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The (M)onster of Solith

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Offline yautjan

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History could not really say when the rivalry between Andariel and Solith began, only that the war between them had erupted a dozen years ago and had no end in sight, countless sent to the front lines to die a painful death. Both sides had harnessed some of the most destructive magic and weapons known to date, and the formally neutral neighboring kingdoms had eventually taken sides. While Andariel's technological prowess was unmatched, Solith was home to the most prolific Mage's Guild in all of Thena. It was in Solith that the newest batch of graduated mages were sent out to join the army every season, only the most powerful among them selected to see the greatest chance at glory in combat.

The winter of the year 639 was the class Volanare Amossa found himself graduating in. He had been studious in his education and talented in his execution of the magics, and he was one of three mages qualified to seek the front lines of Solith's campaign, where the most destruction was wrought and the most terrifying of weapons were crafted.

Their caravan arrived at dawn, when the snow was just beginning to melt and the spring was mere weeks from beginning to warm the planet. Volanare disembarked after his fellow mages, pairing up with the other two who were meant to seek the mage commander at the vanguard. He was tall, a few inches over six feet, and thin, built light, his shoulders the widest part of his body on a narrow waist and slender hips and limbs. His face, in the shadows of the morning light, was striking and angular, with high cheekbones and a sharp chin and a long straight nose brushed with pale skin, under a ruffled mess of black hair and set with bright green eyes. People said he was handsome; he thought himself far more similar to that of a rat.

They arrived at the camps behind the front lines by midday, weaving through the endless sea of trenches and walls built over the years by the advancing Solithian army. It was there they were supposed to meet the mage commander, according to the missive read to them before their departure at Solith's capital, Ortlux.

"Be careful," one of the teachers had warned Volanare before he'd left that day. "The mage commander, he is in control of a fearsome beast that they say can crush any man. Do not put yourself in harm's way, Amossa."

Volanare, for all he was worth, had no intention of angering any beasts in the army. For all his desire to be useful to his country and his people, hurting innocent animals was hardly his prerogative. They didn't ask to be at war, like the humans had.
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Offline EvilCopepod

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The commander awaited them in one of the larger tents, it was an armory for mages, filled with staffs, pendants, glowing stones, and other such powerful conduits. At his side was the beast that the teacher had spoken of, he was curled up on the ground, sleeping, but even in this position he was nearly at head height with his master. He was armored in leather that had been dyed the colors of Solith to make it clear which side he was one, but it seemed they had only made the effort once, as the armor was riddle with tears, burns, and all manner of damage from weapons small and large. His face, hands, and feet were not dressed, but they had an armor of their own, his feet and hands looked as if they had been dipped in tar which had set like stone to give him vicious claws, the blackness was also visible on his face, where veins of it crept from his mouth where large tusks protruded from. There were bands of pink light around his neck, ankles, and wrists, that had familiar runes on them, there was no danger of the enemies breaking these bonds as it was magic taught after the war and only at Solith's Mage Guild to the capable students.

"It is under my control, you do not need to fear it attacking you. But it has a wide berth of attack, you need to give it space during battle or you may be harmed by accident." he cautioned, before adding: "If I am to fall in battle, its control will be inherited by another mage." he said this only for their sake so they wouldn't worry about the creature breaking free, as he highly doubted that he would be killed any time soon, at least not with the intelligence they received about the foe's advancements on weapons. They had yet to use anything that could make it past the creature under his control, and he always kept it between himself and the other forces.

He ordered Rikerg to wake up, the bindings flashing as they stung him, but he acted as if he'd only been disturbed by a loud noise, his eyes opening slowly as they gained focus on the three mages before him. If it were only pain that the humans used against him, he would no longer be their thrall, but they had control of his actions whenever they pleased. They kept him docile as a lamb until it was time to fight, and even then when he was urged to attack as he pleased, they kept him from eating anything he killed to maximize his efficiency as a weapon. It wasn't until after battle that they fed him, meat that was long dead, covered in dirt, and never human. They only allowed him to eat slain horses from battle, and never enough of them, Rikerg had yet to figure out they kept him hungry to make him more ferocious. He had many attempts to break free from the bindings, but he hadn't so much as drawn blood on anyone he wasn't ordered to, and it had been months. So he had begun sleeping more often to try and wait it out, to see if the humans would make a mistake or be overtaken by their enemies.

