Legacies of the Fallen
Legacies of the Fallen
by Jasson Knight
-: Echoes :-
10 November, 11980BC The Lower Caverns of Orchid Grotto; Fjords of Dun Teoddry
He had just finally managed to slip into a fitful doze when he was awakened yet again by the boom and crash of heated rock and surging water. The swordsman groaned and squeezed his eyes tighter shut, refusing to open them to see what was happening. He knew from smell alone that the geyser three floors down had erupted again; discharging superheated, sulfurous water up into the corridors. The stench was unmistakable by now, as was the sudden spike in the already oppressive heat. It happened like clockwork every twelve hours unless he risked a trip down to disrupt the cycle.
At this moment, wisps of fog would be curling under the heavy, marble doors and the passageways beyond would be choked with acrid plumes of hot gases. Nearly imperceptible currents of air would be disturbing the leaves and petals of the strange, bioluminescent orchids that grew most everywhere to create a dizzying light show across the walls. Shortly, whirlwinds of living steam would begin to vainly but methodically test his Wards before their scalding bodies cooled and turned back to water that would creep back to the geyser of its own accord. Elsewhere, bizarre crustaceans with meaty tails and a pair of fleshy, saw-toothed, elastic, mouth stalks on their backs would skitter out of their hiding places to feast on anything that crossed their path. In the deepest regions, the angry spirits of the long-dead keepers of this place stirred in their watery graves as they dreamed of Zeal in its halcyon days.
Years ago, the swordsman known as Cináed Marohi had been dispatched by the Prophet of Zeal with the enchantress, Lazuli, and the magician, Saturnus to explore this place thoroughly and report back. Thanks to that mission, he knew this stifling hell almost as well as he knew his own home. It was a strange mix of buildings from the lost city of Kajar and ancient, natural caverns that had been carved out over the eons by water and magma. Somehow, they had perfectly blended into a network that extended deep into the planet and outward below the surface for countless leagues. Being the only surviving nephew of the late Queen, Marohi had been confident he could explain most anything he could come across. However, he was still at a loss to explain much about what they had found here.
The loss of life from the disaster had been catastrophic, but yet he kept finding seemingly fragile items - such as things made from glass or porcelin - completely intact. Walls were still plumb in many places and there were several notable rooms where the floors were still level. In some areas brick or marble seamlessly connected to the natural stone as though it was merely a veneer plastered over the existing stonework. Quite a few tapestries bearing the Royal Crest still hung from their standards - although torn, stained, and sometimes worm eaten.
This room was yet another of those things he couldn't account for. It had originally been a place of healing; a facility in Kajar where those with powerful healing magicks and advanced knowledge of how the body functioned came to study and practice their craft. It had remained like that until Lavos had been discovered, at which point this place had been rendered obsolete. The displaced healers had been forced to learn new skills and most had chosen the large-scale manipulation of water. Cináed had vivid memories of this place from when he was a child and knew anyone could have entered at any time. However, now it was the most secure room in this entire tunnel complex and was easily made impenetrable by even the simplest of shielding spells.
It was because of this feature that had caused him to venture back inside after so many years.
He and his little cousin, Jacoris, had been on their way to the village of Meriddea from the fortress town of Black Harbor. The price for passage on a ship had been ludicrous for a city only a week north on foot. However, about halfway there and while traversing the boulder-strewn tundra, a fierce and rather typical November squall had blown in from the sea. Desperate, he had brought his cousin here for shelter. Cináed was beginning to regret his decision, though - but at the time, hiding inside a dank, sticky hole had been preferable to being outside in that tempest.
As he miserably slouched deeper into his chair, sodden fur slapped the bare skin of his forearm as his dog rushed to his feet with a sudden scraping of toe-nails to bark ferociously in the direction of the door as something skittered loudly in the distance.
"Easy, Diablo..." He muttered unenthusiastically and reached for the animal's collar. "Diablo -?" He groped blindly in the air for his pet, but his sweat-soaked hand came up with nothing.
Cináed's only answer was a deep, resounding growl and the scrape of a paw against the door.
With an expressive sigh, he cracked his eyes open into the watery gloom of the ruined chamber. His eyes flicked over Jacoris' slight form still sleeping restlessly in the middle of the floor before returning his attention to his pet. Besides his dog barking, everything else was fine.
