Saturday, August 1, 2009

"Alaria" Prologue

High in the northlands of the continent of Validor, the immense, flat plains of the Windfall stretched as far north as the eye could see. There was only one feature of the otherwise barren lands, a lone tower that reached towards the cold black sky, far north of the mountains ringing the snow covered plains. The sun had yet to rise, and the advent of dawn was only just beginning to brighten the eastern sky with a weak grey light. For ages no man had dared to set foot on the icy plains, for fear of the ancient deity said to live atop the white tower. But as the sun began to slide above the eastern horizon, the solitary figure of a man could be seen, throwing a plume of snow behind him in the speed of his passage. The man flew at a reckless pace toward the featureless base of the tower, heedless of the harsh cold of the northern winds. There were no openings at the tower's base, nor any other apparent means of entry, but the man was undeterred. With a flurry of snow and a roar of wind, the figure leapt into the skies, scaling the tower at impossible speeds. In moments he reached the top, and with the fury of the winds behind him, he burst through the small opening there, into the spacious room beyond.
There was a thunderous boom of impact as the man's boots hit the white marble floors, and the winds died down as he rose from his landing crouch. In the space of time it took for him to stand straight, the man had already taken in the details of the hall in which he stood. It was a massive throne room, lavishly appointed in silk tapestries and golden statues. Bright fires burned in hearths on either side of the room, and at the far side was a massive golden throne, flanked by six massive Narii clad in gold armor. Each of the gigantic inhuman warriors stood at least seven feet high, and their orange eyes glowed as the fixated upon the man now standing in the center of the hall.
But what drew the man's attention most was the figure upon the throne.
The god was a giant, even compared with his enormous honor guard, and standing, he would have topped eight feet in height. He was broad-shouldered, and thick, hard muscles bulged beneath his ebony skin. His massive frame was draped in white silks, and as he rested his chin on the palm of one enormous hand, he looked almost bored. The man met the god's glittering golden eyes openly, and watched as a slow, languid smile stretched over his handsome face.
"Neros..." rumbled the god in a deep basso voice. "I suspect by your entry that you are displeased with me."
"Displeased does not begin to cover it, my lord." said Neros, not bothering to keep his anger from coloring his tone. From beneath his cloak, Neros drew out a silver sword, and slammed it point-first into the marble floor. A spiderweb of cracks spread from the impact, and Neros watched as they began to repair themselves.
"The Validian king lies dead. This was not our agreement."
"I agreed to help you start a war, Neros." said the god. "Wars require sacrifices."
"You slew their king, Acheron. You've not started a war, you've started a crusade. All of Validor will ride to arms against Alaria. This was not our agreement."
A low, throaty snarl erupted from the largest of the Narii in Acheron's honor guard, and the gold-clad monster took a half-step toward Neros.
"You will watch your tongue in the presence of Lord Pain!" roared the beast in it's grating voice.
The steely hiss of a sword being drawn was the only warning of Neros' strike.
To be fair, the Nariin was neither slow nor stupid, and as the sword arced toward it's head, the creature raised its arm in a swift parry, its dirty, matted dreadlocks swaying with the speed of its movement. It was a perfect block, and so the shock on its ugly features was only natural as Neros' scalpel-sharp blade bit clean through its arm and left the gold-clad limb lying useless on the pristine marble floor. With another hiss of too-fast movement, the sword whipped across the Nariin's throat, and the beast fell to the stone in a welter of its own black blood.
"Brute," spat Neros as he contemptuously flicked the creature's blood from his blade.
"Best not to underestimate the speed of the Wind Deity," said Acheron dryly, his dark eyebrow cocked at the sight of his guardsmen bleeding out on his floor.
"If my city falls against the Validian armies, there will be hell to pay."
"Peace, Windrider, all will be well."
"It had better be," hissed Neros, and with a flurry of cloak and rush of wind, he was gone.
Acheron sat on his throne and mused at the patterns in the black Narii blood on the floor. "Wars require sacrifices..." he muttered to himself. "And, Neros... You've made yourself my next one..."

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