, so he assumed the shroud of death to try and fool his foe. He let all but a bit of air escape his lungs, his body went limp even though the pain coursed vehemently through his body, and used his lifetime of training to slow his vitals to a crawl. The minion was not so easily fooled. He held fast to Wedar, feeling for even the hint of a heartbeat to reverberate through his stony core. He pounded on his ribs, wanting to be sure of his victory. Wedar could not hold out, water seeped into his lungs and he cringed, he flung his legs up around his foe and tried to armbar his way out of the vice grip, but he lacked the strength in his weakened state. Blackness started to fill his eyes and darkness crept into his thoughts, “Mother, I have failed you…”
Just then, as he was on the edge of death, he caught the glimpse of a shadow and then saw a great axe come down and dig deep into the arm of the elemental! It released its grasp and Wedar shot up immediately for air, there he saw a great warrior doing battle with this fierce minion of Brell. Hot magma dripped from its wounds and boiled the water where it fell and turned to stone. Strong as this warrior was, this filth of the earth still had the advantage, its strength and speed were beginning to take its toll, even while wounded. Wedar saw the glowing hot wound and saw an opportunity, with all his strength lunged with his staff and thrust it deep within the glowing magma, all the way to the being’s core. It paused momentarily and let out a loud, eery shriek… much like a tempered blade plunged into water. The minion fell and turned to a colorless gray heap.
Wedar and his timely savior both looked at each other, a brief moment of panic evident on their faces. Not far away were reinforcements, surely they heard this hideous shriek… they grabbed their weapons and readied for battle. Yet only the flickering of the torch and occasional drip of water echoed through the halls. They peered over the ledge, there remained the 6 faceless beings, floating undisturbed.
“What in the name of Zek..?” The warrior said, puzzled at what he saw. Wedar reflected on what had transpired, and tried to think back to all the teachings he had on the ancient world to make sense of the situation.
“They are but minions serving the hand of their Master” Wedar concluded. “Strong and Intelligent, yet commanded to guard their posts for fear of being dismissed back into the ether from whence they were summoned.”
With that they rested a bit more easy, yet still retreated to the safety of Paineel to regroup and bind their wounds. Wedar took out his staff and carved a tiny notch with his shuriken: The first of 10,000. He then turned to his companion and expressed his gratitude.
“I owe you a blood debt, my friend, you saved me from certain death” he outstretched his hand but the warrior waved him off.
“Bah, you owe me nothing! I am a member of the Azure Guard, sworn to protect Norrath and its citizens, I was merely doing my duty… and having a bit of fun!” The large man bellowed as he sharpened his axe.
“Well I thank you regardless, Guardian of Norrath.” Wedar said. “And to whom do I owe my thanks..?”
The warrior removed his great horned helm, revealing the war paint etched across his face, a telltale sign of the Wolves of the North. “I am Bardoc.”
Chapter 4: The Quest Begins
Bardoc and Wedar quickly became friends, seemingly bound by their love of battle. It wasn’t long until Wedar pledged his allegiance to the Azure Guard and was welcomed into the fold. A finer group of comrades he could not ask for, and many he called his friends. With their help Wedar came to learn and master the secrets of the legendary Celestial Fists, obtain powerful and magical garments of protection from a frozen wasteland half a world away, and visited other worldly realms that were all together on another plane of existence.
However, he never forgot his quest. Always he returned to the Ruins of Old Paineel, or The Hole as many came to call it. How appropriate a name, as the beings here stole something very precious to Wedar and left a hole in his soul that could only be filled with elemental blood. By now, his staff had many notches, approximately 3,000. So deep and devout was his hatred for these Elemental Beings that it was said Innoruuk himself took notice. He learned every intricacy of his enemies, knew all their weaknesses, their movements, their habits, their alliances, and their strengths. He became a local legend of sorts, leading many fighting expeditions with the various warriors and wizards of Norrath in an effort to encourage more adventure (and elemental death!) in this forgotten corner of the world.
But often, Wedar was alone. His favorite hunting ground was the library deep within the Town Centre. He would dart to and from the shadows to the lower levels and pick off the Elementals one by one until they were re-summoned by their master. As he waited and regenerated his wounds, he browsed the Old Tomes that were filled with arcane knowledge long forgotten (some say even forbidden). It was while he was reading one of these ancient texts that a message crossed the Astral Plane and entered his thoughts (a gift bestowed upon Norrath by the Gods of long ago).
