Untitled story fragment

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Untitled story fragment

Post  Kaz'jo on Thu May 27, 2010 10:03 pm

Warning! The story below is completely not linked with Warcraft lore, is unrealistic, isn't finished yet and ending so far is quite far away from being happy. It was corrected by Vypra - thanks a lot! (Hmm... Lots of mistakes you make, learn to avoid them you have - said Yoda to me after comparing both versions)

The room was covered in deep darkness, because of curtains blocking the sun, even if it was nearly noon. A potential guest couldn't see the mess all over this room, but there weren't too many guests here anyway. The room's current inhabitant was rather loner, even his look confirmed that - slim body, long hair that hadn't been washed for at least a week, the remainder of facial hair and so on. Now he was lying on partially ruined bed, groaning in pain and muttering something that sounded like "I'll never drink that much again...".

Someone knocked at the door. The man on the bed groaned again, then muttered some swear and crawled off the bed, taking his leather overcoat from a broken chair nearby. While maneuvering between piles of trash and junk on the floor, he managed to put it on somehow. Knocking was heard again just at the moment he got to the door and opened it slightly. A strong chain on his side kept the door from being bashed inside by a man knocking from outside. This man was tall and well built, and there was a sword hanging on his back. The room's inhabitant frowned - his sword was lying somewhere in this junkyard inside.

- You again... I told you not to come today.
- You did and I came. No time for games, we need to move out, Joseph.

The man inside frowned with pain.

- I told you not to use this name anymore. And keep it quiet a bit... my head hurts like there are ten thousand fists hitting it from inside.

The warrior outside laughed loudly, causing the one called Joseph to frown and curse.
- You shouldn't drink that much. Do you even remember what did you agreed for?
- No. It shouldn't surprise you... get inside and shut up for at least half a hour.

Swearing again, Joseph removed the chain and opened the door, letting other man to enter. As soon as he got in, doors were closed and chain put back. Warrior looked around and opened his mouth.

- If I hear any comment, Caine, I'll throw you out the window - said the man named Joseph, who then took a copper kettle from near pile of junk and went to smaller room. The sound of water filling the kettle was heard, and soon it's owner came back, wandering to the only part of room that was clear. He knelt nearby and took something from another pile of garbage, snapping it in half and throwing onto ground. The clean place started to burn, causing the warrior named Caine to frown.

- You shouldn't use this stuff here, Joseph... - he began, but Joseph stared at him hatefully.

- Call me like that again and I'll use you as the fuel. I'm Shadowblade, remember that.
- It's too popular nickname for a warrior like you. Choose another, or I won't stop calling you Joseph.

Shadowblade considered something for a moment, placing the kettle on a small iron stand over the fire. The fire itself didn't move around the ring made by small glowing stones, as it was clearly magical fire - or stones. Or both.

- No. I like it and I don't care how many others use that too. It's simple and I don't have time to look for another. Find me one and I'll consider it.
Caine gave a friendly smile .

- I'll try, my friend. Now can you...
- I've told you to shut up for at least half an hour. Which one didn't you understand?
- Okay, okay -
said Caine and shook his head lightly.

Shadowblade took a wooden mug from nearby - he was obviously used to this mess, as he found it in no time - and took some herbs from the pouch he had attached to his belt. He sniffed the herbs and thrown them into the mug, adding some oily liquid from a vial he took from leather belt crossing his chest.

After a while, water in the kettle started to boil. Shadowblade took it - his leather gloves helped him to resist the heat of kettle itself - and poured some water to his mug. He hesitated for a second, but took another mug and thrown some more herbs into it, adding no oily liquid this time. He poured some water to it and slid a mug to Caine. He grabbed it with ease nodding thankfully to his friend.

They both drank their brews, not waiting for them to chill. none of them frowned even slightly. Shadowblade leaned towards the wall and sighed with relief. He sat like that for a few minutes, then took his sheathed sword and hanged it through his chest, making scabbard belt crossing the one with vials.

- Okay. Now, as sun isn't shining that loud anymore, tell me what the hell did I agreed to yesterday?

Caine snickered to himself and stood up.
- Traditional, dungeon sightseeing. You know, artifact, traps, that kind of stuff. There will be four more waiting for us near the entrance. It's well paid. Far too well for a regular trip, so I expect a catch.
- As always. We are never asked for similar things. After all, we have a reputation. And that's why you should use a nickname, too. Raymond Caine sounds idiotic.
- So does Shadowblade. Anyway, let's move out.
- Good idea. The owner of this shithole is to arrive any second, and I have no money to pay for it. Hopefully I'll return rich.

- You will, my friend - Caine smiled again and stood up, maneuvering through the junkyard, opening the door and walking away. Shadowblade closed and chained the door, then went to small room he took water from. He took a razor and shaved himself, then poured some water on his hair and dried it with a towel. After that, he went to one of windows. He moved the curtain a bit and opened the window, then, frowning at the light - his eyes were used to darkness a lot. He took his glasses - typical ones, but smoked, so he can see in the light easily - from a pocket on his chest, worn them and jumped out. He landed down with ease - it was only one floor above the ground. Caine was waiting already.

