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Thread: Fading Tendrils - PG-13 [Language, Violence]

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    Default Fading Tendrils - PG-13 [Violence, Graphic Elements]

    Some of you may remember my posting a thread of this same name a few months back. Well, after plenty of brainstorming, I thought of something to do with the story. This is based on the prologue I posted then, with much more thought as to the plot. I decided to write this in order to express two things I love: Medieval Times, and writing Suspense.
    This won't seem like a Pokemon fic at first, but I assure you it will in time.

    NOTE: This story is rated PG-13 for Violence and some Graphic Elements. You have been warned.
    Pokemon and all related characters, locations and the like are copyright Game Freak and Nintendo, yaddah yaddah yaddah. I don't own it, though if I did I'd make a Gold and Silver remake... that is, if the latest clue is the biggest hoax ever.

    *Cough* anyways, on with the story:

    -~Fading Tendrils~-

    Prologue: One Lost

    Twigs snapped under the boy’s feet as he ran with all the speed and determination his aching body could give. Branches clawed at his face and clothing, ruining the pale gray tunic he wore and snagging in his blond hair. Above his labored breathing he could hear the sounds of his pursuer.

    It was getting closer.

    His fear became augmented by the thoughts and memories of other victims; their faces would always be completely pale, with a look of sheer agony imprinted upon them. He thought of how they only seemed asleep and dreaming, yet never woke up.

    To be Lost to The Faded was death within itself.

    Lights flickered between the trees ahead. Hope awoke from its slumber and rose within his chest; he was almost free! The boy squeezed every ounce of energy he could into reaching those lights and the safety of the castle's plantation. The sounds of the Faded One behind him became fainter: he was escaping! Just a little more, that was all he needed—

    Tzzzk!

    He felt himself twitching uncontrollably as a wave of electricity swept over him. His body slumped to the ground, unable to move as the gold circlet on his head rolled away. He stared at the night sky through the treetops, his heart hammering against his ribs.

    He knew it in his heart of hearts; the end had come for him. The Faded One crouched over him, growling. Beyond the black-and-red tinge the creature’s fur had taken, the boy could faintly make out what was once a splendid pale blue and yellow coat. He remembered how it had once sparkled with static electricity when it was happy, and gave a dull hum when it was angered. The red pupils of its black eyes hid the friendly joy his Manectric once held.

    “L-Lester…” The boy barely gasped as a heavy paw pressed on his chest. “Lester, please look in my eyes! Wake up...” His partner gave no sign that it recognized the boy’s voice. It did not even seem to notice he’d said anything. It simply opened its mouth, inhaling with a ragged, foul breath.

    Instantly pain racked the boy’s body. He screamed in agony, but his voice was cut short as he lost all control of his body. The last thing his fading vision saw was a red mist trickling from his mouth.

    ~-~-~-~-~-~-~

    The blond-haired man raced through the castle corridors, his greaves and bracers clinking with each step as two Manectric flanked him, easily keeping pace. The trio turned a corner and jogged up a flight of stairs, bursting through a heavy wooden door into the entry hall.

    A tall man with dark, neatly trimmed brown hair and a thin mustache looked up from the stretcher before him. “Captain Rahl,” he acknowledged the blond haired newcomer.

    Rahl nodded in return. “Khysler, what news of the king’s…” His voice trailed off as he saw the pale body lying in the stretcher. He stepped forward warily, as though the still form could leap up at any time and strike him down. His eyes stared into the boy’s face, its former confidence and caring now replaced by a grimace of sheer agony.

    “We found him just within the edges of the forest. Our trackers traced a path back through the underbrush until we found his escort. They all carried the same fate.” Khysler pointed to four more stretchers set against the far wall.

    “Blast…” Rahl muttered. “What of his pet, that Manectric?”

    “Wandering aimlessly in the forest. It'd become a Faded One.”

    Rahl muttered a small number of curses against the creature. “Does the king know yet?”

    Khysler shook his head gravely.

    Rahl closed his eyes, fighting back the moisture that had been building in them since first seeing the body. “Very well, I will tell him.” As he turned to leave, he took once last glance at the boy. “Farewell, brother.”

    A tear slid down his face.

    ~-~-~-~-~-~-~

    The sound of the great oaken doors shutting echoed through the hall. King Rahl VII of Sinnoh looked up from the hands clasped in his lap, watching as his Captain of the Guard moved slowly and purposefully across the hall to him. His graying blond hair fell about his face as he looked down, building the courage to receive the inevitable news.

    Captain Rahl stopped before the throne, looking into the king’s eyes. “Father… Noah has been…” The tears erupted, and Rahl collapsed before the king’s feet, both men weeping openly. King embraced Captain as the latter barely managed to utter the last of his sentence.

    “…Lost.”
    Last edited by Blademaster_Jale; 5th May 2009 at 10:44 PM. Reason: revisions
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    Oh, wow. Oh, dear. Oh, my. Oh, goodness. Oh, help!

    Quite the beginning to a story, you have there, my friend. Intruiging, to say the least.

    Oh, but the job of the reviewer is to say a lot of things, in a way, is it not?

    Hm, well. At first, I thought The Faded was a Lucario, but shows how much I know. Or maybe it was. Perhaps you should add some more description there besides fur color?

    This is set in medieval times, yes? Whoa, no need to snap, I'm just confirming...

    Yes, my mind is an eccentric thing, you might as well get used to it. Why? Because I'm sticking around. I've never read a fic set in medieval times and this is just too interesting to let go of.



    ~BM
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    Thank you for that rather... eccentric review.

    I did in fact give more clue towards the Faded One's species, and after a few edits I made sure there's no mistaking it. Oh, and yes, this is set in Medieval Sinnoh.

    Thanks for reading! As soon as I get my computer working (i'm posting this from my Wii) I'll get to work on Chapter 1. Thanks again for reading!

    *EDIT* - My computer finally crashed for good last night, and my parents are planning to get the hard-drive wiped so it doesn't have anything hindering performance. I have no clue how long this will take; whether it'll be a month or just a few days is beyond me. Until then, I hope more people come along and discover this tale. I enjoy writing this just as much as you enjoy reading, if not more.
    PS: this time I'm posting from school. Yeah, I improvise. I cannot, however, write a whole story during class time; someone's bound to notice. Sorry.

