This is my pride and joy! I wrote this last year for school, and it was incredibly fun. I was a decent writer at the time, and had always wanted to write a short story. I didn't how well I would do, but that's for you to decide. Probably should edit it more, but I'll post it now for the general story.
Posted by timmy1308 on Sep 19th, 2011
Of Dungeons, Dragons, and Dreams
Tordelmos Stormlord came out of the woods with a slight grin on his face. The reason for this rare facial expression was a glorious sight, which in his eyes was unconmparable to anything. This feast for his eyes was the mountain Ynaleeldu, home of the dragon Achsayath. This was the high point of all his work. His sweat and blood had been poured into finding the four keys that would give him access to the mountain, and eventually, Achsayath. Tordelmos has been seeking out the great dragon in order to sake shis thirst for revenge ever sinceAchsayath the Dragon had completely annihilated Tordelmos’ home and family. As he was glancing around, the rest of his party stepped out of the forest as well. The powerful and mysterious Sorithravel Waverider is half Zephyrian, half human, and a superb magician and warrior. Sorithravel Waverider’s mother was a Zephyrian, part of a race of people who lived under the sea in a massive city, full of splendor and riches. She was trained in all the martial arts, well, all those that can be learnt underwater. Sorithravel’s father was a man, a travelling man, looking for the better things in life. Although this included many seedy taverns, he was looking more specifically for new places and people. Thus, he was immensely pleased when he found the Zephyrians, and eventually, married Sorithravel’s mother. Sorithravel grew up as any other Zephyrian would, occasionally visiting her father in the special air filled habitat that had been built for him. Her father trained her in all the weapons of the humans, including the spear, sword, and bow. He also taught her the history and traditions of the surface world. However, this was not something that Sorithravel’s mother particularly approved of. She and her father were cast out of the sea, and back onto dry land. Sorithravel was familiar with such concepts as walking and gravity from working with her father, and he still served as a guide to her as they made their way inland. Sadly he died in a few months because his lungs were so accustomed to the special air the Zepyrians had made, that he couldn’t properly breathe fresh air again. Her spear, Verrdeylu (which translates as “Bringer of Death to Ice Trolls”) has won many fights without even bloodying its blade. Sorithravel also has a degree of control over water, due to her Zephyrian heritage, as well as the ability to use several other types of spells. One of her strongest characteristics is her ability to survive in both land and sea. Her smooth body allows for quick movement, and her gills and fins let her move proficiently in and around the sea. She met with Tordelmos after having lived on her own for several years. By this time, she had completed several quests of her own. Following closely behind Sorithravel came Brutus Earthshaker, a powerful behemoth of a man who left his desert home to join Tordelmos. Brutus Earthshaker was a great man among his people, who lived in the vast deserts of Sagradun. His family was travelling almost all the time, sohey had many pack animals, and Brutus’ father was glad to hand the reigns to Brutus when he came of age. However, as the years progressed, more and more of the animals died, and more and more of the luggage was being put on Brutus’ back. He grew into a massive hulk of a man, and killed many beasts with his own strength, but he also used homemade halberds, spears, and clubs. One day, he and his family happened on a train of merchants who had met a hapless fate at the hands of the desert winds. Within the remains, he found a ball and chain, which he trained with until he had mastered it, and it soon became his favorite weapon. As the ball and chain began to rust, he experimented with more rope and rock combinations. He was constantly creating a new weapon, until he was found by Tordelmos, at which point, he was able to “borrow” a masterfully crafted ball and chain from a respected blacksmith. His great strength was greatly appreciated by Tordelmos and proved life saving on more than one occasion in their long journey. He is donned in the skin of a giant chimera, which was killed by his hands, and he is indeed a fearsome sight to behold. Following behind those two came the royal Asako Fireblaze, Princess of Fireshallow City. Asako Fireblaze was a powerful princess who was anything but spoiled. Her manners were exquisite, her attitude was magnificent, and her appearance was beautiful, that is, when she wasn’t angry. She is calm and controlled, most of the time, and in this temperament, she is like the tiger that quietly stalks its prey. However, when angered, her fiery nature rears its ugly head. Then, nothing can stop her as she enters a fierce rage which will burn anything, or anyone around her. However, this didn’t stop her from being nigh perfect. In fact, it helped in her physical and martial training, which was given from some of the best teachers, including Tordelmos. She received education in all manner of skills, including reading and writing, as well as fighting with swords, spears, and several eastern weapons. However, her greatest achievement was creating the first gunpowder projectile weapon. She used this in many of her fiercest battles, and has defeated many foes with her weapon, the Ignisho. When Tordelmos asked to bring her on his journey, she gladly accepted, excited to take part in a quest for treasure and blood. As the three heroes came up, they too stared in awe at the mountain, and all felt relief that their journey was finally coming to a close. The silence was broken when Brutus spoke, “Well, that sure is a real big mountain, don’t you think guys? I say we just charge straight in!” “Not so fast Brutus” replied Sorithravel in her usually calm demeanor, “We have to be careful before just rushing in. If this is indeed our last obstacle, then the enemies will be even harder to defeat.” “But, we have all four keys, right?” Asako asked. Then Tordelmos stepped up to the edge of the woods, which happened to be the edge of the cliff as well, and spoke, saying, “I believe Sorithravel is right. As much as I want to simply rush in, we need to coordinate our attack. However, I think the first thing we need is a hot meal and some sleep; it’s been a long road and we all deserve some rest.” At that last comment, the others happily nodded their agreement and set up