My son, enraged, dives for the hunters, vile demons that they are. I watch, determined not to dishonor his glory by looking away during his last moments. I watch my son as he bravely is cut down by arcane might. The art, in all of its terrible power. My daughter is close behind him, and suffers the same fate. I watched as the sidhe mage who had summoned the demons began to harvest the wings from my family. I watch, and the old hatred burns within me. This was a young, albiet powerful sidhe. He had no knowledge of the horrors inflicted during that war so long ago. He did not know who I was. He did not know the power of an Icharius when fueled by pure hatred. I let it take me then. The rage engulfing me, and my bonds melting away as I feed off of the pure, unadulterated hate. The sidhe and his demons, so taken up in their sport, do not see me stand.
I channel MY art along with the runic magics of my fathers people and pure energy slams into three of the demons. They die, in an explosion of blood and gore. The remainder of the demons charge me, intent on subduing me as they had done before. I was unaware and unprepared then. I was not now. I grab two of them with my bare hands, channeling the art as I do so, rendering them into ash. I take my time, wanting to savor the kills as I extract my vengeance. The mage begins to cast his art, but it will not avail him. I had fought and killed many of the more powerful ancient sidhe magi during the war, and this boy did not compare. I easily deflected his wards, and shrugged off his art, countering it with my own as I slaughtered his demonic cohort. As the last demon fell, I begin to slowly advance on the sidhe. I revel T the horror in his eyes as I advance. I savor every second as I prepare to eradicate this stain. I cast a slow flame, burning through the sidhe's wards and beginning to slowly roast away his flesh. I drink in his cries of agony as I use the Art to prolong his suffering until his body can hold out no longer, and he collapses, a charred husk.
I feel a surge of the Art to my rear, and see a portal beginning to close as another sidhe carries my family's wings, and source of Icharii magic with him. Throwing a burst of flame after him, I hear him scream in pain as the portal completely closes. The anger dissipates as I know that I cannot catch him. Channeling my art into a portal of my own, I carry my wife and children through it, into the Icharii tower, nestled within the old city of Verthicha. There I inter them in the royal crypt, and finally allowed my sorrow to overcome me. I laid there for days, weeping over the hand fate had dealt me. The disease that had taken my rekindled race, and the hunters that harvested my people to bolster their own power. Laying there in the tomb, I drew my longsword, Pandemonium, and drove it to the hilt through my own heart. With my passing, the Icharii would be no more. As I felt death welcome me into her cold embrace, I smiled, knowing I would be with my family again soon.
I see myself standing over a young sidhe boy, a boy who had rescued one I cared for. I was fighting the Sidhe then, among other races, but I spared him, and gave him a gift. That gift would prove to be the catalyst that proved the downfall of the ancient Icharii. It all goes black, and I see myself once again meeting the Sidhe, no longer a boy, not knowing who he is, and him not knowing me. I was... human? or was I sidhe? no, both. A mixture. A farce, implemented by my mother. A ranger, with no memory of his past.
I see a demon, Khelestra, and... once again, the Sidhe boy, battling with me against her. There are others, a small funny elven female, and a grown elven woman, a lost love. A female sidhe, a powerful sorceress who witnessed my first death, and apon my return a creature of... shadow? I ran the Sorceress through with my sword... but why? Was she not my friend? The memories come rushing to me, out of order, and confusing. Millenia of life...
I see my nephew, a powerful sidhe assassin, and once again the she-demon. More battles, the elven beauty... what was her name? Too many memories. Cannot think. Destruction. A land of dragons, and... another winged race. Elf-wings. Destruction happens, and I flee, but I am not myself. The demoness possesses me. A retreat to a lost stronghold, and another encounter with the Elven Huntress. A powerful explosion, and I realize who I am. My ancient memory returns, and my soul, rejoined. I am Icharii, and I am royalty. The demoness escapes, and I seek her, search for her.
The search is to no avail, and I return to my lands. My kingdom is infiltrated, and my people betray me. I am to be put to death, but my nephew, He rescues me, and spirits me away. I am beset by sorrow, but determined to return to my claim. He agrees and joins me. On the way, I once again meet the Sidhe boy, my friend, and am also joined by the elven huntress. We fight our way to the capital, and apon reaching my palace, I subdue the demoness. I am overcome by rage, and slip into the darkness within every Icharii heart. I throw my friends out of my lands, and begin to torture the demoness.