“Wedar, my friend, I believe we are in need of your help” said Bardoc.
“Bardoc! It has been too long, how may I be of assistance?” he placed the tome back on the shelf and sat to meditate.
“I have met a most peculiar wizard on my travels, although he seems a bit mad he is in possession of a powerful artifact I wish to acquire. He has tasked me with finding 4 rather unique pieces of ore, one of which we are hunting now in the Western Wastes of Velious… Guarded by a great elemental of frost and ice.” Wedar hissed and tightened his fists at the thought of this elemental out of his reach and in striking distance of his friends.
“Easy there, friend, I can sense the fire in your belly! I fear my next bit of news will turn that flame into a raging inferno…” Wedar tilted his head inquisitively, not sure what Bardoc would reveal next. “…one of the last pieces I require is buried deep in the heart of Master Yael himself!”
“YAEL?!” he screamed, unable to control himself. His cry rang throughout the hall, a rock golem came round the corner to investigate and caught sight of the great Iksar. Wedar seemed uninterested, lost in thoughts of revenge, “I’ll be right there”. The golem charged with a guttural roar, Wedar reached into his satchel and pulled out his magical mallet and slammed it hard in the face of the great construct. It vibrated with such force that Wedar phased out of his current space, slipping briefly through another dimension. He felt his core begin to stabilize, by the time he was still again and his sight restored, he was squinting from the rays of sunlight that bathed the Overthere.
Quickly he secured passage to Velious from the many druids and wizards clamoring for his coin, and before long he had snuck his way past the kelp maidens and enchanted creatures in Siren’s Grotto. Finally he set foot in the Western Wastes, and was joined by his comrades who had taken refuge in the cavern exiting the Grotto.
“Wedar my friend! So glad you could join us for some hunting on this fine afternoon!” said Bardoc. Cheich seemed to disagree on his assessment of the weather as he pulled his shawl tightly around his body. Normally it would chill an Iksar to his core, but fire burned within the great lizard today, he got right down to the task at hand.
“This Kozzalym, have you slain him yet and sent him back to the abyss?” he was eager to move the fight back to his homeland, back to Yael.
“No…” said Yakiee, “I am having trouble finding any trace of the creature. He floats above the ground so leaves no tracks, and he is near transparent so blends too well with the surrounding landscape”.
“Elementals all have a common characteristic, regardless of the element they represent…” Wedar bent low to the ground and Yakiee followed suit. “They all excrete a fine ethereal mist, not directly visible, but it can be detected out at the edge of your gaze.”
Yakiee glanced across the tundra, careful to unfocus his vision. And then, out of the corner of his eye he spotted a faint glistening only noticeable by a seasoned ranger. “I’ve found the trail! We head Northeast, my friends!” They picked up their gear and followed Yakiee out into the unforgiving landscape. It wasn’t long before they came to a great valley, it was crisscrossed with the being’s tracks.
“Where is the foul creature??” Bardoc growled impatiently, squeezing the hilt of his sword. Wedar honed his senses, he also knew of the gentle hum that an elemental creates by being on this plane of existence, he closed his eyes and blocked out the howling wind. “I can hear him” he said, almost in a trance. He winced and focused, trying to keep patient. “This way!” He began to take-off west towards the shore, but Yakiee stopped him short.
“You’re certain, you hear him over yonder?” the ranger motioned with his head, and Wedar affirmed his belief. “This valley can trick the ears, many walls and drifts to reflect the sound…” he studied the landscape, he was certain the sound was bouncing off the cliffs, he calculated as best he could and focused his eyes. “There!” pointed the ranger. Everyone took a moment, but saw a light shadow from the gathering of snow on a near invisible being.
“Ready your wards, Cheich” instructed Bardoc, and he drew forth his weapons. Yakiee unslung his bow and notched a single arrow, he took a moment and spoke to it as if it were a sentient being.
“Fly true as the sun over the plains… by Tunare may you find your mark, and with Karana’s blessing may you strike deep.” He closed his eyes and felt the howling wind against his face, anticipating how it will affect his trajectory, and then he let the golden arrow fly. So violently did the arrow twist and turn, nearly everyone doubted it would strike the great Kozzalym… everyone but Yakiee. At the last second a great gale blew the arrow back on course and it headed straight for the great Elemental!
