A Tattered Note - Chapters II and III

Chapter II

Xenor awoke, he was not in his bed but instead found himself sprawled on a rug in front of his lounge fire. The fire had been burning since the previous evening and was spitting out the last of its embers; he may be an expert pyromancer but he could not control the life span of a fire. He up righted himself and sat looking at the tattered note he had divulged himself in the previous night; he had come to no conclusions to its origin or what the writing represented. He had never heard of the sorcerer Al’Arath or this so called scepter he was alleged to have had, forgotten tales and lore he told himself, still, the events of the previous day unlikely came about by chance and Xenor had a feeling the note was the source of them. He wanted to stop, burn the note and continue with every day life yet something inside of him wouldn’t let him; something was telling him to carry on investigating.
He scanned the text of the note again, delicately written and preserved immaculately by a magical barrier; the writing was that of the old world era, over 400 years ago. He looked to the top;
“Accounts of the Great War”, he muttered to himself, he had heard of this; a fabled book written by a scribe who lived in a monastery upon Mount Kejhat, the highest mountain in Myrdoth – overlooking most of the battle plains of the Great War. The Great War lasted over 300 years, it was a mighty war between two alliances; an alliance of the Dragoth (the outlands) consisting of the Undead, Orcs, Trolls and the Kivern (the Kivern being bird-like creatures with high intelligence) led by the Lich King Artemis. The opposing faction was an Alliance of Synthia consisting of Humans, Elves, Dwarves, Dryads and the Jenat led by High Paladin Harlise. The scribe had lived towards the end of the Great War and had accounted tales from older monks overlooking the previous carnage. Both leaders were said to be immortal but the war drew to a close when the Dragoth alliance were forced back into the outlands and were trapped there by a magical barrier created by the combined strength of elven and human mages. Though the victory came with great loss; the Dryads had all but been wiped out and the Jenat retreated to the swamps and were hardly seen in the human kingdom thereafter. The Elves and the Humans disputed repeatedly over land and the Elves retreated to the thick forests to create their own kingdom; this left the Dwarf-Human alliance on edge. It is said the hate between the Humans and Elves has caused the magical barrier separating Dragoth and Synthia to weaken as it was a combined spell cast by Elf and Human mages.
As Xenor recited the lore of the Great War to himself; he realised if he was to investigate this note, the place to start would be the Ancient library in Gardeth – Captial of Synthia and stronghold for the Human race. Legend has it the only copy of the book laid there amongst the spell books and history books. Yet, as a half-breed it was unlikely they would accept him into the city let alone the Ancient library; Humans seemed to think the Elves wanted to steal their secrets. The little secrets the Humans had in any case were worthless to the Elves; they were archers and magicians, the Human race specialised in sword fighting and the only secrets they held were formulas to create a perfectly balanced osbondian sword. Still Xenor had to try, in any case he would at least be doing justice to his own mind to follow up the strange events that had occurred. He set about packing for his journey; though this was rather pointless as he could teleport there at whim he felt a strange ease in procrastinating the event.
He stepped into the daylight of Andrake an hour later, not holding a single package bar his magicians licence and his wizarding communities ceremonial hat. He moved his hands in circles raising them above his head; whispered the words ‘agito Gardeth’ and stepped into the blue circle that now lay in front of him. Within moments he stood facing the Grand Palace where High Paladin Wynford resided, he was the current Emperor of the Human race and was somewhat more sympathetic for half-breeds than his predecessors had been. He hurried to the long spiraling marble path that led to the Ancient library; he had managed to get in before with a group of scholars and he hoped they would be there again to conceal his entrance.
He was lucky, as he approached the gates a group of hooded scholars were heading towards the entrance; he placed his hood over his head and joined the back of the scholar line. He passed in with ease and broke away from the scholars towards the section he was looking for; “Ancient texts”. He navigated through the endless rows and aisles of books heading to the older part of the library; the structural surroundings changed as he walked, as if he was walking back through time. He reached the second to last aisle and peered down; “Ancient Texts” the sign read. He hurried along, carefully glancing behind him to make sure there were no curious scholars or inquisitive mages following his footsteps. It looked as though no one had touched the books for years, cobwebs riddled the spines of the texts. Most of the names had been etched away with time, he continued down the aisle; as he did something caught his eye, a pristine book stood within the middle of what seemed a decrepit surrounding. He moved closer to it; the title read “Accounts of the Great War”, this was all a little bit too coincidental for Xenor’s liking. He removed the book and as he did a chill rippled through his arm;
“Who goes there?”
Xenor was dumbfounded, there was no one around yet something was talking to him. He wanted to reply but felt any conversation would alert Humans to his presence in their sacred library. He placed the book in a satchel he had brought with him and started to walk away. He turned around and to his shock found himself to be looking at a spectre; it wasn’t uncommon to see spectre’s in Gardeth but this was unusual; it was an Elf spectre. Elves do not usually take the form of spectre’s; they are usually transferred to a soul of nature known as a wisp so the sight of an Elf spectre was surprising to say the least.
“Why do you seek the truth of buried past?”, whispered the Spectre.
“I..I do not seek the truth but merely to understand the lies”, replied Xenor.
“The lies?”, howled the Spectre, “There are no lies in the past, history is a Myth; every road you follow from here Xenor will lead to despair, i was not unlike you, i followed your path and i fell. Like all the others”
“Ho…how do you know my name?”, said Xenor. He was trembling, he had never communicated with a spectre, let alone one that knew his name and his aims. But before Xenor had a chance to talk anymore the spectre was gone. He heard footsteps in the distance, he was sure he would be discovered and would leave empty handed. He tried to cast a portal spell back to Andrake but he forgot the enchantment upon the library forbade any portals to be cast inside. He crawled round to the darkest side of the aisles and ran, he did not care to see if he had been heard or if he was being followed, he knew exactly where he was going, the teleportation room. He sprinted past several library guards who gave no attempt to slow him down, he entered the dark teleportation room and found himself surrounded by countless blue portals with floating red text above each; naming the destination. It was pointless looking for a portal to Andrake, no self respecting Human would travel there so he entered the closest teleportation circle to himself having very little idea where he would end up, not that it mattered, he could teleport back to Andrake as soon as he exited the library.
He stepped into the circle and found himself staring at a dark and overcrowded slum, he was in Teratheil, the part of the Human civilisation where the dirty and untalented lived. The Humans here were put here against their will, they were of no real use to the Human empire and the upper class often found themselves being embarrassed by them.
‘Bollocks to that’, Xenor thought. The Human race was so pretentious, ruled by a board of pompous mages and highly skilled paladins. Xenor began to cast his portal spell, as he did so placed his bag on the floor. He whispered the words ‘agito Andrake’ and the blue circle appeared, displaying a fuzzy image of the streets of Andrake. He went to pick up his satchel, but his hand came into contact with nothing. He looked down only to find his satchel was no longer there. He looked around and saw a small, filthy Human child sprinting round the corner with his satchel and the book he so desperately needed. He turned around and began to run.

