O' Exalted Ones. A short fan novel based upon The Diablo Universe.
Chapter 1 - Flame Within.
A dark emerald mist lingered above the swamp's gate before them. A wooden gate hanging in tatters, now derelict and devoid of purpose. Thick smog unaffected by his torches light, instead it radiated back an emerald glow that discolored his worn breastplate. It seemed unnatural to the swamp, this light, the mist was unnatural to all of nature. Visible worry now grew upon the face of his squire as he stood at the entrance to this unholy emerald decay and rot, cloaked in the silence of night the duo pondered. The Paladin could feel what his loyal Squire could feel and considered a prayer with his servant before their departure. Even he too for moment felt doubt creeping up upon him like an insidious serpent, suffocating all that the Hand of Zakarum stood for, twisting all that they sought to destroy in this world. He pushed away these feeble doubts now with renewed vigor, determined to spread the Light even by means of death. Once again now he let himself succumb to his emotions more than any self proclaimed Warrior of the Light ever should.
"Come! Now! Follow!" he blasted to his Squire with uncharacteristic zeal. His voice was exceptionally deep and never faltered under stress or strain. Master Aurelius stood taller than six feet, his colossal plated armor weighed down heavily on his broad shoulders yet his posture remained ramrod straight, a Paladins pride. His armored body had few weak points, and for those he made up in skill. After hastily adjusting his thick steel gauntlet he snatched his long shield from the Squire and took an unflinching stride through the unhinged wooden gate into the deep emerald mist ahead, nearly disappearing before the young man could catch up. In comparison, Hern the Squire was unequipped to say the least, boasting a meager short sword and a small round steel shield that was tightly nestled on his left forearm. He would do as he had done in countless quests before, stick close to his Master's back and protect him from unseen enemies while his Master shielded him. Aurelius wore no cape and no helmet; these things would only restrict his movement and visibility in an already misty swamp. The Master need not rely on useless trinkets when accompanied with his diamond edged sword.
"Closer boy, visibility is null" Aurelius spoke in a baritone voice. He had a habit of using Boy to address Hern, which was far more generous than what other Squires would be called. Suddenly Aurelius stopped, as still as that full moon they could glimpse from below the unearthly emerald haze. Hern heard mutterings with vague understanding coming forth from his Masters lips, he had heard these words before and it usually preceded battle. Slowly but steadily a hazy crimson light started to emanate from around his Masters feet, spreading up his greaves to his waist and eventually engulfing his torso and legs entirely. As it had happened before, this dull crimson light spread like a Kraken's long probing tentacle out to touch Hern on the chest, and as before Hern felt a massive surge of adrenaline throughout his body. Barely able to control himself Hern's breathing became erratic, his face pale and his body twitchy and numb while his Master who felt a surge of power magnitudes greater than his own remained perfectly still, calm and collected. This aura though had no visible effect on the mist in which they now stood.
"Master... this soil... beneath... our feet... has been... disturbed... recently" Hern finally managed to pant out. His loud erratic breathing was the only sound to be heard, not even the familiar gentle breeze penetrated this far into the mist. Aurelius glanced at the dirt beneath his feet for a moment and prodded it gently with the end of his boot.
A crackling spark burst forth from the tip of the Master's sword, moments later a brilliant white light descended downwards from the tip to the handle covering the entire blade. The light burned brighter and more magnificent as seconds past. Such intense light, Hern cowered behind his Masters back yet this light barely penetrated the fog surrounding them.
With absolutely no warning; dry muddy flesh erupted from around Hern, hands and other grabbers long forgotten seized the young apprentice's ankles with a grasp that could only be described as paralyzing. Aurelius seemed to react even before Hern himself knew he was in danger, twirling around and plunging his magnificent glowing blade deep within the soil beneath. The immense energy discharged from this strike erupted in all directions flinging Hern backwards along with a considerable amount of the dirt that he was moments before standing on. Overwhelming light and noise now consumed the poor Squire that now lay strewn across the dirt; he desperately tried to cover his eyes and ears but found he could not. Night had now become day and the earth shook below with the ferociousness of ten earthquakes. Hern's head felt like it could, and may well explode. As suddenly as the explosion had taken place it had gone. Silence and darkness returned, accompanied by the unearthly emerald mist. Wiping the dirt from his face Hern stood up sluggishly and surveyed his surroundings. Before him a small crater, behind him a mound of dirt.
"Master!?... MASTER!?" the worried apprentice screamed.
There was no sign of him around, no trace, no armor, no blood just a ditch before him. Hern took a closer look at the crater.
"That's no... That's a tunnel, Master..." he whispered to himself.