"You are not to harm them." The common soldiers and even the commanding officers didn't need to all be introduced, as they were in uniform, but mages were allowed to wear whatever they chose if it aided them in battle, Rikerg needed to be shown each of them so he wouldn't attack them. He'd seen many mages before, and had planned to go back to sleeping once he had done what was commanded, but he caught sight of Volnare and his head raised from the arm it was resting on. Both of his eyes locked on the man, the human-like one of green and the one that was as black as the other markings on it, Rikerg's nostrils flared as he tried to take in the scent of the most beautiful human he'd seen since being dragged to this war camp.


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Entering the mages armory was intimidating, to say the least--to be face to face with their commander on the eve of their first day at war. The plethora of artifacts and tools at hand to augment their abilities was stunning, and it was clear the mages were eager to get their hands on them and outfit themselves to become the machines of war they had been chosen to be. All thoughts of the armory became second however when the three realized there was a monster among them, sleeping at the feet of the commander however ridiculous it seemed when the monster was bigger than any known man in the world.

Volanare caught himself staring in shock, hardly believing the beast he had been warned about was a human--or, maybe, had been human once. The more he saw, the less he realized it was normal. Tusks, tar-like hands and feet, one eye black as night... this was no mere human. His teacher's warning made sense now, especially once the commander woke it up.

"That won't be a problem," one of the graduated students, a woman named Sarva, said. "What a fearsome looking thing."

"Hey," the third student, a man named Kiron, said. He elbowed Volanare in the ribs. "It likes you, Vol."

Volanare grabbed his side where he'd been hit, and rubbed it awkwardly. The monster's eyes were fixed on him, and it made him uncomfortable. Rapt attention was never something he enjoyed unless it was for watching him perform magic, and he especially wasn't sure he liked it from a monster under the control of his commander.

"We'll keep an eye on it," Sarva said to the commander. "And out of its way."
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Offline EvilCopepod

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Rikerg hadn't spoken to the mages and soldiers he had fought when they came to capture him, and he hadn't started after he'd been captured. There was nothing he had to say to them, he wasn't going to plea for his release, he wasn't going to threaten them with what he planned to do once he was free, and he had no skills in deception to try and trick them into taking off his restraints. He wanted to try and speak with Volonare, but reminded himself that he was probably like the rest of the humans which gaped at him and gave him a wide berth, and it wasn't worth the effort to see if he was any different.

Still, he was nice to look at, so instead of going back to sleep he continued to stare at him, and didn't appreciate how the other human had shoved him. He let this be known through a low, rumbling growl, which only increased in volume as the commander attempted to silence him by sending a surge of burning pain through him. Rikerg only stopped growling when he was no longer able to, as the mage cut off his oxygen supply by tightening the collar, and he didn't attempt to growl again once he was able to breath.

"It seems to dislike you." The man said, patting the side of Rikerg's neck, the flesh beneath his hand twitching like a horse's side when a fly landed upon it. "You may want to keep further from it during battle. But for now, it can only growl at you, though it shouldn't." He stepped away from the creature and toward the new recruits, leaving him where he was.

"Anything in the armory is at your disposal. However, before you are allowed into battle with anything, you must show your proficiency with it. We don't need mages going into battle and blowing themselves up." He gestured to a large book, "I expect you to know most of what we have here, but there is a compendium if you need help with identifying anything. I will give you time to look through it all while I go to finalize plans. Your first battle will be in three hours, and I will test to see if you know how to use what you have chosen. Are there any questions before I go?"


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Volanare's face remained even and indifferent, but behind his mask he could see the intelligence in the monster's single green eye. His attention seemed rapt, unlike that of an animal, and the level of control apparently needed to keep him at bay was more than one even needed with a troll or garge. It was almost cruel to watch, like a tortured horse held down by magic bonds. No doubt the creature...human...thing was dangerous, as the commander had said, but for a moment there was sympathy in Vol's eyes.

"Awesome," Kiron said, returning Volanare's attention to the immediate matter at hand. "Thank you, Commander."

"I don't think so, Sir," Sarva said, already eyeing a staff of lightning.

Volanare's response was a heartbeat late. "No, Sir."

He gave the compendium a look while Kiron and Sarva both picked up various staffs and charms, oohing and aahing like a pair of captivated children in a dragon's hoard. With a better idea of what was available in mind, Volanare gathered up a few items: enhancements for his fire and lightning magics, a staff of augmentation, a dragonhide shirt to wear under his robes, two enchanted daggers and a pendant of silencing.

