Jazmyn's End

Started by Jager, October 16, 2009, 09:01:32 PM

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*You see a hastily scribbled note above a much longer entry*

Enough time has passed. Enough mourning. I feel now that I can finally think back on that horrible day without breaking down. It is now time that I set down on paper what happened that fateful day.  I know that it will never be written down in the Official ES history tomes. I have asked Phoenix about it, but he considers it a relatively minor thing, especially after all the other friends we were forced to part with. For her memory, for the person who was, for my sanity; do I record this.

It happened as follows:

Monday 10th, Sero-Verisum 352.
I had been up all last night making arrows. Phoenix was running me ragged trying to keep up with everything. This morning was to have been a simple advance towards the main city, but a sizeable enemy force held us up. The morning had started out as any normal morning, but by the time the sun rose to its highest point in the sky, an ominous cloud had gathered off to our west. Clouds rolled over the trees at us, and lightning clove great trees in front of the advancing armies of ES. As we crested a small rise, we could see the enemy army spread out before us.  All manner of sick and twisted horrors which I could neither identify nor name, yet I knew in the bottom of my heart that these horrors would pile upon all the others I had witnessed in this campaign slowly desensitizing me to everything. Already the pain from the loss of Kithra and Brianne was fading into obscurity. For now though, I must prepare my field forge and rouse my assistants; there would soon be broken and shattered gear flowing into my shop just like there would be broken and shattered young men and women flowing into the priest's tent across the way. Leaders of men should be back here, on the back of the lines. Perhaps then they would see the true nature of War.

A little time had passed. I had left the shop to my able assistants while I went out to the field and help the priests and the medicae. They had barely been able to keep up with the wounded. Several times the very ones who they were trying to care for died right there on the spot. And such was the latent power of the necromancers that their patients rose up from their death-beds and attempted to slay them on the spot. This nearly wiped out the entire medicae staff until Phoenix gave that dreadful order. I still shudder to think back on it. His face was so grim, and I could see the armor of emotional loss behind his eyes sealing off his thoughts and emotions to the horrors of the words passing from his lips. "Save only those who are not mortally wounded... Destroy the rest before they can be turned."

These memories kept running through my mind, threatening to distract me from the simple healing spell I was trying to cast. I hadn't blatantly disobeyed his orders, but I had skirted the line a few times. I just could not bring myself to follow his orders to the letters. I reached up and swept my rain-slicked hair out of my eyes so I could better see the soldier's wound. The storm had broken upon us as the first fighting began. It was unlike any normal storm though. The clouds swirled ominously, pregnant with rain, and eerie green lightening split the sky often. The close black clouds have shut out the afternoon sun, and mage lights now shed their other-worldly blue light on everything. If it weren't for them we would be fighting in the dark.

Suddenly the ground began to shake. Like a breath of death sweeping through the swaying trunks that were people fighting for their lives, the dark powers could be felt. Hairs stood up along the length of my arms and I could feel everything growing cold around me. A mist, thin at first growing thicker and denser as it slithered its way past our legs, began to rise from all the slain bodies around us. For a moment I was concerned that yet another wave of re-animated corpses would rise to face us. Looking around me though, I soon realized that these corpses had already risen several times against us; there shouldn't be enough life-force in them to get even a twitch out of. The mist was growing ever denser, flowing along the ground like translucent mercury, and as I finished the simple healing spell over the fallen archer, I could feel the weight of it tugging at the hem of my cloak and pants. The battle was still on-going in front of me, and I could see the great mass of roiling fighters push back and forth.