Chapter III

Xenor raced round the corner only to find a pitch black alley, the child could have been hiding anywhere so he cast a simple fire spell to illuminate the area. He moved slowly, carefully examining each area of the alley, he wasn’t going to lose this book. He had come this far to find it and he was beginning to think that all the events were more than a coincidence. It was as though the note had chosen to find him, rather than him finding the note. He pushed the thought to the back of his mind; such absurdity was foreign to his mind and he had to concentrate of finding the child that stole his book. He paced slowly, swinging his glowing hand from left to right in desperate attempt to force the darkness away from every corner in the alley. He moved past a broken vegetable cart and to his delight saw his satchel lying on the floor, he moved to pick it up but as he did so revealed something that took his breath away. The child lay motionless on the floor. Xenor quickly moved over to him, he wasn’t breathing and had no pulse; the child was dead. He checked for signs of a wound but the growing dread in his mind was becoming a reality; and Xenor knew it. Just as he expected there were no entry wounds on the child; Xenor slumped heavily on the floor, he had been chosen by this note, by this supernatural force to do whatever it was it had intended him to do. He realised now that anyone that could intervene or tried to intervene were killed, mercilessly murdered so Xenor could be set on the right path again; it must have been what happened to the Jenate thief in the swamp, the note intended for Xenor was found by the nosey lizard and subsequently he was killed. But still, one thing bugged Xenor, why was he himself attacked by this supernatural force? A question he would answer later, he had to leave, if he was found with this body the Humans would have no problem sentencing a half-breed. He raised his hands and cast the portal back to Andrake; it was midday yet Xenor was weary and tired. He headed for his home, he would start his investigation again in the morning.
Xenor breathed a sigh of relief, he awoke to see the break of dawn and was feeling refreshed from the day before. He skipped breakfast and jumped straight onto his newly acquired book, he scanned the pages for where the note should have been yet the chapter was completely missing, a blank piece of paper replaced it. He cast the ‘see all’ spell upon the page and slowly letters started to reveal themselves;