I do not know why I think I need this, Vol thought to himself as he turned the pendant over in his fingers before slipping it in his pocket for later use. He spared a brief glance again at the monster in the corner. But my gut is telling me I do.

The mages regrouped outside to await the commander, armed to the teeth and ready for inspection. Sarva was practically bursting with excitement at her new weapons, while Kiron's confidence practically stank it was so obvious.
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Offline EvilCopepod

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He didn't understand what the brief change in Volanare's eyes meant, as it wasn't a way that humans ever looked at him, but it made him more interested in the mage. The commander left Rikerg along with the rest of the weapons, there was no need for him to bring the creature along with him to every part of the camp. He was used to waiting in here, and normally ignored the humans as they went through the inventory, but he kept watching Volanare for a while, not actually interested in what he was choosing as he didn't know what most of the stuff in here was, and certainly didn't know what each thing was capable of. Magic was a mystery to him, once he got out of here he was going to change that. He had no desire to use magic himself, but he had to learn how to fight these kinds of spells so humans could never use them on him again. But he was the first human to look at the book before grabbing the items, at least the first Rikerg had seen, normally they would pick something and run over to the book to check after, being the simple and impulsive creatures that they were.

They had taken long enough that the commander returned only a few minutes after they were finished, and he had them all display what they had picked before asking them each to show what they could do. He started with Kiron, who had to return several items as he needed further training with, Sarva was able to use everything fine but still had to choose which ones to leave behind, as too many weapons were a hindrance, then it was Vol's turn to show and display his skills on what he chose.


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Volanare displayed everything he had to the commander, hesitating before choosing to display the pendant as well. He had a few vague ideas on how to use it in combat, as they were not common and often used as punishment on mages. His choice was reflected in the commander's raised eyebrow, who clearly had his reservations about the young mage's decision.

Once Kiron and Sarva were done, it was his turn, and he inhaled deeply, centering himself. Accessing magic was like looking at the threads of the world's makeup, each item connected to one another, centered on items of immense power. The charms went on each wrist, and he demonstrated his power with both: an immense pillar of flame erupted from his right hand, spiraling into the sky and dissipating into clear smoke as to not alert Andariel of their location. From his left, he thrust it to the sky, and a bolt of lightning shot through the clouds, causing thunder to rumble through the plains.

"Show off," Kiron muttered.

The dragonhide was obvious, and he left it aside as he took up the staff of augmentation. It was essentially a staff of manipulated threads, overcharging his magic and offering immense destructive and defensive power. All he had to do was snap his fingers with his concentration on the staff, and when lightning split the sky, it was far more powerful, crisscrossing between the clouds in sight. A good way to frighten the Andari soldiers before the next march, in his opinion.

At last, he came to the pendant of silence.

"You can't use that as a weapon," Sarva remarked, clearly irritated by her having to return the weapons she'd picked.

"Watch me," Volanare said, and he clasped it between his hands and channeled his magic through it. Without it being on a chain and encircling a body part, it could not silence himself, but through it he could create a bubble of silence that extended around ten feet around him, falling just short of the commander but catching Sarva and Kiron in its clutches.

Sarva gasped and clutched her throat, as if the breath had been knocked from her. She tried to speak but nothing came out, and it was clear she was hampered. Kiron was no better off, and fixed Volanare with a poisonous look. Too bad, loser, Volanare thought, pleased with himself.
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Offline EvilCopepod

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Rikerg had been ordered to remain in the tent, so he didn't try to leave for the evaluations, but when Vol began his he could see the flashes of light and smell the flames and lightning he managed to summon. He never considered humans to be dangerous looking, but Vol had certainly looked less dangerous than the other two mages he had come with, and it was surprising to see that he seemed to be stronger than them. He moved as close as he could to the flap they had exited through to try and hear better what was going on.

"You may keep everything you've chosen, as long as you are able to silence the enemies and none of your allies." Normally, he would have rejected the idea of the pendant being used in battle, but the other side was beginning to have more mages. Many were undisciplined, but still dangerous, as the magic they used was so different than the structured spells the university taught it was difficult to predict or counter. It would also be very useful if they needed to capture one of their mages for questioning.

