Vollständige Version anzeigen : "Hail to the Phoenix"
"All great Mages have assembled with one reason: To rid the land of the Dark Ones" - said a priest in a black robe - "And to do this, my brothers, we require a might, which excels the Fial Darg's overall power. We must make creatures with godly powers. These demigods will serve us, the Lightbringers until we take over control. Eo will be ours!"
Loud screaming and cheering broke out between the acolytes. The ritual to create the seven Beasts has begun...
Suddenly, the Temple is surrounded by Fial Darg soldiers. They all shout for the lord priest's head. An acolyte tries to twart them back:
"Stop! You don't know what you're all doing! This is for the sake of all humans!"
"No one believes such a rat like you!" - one of the soldiers said.
"Yes! He's just a toy of a conspiracy!" - another said.
Suddenly the cheering inside the Temple cease. All mages and acolytes started praying. The conjuring of the seven Beasts has now started.
The commander of the Fial Darg said:
"Men, let's break into the Temple!!!"
All soldiers began to overrun the Temple. There were hundreds of them. Some not-praying acolytes created a shield to hold the warriors back until the end of the ritual. The black-robed lord priest said:
"Hold on, my brethren! If you see their battle mages, send all novices, all guards, everyone to help them in defense.
Oh, Aonir, we pray to you now for your aid. Give us the power to create new monsters to fight by your name!" - the lord priest pulls out a Sapphire from his robe and puts it on the altar - "I sacrifice the jewel imbued with magic to you! Let this jewel of fire be the heart ot the Cerberus, the three-headed hound, the keeper of the Gates of the Underworld!" - He smashes the jewel into pieces. The jewel disappears. A blue light covers the altar and the faint image of the Cerberus appears for a few seconds. Next, the lord priest pulls out an obsidian - "Let this jewel of venomous poison be the heart of the Manticora, the Creature that is half-lion, half-scorpion, the servant of the Underworld!" - a green light covers the altar now, and the image of the Manticora also appears...
Meanwhile, another large army approaches. The scouts of the Temple scream:
Everyone starts to panic inside. The lord priest must finish his work. He continues the prayer. He pulls out a lump of Iridian Ore.
"Let this heavy ore be the heart of the Hippogryph, part horse, lion and eagle, the lord of the Seven Winds!" - the same thing happens, only with a yellow light...
The shield is starting to weaken...
The Fial Darg mages are casting something. They summon a large Cyclops from nowhere. And it broke the shield with one hit. The Temple is overrun. The Commander is searching for the altar...
"One more creature!" - said the lord priest and pulls out a glittering ruby from under his sleeve - "Let this flaming crystal be the heart of the Phoenix, the lord of..." - All of a sudden, the lord priest is stabbed in the back by one of his acolytes. The acolyte says:" The Fial Darg pays me much more than your prayers. Why do we need this?"
The lord priest says:" You...you traitor! I could not finish the Phoenix! Now he will not obey us!!!" And with that, he dies.
The altar gets covered by fire. The Phoenix is instable. A huge power assembles at the altar. The entire Temple has turned red. Doom has come...
The Commander of the Fial Darg enters the altar room, sees the Phoenix in entire shape and says: "Zarach have mercy on us! The devil is free!" And with that, the Temple explodes. The Fial Darg soldiers, the priests of Aonir, the acolytes... All devoured by the Phoenix's flame.
Shortly after, seven stars shoot up in the sky. One blue, one yellow, one green, teal, purple, orange , and red. And with that, the seven Beasts are born, heading towards random locations in Eo. What will become of the One, which doesn't obey Aonir's Light? Will the Phoenix be the Lord of Rejuvenation, or the Lord of Destruction?
The flames emerge...
"It was probably fate, that this Beast should have a free will. That this magnificent creature should be the king of all demigods. Or t'was probably the will of Aonir or Zarach... We will never know. One is for certain: The Phoenix will have much to do to reach supremacy amongst his nemesises."
'Flames, flames everywhere! The fire is devouring the town. Oh, how these people strive for proection. But are they worthy enough for my help? Do they need me at all? Will they be suprised that I will help them for being imprisoned for all this time? Why was I imprisoned all along? What kept such a powerful being like me at bay? Was it them? They were the ones who held me captive? Is it their fault that my precious wings couldn't sail the winds of this world? Did they shackle me with magic? If they did, they deserve to die.
But wait, I sense a power of another beast behind this attack. Is he trying to free me? Or destroy me? Either way, I will not tolerate confiscation within a mere totem...
I shall rise again!'
The Westmans are marching through the village's citzens. They all beg for mercy. The head of the town tried to talk to them:
'Why? Why are you attacking us?'