For all his impressive size and power, normally Diablo was disgustingly timid; Cináed could generally count on nothing but cowardice from the large canine. It completely flew in the face of his initial impression of that tiny puppy with the enormous bark he used to be. However, he'd learned from past experience that the presence of his cousin sparked a complete revolution in Diablo's behavior.
"Diablo, come." He said firmly, snapping his fingers and pointing down at his side in one smooth motion.
But the animal had it in its mind that the twelve-year-old needed protecting and had developed a severe case of selective hearing. He was digging now, his large paws chocolate and silver blurs as he impotently tried to tunnel through the brick floor to rip whatever was on other side of the door to shreds.
Cináed sighed once more and pushed the long, soggy cobalt strands of his bangs out of his eyes. He finally sat up and took his feet off the ancient stone table before him.
"Diablo! Come!" He barked, repeating the finger snap but the point to the spot next to him was far more emphatic.
However, at that moment whatever was on the other side of the entry chose to reach through the gap under the door with a long, purplish, and crab-like pincher to snap at Diablo's furiously digging paws. The dog ceased it's effort briefly to snarl and bark thunderously at whatever it was.
"Diablo, if that thing gets a grip on you - you're going to regret it." Marohi futilely warned the dog as he pulled his waterlogged boots back on. Diablo snarled and pounced at the claw as it protruded into the room again, trying his best to bite it before the creature retracted it once more. "Diablo, damnit, leave that thing alone!"
'That dumb dog doesn't know when to quit.' He thought irritably as he hauled himself to his feet and crossed the room in long, squishy strides. As he neared the door, his already bloodshot eyes began to sting yet again from the vapors still curling out of the seam. He caught the water-stained collar just as Diablo lunged with a snarl at the protruding claw once more and hauled the dog backwards with all his weight.
It took every ounce of his strength to haul his dog away and even more to hold him long enough to hook his chain into his collar. Even so, he managed to severely pinch his index finger in the clasp of the chain as Diablo lunged forward against the restraint.
Peppering the air with curses, Cináed shook his hand out and sucked on the offended digit. Oh, the Prophet would owe him for this pleasant, little excursion. He enjoyed most any excuse to spend time with his cousin, but between the squall outside and the questionable shelter in here, his patience was sorely tried.
In the meantime, Diablo was still barking ferociously at the door and the claw was still reaching under the bottom of the marble gateway. Enough was enough. Darkly, Cináed removed his bleeding finger from his mouth and stalked back over to his chair to retrieve the largest of his two swords.
He placed his back against the stationary, left door and rested his hand on the right, his gray eyes never leaving the crab-like claw once more probing the space under the door. Cináed had just taken his deep breath in preparation to attack when a groggy whine came from the middle of the room, "Cini, what's Dee-Bee barking at now?"
"Another of those crab things," Marohi grunted, rocking back on his left foot. "Stay put."
And with that he gave the door a hard shove and ducked around it. His shelding spell automatically slammed it shut behind him.
The crab creature was startled at first. It skittered swiftly backwards with that same chittering noise it had made before. Obsidian moved carefully, keeping his weight on the balls of his feet as its mouth-stalks bobbed weirdly, air hissing from them as it tasted the air. He knew it could smell his blood.
Then it charged him.
His training kicked in; pivoting out of the reach of the creature's nearest mouth even as his sword swept down to deflect the attack. The same movement reversed itself, the blade turning to present the edge to the creature's flesh. Ichor bloomed and then was dripping from the naked steel as the toothy appendage fell to the water at his feet. Behind him came a heavy, grinding noise as the door opened slightly.
A lucky jump backwards avoided one pincher, but left him open briefly for the next. It caught him in the side of his stomach and twisted.
Cináed cursed and swept it off with a wild slash that also sliced off a section of its shell. He ripped the pincher free with a snarl and began to mutter the words to a spell. As though sensing his intentions, the crab creature began to make a gurgling sound. Ominous green liquid began to drip from the remaining mouth.
A high, youthful shout stopped it; flashes of white-gold brilliance that buzzed and crackled, exploded and screamed.
It spat blindly its venom blindly at the heart of the light, crackling where it touched the searing bands of lightning magic. Cináed snatched the small arm even before the spell was finished and wrenched it to him as hard as he could.
The swordsman narrowed his eyes as the creature reeled, blinded by Jacoris' Strobe spell. Safely behind him, the young blond was panting, his eyes wide in his pale face.