"Now, you need to mark which items you are taking so that we can keep track of the inventory." The commander received several silent gestures from the two other students, "You don't need magic to walk or sign your names, it isn't a paralysis spell." Before he could say more, one of the foot soldiers ran up to him, whispering something and running off again after the man nodded. "The Andariel forces are advancing at a rapid rate, we must---" He turned to speak directly to them, but stepped enough into the bubble to silence him. He quickly stepped back, making several hand gestures and chanting, it would only take ten seconds to recapture the creature, and he was certain it was too dim to react fast enough.

Rikerg didn't know what the last spell he used was, and had used a claw to move the flap of the tent to get a better look, it wasn't very illuminating what he had done until the commander stepped closer to Vol. He felt the bindings around him fade, both physically and mentally, this was the moment he had been waiting for, and he was moving before the commander had said his first syllable, bolting past the three students.

He struck the man with his claws first, one swipe tearing a wide gash in his face, across his chest, and along his arm, in that instant much of his face including his nose was now hanging off of his head by thin threads of flesh, and Rikerg had completely severed his left arm. The screaming started immediately, and as Rikerg pinned him down with one hand and tore into his chest wound with his teeth, they turned to bubbling gurgles as he struggled against being devoured. The screams and struggle stopped when he ate something the man couldn't survive without, but his body still twitched involuntarily as the creature took his vengeance.


Offline yautjan

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As soon as the Commander had brushed the silence spell, Volanare dropped it, startled and embarrassed that he had accidentally silenced his boss. The commander quickly began reciting a spell that had clearly been broken, and Vol put the pendant quickly back in his pocket as Kiron made to start telling him off on the commander's behalf (like that would earn favor back with the commander or something).

For a single heartbeat, there was nothing but a mild irritation caused by show-off graduated mage. In the next, there was utter chaos.

The monster had escaped and mauled his master. Kiron and Sarva both shrieked in horror, backpedaling from the horrible sight of the monster tearing the commander open. The surrounding camp was in chaos, many grabbing their weapons and staffs to try and suppress the escaped monster. Volanare was frozen in place, utterly entranced with terror at the sight before him, his hand still in his pocket where he had meant to deposit the silencing pendant.

Run, his sanity screamed at him, and as he watched the commander get consumed alive, his feet caught up with his brain and he ran.
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Offline EvilCopepod

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He hadn't intended on eating the entirety of the man, and even if he had wanted to he couldn't on account of all the interruptions. Not only weapons of iron and steel were used to attack him, but offensive spells as well. The spells had more effect on him, but not enough to hinder him, and the only thing that the attackers got from a direct hit was him coming back at them to tear through them. By the time most of them had regrouped to come up with a better plan to contain him, he was covered in blood. Rikerg roared triumphantly as they retreated, the sound loud enough to be heard by their foes a couple miles away. He wanted to pursue them, to kill them all for daring to use him, but he knew that he couldn't risk being recaptured by another one of their mages, so he continued with his more logical plan.

Rikerg went back to the tent he had been confined to, picking up the dragonhide that Vol had set aside, he put it up to his nose and breathed in the smell of the human deeply. There was a large, locked chest that was covered in dust and pushed away from the rest of the magical items, he grabbed that before snapping several wooden staffs into pieces and quickly raking his claws against one of the stone runes, starting a spark which caught fire to them, which spread to the tent itself. He left the growing blaze, getting on all fours to sniff at the ground, much of the snow was gone in the camp area along the well-walked paths, but he was able to pick up on the human's specific scent. Holding the chest over one shoulder, he took off running after Vol.

Even though he knew so little of magic, he knew that whatever that mage had done was what had freed him from his bonds, and he had to find out more about his liberator. It helped that he thought the mage was attractive, otherwise he would have decided to just leave it at that if the human hadn't decided to stay around. The other had a head start, but Rikerg's large strides had him closing in fast, and he picked up speed once he caught sight of the fleeing man. He wasn't sure what he was running from as none of the camp had tried to follow or attack him, but he figured it was simply because humans were such flighty creatures.


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The Solith army was in utter chaos.

The infamous monster under the mage commander's control had escaped, somehow, and was tearing into the soldiers and destroying the magic armory. Those who were smart enough to retreat would swear it was one of the mages themselves who had caused it. Kiron, jealous, told them his version of the truth: it was the mage Volanare Amossa. He'd caused this. He'd done this. Theories evolved from there--was he a traitor? He'd been through the mage's school since he was a young child. An Andari implant? No one could say for sure, except that the blame could only fall square on one young man's shoulders--compounded by the fact he had run away. So had everyone else, but that didn't matter.