camp. Tordelmos is a young, farmer’s son, blessed with great power. His power happened to be mastery of the winds, and of lightning. He lived a happy life, using his power of wind to help with farming throughout the village, until this village was burned by the rampaging dragon Achsayath. Only he and a few friends escaped alive, and those others fell prey to vicious creatures on the road. After many days without food and water, he dragged himself into the city of Fireshallow, where he was adopted by a family of sword smiths. This was the town that Asako was growing up in at the time, and Tordelmos often looked up at the palace in awe. Tordelmos learned the crafting arts from his foster father, and used his power of wind to keep the forge pumping as he created many powerful and epic weapons. He also learned to fight from his foster father, who was a well established swordsman. As time progressed, Tordelmos became one of the most respected and strongest men in the city, but he was very antisocial and grim, as he retained the painful memories of fire and death that came from his village. He was the one picked to train Asako in the way of the sword. Eventually, their relationship grew from master and student, to brother and sister, and she was one of the few people who could converse with him freely. Tordelmos continued to craft great weapons, and eventually decided to make the strongest weapon he could, in preparation for his eventual battle with Achsayath. The sword took many months to craft, and was made of some of the best materials available. He spent most of his savings to buy Mithral from the miners of Marduth, Adamantine from the dark warriors of Oraknall, and diamond ointment from various travelling merchants. The main blade, which was about a foot wide and five feet long, was formed of Mithral, and intricate designs were traced throughout the blade with the black Adamantine. The entire sword was coated in diamond, giving it an impenetrable finish. The handle was formed out of Darksteel, and wrapped in Orlaphent Leather. The Pommel was set with a graphite stone, which helped to focus his power over lightning, and allowed him to imbue the sword with it. It was only after crafting his sword that he deemed it time for him to leave for Ynaleeldu.Later that night, as the others were sleeping, Tordelmos got up and walked over to the edge of the cliff. As he surveyed the mountain, he saw it was comprised of four parts. At the base of the mountain lay a great sea, and he could have sworn he saw ripples coming from it. All around the sea was a wall which looked unimpressive, but was no doubt covered in magical barriers. The only clear way to access the sea, was a massive gate made completely out of pearl. In the middle of the gate was a cleft which was probably the keyhole. As his eyes moved up, he saw the mountain itself, which certainly held countless monsters in its stony keep. The top of the mountain was continually spewing fire, and was surrounded by jagged rocks. As his gaze shifted even more, he saw, above the mountain, what appeared to be a floating battleground. He couldn’t quite see all of it, but he did notice is that it appeared to be on top of a cloud. The fortress would be no easy obstacle to overcome, and they would surely need to use all of their skills in order to overcome it. The next morning, the four heroes arose, refreshed, and ready for battle. They began to make their way down the cliff, but immediately saw that there was no way they could simply walk down. At this revelation, Tordelmos turned to Brutus and said, “Brutus, toss me the pouch.” The “pouch” that Tordelmos was speaking about was a small bag. However, this was no ordinary bag: it was “The Infinity Pouch”, a staple for all adventurers. The bag was constructed and enchanted in so much that anything that went into the bag entered an entirely different dimension, allowing for an almost infinite amount of items, weapons, and armor to be stored in it. All the special items and mechanisms that our adventurers had acquired on their journey were stored in here. As Tordelmos scoured the pouch for something that would be of assistance, he found the Onayrwings. These mechanical devices were found in the Screaming Caverns of Ashel'dun, and were designed to give the user short bursts of flight. With these, the warriors glided across the cliff, and landed behind a hill at the edge of a large field. The gate was farther away than it had seemed. Between the heroes and the sea, was about a mile of land, as well as several hundred monsters. Fortunately, the monsters hadn’t noticed them just yet, so the party had some time to prepare. They put away the Onayrwings, drew their weapons, and prepared for battle. These were going to be fairly easy opponents, so the warriors took up their usual positions. Asako got on top of the hill, Sorithravel prepared her spells, and Tordelmos and Brutus got ready to charge in. When they were all ready, Asako let fly her bullet with a sharp crack that resounded throughout the field, and alerted the monsters of their presence. With a fierce battle-cry, Brutus, Tordelmos, and Sorithravel charged the monsters. Tordelmos ran straight forward, and Brutus and Sorithravel went left and right respectively. Tordelmos charged straight and slashed through the first enemy, a common goblin, sending spurts of black blood across the field. But the thing about goblins is that for every one, there are two more. To his pleasure, this was still the case. He slit open the chest of one goblin, and, following the momentum of the swing, spun around and slashed another across the gut. He then used his power of wind to launch himself into the air and cut through leaping goblin before landing perfectly balanced on the ground. He then spun around, having heard the approach of another goblin gang, and slashed through three at once, grinning as their entrails scattered on the bodies of his other foes. He hacked his way through the rest of the pack and made his way to a massive troll. Trolls were known for their height, strength, and rage, and were no small force to be trifled with, unless you were Tordelmos Stormlord. He charged straight at it, and went into a diving roll as he dodged the troll’s initial swing with its gigantic club. As he came out of the roll, he cut the ankles of the troll, and it fell to the ground with a thud. But the troll wasn’t out of the fight yet, and as it swung its club around behind itself, Tordelmos barely managed to dodge the strike. He leapt up and landed on the troll’s back, thinking to stab it in the head, but was thrown off before he could deliver the final blow. He landed ungracefully, but rolled backward, again