    Your master of Swords,
    ~BMJale
    Last edited by Blademaster_Jale; 24th March 2009 at 2:36 AM.
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    Can't tell if that first comment you made is sarcasm or not, but...eh, thanks, I guess.

    I know that now. I meant at first. And now I reread and yes, you said electricity, so my bad. ^^; And nevermind...

    Sweet. I look forward to its medievalness.

    You're very welcome for reading. It was a good read, actually. And hooray from posting by Wii!

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    Hey. I have a bit of a break, finally. So here I am!

    Overall, it was a good chapter. The description was very well done, especially when you described the boys last moments. Not that I thought the fact that he died was cool, but just the way you described it.

    There were no spelling/grammar mistakes as far as I could tell. I did have a little issue with one of the expressions you used, I mentioned it below. Other than that, there was nothing else I could notice. You make much much more easy this way. =)

    The only real problem I had with this was the length. Yeah, I know its a prologue. But it just felt like it ended too quickly. I don't know what you could've done since I don't know anything of the plot, but I just thought this was worth mentioning. but other than that everything else was great!

    He stared at the night sky through the treetops, his heart screaming to be released of his chest.
    A bit of an odd expression IMO. Doesn't sound the way a heart would behave. Pounding, throbbing, thrashing and hammering were the words that came to my mind when thinking of a possible alternative. "... his heart felt like it was thrashing wildly around in his chest, trying to escape." don't feel obligated to use this specific quote. If you come with something you like better then by all means go for that.

    So yeah, you have me hooked! I look forward to chapter one! Can't wait till then!


    On Nsider I was known as Shadesninja.
    No need to call me by my full name. Focus will do just fine. Or you can call me FPE. You can save a second of writing that way! (and save me a second of reading *grins maniacally* Step 1 in world domination complete! Ah-Uh... I mean... um... well you see... grr... foiled again!)

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    ...........

    *leaps out from behind a pillar wearing a tiki mask* BOOGA BOOGA!! OwO

    Scare you?? Ahhhh....I love doing that...ANYWAYS!!

    Awesome fic so far! Can't wait to see what the deal is with the "Faded Ones..."

    MORE! I MUST HAVE MORE!!! @_@


    Fantasy remains a human right: we make in our measure and in our derivative mode, because we are made: and not only made, but made in the image and likeness of a Maker.
    ~J.R.R. Tolkien

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    Quote Originally Posted by Koridojo_Blaziken View Post
    ...........

    *leaps out from behind a pillar wearing a tiki mask* BOOGA BOOGA!! OwO
    HOLY- *slices tiki mask in half*

    Oh, it's you...

    Scare you??
    Umm, *glances at sword in hand* nope. Just my acting skillz kicking in there... *sweatdrop*

    Ahhhh....I love doing that...ANYWAYS!!

    Awesome fic so far! Can't wait to see what the deal is with the "Faded Ones..."

    MORE! I MUST HAVE MORE!!! @_@
    And so you shall have more, I promise. My computer's back and better than ever! (hey, it's been a long time since I've had a page load in less than a minute on this thing.) So either way, I have the first page of Chapter One written and I'm in the process of writing more. You guys can look forward to that!


    Now, not wanting to forget teh FPE-ness...

    Hey. I have a bit of a break, finally. So here I am!

    Overall, it was a good chapter. The description was very well done, especially when you described the boys last moments. Not that I thought the fact that he died was cool, but just the way you described it.

    There were no spelling/grammar mistakes as far as I could tell. I did have a little issue with one of the expressions you used, I mentioned it below. Other than that, there was nothing else I could notice. You make much much more easy this way. =)
    Yay! I didz a good job!

    The only real problem I had with this was the length. Yeah, I know its a prologue. But it just felt like it ended too quickly. I don't know what you could've done since I don't know anything of the plot, but I just thought this was worth mentioning. but other than that everything else was great!
    Yeah, I know it was pretty short. I'd almost classify it as more Teaser-Trailer than an actual Prologue. Rest assured, future chapters will be longer.

    Quote:
    He stared at the night sky through the treetops, his heart screaming to be released of his chest.

    A bit of an odd expression IMO. Doesn't sound the way a heart would behave. Pounding, throbbing, thrashing and hammering were the words that came to my mind when thinking of a possible alternative. "... his heart felt like it was thrashing wildly around in his chest, trying to escape." don't feel obligated to use this specific quote. If you come with something you like better then by all means go for that.

    So yeah, you have me hooked! I look forward to chapter one! Can't wait till then!
    Fixed the issue, and I'm glad to see I now have three readers. The more the merrier, I'll say!

    Well, to sum things up here:

    -Sorry for the delay
    -Glad you guys enjoyed it
    -New chapter soon
    -Looking forward to writing this, especially with such enthusiastic readers! *glances at Blue Mew and Kori*
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    Post Chapter One

    Took a bit longer than expected, but here's Chapter One:


    Chapter One: Newcomers


    Rahl leaned his head against the sun-warmed stones of the wall. Sighing, he adjusted the sword at his side, the silver etchings on the scabbard and hilt flashing in the sunlight for a brief moment. Sitting in silence, he let the sun warm his face as he mused over the events of the previous days.

    Feeling a nudge against his side, Rahl opened one eye slightly, smiling at the dog curling next to him. Almost with difficulty, he raised his hand and slowly stroked the animal’s bright, sparkling blue fur. A quiver of static rippled through its body, causing the rigid yellow tufts of fur on its head to shudder as it lay over his lap. A similar dog shuffled near another end of the small courtyard, sniffing for some morsel of food.

    Rahl watched the dog for a moment, and then gazed about him at the deserted gardens. He watched the wind lightly brushing the leaves of the orchard around him, listened to the commotion echoing from the kitchen window above his inquisitive pet.

    “Volk, come here,” he called. The dog immediately perked up and trotted to his side. Its fur also bristled constantly with static, and it was in almost every way identical to the sleeping form next to Rahl. Being a male, it had wider shoulders and thicker legs, along with a unique tuft of blue fur overhanging its right eye. The dog sniffed its mate playfully, the resting female responding with a contented growl.