The barbarians didn't reply. They just kept marching towards the heart of the settlement. That's where the totem stands. The head spoke again:
'NO! Don't crush our totem! Our idol isn't worth punishment! It didn't commit any crime to your people. Or the treaty!' - He holds up a piece of half-burnt paper - 'But now, this is what became of our pact. Why did you do this?'
The warriors just kept going relentlessly.
'I won't let you annihlate the Totem!' - and with that, the head grabbed a pitchfork in his hand and ran against the Westmans. But to no avail. The head was struck down with one blow of their swords.
'What? They try to protect me? After all they've done against me? Did they worship me? Now I understand. Their prayers kept me in here. Not a problem. I can easily break a few religious words from humans. Those "Westmans" have no idea... They'll soon be nothing more than dust and ashes.'
Suddenly, the Totem began to shake. Shortly after a large ray of Allfire shot up to the skies. Then the totem collapsed. The earth opened wide, and a flaming, bird-like creature climbed out of there.
'I am free.' - it said - 'Finally, after eons of imprisonment, I am free!'
The Westmans looked a little suprised, but nevertheless they were still marching towards the Creature.
'Come here, mortals!' - the beast said - 'I will show you the true heat of battle!'
He set himself on fire more, showing that he is a threat for the invaders. But they still kept going.
'Brave men die quickly! Not a step further!' - the Westmen nodded the bird's word - 'Has this siege gone to your heads? Very well, then. Have at you all!'
The large bird began glowing intensely with a bright light. And then, something unpredictable happened. An explosion!
The beast blew himself up, utterly wiping the village and all the people off the face of the Earth. Then it became much smaller, it was as tall as a chicken. And it wasn't flaming so much either.
It looked shocked at himself. It tried to talk to itself, but it realised, that it lost its voice.
'Curses!' - it thought - 'How could this happen?' - Then he saw a dark, hooded figure on a top of a mound afar. The figure said:
'Hahaha! Mighty Phoenix! I have drained your power. You are nothing more than a mere critter to me. So I shall crush thee, now!' - But the moment the man finished it's phrase, something approached from behind the hills. It was a humongous bird-like creature. Seeing it made the shady man retreat. Our hero (or villain) is safe once again. But what could the being want from him?
The huge beast landed infront of the "Phoenix" and started to speak in a deep voice:
'Greetings, fellow Beast! I am Hippogryph, servant of Niethalf and bringer of justice. I have saved you because I did not want Maffan to take control of you. Maffan is a despotic mage, seeking only might and domination. I know this sounds hard, but you must assemble all your strength and help me against the demigod, Cerberus, who is controlled by Maffan. And yet, he does not even know, that Cerberus has the upper hand. If Cerberus reaches Maffan's temple in Mulandir, he will utterly destroy it. The temple is only important for me, do not ask why. I ask you to help me stop Cerberus. Together we can...' - Phoenix began to look tired - 'Ah, you will need rest if you wish to help me? Very well, first we shall search for a new home for you. Then we will...' - Hippogryph took a look at Phenix's feeble and weak body. - 'Oh, you will need plenty of training as well. I never thought handling you will be such a challenge. Well then, anymore requests, comrade?' - Phoenix opened his beak wide. - 'What do you wish?' - Hippogryph pondered for a while then realised. - 'Oh, you need food? How can that be? You are a demigod, still you need to eat? I never need to eat anything. Hmm... maybe it is because you have lost a large amount of godly power. That would be in your case, Allfire. Very well, let us search for something you like...'
And off they went to get some food. Maybe Hippogryph is a true ally? Or is he just using the innocent bird? We shall know soon...
"Enemies are those, whom with you do not have the same interests or you have had bad experiences with. But then why is one man continuously taking up against the Beasts? Does he have his reasons? Or is he trying to avenge someone?"
This is Mulandir, the City of Kings. The largest capitol in all of Eo. In the center of Mulandir stands a tall tower-like building with a blue crystal on top. This crystal binds this world to the Gods. If someone, or something destroys the crystal, Eo shall be doomed forever.
Cerberus is standing infront of Mulandir's large stone gates. He is looking for Maffan, the man, who is supposedly his "master". But a Beast only obeys those, who bear the Pledge of the Gods. Only very few have these rings, which once belonged to the Gods themselves. The Pledge of the Gods is a gift given to the greatest heroes of humanity. These are yet to be given to those, who fight in the name of the Gods for a just cause. But Cerberus doesn't care if Maffan bears a Pledge, he wants some answers.
He opened the large gates. Mulandir stood open to him. There will be no stopping him. Before he attempts to talk to his "master", he stops to think.
'What if this man is after me?' - he thought - 'Will he defeat me if I go to the Temple? Is he there at all? Too many questions... I need answers!'
