|Stormwinds Chapter scrap|
This was written in one afternoon at a gun show... I was bored, and I think it shows. I hate this with a passion. :) Don't throw a bunch of cool ideas together and write it down, guys... You get this:
Chapter [xx] : Roots
It was bitter cold, and the wind whistled in the evergreens, slicing like razors through their thin cloaks. It had not yet begun to snow, but the dark clouds looming overhead seemed to threaten that possibility.
The small group of young men had reached the edge of the woods, and out in the plain beyond could be seen a large circular depression. The six stood there for a moment, shivering in their ragged clothes. Their dirty and unshaven faces showed hunger and pain, yet through the outward dismal appearance shone a strong and unbreakable spirit.
Finally, one, the leader stepped forwards, out into the wide plain. He turned to the others ”Well, come on! I can see the roof of a building over there. It must be the one we saw on the manuscript, it cannot be anything else. If we are to free our people, we must continue. At least,” he added, “If there is not anything inside to help us, we will at least be out of the cold for a while.”
The rest smiled, realizing the truth of their leader’s bold words. Stepping out, they strode through the knee-deep brown grasses towards the depression. As they neared their destination, they pulled out weapons; long swords, twin short swords, and throwing knives. Unlike their clothes, the weapons were in perfect condition. Every one was honed and sharp, and was free from rust and nicks. The leader was already armed with a Priests Shockstaff, but he flicked a switch on the handle, charging it.
They walked cautiously down into the bowl-shaped depression, marveling at the huge metal building dominating the area. It rose high into the air, dark and corroded from age. It was eight-sided, and had symbols engraved on each side. As they walked around it, looking for a way in, one of the men noticed something.
“Hajaar?” He asked the leader, who turned and looked at him.
“Yes, Shay? What is it?”
“Look around. No one has been here in a very, very long time. This must be the high temple, look at the signs on the walls; but why is everything so grown up and decayed?”
“Yes, I too, noticed that. There are no stables for the Priests’ horses, no grain stores, no housing for the workers. I remember reading on the manuscript that this area was forbidden to all, and I must assume that meant the Priests as well. No one would ever find out about this, since the High Priest forbids all nonmilitary traveling. Come, there must be a way in.”
Soon they had found the door. It was tall and of black stone, both halves covered with a strange symbol that none of the group had seem before. It resembled a sword, or spear, with three small curved blades at the bottom. It was surrounded by an oval, and there were two smaller circles on the edge of the oval on either side of the strange object.
They noticed a small black square imbedded into the wall next to the door, and Hajaar touched it. There was a click, and it swung downwards, a small keypad lighting up as it did so.
“I knew it!” one of the men exclaimed, “that is just like the Temple doors. Let me try to get it open.” He shouldered his way to the front, and Hajaar made everyone get back and wait. After a short wait, there was a loud beep, and the young man said “Aha! Got it!”
He stepped back, and the big doors cracked open with a hiss, then slid smoothly open to reveal a clean, well lit hallway.
“Well,” Hajaar said, “Let’s go!”
- - -
“It’s colder in here than it is outside!” Hajaar exclaimed disgustedly. They were now deep inside the ancient building. Having found a wall made of a clear material that proved to be impervious to any attempts at damage, they looked for a way into the room. They could see shelves and racks containing many curious objects, some of which were obviously weapons. At the moment they were waiting for the code-breaker, Jashim, to open this door.
“Do you have any idea of how much longer this will take?” Shay asked. “Hajaar is right, it is very cold in here.”
The reply was slow. “N-ooo, I do not know… But I think I am- There!” He said as the door opened. He turned and smiled. “When in doubt, get Jashim, master door-opener!”
“Ok, ok, Jashim,” Hajaar laughed. “Let’s just get inside.”
They wasted no time in searching the room, which turned out to be huge. After collecting large pile of what few objects they could identify, they were preparing to leave when Shay announced that he had found something very interesting.
It was an article of clothing, although not of a style that any had ever seen before. Hajaar, being the leader and therefore responsible, put it on.
It had gloves without palms, the fingertips were of a silvery and flexible metal. Straps ran up the arms and to the shoulders, which then joined a harness that had straps running up the neck to a headband, and down the torso to the feet. There was a belt to fasten snug around the waist, and cinch straps over the boots.
When it was on, the only thing different Hajaar noticed was that he was no longer cold. They all thought that interesting, but decided it was time to leave. Gathering up the gear, they began the walk out.
Their steps rang hollowly on the stone floors, and the building seemed menacing in its huge emptiness.
Reaching the door, they shut it, and began to walk up the hill. Reaching the top they froze. There, stretched out on the plain, was the Holy Army. Thousands of men, devout in their service to the Gods, stood waiting for them. The High Priest walked his horse up near them, and stopped, looking them over. His cape floated out behind him in the cold breeze, and his red eyes glowed dimly under the deep cowl.
“We have been looking for you for a long time, Hajaar.” The High Priest’s voice was dry and grating. “Will you surrender to the will of the Holy God, and swear to fight in His wars, and serve Him above all other allegiances?”
Hajaar shook his head. “No, I will never surrender!” His firm voice gave strength to the hearts of his men, and they dropped all unnecessary items, and unlimbered their weapons.
“Very well.” The High Priest had no emotion in his dead voice. “You shall face the judgement of the Holy God.”
Responding to some invisible signal, the ten other Priests moved forwards, lining up in front of the small group. In perfect sync, they all raised their Shockstaves, and lowered them like lances, pointing the forked ends towards the men. They began to glow, and time seemed to slow for Hajaar.
He raised his arms, fingers out toward the Priests. He screamed, “NO!!” A deep rage boiled up within him, a hatred of oppression, a hatred of the things that could put his fellow men through such pain and agony, a desire to put an end to the incessant and pointless war. His one thought was of destroying the Priests, and as they pointed the arcing ends of their staves at them, his vision tunneled down to a point, black fingers edging into his vision, and all went black.
Behind him, Shay and the others saw a miracle take place. When Hajaar raised his arms, it started. The shiny fingertips of the gloves turned black, and the black began to grow from his fingers, down to his body, and finally covering him entirely, until Hajaar was only a shadow of blankness in man form. Nothing happened for a moment, then suddenly as the Shockstaves began to fire their arcing red energy, tendrils of black lightning reached out towards the red beams.
Wrapping around the red beams, the black fingers of nothing sped instantly down to the priests, wrapping around them. There was a pulse of something that rippled the air around them, and Hajaar was now a shapeless, indescribable spot of empty blackness in front of them. There was a flicker around them as the very world seemed to melt towards Hajaar, and then all was over.
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