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An Unlikely Ally

Mar 14, 2018

Story by: Julius Eddy Kong


“Angelica! You take care of that!” yelled Althaine, pulling his sword from the skull of a zombie.

 

“Yes, my lord!” said Angelica, lopping off the head of another zombie.

 

A woman in a red dress sank her teeth into the neck of a soldier. By the time she pulled them out, his face had shrivelled up, as if the rest of his mortal life was lived out in the span of seconds.


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An Unlikely Ally

Mar 14, 2018


The golden knight made a dash through the battlefield, occasionally swinging his great sword in a wide arc, mowing down the horde of zombies lumbering toward him. His eyes were fixed on a single target. A demon with a wicked grin and menace in his eyes, with a demonic dog by his side.

 

When he finally got within range of the demonic tamer, it had already risen more of its ungodly abominations out of his soldiers felled earlier. So this filth was the reason this battle was not over yet, the reason this land was not purified. This filth before him was returning more filth back to unlife. If there was something Althaine hated more than filth, it was filth that creates filth.

 

He beheld its wicked laughter. Its eyes filled of menace. Its horrible visage contorted in a mirth of depravity. It sickened Althaine that feculence have the capacity for joy. It was wrong. And it was his duty to right all that is wrong. The holy knight began muttering a prayer with vicious zeal, and a brilliant light shone from his great sword. The light enveloped the sword and took on its form.


featured

An Unlikely Ally

Mar 14, 2018


“Die,” said Althaine. “Die, and be cleansed.”

 

And though a mob of undead stood between him and the tamer, he swung his sword. The elongated blade of light cut through the entire mob, and severed them in half.

 

At the other end of the battlefield, Angelica smiled. “And they call me the Light of Logres,” continuing on to plunge her sword into the heart of the woman in red dress, who promptly disintegrated into ashes.

With the execution of their commander, the troops of Logres quickly surmounted the undead forces, and soon even the undying rose no more.

 

Althaine made his way back to Angelica, and demanded a casualty report.

 

"My Lord,” said Angelica. “A quarter dead. Half are injured.”

 

Althaine surveyed his troops. “The forces of evil may have been slain today, but evil does not rest. Mount up, and recover so that we may fight another day.”

 

“Yes, my Lord,” came a few exhausted voices.

 

The soldiers mounted up their gryphons; while some gryphons had no riders. When all that could be recovered had been stowed away, Althaine gave the order to return to base.

 

The gryphons took to the air, making way toward their home -- the jewel of Praelis. The floating city of Logres.


featured

An Unlikely Ally

Mar 14, 2018


Unlike the grounded landscapes, Logres is not susceptible to the planet's whims. The landscape of Logres has not changed since its formation. No one knows what made  Logres float, nor why it's the only floating island in Praelis. Only one thing is made clear: there is an abundance of magical energy in Logres.

 

Upon arriving at his quarters, Althaine took off his heavy armor. It had been a tiring but fulfilling day. A hundred demons were rid from the world today.

 

His quarters had a full view of Mount Thyral, the sacred mountain of Logres. Many believed that Mount Thyral was the source of the enormous magical energy in Logres, and worshipped it. He closed his eyes, breathing in the fresh night air, listening to the flowing sounds of the Endless Falls -- the seven waterfalls that streamed from Mount Thyrah, and out into the lands below.

 


He breathed in. And out. In... and out. Just as Althea used to. She would always sit cross-legged on a boulder near one of the Endless Falls, with her eyes closed, breathing in and out. Althaine always asked her what she is thinking about, and she would always say she is thinking of nothing.


Althaine was grateful to Althea. He was seven when a flock of winged-demons raided his village, killing his parents and his brother. He was one of the few survivors, and Althea found him in a cave near the mountains. He raised him like he was her own, and taught him everything he knew today. But why was it that of all people, she was the one who...



Something in the air changed, like a loose string suddenly pulled taut, ready to snap at the slightest touch.

The night stank. He donned his armor a second time, and headed outside.

When he got to the courtyard, Angelica was already there. She too had her armor and sword. He walked up to her, and look at the direction she faced.

"They're coming," said the Dragolord.

The two of them continued gazing at the crescent moon, waiting.

This time it was Althaine who took a deep breath. "TO ARMS!" he said, his bold voice boomed through the barracks. Only moments later, the sounds of scurrying feet and metal rubbing against metal could be heard, growing louder. When Althaine turned around, ranks of soldiers had filed neatly in their platoons. Knights. Angels. Mages.


Immediately, all units proceeded hastily yet orderly. The archers took up their positions at the top of the fort, mages filed behind them, aiding and enchanting their bows and arrows with elemental forces. Sturdy knights remained on grounds alongside their commander and second-in-command. A squad of angels, free-spirited and attached not to the army of Logres, had their own commanders and plans. They flew in formations, waiting.