Right before the arrow struck, Kozzalym burst into a heavy flame and charged off to the east, away from the Azure Guardians. They all looked to Yakiee, but he was as puzzled as his comrades, neither his arrows nor his bow was blessed with incendiary properties. It was then they saw a druid knelt behind a snow drift at the edge of the valley, wearing the brand of Rustle. Yakiee spotted a pack of battle hardened warriors and spell-casters over the ridge, he knew then that the goal had been lost. Bardoc cursed and threw his weapons into the snow in a fit of rage. Wedar began to move to intercept the great elemental but the barbarian reached out his hulking hands and stopped the monk dead in his tracks.
“No, Wedar..” he said with a voice so empty it stung the great lizard. “It is their kill, the day is done”.
“What?! This is no time to sulk, if we hurry we can….” He began to argue, but was interrupted by Cheich.
“This isn’t about a lack of heart or a question of cowardice, but of honoring the decree of Overlord Sirken” said the Halfling. “Once you engage in battle, interference is forbidden. I don’t know about you, but I don’t wish to spend my later years chained in the basement of Befallen!” He shuddered at the thought, many devices of torture are employed in that hell hole.
Wedar recognized the truth of his words and gave in to defeat, although it wounded him deeply to see Bardoc so dejected. But the Barbarian turned to him and managed a half smile. “Come, let us give this Master Yael a taste of our steel”. That the monk could do.
There will haters in this thread - smite them, smite them long and hard.
Servant of Project 1999
Custodian of the Great Wall of Off Topic
Slayer of Filbus Furyfoot
Guild leader of <BDA>
At this point would welcome the haters, no love it would seem for my work of passion!!
Chapter 5: The Descent
Luck, it would seem, was not on Bardoc’s side. After narrowly missing his opportunity at Kozzalym, he immediately ventured to the Hole with his friends in hopes of crushing Master Yael to drown his sorrows. Long was their journey in the underdark to the depths of the Underfoot itself, and while Wedar was happy to add many notches to his staff, he eagerly wanted to dismiss Yael from this plane of existence.
Just as they had reached Master Yael’s great cavern and were preparing all necessary magical wards needed to ensure their victory, Bardoc heard a commotion from up above.
“By the beard of McMannus… NO!!” To his horror the Barbarian saw a great contingent of Blackheart Pirates plunge over the falls and storm the lair below, they were near 40 strong and charged all at once! Try as the Azure Guardians did, they could not reach the Elemental King before the Pirates. Bardoc stood helpless as he watched the Pirates hack and slash the great elemental as they hooted and hollered, it seems like the weight of their bodies alone would crush Master Yael to dust! Only Bardoc’s screams of rage could be heard over their gleeful cackling.
“Bardoc….” Wedar began, but the barbarian was in no mood to be comforted.
“Blast this infernal quest! I curse you, wizard!!” and with that he grabbed a hold of his magical mallet and smacked it against the cave wall, he shimmered and faded into nothingness. He no doubt went to secure passage from the Overthere to the nearest pub to ease the pain of this latest loss.
The rest of his guildmates looked to Wedar for guidance. “Go” said the monk, “I’ll send word when he has been summoned once again”. With that Wedar, with a heavy heart, walked off into the darkness and continued on his great quest of culling.
Many days had past, Wedar had spent a great deal of time meditating and preparing for the great battle that was to come. He wanted to leave nothing to chance, he did not want to see his dear friend Bardoc heartbroken once again. And so he assembled a small strikeforce of Azure Guardians that could move swiftly and kill efficiently.
First, he recruited Ameliorate. She was a cleric of the highest order and wielded the coveted Water Sprinkler of Nem Ankh, this magical artifact would be a key to their victory and help overcome Master Yael’s unstoppable Cazic Touch.
Second, he needed a master of song to help overcome the powerful magic that they would be up against, he knew of few greater versed than Sadiki Senshiro. Besides being skilled in the ways of the sword he had a charisma unmatched which greatly increased the morale of his comrades… The bard could also crack a joke as fast as he could pluck the strings of his lute!
Next, he chose another master of the monk arts, Nishoba. Although he was a soft skinned follower of Quellious, his skills could not be denied. With 2 monks to contend with Wedar felt confident Yael would fall under the fury of their fist and feet.