He slowly began to raise his hand, a pillar of red light briefly shining around him as he invoked his innate powers from his Element Grid. Bloody light shrouded his right hand and pulsed from deep within. He felt his cousin back away in instinctive fear as the burning, crimson light grew until the silhouette of his bones stood out sharply.
With a flick of his hand, the damage was done. The creature's body convulsed violently and it's eyestalks bulged an instant before they popped. It rolled onto it's back, its legs twitching before they curled up against it's body.
Marohi blew a sigh and rubbed his hand through his cousin's hair affectionately before dropping his arm around his thin shoulders. Jacoris shot him a triumphant grin in return, but their celebration was short lived as a eerie, sibilant noise echoed from the direction of the broken staircase leading deeper into the darkness.
The swordsman inhaled sharply and gave his cousin a shove towards the doors. "In - in - in - in - in - IN!" He chanted rapidly, "Get in!"
His cousin was squeezing through before the door was even truly wide enough to admit him. Cináed saw Jacoris trip out of the corner of his eye, but he was already swinging inside himself while yanking the door shut. As the heavy marble ground over the floor, something rammed it with enough force to slam to closed and to knock Cináed completely off his feet and into Jacoris.
The swordsman rolled sideways, hurriedly untangling himself from his cousin and rose into a crouch, brandishing the heavy weapon in preparation for an attack. However, his shielding spell was holding. The doors were only grinding tighter shut with each volley. Wordlessly, Cináed half turned and pulled Jacoris back to his feet. The boy backed away and there was the noise of steel emerging from its sheathe.
He was back a moment later. Cináed dropped his gaze briefly to see the grip of his lighter, double-edged sword being offered to him. He took it and shifted into a relaxed guard stance.
For several long minutes they listened to the steam creatures pound on the doors and Marohi's spell.
"Y'know what, Cini?" Jacoris muttered breathlessly from behind him.
"I don't like it here much."
The swordsman nodded as something particularly large hit the wards and shook the entire chamber. His cousin inhaled sharply and jumped closer to him. Behind them, Diablo was nearly beside himself with agitation.
However, the pounding was weakening in intensity and becoming less frequent while the hissing had deepened to angry burbles and loud belches. One final strike thudded weakly against the marble before the angry, wet noises faded into the distance.
01 September, 612AD The Denodoro Mountains, Kingdom of Guardia
Indian summer had descended upon the shoulders of the Denodoro Mountains, transforming them to a place like those in fairy-tales. The peaks stood with their backs to the ocean, the legendary winds stirring the limb and leaf as they climbed the rocky crags. The aromas of wild lilies, lavender, and sage hung elusively like a lady's perfume on the omnipresent wind. Among dappled beams of hazy sunlight delicate tufts of Cotton Ester fluff swirled and tumbled like troupes of dancing fairies.
Seldom did anyone venture this deep into the mountains; and, if they did, they never lingered for long. Tales of marauding bands of Mystics were still used to warn children and unwary adventurers away from delving too far down the shrouded, verdant trails. Goblins and Ogans, while generally non-confrontational, were still often provoked into attacking unwary travelers by the malicious, bird-like Freelancers. Apparitions in the form of ethereal, veiled maidens had become notorious for luring unsuspecting men to their doom. Additionally, over the last year, another creature had been added to the list of creatures to be avoided. Rumored to be an Ogre, it was known to attack and even kill Mystics and Humans indiscriminately and robbing them of anything of value they might be carrying. Those who had survived their encounters with the brute could never agree on whether they saw a very large, human bandit or a ruthless giant.
Had anyone asked him his preference, that would be exactly as the very human Highwayman would have wanted things.
It had been a year since Leander Nikarah had made his audacious escape from the dungeons of Guardia Castle. Since then, he had almost continually prowled the road from the Zenan Bridge to Porre and back again. The gains from the travelers he harassed had easily kept his belly full and coin-pouch heavy. The news of his escape had made him infamous; the report that the enormous and heavily armored bandit was a Mystic had allowed him to travel incognito after taking the time to don civilian garb.
His Falchion made but the barest noise as he rested its point on the boulder before him. Leander leaned on the pommel, the black leathers of his jerkin and boots creaking softly as bent far forward over the stone to put himself lower to the ground.
The blade was of a foreign design; too small to be a proper short sword but too long to be a dagger, but it was his preferred weapon nonetheless. It was versatile and compact, light enough to be wielded with blinding speed in melee combat but its point was strong enough to breach the even Kingsweave with a lone, hard thrust. For times when he was pressed to heavy combat he switched to a double-edged long sword he had found in a cave deeper in the mountains.
