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Pri(M)ordial Resurgence (Axl X Jabba)

Axl · 4 · 46

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Offline Axl

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Primordial Resurgence


Volcanic heat scalded oppressively, a whip sharing the sentiment, cracked through the air on its way to lick the back of lethargic slaves. A trembling sound, as if it too, was afraid of receiving an unjust lap. Vjeko Krall couldn't see a few feet past his pickaxe, let alone where the terrible tongue came from. The red marks across his back looked like notches on a wall, counting the days gone by. It wasn't always like this, for the race of gnomes. But Vjeko, a slave born, knew no other life except that which he dreamt.

Freedom, forever a carrot on a string, dangled just out of reach. Being thrown in the hollow mines was a death sentence for most; you either die mining or get lost in the heat, looking for a way out. Escape fairytale-like and utopian plagued the thoughts of the downtrodden. Bedlam Cauldron wasn't always hollow nor used a mine, long ago before the destructive collapse of the gnomish kingdom, it was one of the few ice volcanoes in the world. The gnomes harvested the ice and used it for many things, such as keeping food and drinks cold, and as a staple ingredient in potent magic.

As one can imagine, it takes a lot of magical imbalance to change the characteristics of nature. After the gnomish collapse and the outbursts of chaotic magic still seen to this day, the ice evaporated leaving only heat and gems. These gems are of different colours and magical properties, and where there are gems there are dwarves. Ever-present tyrants barely looming over their once allies. Allies now breed in captivity for manual labour a penance for ancestral mistakes.

“I've been myself for twenty-four years and I still don't know who I am” Vjeko mused as he struggled to pull his pick from the shimmering wall in front of him. A jolt of unfamiliar pain forced the young gnome to his knees. “Mother of Mystery” Vjeko choked out as he looked at his hands, calloused from years of mining and raw from the heat now burned with intense cold. His pickaxe froze solid in its place began to shatter. Nearby calls for help fell on bewildered ears as the heat gave way to a deep and unfamiliar cold.

Slaves not quick enough to let go of their tools became mocking ice sculptures. For the first time in eons, the mines were cold as if nature herself had finally started healing. Dwarven slave drivers froze in the middle of whipping, running, and shouting. Like a painting etched out of a mountain, nothing save for the young gnome showed a semblance of life. Vjeko shivered as he stood, gaping at the freshly carved statuettes.

 “What’s going on,” he thought as the wall he had previously been mining yawned half-heartedly. The cold now filled with unnecessary lust began to dig its claws into Vjeko. The wall’s breach more inviting than his current lover’s embrace, the gnome darted into the eerie unknown. He pulled himself through the teethed maw for a small eternity before ending at a cliff face. Stepping onto the frighteningly small ledge Vjeko peered into the darkness below. The ground gave way under his sudden weight before a sigh of fear could muster enough courage to escape his cracked lips.

Silence heavier than the mountain itself grudgingly filled with the sound of ricocheting stones, his dry throated scream trailing behind. Pockets of icy wind caressed the young gnome’s face as he fell. The dark vertical tunnel slowly filled with ghostly undertones of light; a light, long-dormant, forgotten and twisted. It was light, trying to escape a frozen lake, before drowning in the blue. He had barely enough time to marvel and wonder at the source before he landed breathtakingly on a chunk of floating ice.

“Little Gnome,” a shifting glacier of a voice reverberated off the walls “Your kind tipped nature's scales long ago, long before the ink, before they changed your world.” With each word, the ice chunk glided slowly towards the light and its source. “It is time for the old ways.” The ice chunk halted abruptly in front of a glacial being. It’s frigid breath circling around and through Vjeko. “Seek out the others, places twisted. Heal as you healed here, grow as you have grown here. Primordial powers, make them remember.”