barely missing a fatal strike from the troll. This time he decided to take a more head-on approach. He walked right up to the fallen troll, and hacked at its weapon. With a powerful lightning-filled blow, he shattered the club, and while the troll’s hand was recovering from the shock, Tordelmos took off its head with one mighty sweep of his blade. He walked away as the head rolled into a ditch, where it slowly poured it's contents into the dirt.Tordelmos glanced around and saw a path of bodies where Brutus had made his way. He was still furiously swinging his ball and chain and hurling goblins left and right. Tordelmos turned around again, and saw Sorithravel, who was also leaving dead goblins in her wake. She combined her precise spear strikes with the occasional icicle storm and some forceful blasts of water. Tordelmos lastly looked up at Asako, who was happily firing shot after shot at the trolls and goblin leaders, leaving the close combat fighters to take care of the grunts. And take care of grunts they did. Tordelmos, Brutus, and Sorithravel continued their struggle through the field. Tordelmos finally fought his way past the goblins and trolls and reached a pack of wyverns, which are small, but fierce winged lizards; a perfect test of his dragon fighting skills. As Tordelmos charged forward, he easily cleaved through the first wyvern that rushed him. Then a larger one came up and, after seeing the misfortune of its companion took a wiser approach and landed, taking up a defensive posture: its head reared back, wings spread, and feet set apart to give it balance. As Tordelmos leapt up to sever its neck, the wyvern pranced aside and let loose a blast of fire. Tordelmos easily countered the flame with a blast of wind. Jumping up again, Tordelmos feinted another throat slash, but instead landed behind the wyvern and sliced off its tail. With a primal scream, the wyvern spun around and snapped at his face, but its teeth ate nothing but air, and more air, and more air as Tordelmos let loose a powerful blast of wind at the reptile. Seeing no other choice, the wyvern leapt up into the air, but was shot down by a shocking blast of lightning. It fell to the ground with a thud, and continued smoking long after Tordelmos had advanced towards the next enemy. The three heroes waded through the monsters, and finally arrived at the last, but not least, of the creatures. It was a gigantic Crocashee. This beast was a dreadful biped lizard with a black hide, a fearsome creature indeed. It seemed to be the leader of the horde, and was therefore the primary target. It stood at the height of about four men, and from this height, it gazed down at these little humans. They would prove poor prey, even if they had destroyed its army of monsters. The Crocashee raised its foot, thinking to crush Tordelmos, but he rolled out of the way, and as the Crocashee’s foot came down, Brutus stepped in and smashed his ball into the Croc’s ankle. With a roar, it swept its tail around with incredible speed and knocked Brutus to the ground, but while it was distracted, Sorithravel had climbed up its back and had started stabbing the base of its neck. However, her spear was designed to stab through trolls, not the tough armor of a Crocashee. With a shake, it threw off Sorithravel. Then, it was Tordelmos’ turn, and finally, a hit was scored in the monster’s thigh. It roared, but didn’t fall, managing to stay on its feet. Still underneath the beast, he jumped up and slashed across the Crocashee’s stomach, inflicting a large gash. As he turned, he barely brought his sword up to block as the monster’s tail stabbed in at him. Tumbling backwards, he quickly dashed out from underneath the beast, but his work was done, the Crocashee was already beginning to stagger. Tordelmos was about to deliver the killing blow, when suddenly a sharp crack rang out and, with a groan, the beast slowly fell to the ground in front of his feet. Tordelmos spun around to see Asako lowering the smoking Ignisho and walking up to him. “You’re welcome” She smugly said as she stepped up to the Crocashee. “I had it covered.” Tordelmos hastily replied. “He was falling anyway”. “So?” Asako calmly asked. “Hmph, I hate it when you do that.” Tordelmos muttered. And so, the party continued on toward the gate. When they reached the gate, the pearly barrier seemed beautiful and fearsome at the same time. Sorithravel readily put the first key, a tear shaped sapphire, into the keyhole. Then suddenly, a bright light flashed from the gate, and it impressively swung open. As the heroes stepped past this barrier, they were walking on a magnificent beach; perfection resonated from the water, and seaquans were happily chirping as they soared in the sky. The warriors gazed in wonder at the beauty this beach held, but their tranquil meditation was suddenly interrupted when a massive beast leapt into the air, far out in the ocean, and snapped up a group of seaquans. The group was initially shocked, but Asako managed to get a good look at the monster before it fell back down. It was serpentine in appearance, but it had four powerful limbs. Its head was dragon-like, and so too were the many spikes running along its back. Its body was covered in blue scales, which were doubtless very thick, due to the great size of the monster. As Asako described the creature, Sorithravel suddenly cried out, “Aquykalyk!” “What?” the other three chorused, a puzzled look on all their faces. “An Aquykalyk! It is a great sea dragon common in the ocean of my people, it is a fearsome monster indeed, and not even the greatest of our warriors could defeat one! “Ha!” Brutus laughed, “No offense Sorithravel, but we are doubtless stronger than your best warriors, just as you have become. And besides, there’s four of us, and one of him, what can go wrong?” “You don’t understand” Sorithravel said in an exasperated tone, “The Aquykalyk is a master of water. You may be extremely skilled at fighting on land, but you have no experience at fighting in the sea.” Tordelmos stepped up to the beach, then turned around and said, “I think we can beat it. We have breathing gear and steel boots for Brutus and me, and Asako can use the Snypyqua goggles to aim at the monster with the Ignisho. We’ll use psionics to communicate, and we should be fine.” “Well, in that case” Sorithravel began, “The others should be fine. But you should all follow my lead, since I am at home in the water.” Let me give a brief explanation of what they used. The breathing gear should be fairly obvious, as only Sorithravel had gills, so Tordelmos and Brutus needed something in order to do combat under the sea. The Iron Boots gave them the extra weight needed