BLACK HOLLOW 8.2 The Middle of Chaos

In the middle of the chaos, the dying and the dread, unaware to all but themselves, three cloaked forms stood.

Andril the mage, Haryk the lordly soldier, and Tahg who was known to the other two as The Pest Control Expert wouldn’t just simply arrive through the swirling vapors of magic. Andril knew that. What he didn’t know was how well he had lied to himself. Assuming he had been himself.

“I assume you had a magical chat with yourself as well?” Asked Haryk.

Andril nodded yes.

“What is going on here?” It was Tahg’s youthful voice to his right. Haryk’s gruff breathing came from the left. “Where am I?”

“By the looks of it I’d say you were in the great circle bay of the Host although I’ve never been invited until now.”

“No,” said Tahg, exasperation in his words, “I mean where did my guide, me, where did the other one go?”

Magic is complicated, kid,” Andril quipped. He seemed about to say more but the scene before them began to change. It was like an illusion he had produced once. He recognized the aura of illusion beginning to part and watched carefully as a quiet seascape fell away behind many forms in motion all around him.

No sooner had these portal travelers stepped out of the gateway than the quiet cloud of existence all around them turned into a frothing tide of very real battle. It was a scene that could have been depicted in a tapestry and hung on a wall, a great swath of fighting that would take hours to fully digest. But they didn’t have hours, only seconds.

“Well, it’s better than the bottom of the sea I suppose,” said Andril smirking in his customary way. He was preparing something from his many magical compartments concealed amongst his person all underneath an extravagant robe. Only a slight vein of worry streaked through the marble confidence he exuded when preparing advanced magic. Andril took great pride in his spells. He would be ready.

Haryk couldn’t help himself. “Yeah, but just once I’d like to teleport to a seat at The Rusty Sabre with Melancholy’s arse in my hand and a pint of cold brew in my other.”

Stunned and far too seriously, Tahg retorted, “My guide gave me neither of those options!”

“Stop making me laugh, boy,” said the mage in a sing song voice that he often used while trying to concentrate around Haryk’s idiotic quips.

“It’s like I’m the painted bullseye for this shit,” said Haryk staring at the fighters in action around him. He looked to Andril who wasn’t biting anymore. Then he glanced at the boy. “Stick with me Pestie, this just happens. How much time we got mage?”

Andril was still busy preparing something with his hands. He was heavily focused on it, but Haryk got an answer anyway, “I’d say we have approximately 10 seconds of the King’s clock before we are visible to the combatants. I’d recommend you are both ready.”

Before them, behind them, and all around them,  a whirlwind of kicks and punches was spilling it’s guts out in the forms of falling bodies upon the platform. Most of the damage was being done by red and black-robed monks who looked like a fish mated with some kind of orc-kobold.  A battalion of gold and green clad tuniced Celns had their hands full with them, literally. But this was no mere pub fight. The monks were landing blows that shook their enemies like a warhammer. One Celn’s skull shattered, another one coughed up blood after a vicious kick, before falling still and lifeless.

“Fucking wyvern shit, I hate monks as it is,” sighed Haryk. He loaded his pistol, hands moving so fast the fingers were a blur. Two clicks. He lifted his pistol and trained his eye to the sights. “And these are super ugly monks!”

Andril had finished whatever he had been doing. In his usual and patronizing way he gave directions that Haryk would no doubt find frustrating to hear.

“Wait until you’re all here before you hurl more than your insults, Lord Haryk.”

Andril then stood tall and kept his eyes on the undulating crowd before him. He swept thoughts of Haryk and the boy aside and let the focused energy of magic build within him. It had taken him not just study, but an experience which nearly killed him to be able to concentrate under such pressure. Arcane magic was not about begging some divine power for the right to channel it. It wasn’t about the strength in one’s muscles. It was mind over matter, conviction and will over that of the situation, and Andril was now it’s master. Oh, what power it had given him! It was this thinking inside his mind that he now channeled as he willed to do. It was controlled, and so precise and he was glad he was on the other side of that knowledge finally. Haryk was a lot of fun to be around, but boy did he say stupid shit just when the wizard needed to concentrate on saving their ass!

Andril knew they still were materializing from the void of the portal. Chances are they had not even been seen yet. They soon would be.  All around them were dozens of Celn soldiers, most now lying on the stones of some ancient fortress overlooking a great bay. It was the same great bay that Andril had seen in his vision he knew. In his vision, however, there weren’t nearly a hundred strong of monks, kicking and punching and chopping the fuck out of everything in sight. Andril remembered the only monk he had ever met, Zy’an, and immediately recognized the movements, timing, and style. He also recognized the ferocity of the attacks. He had laughed once at the unarmed strikes of the monks. He didn’t anymore.

“A hundred of that fucker, terrific,” he groaned inwardly. He took out a small pouch and slipped his hand inside. Grabbing a handful of sand he held it out before him and saw his arms becoming solid form. They were leaving the ether.

The old soldier next to him gave his battle cry, which this time came out as one long sentence. “Well, fuck to whatever Kasillian asshole convinced me to take this path by pretending to be me!” Haryk stepped out now into the fray, blasting. His bullet found it’s first mark and a monk about to land a killing blow on one of the tuniced Celns flew backward in the air. His robes swirling around him like sails gotten loose in the wind. The Celn who had nearly been struck down was hunched over on one knee, scrambling for his sword which lay nearby. The long brown haired man twisted around to see who had saved him, and the face that came along after the hair was the last face Haryk expected to see.

“Prince Genoran,” said Haryk, “Look guys, it’s the heir to the throne of Cellinor.”

Behind him, Andril loosed the object he had fashioned, and like sand it slipped between his fingers falling to the stones at his feet. He spoke the words of magic and the air was filled with a coppery scent around them. Two more monks about to pounce on the prince fell over as if the magical sleep struck them the same way a weapon would. They fell over as if dead, while their arms and legs sprawled out limply to their sides.

The prince picked up his sword and Haryk saw then the magnificence that was the Sword of Cellinor. It had been kicked from his hand, but now was back home. With one mighty swish, he swung the mighty weapon around and lobbed off the head of a monk flying through the air like a striking bird of prey. “Where did you send Lady Iricah Haryk! Where in the darkness of Ket did you come from?  Where did you send Frank, The Lighted One?!!! Tell me!”

As if oblivious to the fact he was in the middle of danger, Genoran walked towards them, the look of anxiety spread across his face. “Where is she Lord Haryk?!!!” He thundered.

“Well it’s nice to see you too, your Majesty,” answered Haryk in his battle voice. He continued to shoot at the red and black clad forms around him. “We’re about to lose this fight, My Lord, you may want to ask me later.”




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