    “How can the world still be this quiet?” Rahl muttered to himself. “How can things remain the same while so much agony exists?” He was answered by a sneeze beside him. Chuckling, he scratched the nape of his companion’s neck. “Nothing fazes you, does it Nailah?” The female dog snuffled, then stretched and stood to join its mate in investigating a nearby peach tree.

    -~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-

    Khysler walked briskly down the hallway, the massive sword strapped to his back clinking heavily against his armor. He turned down a side hallway, took a sharp right and marched through a room full of startled cooks. He burst through a door in the room’s east wall and into the sunlit courtyard.

    Rahl jumped to his feet. “Khysler? What is it?”

    The man’s face remained passive. “Some merchants just arrived from Johto. You’ll want to hear what they have to say.”

    Rahl raised an eyebrow. “Why?”

    Khysler hesitated. “It’s about the Faded.”

    With that, Rahl tore across the courtyard, through the doorway, past the cooks, and down the corridor. Volk and Nailah panted lightly as they kept easy pace with their master, and Khysler trailed behind, wishing he had brought a lighter weapon. It wasn’t long before they were in the entrance hall once more.

    Rahl finally slowed his pace, taking a cursory glance over the room. It was the same as the last time he had entered in a similar fashion, yet now a travel-weary band rested where Noah’s stretcher was. The travelers wore ragged and patched clothing, the dirty cloth held by tough leather belts with swords thrust through them. The men kept a hand near their blades at all times, their wide eyes flitting back and forth. The women held their children close, staying by their husbands with similar looks on their faces. Rahl guessed the whole group to number about thirty.

    “Who is your leader?” The merchants jumped at Rahl’s voice, but quickly took hold of their fear and parted to reveal a few crates and five equine Pokemon. The latter appeared as ragged as their masters, their cream colored fur matted with dirt and blood. Their fiery manes sputtered, echoing their exhaustion. Four of them were small, no more than three feet tall, appeared as frightened as the merchants themselves, and all crowded around the last horse, which stood tall and proud. Its flaming mane, tail, and hooves burned brightly in a silvery gray color, and an elegant horn protruded from its forehead. Rahl instantly recognized the Pokemon as Ponyta and the larger Rapidash.

    Rahl stepped forward to the crates, on which was sitting a woman in her late twenties. She wore baggy pants halfway down her calves, and small shoes below them. Her torso was covered by a dark green short-sleeved shirt, over which two leather straps were slung. Her deep green hair hung over the heavy gray cloak she wore. Rahl caught a glimpse of a splendid sword hanging from her belt as she stood, bowing slightly and concealing the blade in her cloak.

    “Greetings, Captain Rahl,” she said in a strong, but slightly traumatized, voice.

    “You know me?”

    “I have heard of you, yes.” She paused before continuing. “They say you single-handedly won the Battle of Twinleaf Forest, and that you served as Prince Noah’s personal bodyguard since he was a child.”

    The praise of his feats was quickly forgotten upon the mention of Rahl’s brother. “You were told correct, but Volk and Nailah here were the real heroes of that battle.” He waved his hand at the pair before continuing. “Now, may I have your name and the reason you are here?”

    After nodding at the dogs, the girl bowed again. “My apologies, Sir Rahl; my name is Lizah. I am here with these merchants to ask a request of the king, and you.”

    “A request? Of what sort?”

    “They,” she hesitated, “we need your help, and we hope that what we have to offer will be enough.”

    Rahl nodded. “Very well, but I think we should discuss this in my quarters; your friends need rest.” He could easily see the relief and hope on the merchants’ faces. “Khysler?”

    His second-in-command was at his side immediately. “Sir?”

    “See to it that these people are properly housed and fed. Make sure none of the cooks were too startled earlier and tell them to add thirty more people to the dinner preparations. Oh, and send a messenger to the stables so they can make room for four Ponyta and one Rapidash.”

    “It will be done, Sir.” Khysler bowed his head and turned to leave, beckoning the merchants to follow him.

    Rahl gestured in his direction. “Do you want rest before we meet?”

    Lizah shook her head, an urgent expression coming over her face. “Thank you, but I must decline. It is urgent that we speak immediately.”

    Nodding in return, Rahl motioned her to follow him as he crossed the hallway to a stairwell.

    -~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-

    “I met Bazhul and his merchants near Olivine Port in Johto. I needed to reach Sinnoh, and they were taking a shipment there so they agreed to let me join them. There were sixty able-bodied men in his troop, many of them skilled sailors, so the journey went well enough. We’d made it around the Southern Spire of Tohjo, and were well on our way northeast toward Sinnoh. But then…” Lizah trailed off.

    “Go on; what happened then?” Rahl leaned forward in the large wooden chair he occupied. Volk whimpered at a dream in the corner of the small office while Nailah licked his ear softly to comfort him.

    Biting her lip slightly, Lizah continued. “We were almost to Port Lave when a storm blew us off course and far to the north. Soon, we came to an island off Sinnoh’s northwest coast, or so we guessed. The place was… rather foreboding, though we had no choice but to disembark; the storm had cost us a week’s worth of time, and we would need fresh water before long. The troop split into three groups of twenty men each: two groups to search for provisions and one to stay and guard the ship and the men’s families. I’m skilled with a sword, so I volunteered to help guard.

    “For the longest hours of our lives we waited on that ship, praying that the search parties would find provisions and return soon. Bazhul kept looking to the island’s mountain, muttering various superstitious incantations and stroking some feather. Finally, our fears came true. One of the search parties burst out of the forest and started running for the ship, screaming something about demon Pokemon and their black leader.”

    Lizah’s eyes flitted downwards, her brow furrowing as she recalled the events. “Before they could make it, a swarm of black creatures came from the forest. They resembled Pokemon: Houndoom, Mightyena, even a Dragonite. They quickly gained on the party, bringing them down in seconds. They… they would pin the men to the ground, and… open their mouths and…” Her voice trailed off.

    “…Suck their souls straight from their bodies,” Rahl finished.
    Lizah nodded. “The Faded… they are the reason I came to Sinnoh. I just… never saw them actually…” She shook her head. “I couldn’t get there in time… I could have stopped them, and saved the merchants, but I wasn’t… strong enough, I wasn’t fast enough…”

    “You couldn’t have saved them. Nobody can kill a Faded One; it’s not possible.”