Eventually, the ghost of my mother comes to me, and shows me the truth. That the demoness was an ancient Icharii battle mage. She was bound to me, to test me and to keep me in check after I had awakened. I had bound her to an Icharii corpse, as they do not decay, and restored the body. For years afterwards, I sought her forgiveness for my transgressions against her, and she begged for mine. In time, she became my confidant, and after the fall of Maxim, she became my wife.
My wife. My children. The pain felt fresh, and they were not here with me. My rage sparked anew, and I began a cycle, reliving my life, and reliving my memories, trapped in this place, between life, and the world of the dead.
The years pass in an instant and an eternity. Every time I see the death of my family, my mind breaks. I beg for release from the torment, from the pain, but no relief comes. Eventually I shut myself away, and do not notice my life replaying itself over and over.
After what seemed like aeons, I hear a female voice, ancient, but familiar.
"Juriel. Juriel. It is time to awaken my son."
Another female speaks.
"You have slept long enough my lord. The world calls to you again."
I am confused, but the replay, and the torment has stopped. I look around, and see two familiar figures floating in the darkness. My mother Men`a and Sythlini, an ancient confidant. Both souls made up the essence of my longsword, Pandemonium.
I try to speak, to ask how, but my mothers shade smiles and puts a finger to my lips.
"We would never allow you to die by way of us. The wound you caused took a very long time for us to heal, and you have been asleep for ages. Wake now, for the world needs you."
"Yes, milord. The Icharii are alive, and so is the hunter that killed your family. They all need you."
Again, I endeavor to speak, but am instead silenced by a sensation not felt in an eternity. Cold, I feel cold as I lay on the stone floor. I open my eyes, and there is nothing but darkness. I take a breath, and sit up, feeling for the wound in my chest, but there is naught but a grisly scar. I weave a rune in the air, and stand, watching as the room illuminates. I see my family, lying as if asleep, undamaged by time, as the Icharii do not decay. They are however, covered by a layer of dust, and I gently clean them, and feel the pain anew.
My face is set in grim determination however. I have a job to do. There is a sidhe hunter out there that I must pay my respects to. Closing my eyes, I cast a rune of seeking, and within moments I know where I must go.
Hearing a rustling in the nearby trees, the man nocked another arrow and waited. After a few minutes of silence, he watched as an eagle with a broken wing fluttered towards his kill, hopping along the ground trying to fly. Returning his arrow to the quiver, he shook his head. As much as he hated using it, he drew on his sidhe bloodline, and let flow the art to calm the bird and approach. Cutting off a piece of meat from the deer as he approached the bird, he fed the creature, and examined its broken wing. Focusing his art, the half-breed ranger re-set the eagles bone and began stitching it back together. When finished, he tossed another piece of meat at the bird, and continued to set his camp site. Hearing the flapping of wings, he turned to see the great bird take to the sky. Smiling at a good deed done, the ranger began preparing the deer, cutting it into thin strips and salting it as he let it hang from a line he set over his newly built fire pit.
As the sun began to set, he laid out his bedroll and began thinking about the strange isle he was on and hoped for better luck on the morrow. Perhaps the mountains in the distance would prove more promising then the forested lands he now inhabited.
Angrod lifted the letter that topped the stack of papers before him in one yellowed hand, re-reading the short message from his long-time acquaintance, Toph.
After nearly a millenium of knowing the younger Sidhe, Angrod could almost hear the soft tones of the writer in the words before him.
I have a favor to ask of you and your skills as an investigator. After some deal of effort, I have finally gotten a lead on the ring of smugglers in Sidhe and Icharii artifacts that I was telling you about five years ago when we last met. What I have found so far is contained in the packet that comes with this letter. I would be happy to trade favors for your assistance on this matter.
Angrod put the page aside and stared at the twine-bound stack of papers before him. For a brief moment, he considered ignoring the request, but he was feeling bored here in Silverdell, and a little mental and physical exercise might be in order.
Barely thinking about it, he wove a thin strand of Art around the twine to cut it, and began looking through the pages.
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