As the Gnome opened his mouth to utter his confusion the being waved their hand dismissively. Conjuring an arctic breath that sent Vjeko into a shaft of torpid air below. Darkness and silence shared a meal of time and distance as he fell. After what seemed a millennium he was finally spat out of the mountain like a vulgar insult. Vjeko’s first meeting with the ground as a free Gnome was unforgiving.

First Chapter
Discover

Vjeko drifted through a stew of unconsciousness, life an enigma only understood in fits of clarity. He finally had what he always wanted, freedom, and like an infant with a new toy, he had no idea what to do with it. The uncertainty of time left Vjeko consumed with bewilderment when consciousness returned. The only indication of its passing was the blessing of snow upon the long withered forest at the volcano's base. If this area had a name he’d never heard it, he knew no more of the world than he did of the future.

Exactly how he got in this winter wonderland wasn't all that clear. Like walking down a foggy path only being able to see a tight circle around one's feet. Standing up he brushed the snow off his bare chest and arms. The cold just a dull foreign annoyance in the back of his mind slowly beginning to suffocate under the ever-growing need for sustenance. Wrapping his arms around his bare chest Vjeko began to walk through the forest. Hoping to find someone helpful, dreading the all too real possibility of that someone being a Dwarf.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2020, 03:32:37 PM by Axl »


Offline Jabbathejack

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The stylus trembled faintly in his hand, but Zaiah held it as steady as he could, dipping the tip in his pot of homemade ink before he applied it to the bare skin of his forearm. Slowly and carefully, he traced the glyph that he had memorised, whispering the words to bind it there. The moment that he had finished, the glyph glowed brightly, stinging his eyes in the darkness of his makeshift hovel.

He gave a sharp breath as he felt the spell take hold. Suddenly, the glowing glyph faded to black, the ink sinking into his skin to form a permanent tattoo. Already, he could feel the power radiating out from his forearm, rushing through his entire body. His head rocked back in ecstacy.

It was a simple protection glyph, but it was the most powerful spell that Zaiah had managed to perform. He fell back, staring up at the hole in the roof of his hovel that allowed the smoke from his fire to escape. Through the hole, he could see the moon, shining brightly down.

When he woke up, Zaiah picked himself up with a groan. His fire had reduced to ash with only a faint glow in the embers. Daylight poured through the hole in the roof, making him wince at the unwelcome brightness. A glance down at his forearm told him that the glyph was still in place, now firmly etched into his flesh. Slowly, a grin spread across Zaiah's face and he reached for his worn shirt, pulling it on over his head.

Releasing the protective wards that he'd set on the door, Zaiah stumbled out of the hovel, rubbing his eyes against the glare of the sun on the snow. It was beautiful up here, far away from the city below, but despite that, Zaiah was well aware of the dangers that the wilderness held. Especially for a city born lad like him.

Zaiah was a tall, skinny human man. His dark brown hair was unkempt, reaching down past his chin where there was three days' worth of stubble. He was twenty-four, with the pale look of a man who had spent the majority of his life in the city. He had only ventured out in an attempt to find the privacy that could not be achieved back in the city, even with wards to guard the door.

Reaching up, he stretched, his breath visible in front of his face. It was time to get the fire started again, to have some food before he contemplated the journey back home.


Offline Axl

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“I’m sitting here staring at a blank page. Words arrive like welcomed guests. Alas, all but the ones I want. Infinite possibilities looking over my shoulder. Creeping from the corner of my eyes. To pick just a few is daunting. We create worlds with our imagination. Such a thing is a beast untamable. We waddle in too deep and drown in the sickly sweet ink. Try as we might  for air, we only breathe what we…”
A knock brought the Gnome out of their thoughts and back to their bleak reality. Shafir Okropir, one of the few remaining free Inkers of their race, sat in a stone chamber devoid of decorations save for a lightless window, a table and chair occupied by the Gnome. Though, calling furniture carved from the stone itself a decoration hardly fits the word. Rubbing their eyes the wizened gnome turned in the direction of the knock, gestured and watched. The silence of the room banished by the sudden grinding of stone hinges.