    Lizah’s eyes flashed, all previous hesitance gone. “Yes, it is.” Standing, she drew back her cloak to reveal a splendid white sheathed sword. In one fluid motion she drew the weapon, its blade shimmering in the light. Rahl gaped in amazement, his eyes moving along the weapon.

    Its blade was of a pure silvery steel, with a thin gold line twined along its length. The weapon seemed to radiate with a light of its own, from its razor-sharp tip to its beautifully crafted hilt. At the hilt, the thin river of gold widened and wrapped itself once about the handle, extending outward and twisting to become one side of the cross-guard. The handle itself was of perfect size, clenched easily in Lizah’s slim hand as it extended down to the diamond-studded pommel.

    Rahl stood, awed by the sword held before him. Without thought, one word came from his mouth. “Aldenew…”
    Last edited by Blademaster_Jale; 25th April 2009 at 2:19 AM.
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    Lost Evolution By: elyvorg
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  9. #9
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    Hm.

    I shall try to be more serious this time, sorry if it doesn't work out.

    So the mystery begins. We're learning more about the Faded and the sword that I'm thinking can kill them. The only thing that can kill them?

    It's scary to see more Manectric, especially when the prologue has one sucking the soul from somebody... -shudders-

    Sorry I haven't much to say, it's just that...erg, I'm a bad reviewer. D:

    This is interesting. I do hope you don't take so long for the next chapter. It's good. =)

    ~blue
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue_Mew22 View Post
    Hm.

    I shall try to be more serious this time, sorry if it doesn't work out.

    So the mystery begins. We're learning more about the Faded and the sword that I'm thinking can kill them. The only thing that can kill them?

    It's scary to see more Manectric, especially when the prologue has one sucking the soul from somebody... -shudders-

    Sorry I haven't much to say, it's just that...erg, I'm a bad reviewer. D:

    This is interesting. I do hope you don't take so long for the next chapter. It's good. =)

    ~blue
    Woah, I didn't mean that I want you to stop being excited. I love to see people get pumped about a story, especially something I wrote. Trust me; I do not mind crazy reviews.

    I also don't mind whether or not you're good at giving a review; just let me know if you liked it, and if there was a sentence you thought sounded wierd or whatever then you can point that out, too. Heck, simply popping in to say hi is enough.

    Either way, I'm on vacation right now (I know; always an excuse, right? the problem here is they're all true XD) and won't be able to work on the next chapter until at least Saturday. Nontheless, I don't take long to write a chapter once I commit myself to it. Chapter One was written in two days, the prologue in one, and Chapter Two'll be out by the end of next week.

    Until then,
    ~Jale
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    Some stories I reccomend reading:

    The Saga of Team Supernova By: FocusPresenceEndurance
    Lost Evolution By: elyvorg
    And my new story:
    Fading Tendrils

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    Default Chapter Two: Test

    Just a little note here: There's a bit of an issue with some words on the forums, so a few words in this chapter had to be fiddled with to make them work. If you notice something weird about a word, don't fret. It's probably just the site issue.

    ...but still, bring it to my attention. Just in case it's actually a mistake on my part.

    Chapter Two: Test


    Unto Earth
    did light be blessed.
    Unto Earth
    man was sent.
    Unto Earth
    gazed envious eyes.
    Unto Earth
    darkness fell.

    Unto Man
    destruction reigned.
    Unto Man
    suffering dwelt.
    Unto Man
    hope was lost.
    So unto Man
    were Pokemon given.

    Unto Darkness
    was justice served.
    Unto Darkness
    was vengeance gained.
    Unto Darkness
    was Man avenged.
    'Till unto Darkness
    was new power gained.

    Taken was
    the companion of Man.
    Taken was
    the hope of Man.
    Taken was
    the souls of all.
    Taken was
    the will of Pokemon.

    Until...
    Unto Man, New Power was given.
    Unto Man, Hope was given.
    Unto Man, Light was redeemed.
    Unto Man, Aldenew was bestowed.

    ~Excerpt from Ancient Sinnoh Legend


    Lizah leaned against the wall by the open window, gazing upon the sky without seeing it. The setting Sun spread her last rays, trying to shine her brightest before being claimed by the horizon. Clouds spread across the sky like a thin wool blanket over a bed. Had she been watching, Lizah might have been awed by the scene.

    "'Unto Man, Hope was given...'" She muttered. Sighing, she traced her finger along the intricate designs of Aldenew's scabbard; over the ancient letterings that spelled her words. Stepping away from the window, she moved her gaze over the worn stone walls of the castle corridor as her fingers found their way to the blade's hilt. Clenching her hand around the wire-bound hilt, she ripped it from its scabbard in one quick motion. Light patterns danced over the walls around her like fairies.

    Raising the blade evenly before her face, she began moving it through the air in smooth patterns. The blade's movements grew more complex as she began weaving it into faster circles and lines. Spinning, she swung the blade downward.

    CLANG!

    Khysler stood directly before Lizah, his great blade raised into an expert defensive position in front of him. Quickly he spun it around, flourishing it twice until it rested by his side in a maneuver that Lizah wouldn't have thought possible with the blade's size.

    Surprised, Lizah took a step backwards, bowing her head slightly. "Sir Khysler. How may I help you?"

    Khysler returned his blade to its leather holdings, nodding to Lizah in return. "Captain Rahl wishes to speak with you again. He requests more information pertaining to Aldenew."

    Lizah sighed; the captain had been asking her plenty of questions about the blade ever since she'd revealed it to him. At this rate she wondered if she would ever be able to convince him of the sword's authenticity, or whether she was the rightful owner. This final question was the hardest on her: she had a painful feeling Rahl did not trust her.

    "Very well, I will meet with him." Khysler nodded, turned, and began walking away in a brisk step. Lizah sheathed Aldenew and followed him.

    "Sir Khysler?"

    "Yes, Lady Lizah?"

    Lizah rolled her eyes. "You don't have to call me that. My name alone is fine."

    "Very well, Lizah. Your question?"

    "How...?" Lizah paused momentarily, "how did Rahl come to trust you so well? He always seems to send you with all of his messages, and I have never seen anything but friendship and trust between you. Forgive me if it is blunt of me, but I wish to know."