Chapter 2 - Lost Souls.
The wolf's howl echoed throughout the pine needle forest, not a howl of pleasure but of pain. Winter was approaching and snow had already begun to fall above the treetops. A Druid knew the changes of nature, and knew that his time here was rapidly diminishing; if he planned on surviving alone from his tribe then it was imperative he migrate to warmer climates. Lest he attempt the monumental task of hibernation, for all but the most powerful Druids this was a sure death, no ordinary Druid could withstand holding a bear's form for that great a time. The Druid wolf considered his options for a moment, and then in a flash of orange his furry body contorted into that of a bird, a bird of prey, a black Eagle. The view above the trees was of a spectacular ocean of white, flowing far beyond even Eagles eyes could see. The Druid knew that where he was traveling was not without its dangers also, the lush jungles of Kehjistan to the South where as deadly in as many ways as the frozen forests and tundra of Scosglen. A ritualistic scar across his back was a painful reminder of what the native people of the jungle had done to him last time; he would not let their small stature deceive him this time around. As this Druid soared high above; his mind wandered to many regrets of his former life, his family and his tribe were all gone. He was a nameless lone wolf in this world, or bear, or bird, or whatever he wanted to be. If the Druid had been able, a grin would of spread across his face. The flight itself was largely uneventful, peering down occasionally to distract himself from needless and restless thoughts but finding nothing of interest below. This Druid was hungry, but knew he would have to reach Kehjistan first before the lands were fertile enough for the hunt. An odd thought, many outsiders perceived Druids as never hunting and never harming nature, but this is how nature worked. Who is a Druid to say that nature is at fault? Nature is an equilibrium in which the Druid must partake and uphold, not disturb by prolonging it anymore than the next cycle. Warm winds now gently caressed his feathers, his destination was nearing. The sun still high in the sky, this lost soul was confident he would arrive before sun fall.
The poor apprentice's futile attempts to uncover the dirt around him only led to increasing despair, he did not know what to do without his Master's guidance. He could either follow his Master into the dark underground beneath what he now believed to be a burial site or run to the nearest town for aid, not that any locals would ever help a Paladin in need. Paladin's reputations in these lands was steadily in decline, no longer upholders of the light now enforcers of it. Aurelius had protected his Squire throughout all battles before, had been patient with his teachings and a wise and knowledgeable teacher. There was only one option for this lost soul. He jumped.
Now at the most northern point of Kehjistan, the Druid descended and landed in a clearing below. With a green shimmer the Druid melded back into his former appearance. His long brown hair looked uncared for, shaggy and dirty accompanied with a fierce beard that just touched his chest. His eyes not unlike many Druids were a dark purple, a Druids eyes were unique in that they could be any color imaginable and were not just limited to browns, blues and greens. Many noble Druids dressed in feathers and skins, this Druid however looked like a leather bound tome, a lower caste. He carried no weapon of steel; his bags were filled with herbs, medicines and supplies gathered from Scosglen. A small shimmer darted in the corner of his eye, with not enough time to change shape again the Druid sprinted towards his unsuspecting dinner. Although not in full animal form the Druid had the ability to run on all fours, moving much faster than he could with only his legs. This small furry animal was elusive, darting under a fallen tree and further out into the dense bush, the hunter took chase confident in his abilities. Darting under bushes, around trees and under rotting logs the half wolf was hot on its tail and already mentally ahead of it; he saw its burrowed nest ahead and took a direct route to intercept the animal before it escaped. This would be easy, or so he thought. A log moved, a branch snapped and suddenly the Druid found himself hanging upside down by his ankle high in the air. A disgusting revelation was revealed to him there, it was not a small furry beast of the forest he was chasing, instead a dark skinned native disguised in fur stood triumphant below him.
"You think but one of you can take ME!?" he roared
The hunter still hang there in the trap, not making a move, confident in his abilities and assured of his revenge yet amused that one mere native would attempt to apprehend him. The expression changed on the native's face from fear to a confident triumphant smirk. Shaggy hair hanging upside down, the Druid crossed his arms and laughed manically, visualizing the gory and painful death he would inflict upon this pathetic creature. A thousand squeaky giggles echoed from the surrounding bush in retort. Instantly he felt a sharp pain hit his back, his vision quickly blurred out of focus and a sensation of blood pouring to his head overtook him.
The hunter had become the hunted.
Read the first paragraph and my eyes started to hurt.
Only comment I'll put on this for now is that you need to reorganize the formatting. Break up the paragraphs. That'll make it WAY easier to read. Once that's done I'll finish reading and offer some proper crit if you want it.
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