The Birth of Tempus Carm-Spark
The vortex shimmered bright purple and rippled as if it were water. Abruptly the surface of the great gate was broken as a figure stepped out through the purple mists. His white robes billowed up around him as if dancing and his neatly contained ashen hair struggled to escape its bonds. His eyes betrayed him, a strong determination with but a glint of fearful anticipation. He placed his left foot forward to join his right and the portal behind him began to shift, imploding in on itself. Within seconds it was gone. He tightened his grip on the fabled staff of light as he surveyed the scenes laid out before him, what he saw was far worse than anything he could have prepared himself for.
Houses stood ablaze, whilst others lay in blackened piles of ash. Looking down at his feet he gazed at rivulets of blood trickling down through the gaps of the cobbled streets. This place was familiar to him, or once was, now a scene of horror and destruction. Armed men with insignia unknown to him struggled to protect their homes from the invading forces; scores of hill giants smashed houses as if they were young saplings and crushed soldiers and villagers underfoot as though entirely irrelevant. With the words of magic on his lips Drenches rushed forward into battle, however as he took his first few steps a white horse appeared to his right, it stopped abruptly ahead of the wizard and its rider deftly dismounted, landing with a thud of metal against stone.
“My dear friend you arrive at our final hour, we held them back as long as we could but I fear there are just too many of them to fight. The battle for Melford has been lost, but there is still yet hope whilst we draw breath, perhaps the world shall not slip into darkness after all.” The golden plate freshly stained with blood and the familiar friendly but commanding voice was unmistakable, this was indeed the end of days, a magical glimpse into the fall of Melford and of its king Lord Earl Dahl.
“Who or what leads this army and why Melford? What has happened here?”
“There is no time Drenches, the power of the Dragon Orbs was too great and now we are the ones that must pay the price.”
As if the Gods themselves agreed with the Kings judgement the cobbled pavement beneath them began to violently shudder, the air grew icy as if tiny needles pricked the skin and the sky itself began to darken. The great King and heir of Lord Dahl began to turn away from Drenches as his hand instinctively felt for the hilt of his dancing sword. But even he knew his strength was no match for what was to come. A demonic Prince of Ice, spawned in the frozen planes of hell come to claim his long awaited prize.
The white wizard of Melford charged with protecting the realms of men took up his staff, tightened his resolve and stepped past Earl into the courtyard. Underfoot the blood cracked and splintered, now frozen by the frost demons very presence.
“This is a battle I must fight alone my old and dear friend. It has long been my fate and I am ready to finally settle my debts for the Four, for Melford and for the world.”
The frost demon clapped his claws together and suddenly he grasped a great spear of ice, his laughter boomed piercing the battle cries and screams of terror surrounding them, as the lone wizard strode slowly forward across the courtyard.
“It has been a while mageling, I would like to thank you from the bottom of my frozen heart for finally meeting me here and for striking the pact in the first place. A thieving harlot’s soul is worth nothing compared to one swathed in magical energies. I truly am going to enjoy tearing your weak human flesh to shreds, feasting on your still beating blood soaked heart and dragging your soul down through the planes of the underworld, imprisoned for eternity!”
Drenches Tint was suddenly taken aback as unknown and powerful words of magic began to flow through his head and then out of his mouth. As the final words of arcane power were spoken the wizard opened his eyes. It was as if time had stopped. Drenches knew then the power that he had invoked for few wizards in the entire world had access to this kind of magic. If it was indeed the invocation he suspected, then he had only minutes until the magical effects were undone. Words of magic were once again upon his lips. Firstly an invisible barrier of force blinked into existence around the wizard, a magical suit of armour of sorts. The next incantation caused five identical images to spring into being around him, each more lifelike than the last. A final dweomer spoken and Drenches Tint began to undergo a startling transformation. His lean and meagre arms began to grow and develop quickly forming bulging biceps, his shoulders and upper torso too began to expand. The transformation was miraculous. Reaching for his lion capped staff of striking the now polymorphed wizard charged forward towards the demon just as the grains of time began to free themselves of the wizard’s magical grasp.