 

When the invaders came, it was with wicked vengeance. At first they were a speck before the moon. Then the flock cast a shadow over Logres. Eventually, they became Logres's sky.

 

Althaine spotted orcs among vampires, and succubi among wyverns.

 

"Althaine!" said Angelica, forgetting her soldierly manners for a moment. "They joined forces!"

 

"Good," said the Holy Dragolord. "The barbarians of Tauris are just as deserving of a purge. Archers! Take aim... Fire!"


A volley of colorful arrows shot into the velvet sky, some on fire, some charged with lightning, and hailed upon the flock of oncoming harpies and demons. Dozens of invaders came tumbling down and crashed into the fort. Many plunging to their deaths into the forest grounds along with their riders. Goblins' screams of death and harpies' shrieks filled the air.


The knights and soldiers on the fort roof knocked away plummeting bodies, protecting their lord and themselves. The rest engaged in a bloody fight with the ones who escaped the assault of arrows. Nearby, a group of mages roasted a group of goblins with a fire pillar that was about to blow up a door with their bags of bombs.


The onslaught of the dark forces kept on coming. Althaine had his eyes fixed toward the sky when he saw two particuarly large, flying creatures.



"Althaine!" said Angelica. "There is no way we can take them on! We must--" 

"What?" More than anger, there was contempt in the Dragolord's eyes. "Retreat? You want us to retreat in the face of evil? To acknowledge that evil can prevail good? Soldiers of Light do not retreat. Run alone, if you must." With that, Althaine took up his sword, grabbed the nearest demon he found and thrusted his sword into its torso.

The dragons landed ontop of the fortress, demolishing the towers the archers and mages stationed at. He could take one of them, but two?

And as if the gods were testing his faith, one of the angels spotted another dragon. This one considerably larger.

"Please, Althaine!" said Angelica. "We need to get everyone to safety!"

Over the horizon, the dragon's roar could be heard. Its roar froze the blood of enemies and allies alike. The next moment, the dragon was beside the fort. The dragon was plated with scales the color of the sun. And with a single swipe of its claws, it tore one of the two red dragons apart, killing it instantly. The severed dragon dropped to the ground, crushing a group of soldiers and zombies.

Althaine froze in disbelief momentarily. Did the dragon just attacked its own? But such was the nature of dragons. Fearsome, whimsical, uncontrollable. This was the flaw in their plans


Taking to the air again, the yellow dragon fired a beam of light at the other dragon. The beam sliced one of its wings off, and the red dragon let out a roar of pain while plummeting to the forest below. The yellow dragon dived with it. Seconds later, it flew back up to the fort, with the head of the dragon in its mouth. It spat the head towards a group of orcs that cornered a bunch of mages. The mages immediately fled to the backlines.

"My Lord," said Angelica. "I think... that dragon is... on our side?" It was as if she did not believe what she was saying.

Illust: Artomica Studio/NAKAGAWA/Rakuen/Dan Scott/Billy Christian/Pablo Fernandez/Liva Prima
Althaine said nothing, only continuing to fend off the horde. But he found himself distracted by the yellow dragon, and kept his eyes on it. It was true. Though it stomped and killed a dozen Logres soldiers in its struggle, the dragon was unleashing its wrath on the dark forces.

"Soldiers of Light!" Althaine shouted as loud as he could over the battlefield. "Back up the dragon! It's on our side!"

The bunch of mages that were saved by the dragon earlier went to work immediately, freezing the harpies circling the dragon like flies. The motionless birds fell to the ground, and shattered into pieces.

This, the golden knight of Logres and his soldiers of light and dragon kept on for hours. They mowed and chopped and slashed hundreds of demons. When dawn finally broke, the war was over. All that were left standing were the Logres army, Althaine and Angelica, and the yellow dragon.

If it was not clear earlier, it was now. When no undead nor orcs stood, the dragon made no movements, as if it was conscious that any moves it make will demolish another building, accidentally killing anyone.

While all was grateful towards the dragon for its assistance, they knew all too well the reputation of dragons -- whimsical beasts loyal to nothing but themselves. It could turn on them at any given moment, and they would not stand a chance. They were afraid even to breathe too loudly lest the dragon turned its attention toward them.

But the Holy Dragolord knew. He walked up to the dragon, within the range of a handshake, then he saluted dragon.

The dragon lowered its head slightly, and blinked at Althaine.

Then the yellow dragon perked up, raised its head towards the sun like it heard something that only it heard. Angelica raised her shield in front of Althaine reflexively. But the dragon's attention was not at the mortals. Extending its large leathery wings, the yellow dragon took off, and headed towards the horizon.

Illust: Artomica Studio/NAKAGAWA/Rakuen/Dan Scott/Billy Christian/Pablo Fernandez/Livia Prima