Then, off in the distance, silhouetted by a sudden flash of unnatural green lightning, I saw a lone individual standing upon a raised platform. It was a sight which I shall never forget. There are some things that once seen, can never be un-seen. In the brief instance of another flash of the unnatural lightning, I could see the wind whipping his cloak and hooded shroud. The base of the platform was obscured by fog or mist, I couldn't tell rightly from that distance, but I could see that it was quickly becoming a swirling vortex.  In the fading light of a falling mage-light, I could see the mist swirling up around the figure's legs, obscuring them.  Phoenix must have caught sight of this as well for I could see out of the corner of my eye, the faintly glowing Hammer being raised high in the air, the signal for more light on the field. Seeing this and wanting to see more of what was happening on that platform, I sent my feeble mage-light up into the sky. It wasn't much, but it was all I could manage with my little bit of the Art. Around me, three battle mages under the barked command from Nasduirche, chanted together in sequence, and I could feel the energy pulsing through the air from them right as three titanic mage-lights, each at least two meters in diameter, shot from their out-stretched staves and soared into the sky. Blinking the after-image from my eyes, I looked back down the field, now slick with vivid crimson, illuminated by the harsh blue light. Once again I could see the platform, or at least where the platform used to be. I knew that the Necromancer was still there though, as I could see the red light from his eyes through the swirling mist which now towered over him. The mist had stopped coming from the bodies around me, but I could still see it around the front lines. From my vantage point here on the little hillock, I could see vast quantities of it swarming in from all over the battle field and congregating around the platform. Suddenly, the mist billowed out before being sucked back in; as if an explosion had occurred in its heart. The red pinpoints of light winked out for a moment then reappeared at least three meters higher, much brighter as well and larger. They pierced through the fog, lighting it up from the inside as it continued to swirl around the figure standing inside it, thick and turgid. Slowly, as if walking from a nightmare, this.... this... thing reached up out of the mist. Lightening suddenly forked down from the heavens and connected with it. There was a great flash of blinding light and a powerful shockwave washed over us, resurgent with the smells of battle and something else, something worse....

As I blinked the dust from my eyes and shook my head to clear it of the ringing, I looked out and could see what has been wrought. Where the platform once was, a crater was now gouged out of the earth with ragged edges like a festering wound with smoke wafting out and along the ground near by. Just then, rising from the ground in concentric rings from the blast, were the ranks of enemy who were nearby the blast. They were the lucky ones. Of those who were closer, nothing remained but some half-melted armor and weapons. Stepping up out of the crater, the monster, brandishing a wicked looking Bardiche, opened its mouth and issued a roar like none other. It isn't loud, nor does it shake the ground; instead I could feel it inside my head, pounding on my temples, tearing at my soul, freezing my breath. Off to my right I heard a sharp intake of breath over the sudden silence in the aftermath of the shockwave. Looking over I could see Jazmyn the archdruid looking at the behemoth with dread in her eyes.  Calling out to the druids around her, she began to cast a summoning spell of great strength. I knew not what she would call forth, yet I knew in my heart that it would most likely not be enough to stop this new horror. I tried to lend my feeble talent to her summoning spell, but I know not if I was any help. The druids spread out from Jazmyn like planets orbiting a star, hand in hand, they outline enough space for the summon. I could see from my vantage that this would be no ordinary creature, perhaps even.... yes... I began  to see polished scales appearing in the air. And, the air, yes the air, grew noticeably colder as the scales quickly multiplied and spread up and down the back of a truly massive dragon. It was the greater glacial, old Dreamer herself. As the last of the behemoth finished phasing in, Jazmyn opened her eyes and looks calmly into the face of her pet, "Hello there you old Day Dreamer, I have need of you again."

The glacial, sensing the battle raging around her, gave an impertinent shake of her head, as if to say: "Well, get on with it then." As Jazmyn cast protective spells on the dragon and the battle mages prepped the augments imbedded under massive diamond hard scale plates, the old dragon inspected her scales to make sure they all came through the transition in one piece.  The thick scales that covered her sinuous form are the best type of armor: diamond hard with some as large as order shields; their protection is second to none. The augments that had been inserted under the scales in key areas by my hand began to glow fiercely as the mages poured greater and greater amounts of energy into them, activating them. These precious stones greatly augmented the glacial's strength, agility, and intelligence; doubling, if not tripling her power. As the preparations neared an end, a priest hurried up to make the quick sign of Compassion in the air between the dragon and him then held up a large power crystal above his head and waited for the dragon. Knowing well the drill, Dreamer lowered her head to his level and pressed her forehead against the waiting crystal. There was a brief blue flash before the priest lowered the crystal and rushed off to the back lines cradling in his hands the now glowing shard containing a stored fragment of the glacial's soul should she fall in battle. Finally ready for battle, Dreamer threw back her head and let forth a roar of anticipation.

The horror had by this time worked its way through friendly territory and was proceeding lay waste to the front lines of the Empire, driving back any foe that stood before it. Some men scattered before it, others stayed rooted in place by the fear that overtook them; but no matter as its reach was long and its will determined. Slowly at first, but quickly picking up speed, Dreamer began to lope towards it. She was careful to step around the fleeing Paladins and Templars as they tried to scatter before her charge. After a few bounds though it was unnecessary, as she spread her great diaphanous wings and took to the sky with a sound of blowing air like the exhalations of an angry God.  Quickly gaining altitude, she began to circle the battle, looking for the best angle of attack while Jazmyn offered advice and information of the battle through their shared mind-link. Seeing an opportunity the Great glacial folded her wings and dropped like a stone straight towards the flesh golem. Not one hundred feet away, she finally issued her clan's battle cry opening her jaws wide and spreading her talons out.