    Khysler smiled, his thin black mustache raising. "Sir Rahl is a great man, and he is very selfless. However, he has one surprising flaw, which I have noticed multiple times."

    "What is that?"

    "He values strength too much. He chooses his men from the strong, he selects his friends by skill, and often finds it hard to place his trust in anyone who seems incapable of a task." Khysler's smile fell. "I have spoken with him concerning this, but he does not care. 'Why shouldn't I place my trust in the skilled?' He says. 'I do not wish to have deaths on my mind, especially of men who died on my account.' He provides a good point, sure, but I still think he should give others a chance."

    "So, he does not fight alongside weak men because he cannot bear the thought of their deaths on his own account, correct?" Lizah snorted. "Seems a little careless to me."

    Khysler shook his head. "No, it's not that. He just values the lives of his men greatly, and chose me to join his Royal Guard because of my skill. Soon my training took me to his skill level, and I was promoted to be his second in command. Our friendship grew, and now he's come to trust me more than most anyone else. Only his father and brother can claim to hold more of his trust."

    "Rahl has a family?" The thought struck Lizah as surprising; she had never heard the Captain of the Guard mention kin.

    Khysler gave Lizah a puzzled look. "Why, of course. Every man has a family, be they close or distant, dead or alive."

    "Who are they?"

    He hesitated. "It is not my place to tell you that."

    Lizah opened her mouth to question him, thought better of it, and shut it. They continued walking in silence, the only sounds being their footsteps and Khysler's armor.

    Stretching for something to break the silence, Lizah glanced at the thick mail. "Do you always wear all that armor?"

    "When I am on duty, yes."

    "Looks a bit heavy."

    He shrugged. "Eventually you get used to it." His mouth twisted into a smirk. "Eventually," he repeated.

    Lizah was about to respond when she realized she did not recognize the hallway they had turned into. "Wait, where are we headed? I thought Sir Rahl's quarters were the other way."

    "He did not wish to meet with you in his quarters. He wants to test you."

    "Test me?" Her question was answered when Khysler turned and entered a door on their right that brought them into a low hall. On either side were lines of weapons and armor hanging from racks. Swords, axes, spears, bows, quivers of arrows, maces, and even flails lined the wall to their left. On their right, assorted helmets, breastplates, chain-mail shirts, greaves, bracers, and various shields hung in splendid order.

    Lizah blinked in amazement. "Impressive armory."

    Khysler smiled. "This isn't the armory, it's just a storeroom. The armory got so overfilled we began storing equipment here. It's more convenient, actually, as it opens right out to the training grounds." He proved his statement by crossing to the far end of the hallway and opening a door, through which Lizah could see the waning daylight shining on a wide dirt courtyard interspersed with bunches of crabgrass.

    Stepping through the door after Khysler, Lizah gazed around her at the courtyard. She guessed it to be about an acre in size, with three sides closed in by the castle. To the east though, the courtyard opened out into an even wider field. All over the dirt had been kicked about and scattered. Scars frm blades of swords and axes marred the ground in various places, accompanied by broken spear hafts. The field was deserted save for Rahl, who stood at the very center. His blade hung from his belt. On either side, Volk and Nailah flanked him.

    Lizah stepped forward as Rahl turned to face her. "Welcome, Lady Lizah," he called to her.

    "Sir Rahl," she acknowledged in return. "I understand you wish to, er, test me?"

    He nodded. "You claim to be Aldenew's owner. I wish to make sure of that claim here today."

    Lizah ground her teeth. "I have already put the blade under the inspections of your librarians. How many more times do I have to prove to you of what this sword is?"

    "I have no more doubt as to the blade's authenticity, though I am afraid I must ascertain yours."

    She responded with a heavy sigh. "Fine."

    "Draw the blade, and be at the ready."

    Reaching for the weapon, she untied sword and scabbard from her belt. Drawing Aldenew, she tossed its case lightly aside. It spun gracefully in a steady arc before landing with hardly a sound in the dirt as Lizah brandished its shimmering counterpart.

    In response, Rahl drew his own blade. It was a long, well-balanced hand-and-a-half sword of tempered steel, with a silver-encrusted hilt and etchings along its blade. Tossing aside his own scabbard, Rahl spun his sword in quick patterns on either side before settling with it at his right side. Nailah and Volk trotted across the field to stand by Khysler, their keen eyes observing the two duelists.

    Lizah took a deep breath, letting her body calm itself as she waited for Rahl to move. Her hand clenched Aldenew's hilt lightly.

    Rahl's hands gripped his blade, his feet moving to propel himself forward. Lizah immediately did the same, turned a quick backwards spin, and brought Aldenew crashing upward against Rahl's blade in a flurry of sparks. They broke away, danced backward some paces and brought their swords together once again. Back and forth they exchanged blows, seeking openings and going for them just to be blocked once more.

    Lizah held her blade against Rahl's once more, pressing with all her strength against his defense. Smirking, he met her assault with his own strength, pressing her back slowly. Exactly what Lizah had hoped he would do.

    Feinting back, she let Rahl fall forward slightly before she spun around, whipping her blade toward his back in a mock finishing blow.

    Clang!

    Rahl whipped his blade behind him, blocking Aldenew with a shuddering blow. With one quick maneuver, he twisted around and swung his blade upward, attempting to disarm. Lizah pulled back quickly, blocked perfectly, and quickly twisted her blade around to lock it with Rahl's hilt. A twitch of her wrist sent it flying.

    Rahl watched the shimmering arc of his blade as it flew through the air, his face a look of shock. He brought his eyes down once more to meet Lizah's as she easily moved Aldenew's tip to his throat.

    "Dead." She murmured, a smirk tugging the edges of her mouth.

    -~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-

    "Your skill with Aldenew is incredible... I must admit I misjudged you." Rahl leaned against the castle ramparts, gazing at the darkened horizon where the sun had set moments before. Bright, raspy chirping sounds echoed from the forest in a confused, chaotic jubilee.

    "I have trained with it ever since I was a little girl, when my parents passed away. I knew it was my duty to master the blade and its power, if ever there was a need for it. In the recent years that The Faded became so common I knew the time had come. I redoubled my training, until finally one day my master threw down his sword and claimed he could teach me no more."