“Master Okropir?” a voice, winded as if from a hasty climb up a steep staircase, called from outside the granite portal “There has been an awakening” “Show me” Shafir commanded as they stood up and walked towards the portal. Past musings left on the table to be picked up later. The granite portal led to another stone chamber, one filled with books and scrolls. Tapestries of tales old and forgotten adorned the walls, torchlight danced in stale air to music unheard. In the middle of the room stood a round gem-encrusted wooden divination table.

The table held a pool of viscous liquid slowly solidifying the closer Shafir became. A small bird-like creature perched on the table across from the Gnome began to speak. “Bedlam Cauldron '' it's once winded voice now bewildered. Shafir acknowledged the creature with a shrug before peering into the now solid-liquid and the once-dormant ice volcano it showed. “Raja, show me the surrounding area” Master Okropir peered intently at the table as the image zoomed out to show what is now known as Alembda’s Reach.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Alembda’s Reach, five herculean fingers seeking to escape their earthly prison. The long-dormant ice volcano lay to one side, a mockery of an index finger. Ice frothing down the sides covering the long-dead foliage and earth. The four accompanying mountains varied in their approach to the new status quo. Some were never void of winter, others took to the heat quickly. Those that embraced the heat now fought to keep it, while those that stayed cold experienced no change. Valleys below a battlefield of elements, heat and cold, each one standing their ground, demanding to exist.

Creatures long evolved to the sweltering conditions fleeing or freezing solid in their attempt to escape. Vjeko avoided many woodland creatures as he wandered lost and numb. With freedom still new and scary. The gnome adjusted his dirty torn pants, the only article of clothing he wore, and continued to wander down the volcano’s side and into the soon to be snow-covered valley below.


Offline Jabbathejack

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With some much needed food in his belly, Zaiah was able to see the world around him a little more clearly, the euphoric fog brought on by his illicit exploration into the mysterious world of magic having eased somewhat. Of course, near the top of a mountain like this, he expected it to be cold, perpetually encased in snow, but now that he could concentrate, he realised that it was far colder than he had expected. Certainly, it was considerably colder than when he had first made the journey there, only a few days ago.

Zaiah frowned, shrugging to himself as he bent down to heft his pack up onto his shoulders. It was high time that he was on his way; freezing to death on this desolate mountain was not something that he particularly wanted. He made his way down the steep slope, choosing his footing carefully. A fair few times, Zaiah found his worn boots slipped on a patch of ice, almost falling flat on his arse.

Reaching out to catch the trunk of a tree to steady himself, Zaiah paused to catch his breath, taking a small swig from his canteen, but the water was so cold that it felt as if it were freezing his lips. Zaiah frowned, wiping his mouth with his gloved hand.

Slinging the strap that held his canteen over his shoulder, Zaiah was just about to carry on when he paused, his frown deepening. Raising a hand to shield his eyes from the sun's glare on the snow, Zaiah peered into the distance. Further down the slope, it almost looked as if there was a figure, partly obscured by the snow covered trees. At first, it seemed as if they were just a shadow, but as he watched, he realised it was indeed a person, a short, squat figure making their way down.

Zaiah picked up his pace, sliding down the snow covered slope. As he got closer, he wondered if the figure was a child? Yet that could hardly be possible, could it? A dwarf, perhaps? Zaiah raised his voice, calling out to the stranger.

"Hoi there!" He waved briefly before continuing his way down towards them. "You lost, friend?"

As he got closer, he realised with shock that they were half naked. The figure seemed to be a little on the thin side for a dwarf. He grimaced, as if that really mattered?

"You must be freezing there." He dropped his pack to the ground and pulled out his tatty blanket, offering it out to the stranger.

Now that he was standing face to face with the stranger, he could see that it was a gnome, the thick welts obvious across his bare hide. Zaiah winced faintly, for he knew damn well what those marks were from, but he kept the blanket held out.

"Take it, you'll catch your death out here."