- You indeed took your time. I met the owner. He isn't nice, that's for sure, but still better than the previous one.
- I doubt it's possible to be more of an asshole than he was. Involving city watch into our business with payment is way too much for me.

Caine laughed loudly, people around started to stare on him curiously.
- Indeed. Now let's move. They're probably waiting for us.
- I hope they are skilled. Or at least won't get in my way.

Far away from the city, behind the forest, river and inside a mountain, there was a cave, which was said to contain a treasure. It was the meeting place for six people - two of them were Caine and Shadowblade. When they arrived, there were already four people a youngster with yellow hair and blue eyes, dressed in something that was looking like a camouflage suit, having with dagger by his side and a bow in his hand, a slightly older, dark-haired man with one-handed sword by his side and a shield on his back, an adult man looking like a soldier - short hair, no facial hair, scar through left eye and two swords by his sides. The fourth person was a woman with long, red hair wearing some sort of blue robe and reading a book. Shadowblade recognized it - that was some idiotic story about dragon hunting.

- About time - said the woman and closed her book. - I've been waiting here about two hours!
- You should have come late as well -
replied Shadowblade. - I did, and I'm not complaining.
- Very funny. Now let us introduce ourselves before we will move out. I'm...
- Female mage -
Shadowblade interrupted. - He's young archer, there's a warrior, here is a soldier. The one behind me is Caine, I'm Shadowblade. That's all we need to know.

The woman raised her eyebrow.
- Shadowblade? THIS Shadowblade? - she asked, looking at her book. "This" Shadowblade got elbowed by Caine and raised his eyes to the sky.
- Yes. No comments about dragon hunt, or you're going as the bait.

The story didn't end too well, and that was the only mistake Shadowblade ever made. He let his guard down when dragon was nearly dead, and the beast managed to burn him badly. The wounds would have been fatal, but there was a healer on the spot, so he managed to stay alive. Barely.

The woman smiled mysteriously.
- I still think we should introduce ourselves to such great hero - she said, ironically. Shadowblade sighed heavily.
- If you have to. But hurry up, and keep in mind I don't care about your names, so speed it up and let's move.

The woman smiled again.
- Very well. I'm Alesia, a mage, as you spotted. This one - she pointed at yellow-haired youngster - is named Humbert. The one by his side is named Namor, and this soldier is called Swiftsteel.

Everyone nodded slightly when presented, only Humbert bowed before them.
- I think we should name our group somehow... - he said. - How about Sons of Plunder? It sounds...
- Idiotic -
Shadowblade interrupted.

- So maybe...
- We will call ourselves "Shut up and move your lazy ass".
No objections? Good. Then let's go.
Shadowblade moved between Namor and Swiftsteel and entered the cavern. Soldier and swordsman entered after him. Caine let out a heavy sigh and pointed at the cavern.

- You should go inside. I'll watch your back - he said to both remaining people. Alesia sighed as well, but entered the cavern, muttering some spell and hanging small light ball over her head. Humbert walked in after her, Caine closed the group, unsheathing his sword as he got inside the cave.
Shadowblade took his glasses off, his eyes naturally widened, allowing him to see in the dark. He grabbed his sword and moved it to his right. Scabbard opened with mechanical hiss, letting steam out, freeing the sword and closing soon after the blade got off. This sheathe was one of Shadowblade's symbols, as well as nasty attitude and ability to see in darkness. And, of course, two-handed sword made of shadow crystal, the rarest crafting material in whole world. There were only two swords made of it. Of course, people started to make prophecies about that. Shadowblade didn't care about any of them.

The cavern began with narrow tunnel, yet soon widened enough to contain at least three carts side by side, making enough space for six people to walk in a formation. Shadowblade and Namor first, Alesia and Humbert in the middle, Swiftsteel and Caine at the end, covering their backs.

Shadowblade motioned rest of group to wait and knelt placing his hand on the ground.
- What are you... - Alesia asked, but was silenced by another motion.
- Keep this light and your voices down. Big group of something ahead.
- "Of something"? What can...
- Everything, from drunk dwarves to drunk dragons. Shut up and walk carefully. I don't want deaths here.

Alesia smiled a bit and caused the light to disappear. Surrounded by darkness, everyone waited for their eyes to get used to it. After some minutes it did, as well as hearing and other senses. They could hear some sounds ahead. Shadowblade let out a parody of smile.
- Goblins, of course. A few humans, as well as some orcs and other humanoids. Robbers, treasure hunters or whatever. Stay hidden.

The group moved out again. After a while, they entered a huge stone room, full of pillars. Between them were standing armor and weapon racks, shelves, crates and a lot of fireplaces. Between fires they could see many humanoid beings. Many goblins, a few humans and orcs, some two-headed ogres and other, unrecognizable creatures.

Shadowblade commanded them to stay by the middle, where fire was not reaching. Alesia tried to object, but before she said something, Shadowblade moved his face closely to hers, placing his finger before her lips. His eyes flashed sinisterly in darkness, making the mage to remain silent.
Walking silently and carefully, they managed to pass to something they though was a gate. It indeed was - but closed. Caine tried to open them, but nothing happened.