    "Indeed, he taught you well. Who was your master?"

    "He was a friend of my parents. He took me under his wing when they died, and has raised me ever since. He also taught me to ride a horse, and how to command Pokemon."

    "Do you have any Pokemon companions?"

    "My Rapidash, Agro. He is as much my friend as anyone I've known."

    "That is often the case with Pokemon. They have a natural instinct to assist humans which cannot be broken."

    "Unfortunately, it can. The Faded have proved that much."

    Rahl tensed at the mention of his enemies. "Yes, unfortunately," he agreed. "Say, Lizah?"

    "Hm?"

    "Are you ready to tell me your request?"

    Lizah had nearly forgotten the reason she had come to Sinnoh in the first place. Now, having been reminded of it, all of the memories of the sailors and their demise came crashing against her like a wave. "We want to return to that Island."

    "You don't mean...?"

    She nodded. "We're sure that cursed, hope-forsaken place is the source of The Faded. Where else could so many varieties appear in such numbers? We want to find the cause of those demons and destroy them." Her hands clenched the rampart wall. "Before it's too late."

    "But, why do you need...?" Rahl's voice trailed away as he realized. "You want an army."

    Lizah's eyes smoldered slightly. "Yes. I know how to kill them, but it won't be possible without enough warriors to face them."

    Rahl stood silently, thinking of her request. "And I suppose what you have to offer is either the secret to killing them, or the end of their existence."

    "Both."

    Rahl nodded thoughtfully. "Hmm... Very well."

    "You... will help us?"

    "I lost my brother to The Faded only a week ago. I have had to watch my father lose himself in his grief, without any way to help him. He has lost the will to go on, and can't even rule anymore--" Rahl quickly place a hand over his mouth, but too late.

    "Rule? You mean your father--?"

    Rahl sighed. "Yes, my father..." He trailed off a moment. In the forest below, the confused chorus of crickets had dispersed into a beautiful melody, perfectly coordinated as though the crickets had a director.

    Rahl took a deep breath; I can trust her, he thought. "My father is the King of Sinnoh. My brother, Prince Noah, was returning from a visit to Northpoint City when his pet Lester..." Nailah whimpered at the sound of the name.

    "Oh... I'm so sorry. But... I thought Rahl VIII died at a young age, along with Queen Fiona?"

    "I asked my father to tell everyone that, and was raised in secret in a nearby village. I did not want the life of royalty, and wanted to defend my father and baby brother, so I asked him to let me be his Captain of the Guard. I could tell he was content with what his children requested, but to this day I know he still worries for what pain my position could bring me. I care not as long as I can fight for my family." Sighing, he looked back toward the castle, not realizing that the crickets' jubilee had ended.

    "We will continue this tomorrow. Perhaps then I will be able to think more clearly." And at that, he began walking away.

    Lizah almost responded. In fact, she most definitely would have had she not seen the mass of movement at the edge of the forest. She straightened quickly, ascertained what she saw, and spun around, shouting. "Rahl, look!"

    Rahl raced to her side, looking in the direction her finger pointed. He swore and ran to the other side of the battlements, calling down to the base of the stairs. "Khysler, call men to arms! Hurry!"

    "What is it, sir?"

    "Faded! A veritable army!"
    Last edited by Blademaster_Jale; 9th May 2009 at 2:32 AM. Reason: Chapter Two
    Author's Profile

    Some stories I reccomend reading:

    The Saga of Team Supernova By: FocusPresenceEndurance
    Lost Evolution By: elyvorg
    And my new story:
    Fading Tendrils

  12. #12
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    Scars from blades of swords and axes marred the ground in various places, accompanied by broken spear hafts.
    Only thing I caught.

    Lizah's power with the sword is respectable. It's amazing that she disarmed Rahl and "killed" him. Nice.

    Uh oh. The damned Faded have come again.

    Your chapters are so short. They leave me wanting more. How many Word pages are they? That would have to be my only complaint of this story.

    ~blue
    ~Keep on truckin'!~


    Thanks to Zadros for the banner!

    Not coming soon, but
    it's a pretty banner, yes?

  13. #13
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    My chapters are usually about three to five Word pages. I never call a chapter finished if it's less than three, and usually try for at least four. Anyways, I figure it's about time I posted this:

    Chapter Three: The Faded

    Lizah kept close on Rahl’s heels as the pair ran along the battlements, keeping pace with the horde of creatures below them. With her frequent glances, Lizah could make them out to be wolf-like in appearance, their vicious canine features smothered in black-and-grey fur tinged even darker by their condition.

    That was what she called it; a condition. She couldn’t bring herself to accuse the creatures directly, not when she knew they couldn’t control themselves. It was eerie to see it before her; the whole pack ran in perfect stride, every movement coordinated beyond possibility.

    A pack mind, she thought, or a hive one... she corrected herself.

    “Great Arceus… what are they?” Someone said behind her. Lizah jumped slightly, startled. She hadn’t noticed the line of soldiers catching up to them.

    “They’re all Mightyena, or they used to be. Now…” she let the thought hang. It was obvious what they were now.

    They were over the main gates now, and below Lizah could see the wide path stretching away from it and through the forest in the fading light. The Faded were heading straight for it.

    “Brace the gates!” Rahl shouted. Below them, dozens of armor-sheathed bodies moved heavy wooden bars into place on the massive gate. The sudden loosing of chains followed by a metallic crash marked the portcullis falling into place. Lizah and Rahl had both stopped now, swords drawn, gazing below them at the horde forty feet down. On either side of them the contingent of soldiers swarmed the battlements, weapons ready.

    Khysler pushed his way through the men until he stood by Rahl’s side. “What are your orders, Sir?”

    “Go down and take command of the soldiers guarding the gates. I will remain with Lizah and the Guard up here with bows and arrows.”

    “Very well, sir.” He hesitated. “Captain?”

    “Yes?”

    “Neither I nor the men know how to kill these creatures. How will we survive this?”

    Rahl looked at Lizah with a fire in his eyes she knew she’d not forget lightly. “Lizah, I think it’s time you start telling us what you know.”

    She blinked in surprise. “Er, I’m sorry?”