In the gully before him, a solitary Freelancer looked around cautiously and began unpacking the earnings from his day of banditry. The southern road to the mountain town of Sandorino was treacherous at best even without his help and travelers were frequently plagued by teams of the little beasts. The renowned winds of the western range had virtually faded, but Sandorino was still a tourist's haven. The Bazaar alone was still celebrated for its selection of wares from throughout the world and their luxurious Inn was still highly profitable.
Thus, like lambs leading themselves to the slaughter, unarmed travelers continued to risk the road for a visit the little town.
From within the blackness of his hood, Leander's mouth twitched wryly as the little bird-man pulled a Vigil Hat from its sack. He stroked his newly grown beard thoughtfully with a hand sheathed in a heavy glove and mittened gauntlet. It was an odd bit of swag where the Freelancers were concerned. They were generally poor judges of worth; often taking worthless trinkets while leaving the real items of worth behind. To them, if a thing was shiny or brightly colored, it was priceless. Vigil Hats were rare and exquisite finds, but they weren't much to look at. For a Freelancer to have taken it, its former owner must have inadvertently tipped it off to the Hat's worth.
The former Knight brought one foot up to rest on the rock and leaned on his knee, gazing intently at his target. Impatient, he absently twirled his Falchion a couple times before sheathing it under his massive vest made from the shaggy, mossy green pelt of a great beast. He knew better than to attack too early. Their name notwithstanding, Freelancers seldom traveled alone and generally appeared in pairs. To attack before the partner appeared could bring him more trouble than even a Vigil Hat was worth. He was a powerful and superior swordsman, but he was no match for a full garrison of magic-wielding, rebel Mystics.
The rest of the Mystic's loot was relatively worthless as far as he was concerned. There were a few vases, some odd pieces of costume jewelry, a mirror, plenty of coin, a matched pair of silver candlesticks, and a strange, girdle-like object with shiny, bronze buckles that looked suspiciously like a chastity belt.
Nikarah backed away from his boulder and crouched low in the grass. If it had one, the Freelancer's partner should have appeared by now. Only the top of the Mystic's hood was visible from his vantage point, but any part of the creature's body counted towards keeping it in sight. He tossed the liripipe of his hood over his shoulder and began to steal down the embankment.
The Freelancer was back to examining the Vigil Hat, turning it over and regarding its murky reflection in the dull, metal visor. It clacked its beak and chattered something unintelligible, blinking its dark, lustrous eyes at the Freelancer in the helmet.
He drew his Falchion and poised himself for the charge. As though sensing him, the Freelancer froze stock-still, its beak slightly open.
Something wasn't right.
Leander decided he would need to kill it in a single strike before it had a chance to summon reinforcements.
He crept forward one more step.
"Now!" The Freelancer screeched in a shrill, feminine voice and flattened itself to the ground.
Arrows rained upon the glade with the suddenness of a squall. Bolts clanged dissonantly off the shield he still had strapped to his back and grazed the fur of his vest.
He covered his head with his hands and sprinted back up the hill to dive behind his boulder. Arrows scraped across the stone like a swarm of foul insects and clattered impotently over the protective steel of his gauntlets.
The rain of missiles ceased and he could hear many armored footsteps approaching the glade where the "Freelancer" had been. Indeed, through a tiny opening he was able to peek around the rock to see the young maiden begin slipping out of the intricate disguise behind a protective ring of Knights.
"Leander Nikarah! We have you surrounded!"
"There's no way out!"
"Like hell..." Leander muttered calmly and sarcastically under his breath and began stealing backwards, keeping the boulder between himself and the Knights below. He had to give them credit for the ruse, but they didn't know these mountains like he did.
"By the order of King Guardia the Twenty-first -" Garson was shouting once more, his voice drowning out the skitter of pebbles as Leander slid unhurriedly down the rock-face behind him and allowed himself to be swallowed by the mossy green leaves of a gigantic Denodoro Fern halfway down. The velvety soft fronds enveloped him and whispered across his back and across his vest as he gently slid deeper into the plant.
At the sound of a snapping twig and the sound of armor shifting, he braced a foot against one of the thick, rigid lower stems and froze.
Very near, he could hear soft panting and wheezing as a man struggled up the slope. The Knight skirted the Fern and paused just above it, a crossbow armed and held at ready. Sweat trickled down his spine as the Knight stepped on a bad patch of rock and was forced to pinwheel his arms to maintain his balance.