- What now? - he whispered.
- Stay - said Shadowblade, simply and went into the darkness.
Rat was standing on the watch, as usual. Nobody remembered his real name, since he came to the cavern two years ago he was called "Rat". And that remained.

Rat spat into the fireplace and went to the shadows to take a piss. He was annoyed that by two years nobody else joined the band, so he was still a pushover. He hated his comrades for that, but what else could he do? Coming back to the world meant death.

- Hey Rat, anything interesting? - yelled someone. Rat cursed him in his thoughts.
- Nothing, as usual. Any food incoming? - he replied into darkness.
- Soon. Stay there and watch.

"Of course, you fucking moron... what else can I do here?" said Rat in his thoughts and started to watch darkness again. Of course he saw nothing - who will be so stupid to trespass this forsaken place?
- Yo, Rat - a voice sounded just behind him. He shivered strongly and placed his hand on the hilt of his sword.
- Relax, you moron... I brought some booze - voice replied. Rat relaxed a bit - nobody will be so stupid to act one of them... especially nobody with that kind of voice. Sharp and somehow scary.
Some man in black, leather overcoat sat by his side, drinking something from a canteen and passing it to Rat. He sniffed that - smelled like strong liquor.

- What's that? None of you ever share booze with me...
- If this disturbs you, just walk away -
replied the man. Rat shivered hearing that voice and drank a bit from the canteen. He coughed suddenly - "That shit is really strong..."

- Be kind and tell me something -
said the man. Rat started to listen with caution.
- What do you want?
- The gate. Who has the key?
- You don't want to go in there, do you?

The man looked at Rat, his eyes glowing ominously in the dark.

- And if I do?
- Nobody came alive from there yet... there should be a treasure, but...
- Shut up. Where's the key?
- Two keys... both carried by ringleaders. How do...
- Go and bring them to me - the man turned from Rat, to the darkness. Rat started to be suspicious about this one.

- How can I be sure I can trust you? You can be...

With a move so swift that a regular man wouldn't spot it, the man grabbed Rat's neck and moved him brutally, placing his face just before own. His eyes were glowing sinisterly.

- I asked once. I never ask twice. If you will make me do it, it will be the last thing you ever did, and you will ask me to be killed. Now - move - he said with no emotions in his voice. Rat shook pathetically when man removed his grasp and crawled into the shadows.
"It's my last day here... I'm out of here. I must run..."

Shadowblade was waiting. Nobody ever resisted his eyes. Not even fearless mountain trolls could resist his stare in the dark. That was one of his secrets, that nobody knew about. As nobody ever spoke about it to the others.

After couple of minutes, the pushover named Rat came to him with two huge, stone keys.
- H-here... Watch out, they will soon know... and the guardian... be ready for him.
- I always am. Now run.

Rat started to run. Shadowblade stood up, took his canteen and hanged it on his neck, then started to sneak to the gate. He was used to stealth, and The Shade - his sword - was emitting shadow around itself and partially around Shadowblade, making it even harder to spot him. That was the reason that Humbert's hair wasn't spotted - Shadowblade could control the shadow, at least in some way. Now he got just before the gate and without any words, put the keys into two keyholes. When he turned them, a loud rumble was heard as the door opened. Inhabitants of the cave started to yell and run around, arming themselves and running towards the gate.

- What are you waiting for, eternal salvation? MOVE YOURSELVES, DAMMIT! - shouted Shadowblade and ran behind the gate. The rest did the same just a second later. When Caine and Swiftsteel got in, they started to push stone gate, with no result. Bandits were close, but suddenly their shouting stopped. Shadowblade took the risk of looking at them.

A huge group of humanoids - now there could be seen even cave trolls and one or two elves - stopped before the gate, not daring to pass. Two people - Orc and human - were standing in front of all - they probably were the ringleaders mentioned by Rat.

- Who are you?! - asked the Orc.
- Not your concern - replied Shadowblade.
- Of course it's our concern - said the human. - You stole our keys to get there. I don't care if you know what's inside or not. I want to know who robbed from me, and know names of next victims of The Guardian.

- Go outside and ask for Sons of Plunder -
replied Shadowblade. In the same moment, Caine took down the blockade and with Swiftsteel's help shut the gate close. Everyone stood in darkness for a second.

- I can't believe you used this idiotic name - said Namor.
- That was the only thing I could think of. Even if they'll go and ask, they won't know anything. Let's meet that guardian... whatever it is.
They descended into shadows.

Something that looked like a regular human blocked the only exit. There was just one thing hat differed him from others - he was twice as high as Caine, was standing motionlessly and holding huge axe on one of his hands.
- So that's him, huh... Caine, it seems like there's a work for you - said Shadowblade. Caine moved ahead with unsheathed sword.

Motionless personage moved and stood on their way, pointing it's axe towards Caine.
- I'm sorry, but we have to -
replied Caine a bit nervously.
Caine turned around, looking questioningly at Shadowblade.
- I know a few riddles... - said Humbert. - Maybe I can try...