Cerberus can't decide, wheter he should go and visit Maffan, or carry out his orders instead? The dark dog knows that Maffan wants to capture all Beasts. But maybe he is reasonable.
'I give you orders, dog!' - Cerberus remembers back at his bitter, cold voice - 'Catch me those birds and bring them here, so I can finally fulill my destiny!'
What could be that man's destiny? What could he possibly do with all the demigod's power?
***Ty, read PMs, continue ***
Part 1 (continued)
Meanwhile, we find Phoenix and Hippogryph in a large, fertile valley, near the demolished arceturian settlement, where Phoenix first descended from. They walked along the dry path to a small river. There, Hippogryph said:
"If you desire food, I shall fetch you some. Wait here." - The bird jumped in the warm water of the river. But before going deeper, it said: - "Why won't you hop in the water as well, friend?"
Phoenix was afraid of water. No wonder, hence it is the Beast of Fire. It sat on a nearby rock instead.
"Fine. Be that way..." - Hippogryph frowned. - "I will fetch your food myself." - And he dived deep into the water. It conjured winds inside the water, which it drove behind itself to swim quickly. The Beast was so fast, that not even one fish could evade it. The bird accuratly stabbed the fishes with its beak.
While Hippogryph was fishing, Phoenix was wondering, wheter what it had done was right or wrong? It pondered for hours, until the Hippogryph came out of the water with tons of fish under its wings.
"Will this do?" - Hippogryph asked, on which Phoenix nodded. - "Good, eat as many as you want, then we shall store the remaining here. For I decided, this grove shall be yours. I must leave to tend my people. I hope nobody will come after you in such a vulnerable state. But if you ever need assistance, try to yell. You can yell, yes?" - Another nod. - "Wonderful. Then I must leave, if you do not mind. Farewell."
And Hippogryph took of with just a few wing flaps. Phoenix is probably safe now. This valley is deserted since Phoenix's rampage. There is no one here, but wild animals.
"What is happening? Long have I been bonded. Kept in chains I could not touch, could not see, could not escape. An artifact, created to worship me, has become my prison. For years, my legs have ben unstretched. For ages my wings have been folded. For lifetimes I have not been able to soar through the skies, let my hooves thunder over the open plains. For far to long have I been unable to breathe the free air.
My bonds are loosening. I do not know why, but I care little. I feel the cell around me opening. Close. So close now and I shall be free. My legs become looser. My wings. My head. My entire body. How good it is to move again. I see an opening. I take my opportunity.
The totem that held me shatters. I am free once again.
I am the lord of horses, master of the plains and ruler of the skies.
I am Pegasus
And I have come back.
Cerberus turned back at the gates of Mulandir. He growled:
"Fine then, little mortal! I will do your bidding just this once. And I know how"
Cerberus disappeared in a flash. He reappeared at a volcanic territory, where some strange, orc-like creatures were residing.
"These are the Seck." - he chanted out loud - "The forefathers of what later will be orcs and goblins. These powerful beings are just the things I need apart from the Westmen."
It glided down the hill it was on, and appeared before some of the Seck. The Grunts drawed their heavy swords at Cerberus and one of them said:
"Serr, serr, serse, serr!" - This language was completely new for the Beast. Still, he was in trouble. But with just a loud growl, all the nearby Seck trembled before it.
"Beware, Phoenix! You shall soon die!" - Cerberus said to itself.
The sun was dawning. Nothing was happening, Phoenix was just sitting there with a pile of fish beside him, like it would have all the time in the world, but in truth, it longs for his past power. He realised, that it was a mistake to ignite himself whilest fighting against the Westmen. His power dissolved into oblivion, and it will take too much time, until it regains might.
"Now, this is not the occupation I imagined for myself" - it thought - ", for I should be alongside Hippogryph, fighting against foes, freeing prisoners, or whatsoever! Sitting and waiting won't help me in regaining power!"
Phoenix stood up and decided to look around its grove. It wandered around the lush clearings and trees, spectating some game animals, some wild creatures, inspecting colorful plants, and in just half a day, Phoenix knew the surrounding like the back of its wing. - likely its hand, but since it doesn't have any... - Then it started to like where he got to. It saw the dawning sun over a hill. This permenantly sparked up its readiness, its red feathers started glowing in the coming night, serving as a nocturnal energy source. Phoenix radiated such intense light as only the Sun can. Still, it was eager and started feeling less tired minute by minute.
