About the Author

Author Nay of the Ether

Stories : A Long Long time Ago....

GuildWars tale by Nay of the Ether, 2010-03-04T23:52:00.0000000. Reads: 2590
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Introduction

Zephairim stepped out into the open air, having finally clawed and blasted his way out of the cave he was trapped in with Rurik and other adventurers. The air was thick and dust choked his throat. Not much could be seen in the haze and smoke. Whatever that explosion had been, it did cataclysmic damage. The arena at the academy he had been in only hours before was no more. The entire ground was heaved to the sky in some places and sunken in at others. The ash that was falling from the sky was covering the grass and dirt like silvery snow. Fearing the worst, he climbed to the edge of the cliff overlooking the great Ascalonian Lake. to his horror the water was bubbling in various places with black tar pools, and floating around those bubbling wells were bodies...bodies of people he probably knew but was too sickened to look closer. Rage overtook him and he started for the city, his hands already ablaze with his next flare-ball to who-or whatever got in his way. A firm hand on his shoulder held him steady though. "Be still my friend. There is nothing we can do right now, the city is lost. We must regroup and protect the survivors. Right now we might be the only hope they have," Rurik said shakily. though Zephairim really didn't care much for the thickheaded prince, he could feel the overwhelming sorrow emenating from the man as he watched his home tumble into ruin. Zephairim relaxed his hands and the flare died out slowly. He hated to admit it, but the prince was right. He was about to ask what to do next when an ear splitting crack resounded overhead and the sky lit up with an ominous red glow. Straining to see thorugh the haze and low lying clouds Zephairim's eyes went wide. The sky was falling, no, it was a mountain. A mountain of blazing, crystalline horrors. This was it. This was the end of everything.

Chapter 1

The sky was exploding in fire, the ground was shaking violently, and
Zephairim knew this was truly the end. But the massive crystal that
was falling from the heavens was not aimed at that small cave behind
the academy. It slammed hard into the buildings and walls of the city
itself, reducing what little was left standing to little more than
smoldering rubble.
"We must go...now!" Rurik cried.
Together the 4 adventurers and the battered Prince Rurik made their
way down through the rubble deeper into the city. If anyone could be
saved, they must hurry or all will be lost. A few stranded soldiers
from the town guard came filtering out of the debris to join them as
they picked their way through the city. The guard tended the wounded
civilians and helped the ones that were able, back towards the academy
since that region seemed safest for now.They hurried on ever faster,
knowing full well the northern wall would be obliterated once they
rounded the bend. But even through the dim light and smoke Zephairim
could make out the looming shadow of the Great Northern Wall. It had
been damaged but it still stood, the silent sentinel, defiant against
all odds against the charr onslaught. He could see a small charr
warband creeping through a crack that had been blown in the wall.
"There! The filthy beasts are on the move!" he pointed to the group
who had not yet seen them. The ranger, Reyna, that had accompanied
them, knocked two arrows and let them fly. They hit the shaman square
in the chest and wounded it, but did not kill it. A few moved to
shield him and the rest charged Zephairim and the prince. Zephairim
began furiously tossing flare balls at the attackers. Their flesh was
searing away but still they came. The warrior, Stefan roared like an
enraged bull and charged the charr closest to Zeph. His sword slid
neatly into the charr's stomach and the beast fell, bleeding out in
seconds. Alesia was chanting over a signet she wore around her neck,
as she finished the prayer the charr that was about to hit her was
blasted with holy light and he fell flat on his face. Zephairim
finished him off with a few flares to the face. The shaman and a few
necromancer casters were not standing idle while all this was taking
place, they had cursed Prince Rurik who had run ahead, ignoring all in
a blind rage, and his life was slowly being drained away. The magical
sword, Sohothin, was singing as it sliced through the air and charr
flesh, its power gladly being unleashed with all the fury Rurik could
muster. With a conentrated thought, Zephairim flooded the area around
the charr with liquid fire from the sky. They melted away in bubbling
heaps of flesh. A fitting, and ironic end, he thought to himself.
Alesia rushed down the hill to Rurik to heal him and restore his
strength. After all wounds were healed they continued the arduous task
of searching for survivors. Over the next few hours, the ragtag group
managed to round up several dozen guards and soldiers, as well as a
sizeable portion of the city's population. They were glad to see so
many survived, yet distraught by the ones that were not so lucky. The
day turned to dusk on the ravaged land and the fearful ascalonians
began to gather in the once majestic city's center.  time dragged
painfully by for those who had escaped death. Over the course of the
next few months temporary shelters were set up to house the citizens.
The holes in the wall near the city had been plugged with rubble for
the time being. Most of the warbands that had come down were pushed
back or destroyed, many of them Zephairim personally saw to. For now,
the city was safe, but no one expected that to last for long.  The
young elementalist went to the academy not so long ago as a clumsy,
unsure cadet, but now he had been tempered in the fired of battle and
death. Daily his powers grew, and he knew he would need every ounce of
it he could find. This war was not over, it had not even began. The
charr were counting on most of the populace to be destroyed in the
initial assault, then the rest to die off slowly. They would march
triumphantly into a dead kingdom and claim their prize. But Ascalon
would not fall so easily. Though dark days lay ahead, Zephairim
Nasgol, Elementalist of the 3rd order, champion of the Ascalonian
people, would not rest until his home was once again safe.