- Go -
said Shadowblade. Humbert passed Caine and stood face to face with the person in shadows.
- Ask... - he said nervously.
Humbert smiled instantly.
- I know that one. It's a mystery - nobody know what is it, but everyone is sure it's a secret.
The Huge personage turned aside, opening the entrance. Humbert, proud of himself, moved ahead.
- You idiot! DUCK!

Humbert turned around, surprised. Suddenly, he felt somehow strange - he couldn't feel his legs anymore and hit the ground with his back. He was wondering. Wondering what had just happened, and why could he see only darkness before him, even if his eyes are used to it.

A nearly unseen move made by the guard slashed Humbert in half. His upper body was thrown by the wall, while legs just fallen onto the ground. Caine's attack was too slow to stop this, and easily repelled by the guard. Swiftsteel and Namor started to attack as well. Namor blocked axe with a shield, when Swiftsteel slashed guardian's hand with one of his swords, then span quickly and cut his stomach with second. None of these wounds affected guardian in any way. Namor dodged an axe attack falling from above. A weapon struck the ground, making a loud rumble.

Caine jumped on guardian's arm and ran on it, aiming for his enemy's head. Before he reached it, he got hit by guardian's left fist and thrown back on the wall, hitting it with his head and losing consciousness. Alesia tried to do something, anything, but she just dropped on her knees and threw up instead.

Swiftsteel dodged the axe and cut again, with no visible effect. Namor readied his shield - too late. He spotted an axe flying towards him insanely fast - too fast to block...

The Guardian's hand was suddenly severed from his body. Surprised being watched it falling away, then tried to touch lacking arm with his other hand. It looked down, to find the one responsible for this fact.

Shadowblade was standing before guardian's arm. His eyes wasn't sinisterly glowing - now they were burning with untamed rage, flashing dreadfully. The Guardian moved towards him, attacking with his fist. Shadowblade jumped over and landed on guardian's hand steadily. The huge personage tried to throw him out, but warrior just jumped towards, stabbing huge being with his sword and hanging on it.

- Take this...
Guardian roared and aimed to hit his chest. Shadowblade took the sword out and jumped off giant's chest...
- ...you treacherous...
...deflecting by his incoming fist, making his sword ready to attack.
- ...worm.

He slashed brutally, empowering his hit with the shadow and his own inner power. Guardian's head was severed above his jaw and fallen down the ground. Shadowblade stabbed his sword into giant's corpse and slid down, causing huge geyser of blood to spill around. After landing he deflected left, to avoid the falling corpse. It hit the ground with a loud rumble.


Shadowblade spat on the corpse again. Alesia was away, tending to Caine's head and sobbing silently. Swiftsteel and Namor finished burying their dead comrade, making a small cross from nearby stalactites. They both gathered near Shadowblade, awaiting his commands.
Shadowblade spat again and walked towards Caine and Alesia. He passed them, staring into the darkness.

"The dark... most people are afraid of it. Afraid of what awaits for them there. Probably these four, maybe except Caine, are too..."

- It's not sightseeing trip. Everyone who won't be vigilant will end like him. I don't want any more deaths. Listen to me and do what I say, if you want to survive.

"But I'm not."

- Let's go. Mourning won't resurrect him. And we can't afford any more time here.

"It's the dark that is afraid of me."

Shadowblade turned around to the grave.

- The answer was "truth". You were close - he said silently, then turned and moved

I hope you like it.

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Join date : 2010-03-04
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Re: Untitled story fragment

Post  Kaz'jo on Wed Jun 16, 2010 10:31 pm

Like before, milion thanks for Vypra for correcting this stuff.
Warning! The story below... but I think you saw this already, so simply enjoy reading.

- Will you stop it finally? - asked Shadowblade, looking at Alesia. The mage was still sobbing and wasn't watching where she's going, producing lots of noise.
- E-easy to s-say... you're used to see d-death. How can...
- Shut up
- said Shadowblade, quiet and sharply. - Continue that and we all will be put in unnecessary danger.
- But...

Shadowblade gazed into Alesia's eyes, closing his face to hers.

- I saw too many deaths. I. DO. NOT. WANT. MORE. DEATHS. Understood?
Something in his eyes made the mage to tremble and instantly cleared her mind. Shadowblade turned around and moved ahead through the stone tunnel.
- Shut up, Caine - he said, before a single word was heard, even if Caine already opened his mouth to say something. Instead, he just pointed at the tunnel.
- Go. I'll watch your back - he said, letting Alesia and Namor to pass. He and Swiftsteel closed the group, watching around and listening carefully.
Much later, the group found a chamber, large enough for a few people to fit in without any problem.
- Rest time. Two hours, then we move out - stated Shadowblade after checking the chamber and corridor nearby. - Light the fires if you want, but keep it low...and your voices too.
Everybody found a place for himself. Alesia conjured small sphere of light and took her book, getting ready to read that. She peered at Shadowblade, a bit afraid of his reaction, but he seemed not to care. She continued to read the story.

Namor and Swiftsteel lit a regular campfire on the stone floor and sat by it. Both of them took some meat and began to eat. Caine snapped off one magic fire maker and sat by it. Only Shadowblade remained in darkness, observing.
He was alone for no longer than ten minutes. Caine came by and sat near. Shadowblade remained silent.