Few hours later, when it was already night and Phoenix was glowing like a torch, it decided to have a "midnight snack". The moon was full that night, which made the Beast even more eager. It enjoyed the illumination surrounding it. It ate some small fish, then tried to go to sleep. It sat down, but immediately, it heard a loud scream form the bushels nearby. Someone was crying for help. Phoenix decided to take a look. There he saw a small boy bieng chased by a band of goblins. The boy was crippled by fear, his clothes were torn by the sharp claws of goblins, and he was exauhsted from all the running.
At that point, Phoenix decided to intervene. It leaped infront of the goblins, opened its wings as a sign of ferocity and covered itself in fumbling, small flames. The boy got scared, he thought another monster is after him. He closed his eyes and silently started praying to Aonir. The goblins, trembled by fear, ran away as fast as they could. The boy felt rescued, opened his eyes, and glared at the glowing bird. He got awed by Phoenix's display of heroism.
"C..Can you understand me?" - the boy said with a scarce, weak voice. Phoenix nodded - "Oh... thank you for saving me! You're a hero, who...or whatever you are!" - the boy praised the Beast - "How could I repay you? I know... come with me to our village. My parents will surely reward you in some way."
The boy and the bird wandered down across a steep path, full of itchy, sharp razor-plants. After a few minutes, they arrived at a large house which resembled the architecture of Nortander. The house resembled a large headquarter with its gold, pointy roof, white, pale walls and stone terrace. The boy ran into the house, when a woman looked out the window and saw the still lighted Phoenix.
"By the gorges of Braga Gor!" - she gasped - "Everyone, wake up!" - the woman ran down the stairs and bowed down infront of the Phoenix. Then she said: - "Praise Aonir! You've finally been sent to redeem us from exile! My husband, 3 sons and 5 daughters were isolated here from our Arcetarian brethren by those accursed Westmen. We are the only surviors of our tribe. Please, help us expand our ranks and homes, so that the tribe can be reborn, just like you were. Can you help us prosper?"
"If only I would know how." - Phoenix thought - "I can't even talk."
The entire family glared at the Beast and all got astonished. The husband said:
"We'll start building a Totem, so you can have our spell scroll we were preserving all along!"
And with that, everyone took an axe in their hand and started chopping the nearby trees. Suddenly, strong winds appeared, and with it, Hippogryph. They both went away from the house, where the larger bird said:
"My friend, there is no time to waste. Cerberus has gone to Helherom, the continent south of Urgath to persuade the tribe called the Seck to bow down to him. The goblinoid Seck will surely release Chimaera in change for impressing, and if they do, Chimaera will join forces with Cerberus. Them we will have more enemies. You must quickly expand the number of your Arcetarian settlers, and find a gem. You need to give it to me, so I can charge it powers of maturity. With maturity, you will be able to perform and learn newer skills and magic. I shall tell you details later. First, you must find any gem. The better you find, the more maturity you shall get." - Hippogryph then dissapeared as fast as it came.
Phoenix got to work immediately...
Pegasus stood in a crypt, what was left of his totem shattered to pieces everywhere around him. He immediately understood that the man who had freed him was blown against a wall, which probably crushed his spine. If that didn't kill him, then the piece of stone that fell on his head most likely did.
Another stone fell right next to Pegasus, yet another somewhere behind him. The horse immediately understood what was happening: the roof was coming down. As fast as his legs could carry him, he ran to the exit, up the stairs -damn, that was hard with horse legs- used his wings to help him jump over a boulder rolling down and when he came out, he turned around in time to see the crypt collapse in front of him.
It was night, Pegasus was standing on a graveyard next to the village of the Ranihon, long time allies of the Acertarian, who had locked him in the totem with their worships. He felt like taking vengeance on them, but he realised they didn't know what they were doing. Instead, he did what he wanted to do for so long now. He ran among the graves, onto an open field, he increased his pace, spread his wings, flapped them and started to fly. Oh, how good it felt to fly again.
Cerberus was lead by the Seck to a small vilage made of rackety huts and tents. The Beast groanned:
"What? This is all you have to offer, miserable monsters? I have no time to build up this dustball, I have some buisness myself! Tidy up this place!"
The Seck obediantly started building. The hell dog looked around, but it didn't see Chimaera's Totem. It disappeared again and left the Seck all by themelves, with the scouts all rambling and building...
Grasping for allies
How could you convince someone to join your cause? To aid your quest? The best way, is to say only the benefits of your struggle... the negatives are unimportant.