“Truth and Lies are one yet different, the royal bloodline know that of Lies and that of Truths. They known the truth you seek”

Xenor knew exactly what the text meant, the family described in the note holding the secret of Al’Araths artifacts whereabouts was the High Paladin family line, descendants of High Paladin Harlise himself. Xenor felt like giving up, how on earth would a half-breed like himself come into contact with the High Paladin? He knew the current High Paladin was sympathetic towards half-breeds but he had to keep the support of the upper class Human population; which meant no contact with half-breeds whatsoever. Yet in the back of Xenors mind, the small pocket of irrationality bounced ideas off the walls of his mind. The supernatural power guiding him on this quest had ‘aided’ him before and it was possible to happen again. He looked outside, onto the dingy town of Andrake, the refuge for half-breeds in the Human kingdom. He decided to leave the investigation for a while and head to the local tavern.
He strode in to the bar affectionately named “Halfling Haven” as many of the Dwarven half-breeds (shorter than their full Dwarf counterparts) spent most their time drinking here. He took his usual seat at the end of the bar table next to a full breed dwarf known as Derwalt. Derwalt had been sent by his mining company to prospect the land of Andrake for expansion but had fallen in love with the atmosphere (and not to mention the ale) that Andrake so willingly had to offer. Thus he now resided here.
“Afternoon Derwalt”, Xenor whinced. Derwalt had a crooked nose and Xenor always had to stiffle a smile whenever he looked at him.
“Yer laughin’ at me nose again ain’t ya, ya cheeky bastard”, laughed Derwalt, “I can tell ye laddy, yer face ain’t a work of art either!”
“Coming from you Derwalt?”, jested Xenor.
“Yes, got a problem with that laddy? ’Ave ya?”
Xenor looked at the grim face of Derwalt, it was often hard to tell when he was joking or when he had been genuinely offended. Probably due to his long bushy beard, concealing half of his face.
“Only jokin’ laddy! Lighten up! Ya look like ye need a good ale! Barmaid, another bitter please!”, smiled Derwalt.
While Derwalt had been living in Andrake he practiced his smithing hobby, he had become quite the artist with the hammer. Xenor often wondered how much time he spent in his forge and on his training grounds in the swamps, Derwalt was just like a regular dwarf; short tempered and lethal with an axe. Xenor sipped tenderly at his ale, he wasn’t really in the mood for a drink but Derwalt was the closest thing he had to a friend and didn’t want to offend him. Xenor and Derwalt bantered for an hour or so, exchanging jokes and stories until Xenor decided he would reveal the past days events.
“Hey Derwalt, this is going to sound crazy but i’ll tell you anyway”,
“Okay Laddy but if you tellin’ me yeh fancy me i donnae wanna’ hear alright?”,
“No..no it’s nothing like that”, sighed Xenor, he was struggling how to word it, “The other day i came across a note, it was some sort of chapter from a book and i took it from the swamps to my house. Anyway, this note seemed to have great power and i looked further into it and found the book of its origin. This book i had to steal from the Ancient library in Gardeth, i escaped the library into the slums of Teratheil and a child stole the book. I followed the child to retrieve it but when i caught up with him i found the book laying neatly on the ground and the child dead behind it. The strange thing was, the child hadn’t died of a stab wound or anything of the sort, it was as if something other wordly had killed him because he took the book from me. Anyway, the point is i think i’ll be going on somewhat of a travel soon, im sure of it in fact and i think i may need some elven armour forged. I have money…”
“First of all laddy; Bloody ’ell. Thats quite a tale”, whispered Derwalt, “And secondly, i’ll hear none of it, i’ll have armour forged for ye by next week… on one condition. I want ta’ join ye on your ‘quest’. It’s about time i put me combat skills ta test and yer not exactly fighting fit are ye?”
Xenor contemplated the Dwarf’s offer, “Derwalt, do you want to risk falling to the same fate as the other that intervened in my path or ‘quest’ as you put it?”
“Laddy, i’m gettin on and it’s a great honour for a Dwarf ta die in combat. I’ll be singin’ songs with Thor in the sky if i die.”, he replied.
“Okay, if you’re sure”, Xenor was reluctant but the Dwarf seemed enthusiastic about the whole ordeal and any extra help he could get was greatly appreciated. He soon retired to his home, he had a lot to prepare for.

A Tattered Note - Chapters II and III


Joined February 2008

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Artist's Description

When Xenor discovers a strange note in the swamp he decided to pocket it and follow it up, little did he know the supernatural power guarding the secret it held yet Xenor had secrets himself….

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