- You can't hold it in yourself for your whole life. You know about it - said Caine, looking at his friend. - Listen, Jo...
- Shut up, Caine
- replied Shadowblade, still looking into darkness.
- I won't. You need to...
- I need to be alone. Go play with the mage or something.

Caine sighed and went to see what Alesia was reading at the moment. When he came by, he wanted to ask something, but his attention was taken by her book. He was shocked by that, then looked at Shadowblade without saying a word.

"Chapter 1. The dragon hunt.

...Four heroes gathered in front of dragon's lair, under command of one named Shadowblade. Three men and one woman were looking nearly identical - long overcoats, scabbards on their backs, swords in hands and a professional expression on their faces. It was clear that was not their first hunt for such creature.

Shadowblade, differing from others by wearing smoked glasses and having a different sword - dark, made of shadow crystal - the rarest crafting material in the world - gestured to them to take their positions. Everyone did so without protesting. The bait - freshly killed cow - was in front of the lair. From the sounds coming out of cavern it was easy to predict that dragon is coming out of it.

After a minute, a giant head came out of the cavern - triangle-shaped, scaled, with huge fangs and disproportionally small eyes. Huge nostrils were emitting smoke. The being looked around and crawled out of the cave. It was huge - way larger than the two-flat buildings that cities are filled with.

The Dragon came closer to the bait, instantly spotting Shadowblade standing in front of it. Surprised by the presence of another being, the dragon lowered it's head to look at the intruder. In the same moment, one of the warriors, hidden above the dragon, jumped on it's head. Surprised, the reptile started to wave it's head around, hitting the rocks nearby. As it was scaled and horned, no damage came to it, but the warrior started to lose his balance. Shadowblade waved his sword to get the dragon's attention, running close to it at the time. The being set it's gaze on the running human, swinging a clawed paw to kill him.

Shadowblade stopped suddenly, setting fingers of his left hand in untypical figure.
- Step one - push - he said.
A wave of energy struck in front of him, forcing the paw to fall back and making a huge cloud of dust to engulf the dragon. Disoriented, the being started to struggle and in the same moment, the remaining two warriors threw huge, flamed spears, aiming at the dragon's vital spots. Both spears hit their mark and the dragon roared loudly. A lot of pain and rage could be heard in this roar.

The Dragon struggled a while longer and fell to the ground, causing it to shake. The Warrior on it's head jumped off it.

- Nice job, Caine - said Shadowblade. - I thought you would fall after he got hit.
- Not today, my friend
- replied the warrior named Caine and turned to two other warriors, smiling widely. Shadowblade smiled at them and shook his head - he saw that woman passed some gold to her comrade. Shadowblade was certain that it was a bet. These two were always betting.

Suddenly, he heard the sound behind him. Before he turned around, he knew what it was, but before he did anything, it was too late. Flames were everywhere around him, burning his skin and filling whole body with pain. He didn't even know when he started to scream. The rest of warriors quickly reacted - Caine used some spell to enforce the attack, which hit the dragon in it's head, crushing the skull and killing it instantly. The second male warrior concentrated and struck the fire with the same spell Shadowblade used to distract the dragon - just a lot more powerful. The Woman ran ahead just after the spell got rid of flames, kneeling before wounded warrior and using healing spells - the ones she was trained in since she got her sword.

Shadowblade was out of his senses. He only knew that he was burning and then someone tried to help him. Before he figured out what was happening, he lost consciousness, falling into the embrace of darkness."
"Why do I always remember them when a death happens... I should forget already" - said Shadowblade in his thoughts.
"No" - replied some whispering voice in his mind. - "These memories and Caine are all that holds you on this world. Did you ever think what you would do if they're gone?"
"Stopped to care and simply live on?"
"We both know that's not true."
"Shut up, Shade. Find someone else to bother."
"If it only was that simple..."

Shadowblade stood up.
- Break's over. Move out - he said and went towards the tunnel, watching the darkness before him. He couldn't see anything suspicious.
The rest gathered up quickly. Caine was quiet, looking at his friend, surprised. Shadowblade ignored that and moved ahead. Caine started to walk, catching up with him soon and leaving Namor and Swiftsteel as a rear guard.
- Why didn't you...
- You never asked, I didn't care... I still don't care, I had to. Any of this satisfying you?

Caine shook his head and started to speak angrily.
- For all the time we're fighting together I thought you have at least some trust for me. How do you...
Shadowblade suddenly turned around, his eyes glowing ominously in darkness.
- Read it. And keep quiet. Something ahead.

The Warrior's face expression was not seen in the dark (and he probably won't show his true emotions anyway), but something told Caine that his friend was even more angry than he was. He kept quiet and moved carefully, just after Shadowblade, who was regularly sneaking. There was a light in the end of tunnel, and it wasn't looking like sun.

Everybody started to sneak. After a while, they reached the chamber. Light was flowing from it, so their sight had to get used to it. Shadowblade took his smoked glasses and put them on, then looked inside the room. It was filled with columns, pillars and statues of weird, humanoid beings. The Eyes of these statues were glowing . There was a door on one of the walls, Closed. Shadowblade considered something and decided to enter chamber, moving straight to this door. The rest quickly followed him, looking around the room carefully.