to fall down to the sea floor, and from there, they could more effectively combat the monster. Asako’s Snypyqua goggles allowed her to see through the water from above, and she could therefore aim precisely. So, the party donned their various gear and began their descent into the watery depths of this beautiful, but deadly sea. They dived into the water, and Tordelmos was glad to see that it was crystal clear, but then his heart, as well as his feet, sank as he saw that, coming through this crystal clear water, and straight at him, was the Aquykalyk. He pushed himself out of the way with a jet of air, and the creature swam past. It then spun right and started charging the graceful Sorithravel, who seemed to almost be enjoying this. Seeing the danger, Tordelmos telepathically shouted, “Sorithravel, behind you!”As it rushed her, she nimbly dodged, and grabbing onto one of its spikes, started stabbing it in the back. Somehow she managed to hit a weak point, and the creature roared out in rage. However, its limbs were more nimble then she had thought, and it reached around and slashed her with its mighty claws. All this time, Asako had been firing at the monster, but between the depth of the water, and the creature’s scales, she couldn’t penetrate with the Ignisho. Brutus was also out of the fight, as the Aquykalyk didn’t bother with this man who couldn’t move. Tordelmos, having seen Brutus’ plight, shook off his boots and used jets of air to propel himself through the water. Then, the monster did something completely unexpected: its back spikes began to glow and crackle, its mouth shook, and suddenly, it let loose a blast of lightning! Tordelmos swam out of the way, but was hit by the surrounding water that had been charged up. Tordelmos knew that he had to get rid of those lightning blasts, or else they would be fish food. The most obvious path was to eliminate the monster’s spikes, so Tordelmos propelled himself toward the beast and began to furiously hack at the spines. Lightning would only charge them more, so he had to rely on just the strength of his sword. He managed to crack the spikes, and monster angrily turned its head around and snapped at him, but its mouth met the Mithral blade, and the Aquykalyk broke a few teeth on that chomp. Tordelmos took one last swing at the spines, and pushed off from the monster, his chaos complete. The creature tried to launch another blast of lightning at Tordelmos, but couldn’t muster enough power, and only let loose a few weak sparks. Grinning, Tordelmos sent a powerful lightning bolt of his own toward the Aquykalyk, and it sent a jolt through the monster that immediately paralyzed it, despite the fact that Aquykalyk often spat lightning bolts at its prey. Seeing their chance, Tordelmos and Sorithravel attacked the monster’s weak underside, inflicting gashes on the creature’s stomach, and then its insides. The monster never recovered from its shock, not to mention the new wounds, and slowly sank to the bottom of the sea where it began its endless sleep. When the heroes weakly came up from the water, they all plopped down on the shore of the opposite beach, but were surprised at the texture of the ground. With a startled cry, Asako jumped back up. The sharp rocks underneath them were anything but soft, and as Tordelmos’ eyes roved upwards, he saw to his great pleasure that they were finally at Ynaleeldu, the mountain fortress of Achsayath. They had cleared the first obstacle: water. The next one was earth, and the great Iron Gate in front of them was the way to that obstacle. With scratched backs, the warriors arose and walked up to the gate. Brutus calmly took the second key, an intricately shaped lump of ore, and placed it in the gate. With a great shockwave, the gate swung open, and the four passed through. The first thing they saw was a horde of monsters comprised of rock golems, cave trolls, giant bats, and more. At the base of the mountain, they saw a cave, from which issued a great roar. Having seen and heard their targets, the heroes attacked. With a swing, Tordelmos slit a troll’s middle, then jumped over it and landed in front of a rock golem. The golem swung with its arms, but Tordelmos easily blocked the strikes and shattered the golem with a single blow from his sword. Meanwhile, Brutus was easily smashing foes left and right. He swung through one golem, then, seeing a large bat flying right for him, he threw his ball and chain at the creature, smashing its face in. He then grabbed a troll’s club and used it to send golems flying left and right before jabbing into the mouth of the same troll. He forcefully kicked the troll backward and then grabbed his ball and chain back up and kept going forward. Tordelmos was making his way forward. He hacked off the wing of a bat, and then launched the body toward a troll, which distracted it long enough for Tordelmos to score several hits, felling it. The next opponent was an armor golem. Armor golems are basically rock golems, except made out of armor, and wielding a sword or axe. This wielded an especially nasty looking falchion, its serrated edge looked like it had cut through many heads before; this was an experienced monster. The golem made the first move, and took an overhand swing, which Tordelmos easily blocked. Tordelmos then swung at the golem’s arm, but the golem simply shifted its plates so that the blade cut nothing but air. “Of course!” Tordelmos thought, “The golem has no substance, it’s simply pieces of armor held together by an invisible force! The only way to defeat this golem is to destroy the armor.” With a grin, Tordelmos pressed his attack forward. The golem blocked with practiced movements, and then swiftly counterattacked, swinging at his head. Tordelmos ducked and smashed the golem’s shoes; score one! He got behind the golem and took a swing, but the golem shifted, spun its parts around, and slashed at Tordelmos. Now it was Tordelmos’ turn to block, as the golem pressed a masterful attack. Tordelmos blocked a diagonal slash and stepped to the right as the strength of the golem’s swing sent it forward, and he then took the opportunity to literally break the back of golem. The armor golem’s midriff was now in pieces, and as Tordelmos took a low swing at it, the golem lost its legs as well. Enraged, the golem went into a final, desperate attack. Its massive chops left it open, so Tordelmos easily took out its arms. Now, he leapt into a front flip and cleaved the golem’s head in half, leaving only its hands. The falchion swung forward, but Tordelmos blocked with a lightning imbued strike, which made both the hands and blade drop to the ground. Before the armor could come back together, Tordelmos