Lastly, he needed a steward of the earth, so he called upon Impermeable to round out his team. An odd choice indeed as he was more behemoth than shaman, many questioned if he could move as quickly as they needed, or if he could even move quick at all! The ogre was nicknamed the Blob for his robust physique and general laziness. But in truth, he wielded powerful magic of healing, could call forth crippling diseases, and cast powerful enchantments. His skill set was very well rounded (as was his belly).
With this team, he saw Master Yael succumbing easily to them. As he meditated silently amidst a crowded room of elementals he played the battle over and over in his head, finding any hypothetical weakness in his plan of attack. Every nuance was scrutinized, every variable weighted, he killed Master Yael a thousand times over in his mind… his plan needed to succeed, he feared for Bardoc’s sanity should they fall short once again.
As he meditated he felt the surrounding elementals shudder and the ethereal hum they emitted changed frequency ever so slightly, he knew that could only mean one thing: Their master had returned. The monk sent word to Bardoc across the astral plane to assemble the others and meet him in Paineel, and with that he silently made his way to the teleportation chamber at the town’s center. He ran into the pillar of glowing purple mist and reappeared in the observation chamber directly above the great abyss. He focused his eyes for a good while into the darkness below and at last saw what he knew to be true, he spotted a glistening of magic in the shadows that could only be Master Yael.
Wedar made his way through town and rested along the edge of the great gorge in wait for his comrades. He was eager to take down the great Elemental, since the razing of his homeland he wanted nothing more than to have this master of evil vanquished by his hands! But in truth he was worried, every minute he waited was another opportunity for another war party to advance on their prize.
After what felt like an eternity Bardoc finally emerged with Ameliorate and Nishoba behind him. “And Sadiki and Impermeable?” The monk’s eagerness was evident in his voice.
“Just some… minor difficulties, they should be along any second now” Bardoc said reassuringly. Just then they heard a commotion of grunts and squabbling.
“For the love of Veeshan, just breath in already and hold it! We’re almost through!” Sadiki barked at the Blob, pushing the ogre from behind trying to squeeze him through the final opening. With one final kick the huge behemoth popped through and slid along ground face first until reaching his guildmates. He left a trail of ooze beneath him, whether it be from his own bodily excretions or the drippings of his last meal, no one wanted to know.
“Blob happy we killz bad earth minion, he help smash good!” he informed his friends as he picked himself off the floor and adjusted his pants around his bulbous gut.
“Alright” said Bardoc, “We’re all here, let us head to the pool and make our way down to this foul creature!”. He started to move but Wedar stopped him in his tracks.
“We aren’t going through the pool” he said with resolve, “We’re going this way” he pointed over the gorge with his staff.
“Wuz dat?” The Blob asked puzzled, wondering how a hulk such as he could traverse such a vertical impossibility.
“Wedar… we want to achieve victory as much as you do, but this is madness, we should take the safe path to victory” Ameliorate said, stating the obvious.
“And how many times have we taken the safe path just to come up empty handed?” quipped the monk. “I assure you we do not have hours to waste, but minutes! We must descend the cliffs now or it will be too late” he looked at Bardoc, pleading his case. Everyone else turned to the barbarian for guidance.
“Wedar is right, the time for child’s play is over, cast aside your fears! Let us make our way down with haste!” and with that they all donned their climbing spikes. A great length of cord was strung around their shaman friend as climbing would do him little use. His weight was shared by both the monks and Bardoc, they secured the gargantuan creature and started to lower him down. Once they had a feel for his weight, they slipped over the edge and began the climb.
Sadiki and Ameliorate managed the climb well as they were slender and nimble on their feet, but the others struggled with each foot hold. The cord that held the shaman creaked and moaned, threatening to snap at any moment. Careful as they were, the cliffs were unforgiving, as Wedar descended to a small landing he didn’t notice the small outcrop of granite snag and cut his length of rope. The cord snapped before he could utter a word of warning and the shaman’s weight swung over between Bardoc and Nishoba, the dramatic shift in momentum caused them to lose their grip and they started to plummet!
They would have fell straight to the bottom if it wasn’t for the quick thinking of Nishoba, his training always made him situationally aware. He quickly wrapped a length of cord around his staff and lunged it into a crack along the rock face to slow his fall, once it wedged between the rock the rope tightened and he grasped the nearest outcrop of rock and held with all his might.