Shadowblade checked the door. As he suspected, there wasn't any handle to open it - just some sort of mechanism. Shadowblade spotted the ling between these door and something else, quickly following it. Link ended up by some sort of puzzle - a board filled with square-shaped pieces, every single one was different from others. There were five pieces per one column, five columns as well. One piece was linked with small chain and hanging freely.

- Great. Anybody here knows how to solve this? - asked Shadowblade, looking at Alesia. She sighed a bit.
- Yes, I can deal with it... - she said and approached the board, looking at the pieces. She tried to move one of them. Shadowblade quickly grabbed her hand.
- Plan it first. It can trigger some trap or anything else - he said. - I don't like these statues. Way too many of them.
Alesia nodded and started to plan her moves. Shadowblade took a book out of his bag - the same book that mage was reading. Titled "Tales of Shadowblade". He thrown it to Caine.
- Read up while we have a break - he said, without any emotion in his voice. Caine opened the book and started to read.
"Chapter 2. Forging the Shade.

The night was dark, as usual in this place. Two people a man and a woman - were standing on the hill, looking at horizon and the sky. None of them moved or spoke for a long time, they were just standing on that hill, side by side. They remained in that place for long, yet for both of them it was still not enough. Both wished for this moment to last for eternity - away from every problems and fight, just the two of them in the darkness they were used to.

Eventually Shadowblade - as it was him - moved. His comrade - the woman who healed him from fatal burn a month ago - looked at him.
- It's time, isn't it? - she asked.
- Yes. We need to move - replied Shadowblade. - Yet I don't want to.
- Me too. But our shadows are following us, and we need to make use of them.
- Indeed...

Both of them jumped down the hill, landing on a small ledge below. They turned around and looked into big, dark cavern opened in front of them. Both drawn their swords - nearly identical, created from only piece of Shadow Crystal that was ever used to craft anything. These swords were what linked the two far more than anything could. Even if they were different by skills - he was a warrior, she was a healer, he was right-handed, she used left - their minds worked in the same way. Shadowblade took her right hand with his left and both stepped into darkness.

They were walking in the dark for a long time, eventually reaching it's end. A huge forge was seen in there - not usual, though. It was a huge break in the mountain, filled with powerful fire, eternally blazing. This was the place they were looking for since they met. In this place they could finish forging their swords, imbuing them with power of their own shadows. Yet to do so, they had to defeat them first.

They turned around, to face two dark beings looking just like them. They both expected that and took battle stances. Their Shadows did the same. Nobody smiled, nobody frowned. Two people standing in front of their dark sides, ready to fight them and either win and subdue them, or lose and be subdued.

Shadowblade moved first. He stepped ahead, making two quick steps, maiming his shade with movements of his sword. Shade did exactly the same move. Both cut quickly, both dodged. Shadowblade span and attacked, his shade parried that attack and countered it quickly with swift slash. Shadowblade dodged and ducked under a whirl his shadow made. He spotted his companion fighting with her shade, in the same moment he was forced to jump aside to dodge another cut his shadow made. The Shadowy sword hit the floor, causing it's wielder to lose balance for a short moment. This moment was enough - Shadowblade jumped ahead, ramming the shade with his shoulder. It swayed back and parried the cut Shadowblade made towards it, but failed to do so with counter-hit he made. Silently, it stepped back, looking at it's opponent. After a minute, it bowed before it's former opponent and new master, slowly being absorbed by Shadowblade's sword.

Shadowblade raised his sword and looked through it. The Shadow crystal was translucent no more - it now pulsed with darkness inside. He put the sword down, watching the fight happening ahead. It didn't lasted long as his companion fooled her opponent by fake cut and rapidly shifted it's track, hitting her shade with quick, but light slash. As with Shadowblade's opponent, the shade bowed before it's master and was absorbed by her sword. Now, when both shades were subdued, their masters looked at each other and turned to the forge. Both stepped to it and put their weapons into the fire, holding them for some time inside.

The Shadow crystal didn't melt or even became hot - it was immune to heat. The Darkness in the crystal swords stopped moving chaotically and formed in a shape of the weapons, filling the blades completely. After that happened, both withdrew their swords and looked at them. The Shadow crystals were now empowered with shadow itself. That made them unexceptionally powerful.
Both sheathed their swords..."
Caine suddenly looked up. Shadowblade cursed and clenched hand on his sword's hilt, looking at statues. They were no more immobile - some of them started to walk towards the group. Caine rapidly dropped the book and withdrew his own sword, preparing for battle. Swiftsteel and Namor were ready, Alesia was working at the puzzle. Four warriors surrounded her, looking at the enemies. There were a lot of them - slim, hairless and faceless beings, only with two brightly glowing eyes and monstrous claws. They surrounded the group, standing still. Shadowblade knew these beings too well to hope they won't attack. And they did.

More quick and agile than a man could suspect, beings rushed towards the group. Shadowblade cursed and drawn some figure in the air. Shadowy glyph appeared in the air, pushed soon by Shadowblade's hand.
- Step three - strike!