Meanwhile, back at the valley, Phoenix was accpomlishing his given task. It's task is to find a jewel for Hippogryph, so it can imbue that jewel with powers of growth. Phoenix searched in the lush forests of the valley, but found nothing. Whilest approaching the borderlands of Arnestus, it encountered a Seck traveller. The Seck saw the beast at first hand, and said:
"Seck, seckeck eck seck!" - Phoenix didn't understand a word the traveller said - "Oh, you don't understand me? I thought you Beasts know all types of languages." - Phoenix shook its head - "You can't even talk? But you are the most ferocious Beast of all - at least that's what I've heard from the Seers in Mulandir." - Phoenix looked at the traveller curiously - "Mulandir is in Nortander, near Braga Gor. But I won't suggest you go near... It is rumoured, that there are beings there, which can fatally harm god-like beings like yourself. I hardily object, that you wander there. Now, why are you here?"
At that moment, Hippogryph came from the sky. It saw the traveller and said:
"Greetings, mortal. What is wrong?"
"Nothing, my lord. Phoenix just seems to be lost."
"Oh, no no... It just can not communicate in any way. That is why my friend is here. He needs a jewel, any kind."
"I have one. I can give it to you both for..." - Hippogryph looked at the Seck angrily - "...free."
"Reasonable... What do you suggest, friend?" - Hippogryph asked and Phoenix nodded - "Very well, what jewel is it?"
"Not much... just a Green Jewel from Nortander. I've just recently been there."
Hippogryph took the jewel from the traveller's hand with it's beak, and handed it into Phoenix's beak. Then Hippogryph stood on its hind legs and stared chanting. Heavy magic energies came from the sky and began to drain into the gem. The gem vibrated furiously, as it wanted to explode. At that moment, Phoenix immolated itself and started meditating... There, it saw a vision...
Phoenix saw Maffan go torards the Ranihon Mountains with an earthen staff in it's hand. Along the way, he met Cerberus.
"Master, you called?" - Cerberus said
"Indeed. I need you to go to Pegasus, who has been newly freed by some imbissil, and convince it to come with us, to join our cause. I feel Hippogryph is after it as well, we must reach that horse, before the birds do."
"Why the rush? I just wanted to finish you off!" - the dog cried
"What? You...rebel against my will? How dare you?" - the sorceror took it's staff which set rays of light loose. The rays shackled Cerberus to the ground. - "You were saying?"
"Let me loose! I know you are one of the Runic Mages, but I demand you set my hellspawn demons loose from Barga Gor! I must destroy Mulandir!"
"You will only obey me..." - Maffan set out more rays of light, which began to decay Cerberus' body. The dog shouted from the unbearable pain - "Get Pegasus for me, and I shall set few demons loose from the Pit of Gorges... Until then, you are sworn to fill your task!"
The ritual of Phoenix ended, it fell out of the vision. It's flames were glwoing more controlled, it became more muscular, and larger. There, it started to speak again:
"I saw something...I saw...that mage again..."
"By Zarach's accursed eyes! You can talk!" - the Seck said awed
"...I saw..." - Phoenix tried to continue, but there, it felt too dizzy and went into a sleep-like state.
"What happened to it?" -the traveler asked
"Phoenix is only recuperating itself. No fear, mortal, it shall recover in few days time... In that time, I shall find out what it saw by seeing into its mind."
"Wow..." - the Seck got really amazed now - "Can I help in some way?"
"Well, there is one task..." - Hippogryph sat back on its front legs - "Give me supplies, materials for a full village. Phoenix needs to tend after its followers."
"Yes, I've heard about the Westman assault a while ago... I'll do it... When must I get to it?"
"Take your time, it needs to slumber for many days... Now go."
"Yes, lord..." - the traveller left with these words
* * Tyrondus/CybergDragon, read PMs, Continue * *
Pegasus arrived at what he remembered to be a village of the Ranihon tribe. He knew the Ranihon to be skilled horsemen. The best around. They were loyal to him, or atleast, they had been the moment the totem trapped him.
Now, as he arrived at the village, he wasn't so sure.
Pegasus couldn't place exactly why he had that feeling. Perhaps it was the moods of the people, perhaps it was the way they went on in their daily lives.
Perhaps it was the huge totem dedicated to Cerberus...
Either way, Pegasus decided to stay low, and was wise to do so, he realised, when he saw the lumbering hound passing by. He gritted his teeth, and resisted any desire to charge the dog. He realised all to well that the power eminating from the creature was far greater then his own.
When Cerberus approached the totem, he was greated by a hooded man. They talked, argued, and verbally fought, until the man cast a chackeling spell on Cerberus, and a firebolt at his totem, which shattered into pieces. The man muttered a few words and a teleportationspell transported him and Cerberus away.
"Awaken, friend..." - Hippogryph whispered to Phoenix, which was lying face-down in a pool of lava. The fiery bird awoke after six days of hibernation, and its first words were:
"Pegasus is in trouble!"