blasted the pile of parts with a fierce lightning bolt, turning it all into a heap of twisted metal. The four heroes gathered at the entrance, only to find their path blocked by another monster, this time, it was a Bastonydon. The Bastonydon is similar to a dragon or wyvern, except that its body is completely covered in rocks. Its stony hide makes it very hard to kill, and very few adventurers had ever defeated one. Our warriors surrounded the beast and got into a defensive formation. Brutus and Tordelmos charged the Bastonydon at the same time but their attacks bounced off its thick armor. Tordelmos tried to hit it with a lightning filled blow, but the strike simply diffused. Even Sorithravel’s magic had no effect. As the four dodged various tail and head attacks from the monster, Tordelmos tried to figure out what they had to do. He tried to find weak points in the armor, but to no avail. Then on a stroke of brilliance, he shouted, “Asako, shoot its eyes!” When Asako fired, it seemed they were finally getting somewhere, until the bullet bounced off its eyeball. “Okay” Brutus started, “That’s a little creepy”. Then Sorithravel ran up and cried, “Wait, I’ve got it! The armor is all rock so if we…” She dodged a tail sweep. “If we can soften it up enough, then we can get rid of it!” Inspired by the new plan, the heroes used their abilities to weaken the rocks. Tordelmos and Brutus bashed away at the Bastonydon’s hide, Asako shot at chinks in the armor, and Sorithravel blasted everything with water. However, even this was to no avail, and the two men were knocked aside by the creature’s stony tail. Then, Sorithravel leapt up and threw her spear at its head, a desperate act. However, on a stroke of pure luck, the spear went through the Bastonydon’s throat and killed it instantly. All four of the heroes were surprised at this interesting turn of events, and Sorithravel just stood there, dumbfounded at this one-in-a-million throw. After recovering from the shock, she walked up to the beast, yanked her spear out of its mouth, and came over to the rest of the party. “Well, that was fun.” She said with a toss of her head. “Are we just going to stand here, or shall we go up?”When they entered the cavern, they found that it was really a large stairway leading into, and up the mountain. So they walked, and walked, and walked, and walked, and walked some more, until it felt like they had been going for hours. Exhausted, the party decided to take a break, so Tordelmos turned around to sit down, when he was utterly shocked and devastated to see the bottom of the stair a few feet in front of them! It was as if they had never moved! When he shouted in surprise, the others turned to look, and they too saw with great horror the unbelievable paradox. Then Sorithravel spoke up, “Wait a minute, this is impossible. It simply isn’t possible for this to be! It…it must be some kind of enchantment.” Sorithravel spent almost as long trying to cast the right spell as the group had spent traversing the stairs. Sorithravel sat on a rock, quietly muttering different enchantments. “Itani Bera, no, Jerka Halum, no, that doesn’t work either.” The other three waited patiently for her to find a spell, but finally Asako got up and began to pace. Tordelmos watched her with interest, trying to figure out what she was up to, and he soon found out when she whipped out the Ignisho and fired a bullet up the stair. All four looked in surprise as the bullet spun through the air, while staying perfectly still. With a grin, Asako turned her weapon towards the left wall and fired again. When her second bullet hit the wall, the first shot through the air, and into rock at the end of the stair. “Care to explain what just happened?” Sorithravel quizzically asked. She was answered when Asako said, “Its rather simple. I was trying to figure out what was going on, so I shot up the stair. What when the bullet hit that time distortion, I saw a shimmer, and quickly followed it to the source, which was an Eternestock: a time manipulating ore. When I hit it, the field was disrupted.” All Sorithravel could do at this point was raise one scaly eyebrow, which was followed by Asako saying, “I don’t live under a rock you know”. So, the group continued their ascent up the now not-so-endless stairs. When they reached the top of the stair, the found the Fire gate, a massive structure crafted out of volcanic rock. They walked forward to the gate, but were stopped when a voice cried out, “Halt! You are not permitted to enter until you pass the test!” They were startled, but Asako shrugged it off and reached forward to insert the key when she realized something: there was no keyhole! “Something strange is going on here” Tordelmos said in a grim tone. Then the voice sounded again, “You are not permitted to enter until you pass the test!” “What test?” Brutus challenged. “A riddle, desert man. If you cannot guess it, you cannot enter.” “Tell us, what is this riddle?” Asako asked. “Fine, I will tell you.” The voice replied. “When you have me, you feel like sharing me. But, if you do share me, you don’t have me. What am I?” Tordelmos began to think, “When you have me…hmmm. Wait, wait I’ve got it!” The voice spoke in a puzzled tone, “Hmmm? I’m surprised you have it so quickly. Go on, tell me the answer.” Tordelmos calmly explained. “A secret. When you have it, you feel like telling the whole world. However, if you do spill the beans, then it isn’t a secret anymore.” “Impressive” the voice replied, “You are a sharp one. Now onto the next question.” “What do you mean next question!” Sorithravel shouted. “Didn’t I tell you there were three riddles?” the voice smugly asked. “I heard nothing!” Asako angrily yelled. “Well then, you had better clean out your ears.” The voice said. “Anyway, onto the riddle, this one’s a classic. What walks on four…” “Man.” Tordelmos casually replied. “Well, I guess it is a classic” the voice despondently muttered. “Despite the fact that the riddle is from a completely different universe. Anyway, you have seen through my second riddle. But it isn’t over yet, there’s one more to go. Taken from my home, beaten and burned, I become a bloodthirsty killer. What am I?” This riddle took the heroes a while to guess. However, Asako finally spoke the answer, “Iron! It is taken away from the mother ore, hammered into shape at a forge, and used by soldiers and warriors!” After a long pause, the voice spoke again, “Good, you have passed the test. You may proceed.” And so, Asako once again took up the key, and this time there was a distinct keyhole, in which she placed the fire key: an exquisite sculpture in the form of shimmering flames. The gate swung open with