Chapter 2

The lands around Ascalon had become little more than a blasted heap of
dirt and ash. The wind blew constantly as a result of absent
vegetation, and small dust cyclones were a constant annoyance. Other
things had changed as well. Only the sturdiest of creatures had
survived the cataclysm, but they had changed, evolved, become
increasingly more aggressive and powerful. New lands were more readily
accessible as well. The entire landscape had been reformed. Where
gently rolling hills once stood, now it was only barren plains. Rocky
outcrops had been thrust from the earth as the giant flaming crystals
displaced the ground around them when they fell. The sky was a
perpetual hue of a blood red, mostly due to the dust that hovered in
the air, but partly due to the fires that seemed to eternally burn.
Zephairim knelt to examine the tracks that were leading through what
had become known as the Breach. The Breach was an area of the Great
Northern Wall that was damaged beyond repair and where the first of
the charr invasion force came pouring through. they had been right,
once the charr saw the people of ascalon had not only survived the
cataclysm, but were regrouping and fighting back, the charr stormed
the wall in hopes of catching them while they were weakened. They were
pushed back for now, and guards were posted at the breach to keep them
at bay, but Zephairim knew they wouldn't stay back for long. The
tracks confirmed this. They were charr. A small warband had been
through here not too long ago. No doubt a scouting party. Zephairim
had uncovered one of the main invasion attempts along with Prince
Rurik on a scouting mission north of the wall. They managed to thin
out and defeat that force at the ruins of the once glorious capitol of
Drascir. The legendary weapon, Stormcaller, whom they had discovered
in the ruins of the academy at Surmia, had proven functional, but much
less powerful than they had hoped. Now Zephairim was on a hunt for any
charr he could find. They had decided to move the people of ascalon
over the shiverpeak mountains into the kingdom of Kryta to start a new
life and rebuild. This decision came about as a result of Price
Rurik's banishment fomr the kingdom by his father, King Adelbern.
Zephairim did not understand the king's reasoning for this, but he had
sworn loyalty to the prince and so he joined in the mass exodus into
the unexplored lands to the west. They should be about halfway to the
camp of Yak's Bend that Captain Osric had set up in advance. Zephairim
has elected to take up the rear and protect any stragglers that were
left behind. As he cautiously made his way down the trails he could
hear the growling voices of a group of charr ahead.
"Time to test out this new spell," he said to himself. He had acquired
a few new skills before heading out. it had proved a wise move. The
more charr he encountered the more powerful they became. He topped the
ridge and saw the group he had been tracking. there were about 5 of
them. A few warriors, a few necromancers, and of course, a shaman.
There was always a shaman it seemed. How he hated them. Their powerful
heals made things difficult sometimes. They hadn't seen him yet so he
crept into range and whispered the words to the spell. A shower of
fiery meteors flew from the heavens, knocking them all down. Then he
cast his favorite, the firestorm. The combination of the two was
decimating, but it took its toll. He was exhausted so he had to fall
back on lesser spells like the flare balls until he recovered. Within
a few seconds all the charr had been incinerated or dying in the
flames of his wrath. He did not escape their assaults unharmed. A few
ranged hits had grazed him and a hex spell was still draining his life
slowly. He fell to the ground and lay there, letting the hex wear off
and his strength to recover. He laughed in spite of himself. He was