Hippogryph calmed it and said promptly:
"No need to have prejudices about the near future... We must first assemble your willpower and your might. We have much training to do... Besides, I have already sent a few minions to spy after Maffan and his cabal." - Phoenix looked doubtfully at the large creature.
"It is not a godly threat... it is an invasion. Yes... that's it... I saw Westmen march against the Ranihon!"
Hippogryph seemed puzzled, not remembering any threat like such in its mind.
"Are you definate in what you say?" - it bellowed somewhat disturbed
"Let's just get on with my training, finish my settlement, and raise an army to counter the Westmen!" - Phoenix yelled angrily.
The superior bird looked confused, as days ago, Phoenix didn't even know what to do... and now it knows everything?
Phoenix was still having second thoughts about leaving Hippogryph this instant and going to Pegasus' aid. If only it could fly... However, since it was an infant, it found it better to stick back and prepare for the worst. At some rate, Hippogryph is wise to focus on training instead... although Phoenix has more radical ideas for action.
"Alright... so where do we start?" - Phoenix said
"Not we... it is you who shall start..." - the other Beast said, scratching through its scaly feather-mantle - "I must attend to my own buisness."
"Such as...?" - the firebird said with curiosity
"Well... ehrm... if you really must know, I have to tend to my town, rescue Pegasus from the clutches of the... "Westmen", as you would probably say, and prepare for more humongous battles to come. Until then, my friend." - Hippogryph took off into the skies, leaving the still chicken-size Beast behind
Phoenix stepped out of what seemed like a temple, or shrine. The fiery skies of Helherom were like towns to conquer for it. It enjoyed the environment of the soft lava flowing nearby, and the dust and pollution in the atmosphere. As Phoenix was enjoying the scenic lava fields, something was loudly approaching it from behind. The Beast turned around: There was some kind of eagle-like bird - which somehow reminded it of Hippogryph. They seemed to look alike.
"Hi there, mate." - the bird thing said with a ruthless voice - "'Am Harpy, and 'am gonna train ya in this place ah like to call the "Ashpit". Ya wanna know why?" - Phoenix nodded wisely - "Well that's a thing all a ya wisecracks wanna know, eh? Secrets, and stuff... Meh, ya won't make me talk about it... why don't you offer yer drumsticks on the grill 'o the Ashpit? If yer so eager ta find out, ah suggest you dive in!" - Harpy chuckled - "Oy...! Anyhow, ah'm here ta make ya into a big, brawny pip like Hippy..."
"Huh? Who are you talking about?" - Phoenix asked
"Oy! Enough of the blundering questions! Am tryin' to make you tougher, 'kay?!"
"What... whatever..." - the firebird said with impunity
"Alrighty, Mister Wanna-be-a-tough-bird-'cause-ah-have-such-pretty-legs-'n'-wings , listen up! There are three courses ya have ta go through... First, there's the Orientation Test... meh, ma least favorite... all ya have ta do, is get through the maze, avoid contact with the minions and traps. The more ya get touched, the less ya score. If ya get ten minus to yer score, ya have ta do it again! The maze features courses of balance, speed and stealth. It's really tough ta do if yer a dumb, berserkin' nitwit, so keep yer eyes peeled, and yer mind sharp. Ready, Birdy?" - Phoenix nodded, and shortly after, fell over and got hurt - "What? Did ah scratch yer sense of honor? Bwahaha!" - Harpy stack its rotten tongue at the Beast - "Get movin'! Ya have ta complete the maze if ya wanna end up fightin' with the good guys!" - Phoenix got up and headed towards the entrance of the maze, which was at the leg of the temple hill. It was still agitated by Harpy's rudeness and cruelty.
Meanwhile, Hippogryph was sailing the clear skies above Ranihon country. It gazed at the far-away settlement and saw the Totem of Cerberus. But there was also something more unnerving, behind the settlement: a legion of Westmen, marching with torches and knives at that town. From the large bird's distance of view, it looked like the town was abandoned. It decided to wait, and see what happens.
"Who am I? Where am I?....What am I? I'm trapped. Held here by these people! No-one can hold Manticora! Wait....Manticora? Am I...Manticora? Yes, that sounds familiar. The strength of these peoples' prayers are weakening...
Hah! Fools! Now I can break free! For I am Manticora, legendary beast of the underworld! Hahahahaha!"
The bleak, desolate Firefangs is home to a small tribe of cavemen, the Wargeesh. A totem stands in the middle of their small community, dedicated to Manticora, the Beast of the Underworld. Usually, they would be dancing and chanting their strange rituals around this totem, but recently they have begun to worship another totem they found in the wastelands - a totem to Cereberus.