a blast of heat, and the heroes entered the third dungeon. The four warriors passed through the gate to find themselves in the heart of the mountain. There was lava everywhere and stalactites were pointing down at the travelers, just as stalagmites peered up at them. They stood on a rocky ledge, and the only way across the lava was by jumping across several stony platforms in order to reach the other side. Unsurprisingly, the path was chock-full of monsters. So, with a shout, the heroes bounced to various platforms, and began to work their way forward. The majority of the monsters consisted of imps, so that was what Tordelmos first encountered. With a casual sweep of the flat of his blade, he knocked the feisty little demon into the lava, where it agonizingly sunk into the flames. Seeing the imp’s fate made Tordelmos caution himself to be careful where he stepped, there was no return if he fell in there. He jumped to the next platform, this one slightly larger, and killed the first of the slightly larger group of imps with a horizontal slash which cut open its black chest. As the imp tumbled to the ground, Tordelmos was already rushing at the second one, which although raising a feeble block, had no chance against his mighty swing. He spun around while slicing upward, cleaving through the head of another imp. Seeing no more of the little demons, he jumped to the next section. Here he found two powerful demon warlocks who were obviously leaders. They took the first move, launching a flurry of fireballs at him. Between his quick reflexes and gigantic sword, he got through that first wave with only minor singes. He took his chance, launching a lightning bolt at the pair. They barely raised a shield as the bolt struck, but their mana had been severely depleted due to the lateness of the shield. Tordelmos jumped forward with a vertical hack, cutting off the arm of the first warlock. He quickly brought his sword around to block the staff of the second, and, with a great circular blast of wind, he threw them both into the deadly lake of fire.He jumped from platform to platform, killing as he went, and was about to jump the other side of the lake, when suddenly, his platform shifted. He was knocked onto his back, and watched in surprise as a giant rose up out of the lava. The “giant” he was seeing, was a form of Cherufe. A Cherufe is a humanoid with reptilian aspects. It is basically a man, with the head and tail of a lizard. Standing about nine feet tall, its back and most of its legs and arms are covered in scales, and its hands and feet have sharp claws. It also sports large teeth, and it used these for its first attack against Tordelmos as it rose out of the lava. Tordelmos back flipped onto another platform and launched a bolt of lightning at the monster. The Cherufe dodged the bolt, and let loose a blast of flame from its mouth. Tordelmos countered with a blast of wind, but the forces were evenly matched, so both parties stopped after a short while. The Cherufe angrily smashed its fists into the platform, knocking Tordelmos into the air. However, he used this momentum to carry himself over to the firm ground on the edge of the lake. His first thought was to escape from the beast, but then he remembered his companions, and with a pivot, he turned to face the Cherufe once again, sword upraised. The beast waded through the lake, and reached up to break off a stalactite, fashioning a wicked looking club for itself. As it stepped out of the lake, Tordelmos realized the full potential of this creature, and for a moment, he was actually frightened. But this soon passed, and with a roar, he charged straight at the beast. The beast roared louder, and charged faster, which was exactly what Tordelmos wanted. He jumped up and somersaulted over the monster, slashing across its back and head. He turned to see the result of his work, but was astonished to find that his attack had no effect on the scales of the Cherufe. Furious, he rushed in and, before the monster had a chance to react, he had cut off the fingers of its right hand, with the bonus of knocking away its club. Enraged, the creature smashed its remaining fist into the place Tordelmos had stood, but to no avail, as he stood there no longer. In fact, he was now behind the Cherufe, and as it turned around, he lunged forward and plunged his sword into its stomach. Quickly rolling back, he looked to see his infliction, and was pleased when he saw the monster swaying. It sank to its knees and looked up at him with a face full of rage. Unable to bear its stare any longer, Tordelmos stepped up and cleaved the giant in half, finally ending its reign. Exhausted, he waited at the edge of the lake for Sorithravel, Brutus, and Asako to make their way there as well.When the four reached the end of the lake, they weakly made their way forward into the deepest part of the mountain. They stepped into the cavern, which was also surrounded by lava. The only land was a circular platform, which was connected to the mountain by long, rocky beams. As they looked up, they saw the blessed sky shining down on them. But to their disappointment as well, they saw a flying figure, wrapped in flame, coming down at them. It landed on the center platform with a dramatic thud, and as the dust cleared, the four heroes saw the creature clearly: it was a great bird, standing about three heads taller than the already tall Brutus. Its feathers were as red as rubies, its feet were white as snow, and it sported a golden crest on its head. It spread its marvelous wings and let loose a glorious cry, which sounded like a million doves greeting the sun. How could the warriors defeat a creature as beautiful as this? Asako Fireblaze came from a very spiritual community, one that revered the gods, and certain mythical creatures. In her kingdom, everything was centered around fire: any traveler from Fireshallow had to say a prayer before making a campfire, killing a lizard was a mortal sin for fear that it was a salamander, and winter was viewed in the same light as plague. However, the most important part of the Fireshallow society, was the mighty Phoenix. Legend has it that Fireshallow was built on the nest of a Phoenix, when the Phoenix hatched from its egg, it scattered its shell, and breathed fire on it, creating the glass structures that formed Fireshallow city. It is also said that the city is continually guarded by a Phoenix. So obviously, Asako had grown up seeing the great bird in awe and reverence. Therefore, she was devastated at seeing the mighty Phoenix, for indeed, it was a phoenix, standing in front of her. Even as it attacked her companions, she could only stand dumbfounded, staring at the