That would be a tale, eh? He thought as a bubble of hysteria floated up from the pit of his stomach, The infamous Leander Nikarah dying to a crossbow misfire when an idiot tripped over his own bloody feet...
However, the man regained his balance and paused to catch his breath. He blew a deep sigh of relief and then began to creep up the rise once more.
Then there was a bellow and the twang of the crossbow followed by a stupefied silence.
The Highwayman rolled his eyes and turned slowly around while still within the enormous fern. He turned and darted swiftly down to throw himself into the cover of some dense scrub, allowing the shouting of the Knights behind him to drown out the noise of his retreat.
"- Do not stop until you find him! The butcher must not escape!!" Birds screamed in surprise and leaped skyward as the Commander's roar echoed thunderously across the mountain.
But his quarry was growing ever further away, loping away at a comfortable run and occasionally ducking into the cover of the ubiquitous foliage and naked rock endemic to the Denodoro Range. He had no plans of stopping until he was deep into the eastern range and even then until he reached some ruins he'd found while exploring the relatively uncharted region.
The forest ran into an emerald haze as he dashed between the trees, struggling up and down steep slopes, sporadically stopping to erase his tracks or doubling back on himself to confuse his trail. His breath soon began to burn in his lungs and a stitch formed in his side, but he kept moving.
The sun was setting when he finally reached the mist covered ruins he had sought for most of the day. The pale, weathered stonework and half-decayed marble rose majestically into the canopy overhead; awesomely old yet bearing little sense of frailty. The structure had the air of a place forgotten by time, defeated by the crawl of eons yet possessing a dignity and poise that remained undaunted.
Additionally, while he didn't feel in any way threatened, he often felt like he was being watched. These unseen, ghostly watchers hung just out of sight, danced at the edges of his vision, and spoke to him in the limbo between sleep and wake. He felt he knew where they stood - at times, he was certain he would run into one of them should he swing too quickly around a corner.
Today was no different when he finally stumbled inside. He could feel these unseen, silent beings turn to watch him, welcoming his arrival as though he was a king returning to his court. The former Knight was breathing heavily as he sat down upon the smooth, veined stones of the floor and leaned back against the wall. He drew his hood off and smoothed his sweat soaked hair away from his face. When he could breath easier, he shrugged the straps of his pack off his shoulders and pulled it open. It only took him a second to locate his canteens and a packet of smoked fish from one of the many nearby rivers. He fumbled one container open and proceeded to dump the cool, fresh water over his face and head with a gratified moan.
This part of the Denodoro was a mass of labyrinthine canyons, caverns, deep valleys, and breathless peaks. Game was plentiful and the water untainted; the ruins provided a sturdy shelter against the elements including the ferocious Denodoro winds and the sudden storms they could summon.
He grinned in spite of himself at the thickening fog, those same currents were drawing a cloud up from the cooler ocean; when it reached the peak it would become a violent tempest that would plummet like an avalanche down the western peaks. The Guardians would be forced to give up their search in lieu of a desperate, headlong search for refuge.
Leander lifted his second canteen to his lips and took several deep gulps of the cool water within. When he had drained it of every drop, he let it fall beside him. Now that he was safe, he was feeling lethargic. His flight from the Knights had drained him and right now his body screamed for rest rather than the food he knew he needed. After eating a couple mouthfuls of fish, he climbed slowly to his feet, painfully hauled his pack over one shoulder, and wearily tottered deeper into the ruins to sleep. His muscles were already cramping from his long run and the rest of him begged for sleep - he was more than happy to oblige.
He didn't know how long he had slept when he was awoken unexpectedly. The half-light of early dawn was fighting its way through the gravid rain-clouds and through the gloom of the sleeping forest. The ruins were silent as usual save for the trickles of water from a broken fountain back closer to the entrance and the steady rain falling outside. Even so, something seemed definitely amiss. Leander held himself perfectly still, listening intently.
He was almost ready to give up and go back to sleep when the eerie sound of a child sobbing became louder, more persistent. He felt gooseflesh raise on his arms; a child just simply wouldn't be here in the perilous Eastern Range! There were two native creatures, on the other hand, who could mimic the sound of a child or baby crying or a woman screaming - neither were something he wanted come across. The felines were vicious, unrelenting hunters well adapted to the mountains and held no fear of man nor mystic. If they were hunting him...