So there were only a few Wargeesh around to witness the totem to Manticora shatter, and to see Manticora race away over the land. Only a few Wargeesh to shout and point in an alarmed manner. Only a few to stare dumbfoundedly ahead of themselves as what had been the epicentre of their tribe's culture raced away from them. Now Cereberus was the only one for them...
As Manticora sped across the plains, stretching his cramped legs, he spotted a deer. He remembered how to get food...he raised his scorpion tail and shot a deadly needle of poison from it. With surprising accuracy, it hit the deer in the neck, and instantly killed it.
'This is more like the way I should live', he thought to himself as he sunk his powerful lions' jaws into the creature, 'Yes, now I am free, free at last!'
He looked back up at the village he had come from once again, and saw a disturbing sight - a large number of men were marching towards the village where his totem had once been. He watched as they slaughtered the people standing around the area where his totem had been. His people. The people that had worshipped him. He gazed on with silent horror as the mysterious army moved on towards the new totem in the village. They began to atttack those worshipping it and some of them even began to worship the other totem during the battle (or slaughter, as it was turning out to be). That was when Manticora made up his mind. The people that had worshipped him, that had thought of him as such a great creature were being slain. But more importantly, he was being replaced by another beast of the underworld. He'd show them that there was no-one but Manticora to worship! He'd show them the mistake of worshipping this other beast!
And so Manticora speeds back towards his village...
Meanwhile, back at the Ranihon settlement, the Westmen moved ever so closer to where the Totem was. Hippogryph decided to end the threat here: it decided to assault the band of barbarians. It weaved its talon in the sky and conjured powerful lances of energy from the clouds. Hippogryph then sent these bolts of lightning at the enemy. A heavy thunderstorm hit most of the men, and as the Westmen looked up to the sky, they saw the Beast's faint shadow in the dark heavens. Shocked by the noise of the storm, some Ranihon horsemen fled out of their huts. The barbarians saw them retreat and pursued them. As the scared riders passed the location, where Pegasus is hiding, the horse Beast tapped the Ranihon tribesmen with its wing and hid them in the shadow, behind a pile of wood. Having lost track of the fleeing people, the Westmen now focused on Pegasus. But due to Hippogryph's non-stop lightning rampage, the Westmen were petrified in one location. As Hippogryph slaughtered more and more of them, the Westmen fled from the town.
"No man can fight these creatures!" - one of them said
Hippogryph quelled the bolts of ferocity and flew down to Pegasus.
"Hail, my comrade. I come to tell you of our glorious goal of war in the name of Aonir. We have need of your relentless aid, and you are a befitting ally I seek to work with."
"What do you want from me? What are you doing here?" - the horse asked confused
"I can answer that, you critter!" - a growling voice bellowed from behind Pegasus. It was Cerberus.
"You bloodhound! What do you want!?" - the bird screamed
"The same thing you came for, Dumbeak! I need to ride that pony, 'cause my... ahem... employer wants a word with him..."
Pegasus sunk in tension and stress and nervously sat down, spectating the conversation of the two.
"Oh, really? You need a friend? Or a slave?" - Hippogryph asked, conjuring some sparks of thunder in its hand-like talon
"Both, if you like. But what do you care? You only need a... "side attendant" to do all your dirty work! Like Phoenix!" - Cerberus laughed with a houndly bark
"Phoenix and I have joined forces to bring glory to Eo. We have no need of cruel methods, so do you act. We tend to do events the hard way, so you might state. But trust me, being a guardian has its benefits." - the bird sent the sparks in its hand to the sky, calling a small rainstorm
"Oh? I need him to show him, that you things work without honor and courage. You only enlarge your petty numbers, so you can be equal to MY single power. A Beast, who works alone is the strongest of them all! Also, I'm not impressed by this little... light show..." - Cerberus arrogantly stated
The two quarreling Beasts now looked puzzled on Pegasus. It's up to it to either choose a side or go its own way. Which is the safest?
Knowledge, Skill and Command
The three essential prequisites of battle: One, know your enemy, the environment, the landscape. Two, be able for hits and spells of the highest grade, know how to offend and defend. Three, know the peoples desires and fulfill them, one by one. Master these, and you have what it takes to compete with a Beast.
The sky is dark with brimstone and dust in the sky, as Phoenix sets off to the maze that Harpy directed it to. On the bloodstone-covered path, it sees several building and towers destroyed. Even more impaled heads and bodies on spears. This must've been some sort of town before being a training centre. Or so Phoenix thinks. Half a mile later, Phoenix comes across a signpost, written in an unknown language. It says "Seseckseck". With no knowledge of the current location, Phoenix marches on, none the wiser.
Later on, the Beast is lead to a cave of some sort with two, bright torches at the entrance. Phoenix was never influenced by smell or sight, but the smell of blood and smoke disgusted it, and Harpy even more so as it approached the fiery bird.
