Bran’s heart was pounding,
It seemed like he and his children had been running forever from the nightmare.
Even now he saw the flashes in his mind, first the mercenaries attacking Heyl, then the dead rising,
next the exodus of the Heyl townsfolk to gods only knows where.
Then for a while peace.
They had all arrived at Tehidith forest, safe from the soldiers, safe from the undead, safe from everything… Or so they thought.
They had stumbled onto a new battlefield, one between the green tree folk and vicious man sized, insect things.
The tree folk were saying that the land was sacred to them and them alone, while the insects also had claimed rights to the trees as their new habitat.
Obviously bloodshed had ensued. Not out right warfare like the land had seen between Claw and Crown, more like a sadistic game of hide and seek, with each opponent cautiously picking off their targets one at a time.
The Heyl townsfolk huddled in a clearing, tired, hungry and beaten, while Plantae and Pryv stalked each other amongst the trees with fang and blade bared.
Last night, an attack happened.
Bran shuddered, at the memory.
His people, his family sat wearily around the campfire, when out of the darkness they came, silent and without warning.
He could hear the screams of his friends as they were clawed and bitten by savage mandibles and multiple limbs.
Bran had hurriedly grabbed his wife and children to flee, when he felt his arm almost pulled from its socket, his terrified wife was desperately attempting to hold his hand when she was dragged screaming into the night.
He looked on in despair at the massacre around him, the people were being butchered by the Chitinous horrors.
Then gathering his mind, he snatched up his children under his arms and ran… and ran… and ran.
“Father, I can see lights ahead!”
Bran’s mind returned to the present, his daughter Molly pointed ahead to the flickering torchlight of
the town before them.
David looked up desperately at him, “is that Chaosgate father?
“Aye, it is. Run!”
With renewed energy, they rushed toward the gates…
Lexi and Boldric lazed under a beautiful evening sky, they were sat, gazing through the town entrance, towards the ominous structure that was, ‘The Chaosgate’.
Lexi, a slender Piski mage starred intently at the portal while Boldric, the warrior Dwarf and self styled bodyguard to Lexi, was casually sat by her side, sword drawn but resting on the grass while he held aloft a large barrel of ale, releasing the small tap at the base and allowing its contents to pour down his throat and a large portion of his beard, “what troubles you my Lady?” Boldric quizzed as he cleaned his beard of foam with his sleeve, “it is a wondrous evening, the stars shine and the drink is flowing. Why are we not in the tavern with our fellows?”
Lexi, didn’t break her stare from the gate,
“what’s going on with that bloody gate? It’s always churning out damned daemons on a regular basis, then a rejuvenated Lord Scythe strolls through it and… Nothing! Naff all! For nearly half a year now we’ve had nothing out of that thing, why?”
Boldric shrugged and readied himself for another dose from his barrel,
“You say it like its a bad thing. Scythe gone, daemons gone, tavern still here, what’s the problem?”
“The problem dear dwarf is that this place has always has some sort of ‘argy bargy’, it’s like this place just draws in the bad and the nasty, probably because of that soddin’ gate, but now nothin’ , it just ain’t right.”
Lexi stood up with a stone in her hand and hurled it at the Chaosgate, the stone clattered loudly off of it and fell to the floor, at the same time Boldric leapt to his feet, frothy booze erupting from his lips,
“ARE YOU MAD?! why would you tempt fate like that? Come, rest, drink with me, rejoice in our time of quiet.”
“See? Nothin’!” Lexi slumped to the grass beside a relieved Dwarf,
“Ahh, nuts to it all Boldric, let’s go to the tavern and get wrecked!” Declared Lexi,
“I like your plan my lady, but are you forgetting something? Your unborn child may not appreciate your idea.” Boldric gestured to her swollen stomach.
“Well considering the daddy is in fact a dragon, a ruddy old one, I think it can handle it!” Lexi announced with friendly confidence, she slapped her friend on the back and they turned towards the rabble within the bar, ” Come my brave Boldric, I’m gonna drink you under the…”
“PLEASE, HELP US!”