The cry was distant and muffled, but Leander surged to his feet, instantly awake. The animals could produce a crying or screaming noise, but they couldn't imitate speech. He took up his pack and rushed for the crumbling staircase that would take him up to the only tower still standing.
The well-built staircase was tightly wound and steep, but there was no way he could take it quickly without loosing his footing on the rain-slick treads. He knew the intention behind the design was to foil an assault, but it left him frustrated nevertheless as he was forced to slow his pace.
At length, he reached the tower's peak. From here he could see nearly the whole mountainside and all the way out to the vista of ashen froth on a dark, angry sea. The wet, blustery wind whipped his hair and caught in his beard and in the fur of his vest. He planted his feet wide and stuck his head out one of the crumbling windows, absorbing every sound he could hear. His stomach dropped as he realized the plaintive cries were coming from the direction of the water.
Leander took the stairs as swiftly as he could, his stomach turning as fast as the gears in his mind. He prayed that the child was in the forest between the ruins and the ocean rather than at the bottom of the sheer cliffs where there was little hope of reaching him in time.
Once more the Highwayman found himself rushing through the forest, though this time he was the hunter rather than the game. Somewhere deep within him the shrill little voice had metamorphosed into his baby brother's voice. He focused on the thin cry carried on the wind, following it like a hound follows the scent of a fox. Tinnitus rang thunderously in his ears in between the child's wails as his world narrowed to a narrow tunnel to which there was only one exit.
The sea was looming closer and closer, the scent of salt water and blood filled his nostrils. The child's cries echoed as they struck the rock face, tearing at the former Knight as he flung himself upon his stomach to gaze over the edge.
Leander gasped against the furious wind as he scanned the blood-spattered rocks below, searching desperately for the child. His saturated auburn hair lashed sharply against his face, the occasional strand catching in his beard. He could barely hear the youngster crying anymore; there was easily enough blood to have killed a small child.
"Where - where are you?!" He screamed frantically down at the rocks. He held his breath, listening to the howling wind for any sign of life beyond the malevolent, dark shape swimming around the rocks.
"Where are you?!" Leander screamed once more.
Finally, a small, frighteningly pale hand appeared in answer between two very large boulders and groped frenetically at the edges as though searching for his distant rescuer.
"Hang on, Little One!" Nikarah bellowed sharply, memorizing the exact location where he'd seen that tiny hand. He eyed the dark shape in the water with fear. A ridge of bony spikes broke the surface momentarily and then submerged once more. "I'm coming for you! Keep your hands near your body!"
"It huurrrts!" The tiny voice whined pitifully even as the Heckran collided with the rocks like a juggernaut, trying to reach its prey.
"I know! I know it does! I'm coming for you, I promise!" The Mystic reared tall and swiped furiously at the rocks, obviously frustrated. As the child shrieked in alarm, he pushed himself up to his feet and hurriedly scanned the horizon for some way down to the shoreline. "How the deviltry am I going to get down there?!" He muttered to himself, wildly calculating his odds of managing to drop the beast with his long bow.
He realized someone was behind him an instant before he heard a cold, deep voice muse, "Yes, Indeed - how are you ever going to get down?"
Leander Nikarah, the infamous killer of three of Guardia's finest, had only a split second to see a blue skinned hand and silver blade slash in a vicious, downward stroke. White brilliance rose up from the ground and arced in a searing sine wave that burned him as it flung him forward.
For an instant he was flying. His form gliding above the rocks like the ocean birds that cried as they traced the faint line that marked the boundary between water, earth, and sky. He caught the briefest glimpse of a small, fair-haired boy reclined deep in the crotch of a rock, his shirt and breeches plastered to his skin and dripping blood. The child was gazing up at him as he fell; his round, angelic face waxen above his devastated chest of shredded flesh and splintered ribs.
To his credit, he never had a chance to scream as he fell to earth. His eyes remained fixated on rock that sheltered the little boy even as blackness opened beneath him as though the gates of Hell had yawned wide to admit the fated warrior.
-: Glossary :-Kingsweave Tightly woven, high-quality, chainmail armor renowned for its strength and exorbitant cost. Since it was so expensive, generally only the exceptionally rich (kings) could afford it. swag Slang for "Stolen Goods." liripipe A long trailing point on the back of a hood of a Medieval cape, cloak, mantle, etc. that was usually thrown over the shoulder.