He channeled his power through the glyph. Every being was thrown back and dazed. Caine drawn another glyph on the ground and hit it with his opened palm.
- Backstep two - shield! - he yelled.
Suddenly his power began to shape as a defensive shield around and over the group. It was not complete - there were three gaps in it. Shadowblade took the one closest to him, while Namor and Swiftsteel took other two.
- Hurry up with that, I can't hold it for long! - shouted Caine. Alesia started to move faster, cursing softly at the puzzle.

Enemies quickly rushed to the gaps. Shadowblade attacked first one that arrived, severing it's head without any problem. He span and cleaved another one in half, and before it fell to the ground turning into a pool of disgusting liquid, he'd slashed and thrown back another one. Swiftsteel was slashing enemies repeatedly with his two weapons, without any sign of exhaustion. Namor was blocking attacks and countering them, yet he was already wounded - one of the beings slashed his leg.
The puzzle was a regular one - square parts were presenting some picture, Alesia's work was to make that picture by moving pieces. As there was only one gap, movements were limited. She moved some of it, when battle started around, she had to hurry. She knew that Shadowblade was a great warrior and Caine made his famous shield, but she knew also that no power lasts forever. She was moving the pieces as quickly as she could, following the plan she made before.

She made the pieces to form a picture - a dragon head with red rubies as eyes. She put the freely hanging piece into the gap she left on the bottom of all puzzle and happily watched the door.

Nothing happened.
Shadowblade slew another monster, looking behind quickly.
- Quickly, curse you! We can't fight forever, you know!
- I finished it, but something's wrong...
- replied Alesia with uncertainty in her voice.
Shadowblade cursed and moved quickly to mage, pushing her towards the gap.

- Get yourself useful and fend them off or so - he said and started to watch the puzzle, then cursed again. Eyes of the dragon were mispositioned - regular man wouldn't spot that, but Shadowblade had an eye for such details. He put the key piece off and started to mess with the puzzle. He hated it, but as a trainee in warrior academy, long before forming his own group of adventurers, he was forced to solve such things, as one of mages working in there spotted intellectual potential in him. Cursing that mage before, now for the first time Shadowblade thanked him in his mind.

He quickly repositioned these eyes and started to solve the puzzle again. He heard Alesia screaming and turned around, to see her being stabbed by one of the monsters. Cursing loudly, he rushed towards her, blocking monster's deadly strike with his left arm and powerfully slashing it with his sword, held in right hand only. Even that one was able to push the being back and turn it into pool of liquid. He continued to cut monsters, shaping his slashes into another glyph, which he stabbed just after forming.
- Backstep five - shade ward!

He pointed the sword down and stabbed it into the ground. Shadow left it and shaped into a wall of darkness between them and their enemies. Monsters tried to rush through it, yet every attack was blocked by the shadow, hurting the attacker. Caine let his shield off, moving towards Alesia. He checked on her wound - it was deep, but not fatal. Sighing with relief, he helped the mage to stand up and guided her to the puzzle.
- You must finish this quickly. Shade ward won't last for long - he said. Alesia nodded and started to move the pieces that Shadowblade messed, quickly resolving the problem and putting the last piece in it's place.

The Door suddenly opened with mechanical hiss. Monsters behind the ward started to furiously attack it. The Ward started to fade slowly. As his companions ran through the door, Shadowblade cursed and drew another glyph on the ward, pulling the sword off the ground and hitting the glyph with his fist.
- Step five - shock!
Shade ward suddenly exploded, leaving the spot inside untouched, but combined with Shock step made a mess outside - powerful shock-wave combined with power of shadow coursed through the chamber, destroying monsters and columns, causing part of it to collapse. Shadowblade quickly turned around and ran through the door, which closed behind him soon after.
They were in darkness again, in a small chamber. Shadowblade was panting heavily. He walked slowly towards the wall, leaning towards it and dropping on the ground heavily.
- Break time - he said and closed his eyes, sitting without a single motion. Caine knew how exhausting were the spells he used - Shade ward itself drew a lot of power, and combined with Step five it was nearly impossible to make by a regular magic user. Yet neither him or Shadowblade were regular magic users. They were part of famous group of adventurers - formed by Shadowblade and made of four exceptionally powerful people. He sighed at the memory of his fallen comrades and snapped another magic fire, making it blaze on the ground. He sat and continued to read the book.
"Chapter 7. The parting.

...both stood against each other in darkness. Shadowblade was shocked. His former comrade - the one he most possibly loved - was standing before him, holding her shadow sword in her hand, ready to attack. All that he heard was something insane. He was both enraged and broken.
- For more power... Do you want to leave all this for some POWER? Is THAT what you're up for? - said Shadowblade, raising his voice tune in the end.
- You should understand - she replied. - We are similar. You know we can be someone more powerful than anyone could possibly imagine. We just need to throw away what makes us weak...
- Throw away humanity, you say.
- That's...