Lexi and Boldric snapped around to see a tattered ruin of a man rush toward them accompanied by a boy and a girl.
As they came closer, the pair at the entrance could see a frenzied look in their eyes, was it fear or malice quizzed Boldric mentally as he stepped in front of Lexi, sword and shield at the ready.
As the haggard trio entered the lamplight, their injuries and anxiety could be clearly seen, especially when the man, fell to the floor before reaching the town boundary, the children dropped beside him, both crying out “father!” With tears in their eyes.
Lexi dove forwards, her hands already glowing with mystical energies as she knelt beside the man, the 2 children recoiled back from the Piski’s strange light,
“relax,” Lexi said in calm tones, ” I’m here to help ok?”
The tiny pair nervously nodded but there was a comforting sparkle in the Piski’s eyes that the children felt safe within.
At the same time Boldric, dove for the gate bell and swung with great urgency, the ringing, shattering the quiet of the town, causing dogs to bark, lamps to flicker on and people to come rushing with weapons at the ready.
Moments later, everyone was gathered in the tavern, the new arrivals were sat at a table, centre stage, with blankets draped on their shoulders and clinging onto warm drinks before them, a pair of apostles worked their magic on them to restore them. All around stood the peoples of Chaosgate,
“Well?” Someone called from the back, “what’s goin’ on then? Is it daemons?”
“Shaddap and wait!” Scowled Lexi, she then focused on the man,
“Ok, in your own time…”
“My name is Bran, I am… Was from Heyl, and we need your help”
The man then went on to tell his story and the events that occurred in Tehidith.
The surrounding townsfolk, listening with a mixture of curiosity and interest.
“So… What can we do?” Enquired Boldric,
“Our people are dying, innocent families, women and children, we are farmers and metal workers not fighters, you are all warriors, archers and magic users, please help us!”
The Piski, turned to the audience, “Gather the council.”
After a while of great debate, bordering on argument, the council were still sat around a table in a private room,
Lexi, was pacing impatiently, “what’s not to get? They need our help!”
The other council members sat, unconvinced or uncertain, “we have enough problems here, Lexi” one of them spoke,
“She blurted a ‘hah!’ Like what? No daemons, no Scythe, no nothing, don’t tell me you lot don’t have men spoiling for a fight?”
The others mumbled a weary agreement,
“Look,” Lexi leant forward, ” there’s absolutely nothing going on here of late, they need us. Someone once said, ‘ all that is needed for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing’.”
Then, after a pause, one of them looked up, ” OK, let’s do it.”
One by one, the others nodded in agreement.
The following morning, a cast majority of the townsfolk were packed and ready for the quest, weapons and rations packed and eager.
“What about this place?” Asked Boldric,
“Leave it to me, I have an idea…” Smiled Lexi as she wandered over to a group of armed men, who were pointing and chuckling and the assembled adventurers,
“Vas ist das? Ein mighty varband ya?” Laughed Astindord, a mercenary warrior from the ‘Wolfsburg free company’.
Lexi strolled towards them, “What? Not joining us, not got the sack for it?”
Astindord and his men laughed together at her question,
“Ya we haff, ‘de sack for it’ but where is the profit in dis?”
As if on cue, Lexi produced a coin purse and lobbed it at him, the scarred, eye patched soldier snatching it from before his face,
“Ooh, money! Dis ist ein better conversation now, ya?”
“Here’s the deal. We go and save the day, you soldiers, sit on your arse here and keep an eye on things for us, in particular the Chaosgate.”
“Ya, dis ist gut, what about the rest of the money, after this down payment?” Astindord queried with a wry smile.
A crackle of energy wrapped around Lexi’s fist, ” don’t push your bloody luck! Rumour has it that it’s your mens fault that the Heyl townsfolk have no homes in the first place!”
The mercenary raised a hand in a gesture of calm as his men leapt to their feet,
“Hey, hey, there ist no need for your magics here, relax, we can discuss the terms after your little adventure, ya?”
“Fine.” Growled Lexi as she marched away from him, “just do your damn job or you’ll be VERY concerned about me and my ‘magics’!”
She rejoined the others,