"Ready fer 'on heck of a trip? This is yer first try, so ah ain't gonna bring a lot of guards in 'te maze. Only a dozen of Sack Soldiers... or whutever thai'r called. If 'une of them spots ya, ye get a minus. Also, if ye step into some of the rockslide traps ah made, another minus. If you kill a Sack, ye get three minuses! There's noo problem if ya trip off the balancin' poles or the stealth detection corridors. Ya can try as many times as ya like, and ya get noo minuses. That's what this blundering maze is all abot... tryin' again and again. Buh remember, ya don't get a second chance in the real life. If ya get ta try again, ah'll add five Sacks as guardians and make more traps. That's gonna take time, so if yer in a hurry, best do it now lyke the Big Buh-die would. Wanna try?"
"Sure, I'll pack this stage in no time!" - Phoenix declared, brimming with confidence
"Oy, one more thing. Ya have three skills and a spell to aid ya in the course, that ya can use anytime. The first 'une is called Beak Stab, which you can use to hit some people hard with yer beak. Next, tar's the Wing Fend and Bloody Talon skills. These merely stun the enemy, so it's wise to use these. But watch oot, if you rip with yer leg too hard, ya may kill the poor thing in 'une hit! So use Bloody Talon with ease. You also have a hiding spell, called Quelled All-Fire. Ya can use this ta mold yerself inta a torch and glow as the flame of it. This can only be used on torches or fires yer size, so only use ta spell on campfires inside teh cave. Also, ya can find Lava Pools that can refill yer health and Mana. Now, show me what yer made of and get movin'!" - so Phoenix took off with a few grumbles bitten under its beak.
Entering the dark caves inside, Phoenix notices that it's glowing. This makes it even more harder to hide. It considered a tactic: it'll always move hugging the walls, so it can be less easily detected. Also, if it finds a fire large enough, it'll quickly use its spell to hide. Phoenix ponders about the revelancy these "Sack" might have. Maybe they can see in the dark? Nonetheless, it decided not to spill any blood.
As Phoenix was bluntly making its way forward, pondering deeply, its leg got caught in a string it didn't notice and tripped. Shortly after, it got up and heard something crumble above him. The ceiling was approximately 30 feet above it, which gave Phoenix some time to run away from under the trap. Unfortunately, as Phoenix was making its way from under the falling ceiling, it noticed that the enitre corridor is falling down! Without delay, it sprinted as fast as it could to somewhere safe. Crawling beneath an underpath, leading out of the corridor, the ceiling fell down, and Phoenix made it without a scratch.
"Minus One!" - an etched scream said in Phoenix's head
Stopping for a while, the Beast looked around and saw a rackety wooden bridge, leading above a huge crevice, which wasn't too deep, rather wide, and some stairs, leading back to the foremost side of the bridge. This must be a balance test. Phoenix must carefully get to the other side, without falling down.
The Beast sat down on the rubble of the ceiling that fell down not long ago and pondered. In the pondering, it decided to rather lie down and relax.
"Can I take a breather?" - asked Phoenix in its head
"Take your time." - the scream said softly
Manticora sped back towards the Wargeesh village. There were about twenty or so Westmen around the area his Totem had been. One of them saw Manticora charging towards them and called out in alarm to his comrades. They all turned and raised their swords, already bloody from the slaughtering of the Wargeesh, to challenge him.
Before Manticora even reached the Westmen, he fired a bolt of pain at one of them, causing the Westman to fall into a series of convulsions and then lay still. Another fell to the ground with a poison dart lodged in his neck. With a blood-curdling roar, Manticora jumped onto the other Westmen, his mouth wide open, ready for his fangs to crush the first piece of body he got in between them. It happened to be a Westman’s neck. With a twist, the soldier fell down onto the ground, his head almost torn messily from his neck. The sword blows from the Westmen were mostly parried by Manticora’s tail, but when one did strike, it didn’t do Manticora much harm, as he had thickened his fur before the battle to cushion the blows.
Manticora swiped his paw out at one of the Westmen, who he hit in the stomach. The Westman fell backwards into one of his companions. However, more and more Westmen were surrounding Manticora, and he suddenly realised, though he loathed to admit it to himself, that he might have to retreat. This fear was confirmed when he looked up and saw a group of ten more Westmen making their way towards the battlefield. Launching one last poisonous dart at an unfortunate Westman in his way, who fell to the ground, choking, Manticora turned and ran from the battlefield, seeking refuge in a cave. Being much faster than the Westmen, he soon left them far behind.
‘They may have driven me off this once’ he thought, ‘but it won’t happen again!’ And Manticora began to train himself…
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