magnificent beast. Then reality took its hold once again as Sorithravel clipped the wing of her source of adoration. With a furious cry, she screamed, “Stop!” Tordelmos, Brutus, Sorithravel, and even the Phoenix turned their heads to see what this fierce exclamation was about. With tears in her eyes, Asako heavily breathed out her distress, “The phoenix…is sacred. You must…not…harm it!” With an angry growl, Brutus said, “What!? This thing is in our way! We must be rid of it!” “No!” Asako frantically screamed. Then Sorithravel joined in, “If you cannot fight, then get out of here, you are no use to us!” Dropping to her knees, Asako finally turned to Tordelmos, “Tordelmos, please, you should know, the Phoenix is the life of our city, you must not fight it!” Tordelmos’ face was writhing with conflicting emotions. He knew the importance of the phoenix to Asako, but it was also the last obstacle in his path to Achsayath. It was the choice of a lifetime: Discard the love and devotion of a childhood friend, or give up his life’s pursuit? All this time, the phoenix had been intently watching the group, trying to discern what was happening. Mortals were such foolish creatures, their feelings always getting in the way of their goals. As Tordelmos finally concluded his inner turmoil, he slowly turned toward Asako with a grim smile. With the lava’s red light casting a dark glow on his face, he morbidly chuckled, “No, the path to Achsayath is right in front of us. Our…no, my way is clear and I must take it. I won’t let anything get in the way!” “Not the phoenix” he said as his gaze passed the great bird. “Not the mountain” he stated, looking at the cliff wall. Finally, as his eyes fell on Asako, he ominously, but clearly said, “Not even you.” As a dark smile slowly grew on his face, Asako fearfully ran out of the cavern, crying her heart out in grief for her lost friend. Evilly laughing, Tordelmos spun around and launched himself at the Phoenix. Startled, it flapped back and let loose a blast of fire which Tordelmos countered with wind. Sorithravel and Brutus jumped at the beast, but it easily knocked them aside and flew at Tordelmos. He leaned back, feeling the rush of wind as the phoenix’s wings grazed over his head. He quickly spun his great sword around, clipping the right ankle of the bird, but not causing any serious damage. It flew around, and with a fierce glare, charged him with its sharp claws. Tordelmos couldn’t move fast enough, and the phoenix grabbed his left arm with its feet. As it flew up into the air, Tordelmos frantically tried to escape, but its grip was too tight. He finally managed to nick the phoenix, and it dropped him. However, with a roll, he got back on his feet and ready for battle. Wincing, he looked at the four deep gashes the phoenix had left in his arm, but shrugged it off and faced the creature. As the phoenix landed, a bright light flashed and Tordelmos staggered back, stunned. When he opened his eyes again, he saw that the phoenix’s wings seemed to now be coated in metal! With a grin, he leapt into the air, coming in with a powerful downward chop, but the phoenix brought its wing up and blocked his strike. So, it was metal! This would be interesting. Tordelmos dropped behind the phoenix, thinking to slash open its back, and he did, but before he could complete his strike, the bird brought its head around and blasted him with flames. Unprepared for the sudden attack, he fell back, burned and bleeding. He jumped up and went into a furious battle rage, swinging with powerful, but precise strikes. His anger, ambition, and grief fueled this last attack, as he swung left, right, up, and down, attacking from fifty angles in the time he might have made ten strikes. The phoenix blocked many of the blows, and pressed a furious attack of its own. Finally, they both fell back, exhausted. Tordelmos felt extremely weak, but his drive for revenge brought him back up, and drove his last attack. Using the little strength he had left, he unleashed a ferocious storm at the phoenix, with all the force of a hurricane. The phoenix launched a tremendous elemental blast of its own, spewing lava from its beak. Its golden crest glowed as the stream of fire made contact with the storm. Both forces were evenly matched, and destruction was flying everywhere: lightning bolts struck the rock, causing rubble to rain down into the lake of fire, and lava fell onto the ground, disintegrating it. In this chaos, Sorithravel and Brutus had been all but forgotten, and they were scrambling to avoid the dangers. Brutus dodged a falling boulder, but dodged right off the cliff. He barely grabbed the ledge, and hung on with all his might, calling for help. Hearing his cries, Sorithravel nimbly dodged her way to the edge of the cliff, and grabbed Brutus’ massive hand, right as he lost his grip. She desperately tried to pull him up, but he was too heavy, and she too weak. Looking up at her, Brutus grimly said, “Sorithravel, he has gone too far, you must stop him.” With a grief filled shout she finally let go of his hand, and Brutus roared his way into the abyss. Shaken, Sorithravel slowly stood up. Then she threateningly turned her head toward the battling duo. First Asako had been driven away, by their anger, and now Brutus had fallen because of their destruction. She knew that it had to stop, and that she was the only one who could do it. She calmly bowed her head, and when she raised it, her eyes were glowing a vibrant blue. She raised her hands and began muttering an ancient incantation of the sea gods. With the last of her strength, she summoned all the water she could find. Back at the base of the mountain, the sea began to shiver and quake. The waves grew larger, and larger, until suddenly, the sea rose up and flew into the mountain. It shot past the rocky halls, up the endless stairs, through the Cherufe’s lair, and finally it blasted toward the Phoenix’s den. Both Tordelmos and the Phoenix broke off their assault and turned to see the oncoming wave. As the sea was about to rush into the cavern, Sorithravel calmly lowered her arms. With her last breath, and a tear in her eye, she gently asked, “Forgive me, father” and with those last words, she fell back into the water. Just one moment later, Tordelmos and the Phoenix were drenched in the tremendous flood. The phoenix screeched as it was hit by the blast, and tried to fly up, but it’s now normal wings were too wet. Tordelmos shared a similar fate, being covered by the undulating water. The sea eventually fell into contact with the lava, and as it did so, created a humongous and intense burst of steam. The last thing Tordelmos knew before the darkness came, was the sensation of flying, and his father’s voice saying, “Hold on son, please, hold on”.When Tordelmos opened his eyes again, he found himself on a platform made out of pure marble. Intricate gold designs were traced throughout the floor, and spiraled their way up marvelous white pillars, which were doubtless also made of marble. There was no roof in this strange place, all he saw was the blue sky above but. “For that matter”, he thought as he looked behind him, “there’s only blue sky underneath me as well!”