The impact was tremendous and much dirt was thrown into the air. Even from where I was standing, nearly a quarter mile from the scene, I could feel the impact quake in the ground through my boots. The fight was far from over though. Through the settling dust, I could see glimpses of both golem and dragon as they waged their titanic struggle against one another. Dreamer roared in pain as enemy archers began to rush forward and bury their rusty arrows into the thinner scales on her belly. They did not lost long however as she spared a moment to breathe her frigid breath across them, instantly turning them to solid blocks of ice. That moment of inattentiveness cost her though, as the flesh golem sliced forward with his Bardiche and gouged a gaping wound across her right flank. Swinging around in a flash away from the blade, she carried her momentum through, and pivoting on her good hind leg, she brought her tail up for a bone shattering crash into the daemon's torso. I can only guess at it, but seeing as how four ranks of closing troops were thrown on the ground by the shockwave alone, I can only imagine the damage that blow caused. Still though, the golem was not finished. Its entire left side a ruin of mangled flesh, it staggered backwards to sit heavily on the ground. Advancing for the killing blow, Dreamer swooped her head in to grab the daemon's throat in her jaws. Even with the massive wounds, the flesh golem tried to duck aside from that maw of razor sharp teeth and managed to partially succeed. Dreamer only managed to get a half bite on the thing's neck, but that was enough as she tossed her head and half of it came away in her mouth. With its last dying action, the golem thrust upwards with the Bardiche and struck a thin spot in the scales protecting her belly. The wound was massive and many of her vital organs were damaged. As the daemon sighed back on the ground, dead, the death throes of Dreamer tore at the earth and threw turf and soldiers in the air without bias.

The necromancers, sensing that the great dragonkin was dieing, released their power from the spent flesh golem and now focused instead on the powerful glacial. Jazmyn, seeing her Dreamer fall in combat, gave a cry for aid and began to cast another summoning spell to try and save her pet, her friend. Quickly the other druids pitched in their help and soon a broken and bleeding glacial began to phase in on the ground in front of them. Nasduirche, just now noticing what was happening, quickly began to cast a counter-spell to stop the summon. He was too late though. Knowing full well what was about to happen he shouted orders at all his mages and sent a runner to fetch Knossos and his men, things were going to get ugly and soon. The Druids began their chanting, slow and mournful, rising in tone and volume with each repetition of the healing mantra. Her wounds were grievous though and there was only a slim chance that she could be saved. Dreamer stopped breathing, and the wind picked up and forced her lungs to operate. Her blood was too thin, and water and earth mixed to replace it. Her heart stopped beating, and the pulse of the world palpitated it, keeping the blood flowing. Nasduirche finally reached Jazmyn.

"Stop this, you must stop keeping her here. You must send her away before she Arises!" he cried into her ear. She did not waste breath arguing with him though, merely glaring at him as she continued the chant, keeping time with her brethren. priests rushed in and began casting powerful healing spells of their own, doing there best to keep this noble dragon among the living. Their efforts were for naught though. Slowly, surely, Dreamer slipped away, leaving an empty shell of broken dragon behind. This had been the moment the necromancers had been waiting for. With an ear-shattering clap of thunder, a green lightning bolt snaked down from the sky and struck the draconic corpse blowing everyone around it back a few meters. I landed roughly on a discarded shield, but managed to throw my arms in the air just in time to help break Jazmyn's fall. The corpse of the dragon glowed briefly, then began to smolder.  Pale green smoke slowly rose into the air around it, but unlike most smoke it grew thicker and rose quicker with each passing second. It was joined by a darker colored smoke as the grasses around the body caught fire as well. Before anyone knew it, they were looking into the eyes of a truly massive Skeletal dragon that had formed out of the smoke itself. It was ringed by a circle of flames which licked and crawled across its polished white bones as it clawed at the sky.