The flow of time was resumed and the demon was unable to comprehend the series of events that had just taken place. The wizard took up his staff and in an almighty blow smashed the shaft against the demons gnashing mandibles. The impact of the strike caused a spray of black liquid, presumably blood to spew forth from the creature’s mouth and onto the frosted ground. The enraged demon struck back with his spear of ice straight into the heart of the young wizard. The demons thunderous laughter of triumph was however quickly cut short as the illusion blinked out of existence, now it was Drenches’ turn to laugh. Blow after blow rebounded off the creature’s carapace and off the arcane shield, unused to physical combat he felt himself quickly overcome with fatigue, he needed to end this swiftly. Reminding himself of a manoeuvre used many a time by his trusted companion, he raised his staff one final time. Sweeping his weapon into the side of the creature caused the demon to double over in pain, and then with his last remaining strength he brought the staff up under the neck of his foe. Its armoured neck cracked and split open as the demon let out a mangled roar of defiance. The spear fell from its grasp, splintering into thousands of shards as it impacted with the stone cobbles. It was over.
“You may have defeated me little one, but even you are no match for my new master…” His sentence was abruptly cut short as the demon prince clasped his hands to his head and crumbled to the floor before the wizard. Drenches Tint dispelled his protective magic and stood triumphant over his fallen enemy. He calmly placed the tips of his thumbs together with his hands splayed out before him and uttered one final phrase of magic. Ruby flames burst forth from his fingertips enveloping the creature before him, the demon gave one last scream of agony as its skin peeled and cracked, and its dark blue flesh began to smoulder, char and eventually turned to ash.
As the wizard took in a deep breath of air and inspected his wounds, he sensed a greater presence before him and remembered the demons final words. Suddenly the sky was aflame as scores of red dragons burst forth from the sooty clouds, diving and swooping amongst one another, their maws breathing great gouts of fire upon the buildings and innocents below. Dragon fear seized the hearts of many causing mass panic, humans and giants alike fought to flee in all directions at once, whilst others hid, curled up in foetal positions under wagons or against collapsed building frames. Drenches fought to maintain his will but it was not the dragons that disturbed him the most, for at the far side of the courtyard a young girl screamed in anguish struggling to free herself from the grasp of a gigantic horned undoubtedly demonic beast. He could see veins of bright brimstone snaked their way around the creature’s leathery hide and down to its cloven hooves. Its eyes burned like magma as it reached its clawed hands down towards the head of the screaming girl. Before Drenches could even take a step forward, the demon had plunged its fist directly into her skull, bits of brain, flesh and blood burst from the tear in her head and she collapsed unmoving to the ground. The demon smiled a toothy grin, made a gesture with its hands and in the air before him materialized a dark crimson orb radiating a sickly magical light. His gaze fell upon the orb, then to the skies and then to stare directly into the eyes of the white wizard.
“You are too late mortal, you and your kind will forever be a weak species, one that will be ruled now by a new Lord” He once again placed his focus upon the orb, reaching out to grasp it in his blood soaked hand and as he did the skies suddenly quietened and stilled. Looking up, Drenches watched astounded as the red dragons suddenly stopped in their pursuits as if listening to some unknown voice. Suddenly Drenches understood the relevance and origins of the artefact before him, a legendary Orb of Dragon kind, said to allow the possessor the ability to control the minds and actions of dragons. Drenches stepped back a pace readying what remained of his magical arsenal, whatever good it would do him against a full score of red dragons. The creatures as if noticing his movements all turned to face him, teeth bared and began to rapidly descend upon his location. Drenches knew fear that he had never experienced throughout his entire adventuring career, his hands shook and sweat broke on his forehead. As he prepared for what he suspected would be his final casting in life, he found himself being shoved aside. An elderly figure, dressed in exactly the same garments as he and holding a stave engraved with countless arcane symbols stood looking back at him.
“Get back through the gate, I can only hold it open for a few moments, you have done all that you can. You have seen a rare glimpse into the fate of our world and it now falls on your shoulders to prevent this evil from coming to pass. Now Run!” The figure spoke ancient words of magic and suddenly a shimmering portal hummed into being. With an accepting nod Drenches clasped arms with himself before retreating desperately towards the magical gateway. As he took his first steps into the purple mists of time, he caught a glimpse of the elderly figure. Dragons swarmed around him as in one final act he raised his enchanted staff above his head and with an almighty crack split the shaft in two. A catastrophic explosion struck the courtyard, disintegrating all that stood in its way and launching Drenches through the portal, which immediately collapsed in upon itself. The young wizard emerged from the purple mists into the great hall of Annex. Exhaustion crashed against his body like waves, and he fell to the polished marble floor, his staff bounced harmlessly to one side as he fell deep into unconsciousness.