. Then it hit him, he must be on the sky platform! He had finally reached his goal, the lair of Achsayath. Standing up, and curiously finding he was free of wounds, he called for his companions, “Asako, Brutus, Sorithravel, where are you all?” Then, he grimly remembered. He was confronting the Phoenix, and Asako had fled the mountain. He seemed to remember that Sorithravel and Brutus had been knocked aside. Then in horror, he recalled the enormous wave that had hit the cavern, it must have destroyed the phoenix, as well as Sorithravel and Brutus. His knowledge of the sciences was not advanced enough to realize that the steam had brought him up to the sky arena, so his arrival there was still a mystery. Then, he smelled something, something very familiar. It smelled like grass, and love, and a summer breeze. He spun around, and saw to his great shock and surprise, the sturdy figure of his father standing in front of him. “But…how?” He gasped, “You…you’re dead!” “Yes, yes I am son. But that won’t stop me from visiting my boy on his last journey.” “But how?” Tordelmos inquired, “Are you a spirit?” “You could say that, yes.” His father calmly replied, “I have remained up here for many years, waiting for you to arrive. However, there is not much I can do except heal you’re wounds and give you my blessing.” Tordelmos slowly nodded. “Thank you father, I will not fail you again.” With a smile, his father said, “I hope not. Now go, and may the eternal Saylera ever keep you in his sight.” With that, his father, slowly faded from view, leaving Tordelmos staring at a golden gate. He slowly, but surely placed the last key, a golden thunderbolt, in the gate, and it swung open, showing the way, which was laden with gold, and shining in the brilliance of the sun.He walked down the marble hall, which was dismally decorated with all manners of war trophies from fallen warriors. He recognized several famous artifacts, such as The Dragon Axe of Samtas the Bold, Raddano: Orc Dismemberer, and the famous Halberd of a Thousand Hearts. He also saw busts and statues of many prominent warriors and monsters, which were doubtless beings that Achsayath had defeated. He saw a Hydra, A Cyclops, Demons, and even other Dragons. All were in a state of battle, as if they had been frozen on the verge of defeat, and placed in this hall of trophies. He passed thousands of the dismal antiques, before finally reaching a great circular arena. He stepped into the middle of the arena, and looked all around, but saw no Achsayath. As he was contemplating leaving the arena, he heard a thunderous thud behind him. He slowly stood around to see the gigantic Achsayath leering down at him. Tordelmos grimly drew his sword, and launched himself at his nemesis. As they say, there is a time for words, and a time for action. Achsayath swiped at him, and Tordelmos rolled underneath the strike, but it still managed to land a glancing blow. However, even a glance was enough to send him flying, and fly he did. He used the momentum, as well as the wind to fly up and around the dragon, but Achsayath launched himself up as well. Achsayath began the midair battle by opening its enormous jaws and letting loose a blast of white flame, Tordelmos tried to dodge, but was caught in the flames. Though his garments were on fire, he continued his assault, and flew directly at the Achsayath. He poured all his anger and grief into this final attack; he would not let the loss of his friends be in vain! But, it was to no avail as the dragon used its mighty wings to launch him downward. He landed with a great crash, leaving a crater in the marble floor. As he opened his eyes, he saw Achsayath descending toward him, and it seemed all was lost as Achsayath landed with its face looming over him. Tordelmos rolled aside as the dragon’s foot landed where he had once been, and got to his own feet in a flash. He summoned the biggest storm he could, and his advantage was the open field in the middle of the sky; how much more could you want when summoning a hurricane? As the skies grew dark, Achsayath was buffeted and zapped, until, with a great roar, he emitted a mighty shockwave. As the spray cleared, Tordelmos saw a man clad in golden armor charging at him. Leaping aside, he saw that the man had golden wings, a golden tail, and was snarling with fury. Assuming that Achsayath had simply taken another form, Tordelmos charged him. Achsayath was also wielding a golden blade, and he swung at Tordelmos with the strength of, well, a dragon. The two blades clashed, and sparks flew as metal ground against metal. The dark skies overhead were charged with electricity, and Tordelmos jumped back from the duel, using the storm to augment his own thunderbolts, and firing several at Achsayath. However, Achsayath merely blocked these, and let forth a blast of light. Tordelmos raised his arm, preventing the worst of the shock, but was struck down, as Achsayath came up and smote him with its sword. With a cry, Tordelmos staggered back, seeing that his sword arm had been hacked off. Shaking with pain and rage, Tordelmos reared his head back and let loose a roar, which drowned out even the hurricane overhead. His body became wrapped in lightning, and he let loose a ferocious blast of wind and thunder. Achsayath countered with a massive ray of pure energy, and the power struggle began. Energy crackled, lightning flew, and the light was so bright, that Asako, who was now at the entrance to the sea, had to shield her eyes from the rays. “What has he done?” Asako sadly muttered” Back at the fortress, the struggle continued, and neither side was gaining, but power was continuing to surge. Finally with a massive explosion, energy blasted everywhere, and an incredible flash filled the sky...I awoke with a startled gasp. With jumbled memories, I quickly turned on a lamp, and scrambled to my desk. Grabbing a piece of paper and hastily pulling a pencil from the drawer, I scribbled down everything I could remember from the dream. I drew a mountain, jotted down some character description, and a few setting notes, but I couldn’t remember any more. Relieved, I sat back, thinking up some names, this was sure to be a story someday…