    “You said you knew of a way to defeat The Faded. You said you would tell us what you knew. Now would be a good time for that.”

    Recognition hit Lizah, and she silently berated herself for her ignorance. “Oh, of course,” her voice sounded so quiet compared to the howling, snarling horde assaulting the gates below them. The portcullis shuddered under multiple blows. “Well, er, the darkness is what makes them invincible. It… hides their true identity, concealing it in the black and red aura they emit. If they are exposed – if light finds its way through the aura – then they are vulnerable.”

    Rahl looked past her at the darkened horizon. “Well, that explains why they’ve always attacked at night. But… how can we stop them? We don’t exactly have swords that glow in the dark.” He looked almost enviously at the pale light emitting from Aldenew’s mirrored edges.

    “I think there is another way.”

    “And that is?” Lizah had never heard Rahl so anxious, and she was sure that wasn’t just because she hadn't known him long enough to.

    “I…” Lizah tried to keep calm, the snarls below her shaking her nerves. Quickly, she racked her brain for the answer, aware that every eye on top of the wall was watching her.

    “My master… often defended our village from Faded. They were scarce, then, and no more than one or two ever appeared at a time… but I remember he would use a torch to cast light on them—”

    That was all that Rahl needed.

    “Khysler, go spread the news quickly! Any masters of flame-using Pokémon must be ready for battle—” His voice was drowned out as a sickening sound, akin to scraping metal bars against each other, echoed from below.

    “My God… th-they’re tearing through!” A soldier screamed.

    Khysler’s head snapped toward the battlements, over the edge of which the creatures he now felt would bring his doom were tearing their way through the portcullis, a gate of crossing solid iron bars, with their bare fangs and claws. Fear sprang from the pit his heart and courage had suddenly fallen into, and he could feel his breathing accelerating with downright shock and fear.

    They were coming, and nothing could stop them. They would tear through their lines easier than the metal they were obliterating now, and the castle would fall. It was only a matter of time before the surrounding villages of the kingdom would also be torn to shreds by The Faded.

    We are doomed. The thought echoed through his mind, and refused to cease. Time and time again he told himself that, letting it consume his thoughts until-

    “Khysler!” Rough hands grabbed the collar of Khysler’s chainmail tunic, shaking him roughly to his senses. “Get ahold of yourself! You can’t let the men see you like this, you fool!”

    Khysler blinked rapidly, shaking his head as though that simple action could clear his clouded thoughts. “S-Sorry, sir…”

    “Khysler, I need you to concentrate. Look at me.” The frightened man fought to move his eyes, to keep them open long enough to lock them with his captain’s grey, iron gaze.

    “W-What… do you require, m-my lord?” He gasped, his thoughts still in turmoil. He felt he would lose his mind if he didn’t gain a hold on it. The fear was too much, the knowledge of what would inevitably come…

    “Khysler, please,” a comforting voice murmured in his ear. “We can face this threat, but not without you. Your men need you, and your captain needs you. You can’t let them down.” A small hand rested reassuringly on his shoulder as the voice continued. “The Faded are mortal, no less mortal than you. We can defeat them, but you must collect yourself.”

    Khysler took a deep shuddering breath, his mind clearing slowly. “I…”

    “You are stronger than this, Khysler! Don’t fall to its trick!” Cold metal touched his skin, and Khysler’s eyes snapped open. His mind suddenly cleared, and all fear and doubt disappeared like vapors. Looking around frantically, he found Lizah crouched next to him, one arm around his shoulders while the other held the flat of Aldenew’s blade against his neck. She almost seemed older, her dark blue eyes wearied as they searched his face.

    “Khysler!” Rahl’s strong voice cut through Khysler’s thoughts as he pulled his partner to his feet. Khysler suddenly realized he had collapsed during his episode. “What happened to you,” the captain continued, “I thought for a moment you’d lost your head!”

    “I… I don’t know, sir,” Khysler gasped. “I suddenly felt… afraid, like the world was coming down around me… I felt like there was no hope…”

    “You were attacked by a very powerful Faded.” Lizah stood, swaying slightly and leaning on Aldenew for support.

    “Attacked?” Surprise covered Rahl’s lean face.

    Lizah nodded, brushing a sweaty lock of green hair from her face. “If they become powerful enough, some Faded Ones can mentally assault a person or another Pokémon. The stronger they become, the farther they can reach.”

    “And how do they become stronger?” Rahl knew the answer before Lizah even said it.

    “They gain power from other living creatures… from devouring their souls. This one must have taken hundreds of lives…”

    Rahl whirled around, his voice rising to a scream to be heard over the horde of Faded as they renewed their efforts. “Khysler, are you well enough to carry orders?”

    “Yes, sir!”

    Whatever Rahl said next was drowned out as the horde began tearing away more of the portcullis. Cupping his hands, Rahl called the rest of his orders almost directly into Khysler’s ear. Lizah couldn’t catch a word of it, but a moment later Khysler was running for the stairs, his energy restored completely. She smiled weakly before stumbling after him. Behind her, she could still hear Rahl screaming over the sound of the horde. The iron screeches had changed to a sound of splintering wood.

    -~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-

    Lizah fought to stay upright in her saddle as she urged her silver-flamed horse toward the main gates. Ahead, across the trampled courtyard, the gates shook time and time again as countless black wolves fought to fit through the hole that had been torn near the ground. Four lines ten strong of soldiers fired flaming arrows into the opening, trying in vain to hold the beasts at bay as they constantly fired, knelt, nocked arrows to their bows, lit them and stood to fire once more. Above, more archers rained arrows from the ramparts to halt the Faded that managed to survive the archers on the ground. Rahl and Khysler ran along the back row of archers, swords drawn and ready as they called orders.

    Kicking her heels into her mount, Lizah gripped the reins tightly as it carried her quickly toward the two men. It was all she could do to avoid falling off her horse.

    “Captain, where can I be of help?”

    Rahl wheeled about at the sound of her voice, surprise crossing his features as he saw who had addressed him. “You were in the stables? What of the cavalry, are they prepared for battle?”

    “Unfortunately, no. Most of the mounts are driven to mindless fear by something…”

    “That Faded One again?”

    “I can think of no other explanation.”