The staff absorbed all it could of Bardoc and the shaman’s weight until it jump free of the rock and all the weight transferred to Nishoba. He calmed his mind and made his body ready for the pain, the rope tugged with a heavy force but he strengthened his core and held his grip. He held firm as his comrades dangled beneath him, the creaking of the rope drowned out by the popping of his ligaments and tendons.
“Hold still…” the monk said through gritted teeth. “Grab a hold of the rock Bardoc..!” The sweat was beading on his brow, he didn’t have much time. Sadiki had almost reached him to share some of the weight when he heard a plea from the Blob below.
“Ummm… guyz” said the ogre, “Me thinks weez in trouble”. The cord has slipped over his belly and only his ogre man breasts held Nishoba’s length of cord beneath his growing bosom. Tighter and tighter the rope squeezed until it popped over the rest of the ogre’s body and he once again entered freefall! Bardoc had just reached the rock face but was pulled off once again, Nishoba knew he would be dragged down with the ogre so threw a shuriken to sever the rope that held the barbarian to the behemoth.
Just before hitting the bottom the barbarian dug his axe into the wall and slowed his descent just enough, although he still hit with significant enough force that he broke his leg and cried out in pain. Luckily his cries were drowned out by an enormous splash as Impermeable plunged belly first into the tiny lake below them. The shaman crawled out onto the ridge to be greeted by a blood thirsty fiend and two enormous elementals.
“Hee hee ho ho” laughed the shaman, “Me slippz from rock, all alone. No friends… Follow me baddies!!” In a huff the shaman ran down the ledge with the creatures at his back, biting and pounding away at the sizable ogre. He tried to distract them from his friends and sacrifice himself for the greater good. Ameliorate and Sadiki had reached the bottom, they were too kind hearted to leave Bardoc to a painful death so they tended to his wounds, much to the barbarian’s dismay.
“Nooo!” he pleaded “Leave me be, get out of sight and regroup, you can…” but it was too late. After the creatures made short work of Impermeable they caught the glint of Ameliorate’s magic of healing and rushed towards them for more carnage. Nishoba dropped from the cliff face, unable to see more of his friends perish, they all put up a decent fight, but an enormous elemental crept forth from the shadows and floated before them. An eerie, withered voice of pure evil entered their minds.
“Fools…” whispered Master Yael, the sinister nature of his voice making Ameliorate tremble. Bardoc stood up in defiance, ready to let this horrible creature suffer his wrath. “Did you think yourselves strong enough to defeat the likes of me?” The barbarian paid no mind and charged forward, Yael laughed crudely and screamed, “BARDOC!”. The great Northman was stopped in his tracks and his life force sucked out of his body and faded in a green mist. His body fell, the remains of his mortal flesh shriveled and twisted, locked in his armor like some crude coffin.
Sadiki and Nishoba quickly took up arms and tried to fend off the hoard but were quickly overrun, Ameliorate had no time to call back Bardoc’s spirit for battle. Yael unleashed another magical barrage of fire that torched their skin as the fiend ripped pieces of their charred flesh. Brave as they were, they could not overcome the carnage. Wedar watched helplessly as they fell, one by one below him, luckily the waterfall masked the tears that fell from his scaled face.
So carefully he had planned this encounter, yet his impatience lead to their demise. It was now on him to right this wrong. He looked up at the sun, noting the time of day, at any time another band of adventurers could arrive seeking the riches that Yael held in his lair. He scaled down the cliffs, and one by one carefully dragged his comrade’s bodies into the safety of a nearby cave.
With the pile of bodies before him and Bardoc’s quest in jeopardy once again, he hung his head low in despair… what would he do now?
I skimmed through it. Its cool. Sometimes it reads with a very cliche fantasy tone, but thats subjective...
I initially swiped through on my phone to see the length... a lot.
For some reason I felt some cringe seeing the length, content, and where its posted etc.
I had a friend once tell me, my best friends are online on xbox live. And this reminded me of the sad empathy I felt, and feel now looking at this.
Human connection and community is important, but idk just makes me sad to see it in this form?
I appreciate your enthusiasm. Seeing passionate people is exciting.
This is all a test so he can see if he can start posting his BL stories as well. We need to put a stop to this before it gets to that point.
I think you should break it up a bit, not make it so lengthy.
I like to read stuff but the girth of the prose is intimidating and looks tiresome.