getting stronger every day. The hexes seemed to end sooner, and he
could endure much more punishment. He had become proficient at
blocking and dodging the melee fighters. He also took on the path of a
monk to supplement his survival. The healing skills had saved his hide
more than a few times. Though he was not as powerful as a true monk,
they helped nonetheless. He trudged on for a few more days,
encountering a few more patrols and the endless supply of ascalon's
gargoyle infestation. Those he made short work of for mere fun. While
they used to best him, he had grown considerably in power and they now
posed little threat. Eventually he reached the last leg of the journey
out of Old Ascalon. Here things grew much more difficult. He had heard
rumors of the hydras, ancient lizards with multiple heads and powerful
spells that rivaled his own. He would have to tread carefully. After
dodging a few groups he came upon some broken stairs leftover from
a long abandoned village that once flourished in these outlying lands
before the guild wars. The stairs made a natural choke point which he
would have to pass through. He cautiously crept by a small group of the
aggressive hydras that were busy picking apart the decimated corpse of
some hapless wanderer . As he watched them in their grim feast he realized too late he had not been aware enough of his surroundings. Three of the beasts as well as an escort of scorched elementals were coming straight for him. The elementals had no need for human flesh, or any living flesh for that matter, but driven mad by the chaotic power unleashed during the Searing, they now reveled in mindless killing and destruction. Felling no pain and even less remorse, they were formidable foes. Their elemental powers rivaled his own. He knew such a lengthy and costly spell as his meteor shower would spell his doom against such a large group, but Zephairim had other tricks up his sleeve. Though fire was currently his field of elemental study, he dabbled in the other elements as well, With a flurry of icy shards, he peppered the attackers with a frozen blast that slowed them enough for him to run past, then, as they were struggling to turn and keep pace, he unleashed a firestorm and his newest skill, an earth eruption. The eruption sent jagged rocks and flesh rending dust to surround them, the dust also blinded the lot, allowing him to make his escape. He heard a few in the throes of an agonizing death.
       "Remember that pain," He mused to himself, "Perhaps next time I pass this way they will remember my power and choose a different path." He laughed a little. No they wouldn't..... Good

Chapter 3

Zephairim hated leaving the safety and warmth of the great bonfire that was perpetually burning at Yak's Bend. It had been several weeks since they established the outpost with the help of a few wandering Deldrimore Dwarves and wayward human travelers. He had been tasked to lead scouting parties and attempt to thin out some of the Stone Summit Dwarves, exiles of the dwarven kingdom that were currently waging a civil war against the Deldrimore Dwarves. The resulting conflict made it nigh impossible to freely pass through the shiverpeaks unmolested...or alive for that matter. Since most of the dwarves were heavily armored, Zephairim opted to begin training in the arts of air magic, which would render a large chunk of that armor ineffective. A few of the raids they had currently undertaken had proven successful, but seemed to do little more than instigating mroe of them into setting up camp in the area to catch the wayward ascalonian refugee too far from camp. Today might be the turning point, however. One of Captain Osiric's scouts had reported that leader of the local Stone Summit band had been found not far from the Yaks camp.

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