    “Then how did…?”

    “Agro, like me, was raised learning to battle Faded. His mind and body are both trained against their power, so he was mostly unaffected by the mental onslaught.” Lizah patted her companion reassuringly as its nostrils flared.

    “Pokémon can be trained that way?” Rahl exclaimed.

    “Yes, it can be a bit difficult sometimes, but a disciplined Pokémon can be taught to resist Faded in no time.”

    “I’ll need your help with that after this, then; Volk and Nailah have been struck scared by that cursed Faded.” Lizah did not miss the look of pain evident on Rahl’s face.

    “I’ll be sure to, now what can I do to…” Lizah’s voice faded as she looked in fear over Rahl’s shoulder. Turning, the Captain’s face paled; the hinges of one of the gates had been torn loose, and he watched in shock as the massive wooden structure fell forward, Faded pouring over it. Lizah lost no time in spurring Agro forward, Aldenew gleaming in her hand as she forsook all thoughts of her wearied form and plunged into battle.

    Rahl screamed for backup, then flourished his blade and ran forward as well, Khysler joining him a moment later. A stray arrow had lit the still-standing gate on fire, and in its glow they fought the horde.

    What happened then was utter confusion. Flames burst from Agro’s mouth as his rider hacked left and right at snarling beasts. Khysler and Rahl covered her back, their blades claiming the wretched lives of all they touched, only for their victims to be replaced by two more. Other soldiers quickly joined them, and accompanied by the continuous rain of fiery arrows from above they managed to hold the horde at bay.

    But the creatures kept coming. Lizah quickly exhausted her already-depleted stores of strength, Aldenew becoming heavier with every swing. Suddenly, she felt Agro’s reins being wrenched from her hand as someone steered the horse away from the carnage. She could barely hear someone shouting to her.

    “…have them… barrels… oil here! Here, give me… new…” Aldenew’s weight left her hand then, and she heard someone give a shout to Agro as they slapped his flanks.

    And she was away. The battle’s heat faded slowly down to the comforting aura of Agro’s mane. Lifting her head laboriously, Lizah caught a glimpse of multiple figures running in and out of the familiar low buildings ahead of her. She felt herself slipping.

    Strong hands caught her as she fell from the saddle. Someone was speaking to her. She searched for her voice.

    “Oil… they need… barrels of…”

    Closing her eyes, Lizah slipped into soothing blackness.

    -~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-

    The great gates of the castle lay in smoldering ruins. Fire still rained from above, but its strikes thinned, the arrows running short.

    And still, in the waning light of the fires, the Castle Guard fought onward. The opening where the gates once stood had become heaped with the bodies of the dead, man and beast alike.

    Rahl raced to meet the men rolling large wooden barrels from the supply buildings, his own sword in one hand and Aldenew in the other. Helping them the rest of the way, they stood the heavy barrels upright and popped the top off one. Thick lantern oil awaited his eyes.

    “Very good,” he called over the sounds of battle behind him. “What of Lizah?”

    “She’s been taken to the infirmary, along with the wounded.”

    “Do they know what’s happened to her?”

    The soldier shook his head. “She’s exhausted, almost as though she’d been fighting all day rather than an hour or two. We don’t kn-” His voice was interrupted by a long, deep howl from the gates. Rahl wheeled around as Khysler ran to him.

    “Sir, th-there’s a Faded One larger than the rest standing a few yards from the gates. It’s the only one left, but it’s killed all three soldiers that have tried to approach it! It won’t advance, either; it’s simply standing there as if calling a challenge.”

    Rahl looked back at the barrel beside him. “Then this is just in time. Come on, Khysler!” And with that, Rahl dunked the blade of his sword into the barrel and ran for the destroyed gates. Khysler quickly did the same before following him.

    Holding his oiled weapon to the embers of the door, Rahl watched as flames erupted along the sword’s length. Beside him, Khysler place his own blade against Rahl’s, the fire spreading between them. Rahl looked at his faithful right hand with a determined look.

    “Khysler, if what Lizah said is true, then this creature is stronger than any of the others we’ve faced tonight. Are you sure you want to do this?”

    “Sir, I could never let you face such an atrocity on your own.” He gave a half-smile, the best he could muster given the situation. “You know you couldn’t do this without my help, anyways.”

    Rahl chuckled. “Very well then, O Master of the Blade; let us dance with this monster.”

    The pair turned to the opening, where another howl had begun echoing. Rahl flourished his weapons, Aldenew’s mirrored blade reflecting the flames dancing across its partner. Khysler simply gripped his flickering weapon tightly in one hand, bracing himself for the encounter ahead. Soldiers moved aside as the two walked past the ruined gates to face their foe.

    There it stood, five feet tall and smothered in black and red. Its thick fur bristled with anticipation as it prepared to face its newest opponents. Around its feet lay the bodies of the three unlucky soldiers that had faced it, their faces locked in agonizing expressions.

    No sooner had the creature seen the two men than its eyes fell on Aldenew. Its wolf features lit with rage and fear, a horrible snarl ripping from its throat as it lunged for the blade.

    Rahl jumped to the side, spinning and swinging his sword at the beast’s flank. His weapon swung through empty space, the momentum carrying him to the ground. As the Faded One rounded on its fallen foe, Khysler took the chance to swing his own great sword at its side. The burning metal bit into flesh, and a howl of pain erupted from the leader of the horde. Khysler screamed as a familiar feeling of fear attacked his mind. He fell to the ground, clenching his head as the Faded One turned to finish him.

    Then Rahl took his chance. Leaping onto the creature’s back, he dug both his blade and that of Aldenew into the back of the beast’s neck. In the light of the weapons, the black haze gave way to show vulnerable grey fur. Blood seeped from around the weapons, staining the fur as the creature stumbled, its howls of agony becoming garbled through its ruined throat. With a victorious scream, Rahl clenched both weapons and pulled them apart with all his strength.

    The beheaded monstrosity fell heavily to the earth, its cursed blood pouring upon the trampled ground and dripping from Aldenew's tip.
    Author's Profile

    Some stories I reccomend reading:

    The Saga of Team Supernova By: FocusPresenceEndurance
    Lost Evolution By: elyvorg
    And my new story:
    Fading Tendrils

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