It stood there for a moment, for a second, for an eternity. Oddly beautiful as the polished white bones glinted in the reflected mage-light. The augments from Dreamer had fused with the bones they had been placed next to, now attached permanently and near blinding with their luminescence of the stored power. It towered over everyone by more than three meters, slowly swaying in the rising thermals from the brushfire. As everyone looked on, still in shock from the scant few seconds which had passed, the air (and my left ear) was split with the sound of Jazmyn's wail of anguish. Unfortunately, she had still been mentally linked with Dreamer when she had been re-incarnated into this... thing. The mental anguish, the fatal clash between Gaia and the vile ways of Necromancy burned out Jazmyn's mind in a second. The Skeletal dragon, seeing Jazmyn as the closest target, craned down its vile head and snapped her up in its jaws catching my left hand in the process. It killed her instantly, but I was more lucky if one could call it that. My arm quickly became slick with both my own blood and Jazmyn's. I had been left dangling there above the ground, and the weight of my body slipped my arm out from between two of the monster's teeth. I fell to the ground and gave a loud grunt. Shocked out of his paralysis by this, Nasduirche shouted orders to the Mages within hearing.
"Boost Me! Boost my power!"
"But, sir. You know that that is dangerous..." said his adjunct.
"Silence," he commanded. "I know the risks. Boost my power anyways and prepare for a dissolution!"

Not knowing exactly how a dissolution worked, I tried to help the mages that were attempting to paralyze and immobilize the undead dragon. I was too weak though from the blood loss, and the pain prevented me from concentrating.  Everyone else hastily cast warding runes and Oblivion Rings of Power onto the ground with their staves around the struggling monster. Meanwhile, Nasduirche was focusing, mentally preparing himself and his soul for what was about to happen. He had experienced this very spell before, but not on this scale. This was a whole new challenge. Quickly, but meticulously, he burned runes of power into his gloves, and traced connecting lines down his arms and to his feet where they ran into a smaller Oblivion Ring. These would serve as conduits for the released energy to travel through, finally grounding themselves out upon the Earth where he stood. The hand full of mages trying to subdue the re-animation were failing. This undead aberration was too powerful for them, and they were slowly losing the fight.

"priests! I need the priests over here NOW!" he shouted into his communication crystal. "Knossos! Where are you? We need help in the back of the lines!" Nasduirche also bellowed.

"I am here Nas." Spoke Knossos from behind him. "I just arrived with what archers I could gather at a moment's notice."

"Good, I need you to nock your bows with Consecrated Arrows. That needs to be weakened." Nasduirche said, pointing at the thrashing mountain of bones.

"You called for priests Sir? Who is hurt?" said a wavery voice to his left.

"I need you not for your skill in healing. Rather I need you to use your Art to help control that. Paralyze it, Immobilize it. I care not, just keep in within that Ring on the ground."

"But, Sir! That goes against..."

Nasduirche whirled on the little man, "Stuff your argument, If you and your men don't do this we will ALL die. Now Move!" He barked.

With the aid of the priests, the dragon was held well enough. When all was prepared, all the mages began to chant in unison, leaving the priests to restrain the weakened dragon: "Ummmma dea numra... Ummmma dea numra... Ummmma dea numra..." I could feel the air electrify with the power they were amassing. The combined mana-pools of over sixty trained and skilled battle mages were being collected together and sent to bolster Nasduirche's own. The extreme use of the art was causing the priests some difficulty in keeping the beast contained. Occasionally sparks of magic would jump across the fifteen-foot gap separating it and Nasduirche, forking like miniature lightning. When, he could barely accept any more power without frying, Nasduirche began to chant himself. His was different though, in that it was spoken in ancient high-drow.

"Per vox rectum. Pro memoria quondam... Requium aeternam dona eis!"
then a repetition,
"Per vox rectum. Pro memoria quondam... Requium aeternam dona eis!!"
and the final chorus with everyone joining in,

With the final incantation, the undead dragon gave a horrendous screech and began to dissolve slowly. All the released magical energy was contained within the Oblivion Ring, and was funneled into the waiting receptacle of Nasduirche to be channeled safely into the earth. The power coursing through him and along the channels runed into his armor was amazing. The sheer power of it burned away the armor and etched the runing into his very skin where-in the power continued to flow. Every last erg of it was safely channeled into the ground at his feet, but it took a horrible toll on his body. After the last of the dragon was dissipated, Nasduirche collapsed insensate onto the thick slab of glass which he stood, dark, night-black glass that shone with an internal light, black glass that had only a few moments before been living grass and healthy soil. The grass and soil were now fused into this glass forever from the force and heat of the spell.