Shadowblade took his battle stance, staring coldly at his former love and new enemy.
- Shut up. I don't want to listen to this anymore. You have lost your goal. Do you even remember why did we formed Shadows?
His enemy stood in her battle stance, not saying anything.
- We feel pain of the others. We see their problems, and that's why we decided to HELP them, not RULE them. You have lost your goal. You are dead for me.

His enemy laughed loudly.
- You foolish moron. You were always too sentimental...
Shadowblade rushed ahead and cut with cold precision. His enemy blocked the attack, blades of shadow crossed. Shadowblade held both blades down.
- I'm not listening to the dead.

He let the sword free and dodged the cut, countering it quickly. His enemy parried the attack and countered swiftly. Shadowblade dodged it and span around three times, marking a slash and shifting sword's route quickly. He hit his enemy, but only lightly. Instantly he jumped back, as his enemy counterattacked. Shadowblade took blade of his sword between his thumb and middle finger and move them across it, freeing the shadow closed in. His enemy did the same thing.

Shadowblade attacked rapidly, crossing his sword with his opponents sword again. This time both shadows flowed through, aggressively fighting each other and trying to hurt opposite wielder. Shadowblade whirled his sword over his head, then span and made a quick diagonal cut, span again and cut diagonally again, this time upwards, then jumped and slashed vertically. Every attack was parried or dodged. Shadowblade stabbed his sword in the ground lightly and leaned over it, balancing quickly and reflected from the hilt, taking the sword off the ground. He made a somersault in the air, kicking his enemy in the back of her head, landing behind her. He had excellent occasion to kill her now - only thing he had to do was to turn around and attack.

Somehow, he couldn't.

A moment of hesitation was enough. Shadowblade's enemy attacked him swiftly, slashing his chest and throwing him back. Shadowblade hit the huge stone and dropped on ground heavily. His sword fallen off his hand. He sat there, awaiting for darkness to come and take him.
When he opened his eyes, it was close to noon. His new enemy was nowhere to be seen. Defeated, Caine was on the ground, his breath shallow. Just aside was the dead body of their comrade, known as Steel. Shadowblade sighed heavily and took his sword, leaning on it to stand up. He had to save the last of his comrades...

Caine shook his head and stopped reading. He was surprised by what he read - he was the first one defeated by mysterious attacker, and all the time Shadowblade was telling him that she was dead and he forgot her name. Caine thought it's the pain that makes him to think so and never reminded the name. He hoped it'd pass in time.

Shadowblade opened his eyes after a few hours of rest. Everybody was sitting silently in darkness, tending to their wounds or simply resting. Shadowblade stood up.
- Break time ended. Time to go - he said. He clearly felt his powers are back... mostly. Shade was still silent, but he felt that it was regaining its power too. He moved ahead, so did the rest of team. The tunnel was dark again, yet everybody had no problems with it anymore. They got used to darkness.

They were walking for a long time before they arrived at place where tunnel was splitting. In the end of one part was a light, this time obviously a sun. Second one was leading in deeper darkness.
- Decide - said Shadowblade. - Who moves ahead in these tunnels, who leaves.
Everybody remained silent. Nobody said anything. That reminded Shadowblade about his old team - Shadows. Steel Shadows, to be exact. He was the leader, Caine was a fighter and defender, Steel was a great force user and fine warrior as well. And the one which name was forsaken by Shadowblade... she was great force user and healer, but could fight well too. Yet, her lust for power brought death on her. Even if Shadowblade wasn't able to kill her then - he was sure that now there was nothing left to stop him from dealing a fatal strike.
Shadowblade broke his memories and cursed at them.

- Fine. Move out then.
He moved into dark tunnel, but stopped suddenly. He heard something. Something like metal grinding the stone...
He suddenly realized what it was and turned around. He grasped Caine's arm and pulled him deeper in the tunnel, literally a second before metal bars shot out of stone wall, piercing opposite wall just in place where Caine was standing. Another wave of metal bars fallen from the ceiling and pierced the floor just before Shadowblade. Ceiling between two barricades collapsed, blocking exit.

Shadowblade cursed and turned towards Caine.
- Looks like we're alone again.
Caine was surprised by the course of action, but managed a smile.
- Like always. Well, that's how do you like to work.
- Indeed. One reliable comrade is enough. Let's get moving.

Shadowblade moved ahead, Caine after him, hiding the book in his pocket.


"The Tales of Shadowblade are not over yet. He still exists and lives, yet different from what is described here. Forsaking the one he loved and losing one of two he valued as comrades changed him. Yet the one who survived was a hope for future. Shadowblade decided to continue his goal along with his best friend. After they buried Steel, they made a blood oath and became blood brothers, making a promise they won't lose their goal. They both use second name of Caine since then.

If you ever meet one of them, be sure that another one is nearby.

Written by Joseph Caine."
No, that's not my signature nor my name. I believe that most of you figured it out, but just in case...
Again, I hope you like it.

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Re: Untitled story fragment

Post  Vypra on Wed Jun 16, 2010 10:53 pm

well, you know my thoughts already, but just for encouragement, the grammar etc was improved from the first part and i'm finding the story a very enjoyable read Smile

"If we don't know where we belong, it'll make no difference from where we started"


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Re: Untitled story fragment

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