Volanare had no idea where he intended to go--safety, more than anywhere. He'd have to return and face the consequences for his irresponsible magic usage, but the commander had demanded they show off their skill with every item and Volanare had taken the damned silencing pendant. When he was safe, he intended to cast it into a river to be forgotten for eternity. The damned pendant and his own arrogance! All things he could worry about later, when he wasn't fleeing the rampage of the commander's monster.

And then the ground began to shake, and with his stomach in his throat he realized with dread that the monster had followed him.

"No," he gasped, turning to snap off a spell of lightning--but he stumbled, his foot caught on a rock and he hit the ground, hard. Gravel and dirt scraped his arms and face up, and he groaned in pain as he scrambled back up, desperate to escape before he was mauled. He could tell just by the fast approaching footsteps that he didn't stand a chance.

I'm gonna die, he thought. I'm sorry, mom.
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Offline EvilCopepod

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Rikerg was certain that the only reason human wars lasted so long was that both sides were horribly inept. This was further proven by Vol, as in his fleeing he had fallen flat on his face, along with his speed he could hardly be expected to outrun even an old and injured beast.

He was tempted to pounce on him, or simply grab him, but the thrill from the hunt was still coursing through him, and he might hurt the man in his carelessness, so instead he passed him momentarily before placing a large hand in front of him to stop him. Once he had, he dropped the chest he had taken from the camp and held up the dragonhide shirt to the other. He coughed and cleared his throat a few times before attempting to speak.

"You forgot this." His voice was hoarser than it normally was from months of disuse, but as difficult as it might be to understand him, it was clear that he was speaking rather than the animalistic noises he had made at the camp.


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Volanare cringed, grabbing his face and preparing for the worst, for tusks in his chest and giant hands to rip him in half. The monster would surely eat him alive, and he would die in agony over his stupid, childish mistake with the pendant.

But then it passed him--had it only gone this direction to escape?--and for a heartbeat Volanare wondered if perhaps he had been spared by the gods.

And then it stopped and turned back to face him.

Volanare fell back in horror, attempting to scramble away backwards but with nowhere to go that would provide safety in the next few moments. He covered his face with his arm, prepared again for the worst. His brain was too scattered with fear to try and cast and channel a spell--all he knew was that he was going to die anyway, and it would all be his own fault.

It took him a moment to realize that he was not being mauled. And when he looked, seeing the dragonhide he had taken from the magical armory, it was with the realization that the supposedly dim-witted monster had spoken.

"Wh-what?" he stammered out, horrified. He wanted to cry, but something in him held himself together. "You can talk?!"
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The mage was acting like the rest of the humans in the camp had, save for the fact that he hadn't made any attempts to attack. He waited patiently for him to stop cowering and take his armor, something that he thought the human needed sorely given his current display of his survival abilities.

"Yes, I am talking right now." Rikerg said, confused by the question that had been answered before he asked it. "It will be far more effective protection than your arms." He dropped the dragonhide shirt in front of Vol before sitting on the ground in front of the human.

"I am not going to kill you." he said as an afterthought. To him, that was obvious, since the human had freed him, and even if he hadn't there was no reason for him to chase down a single human over continuing the slaughter of the rest of the camp. Rikerg had never made an attempt to understand how someone else would think differently than himself about a situation, and if Vol wasn't acting so terrified, he wouldn't have realized he was misreading the situation.


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Volanare stared uncomprehending at the monster, following the dragonhide shirt as it was dropped to the ground before him. Everything he had heard about the mage commander's monster was that he was stupid and ferocious, only kept at bay by good training and magic. Yet here it was, exhibiting intelligence and reasoning--warped as it might be--and offering an item left behind.

He sat up fully, slowly and fearful, and reached out without breaking eye contact to take the shirt from the monster, clutching at it tightly like it would protect him from the creature's violent ways.

"They were keeping a person?" he managed weakly, still struggling to come to terms with this revelation after witnessing such a brutal murder. If the monster was intelligent, then his reactions and attack made a lot more sense--the commander was not a man known to be kind or gentle, and the monster was feared across Solith.

Any words he might've spoken next were cut off as a woman screamed to their right, catching sight of the monster with blood across his face. Soldiers were beginning to swarm, preparing to do whatever it took to apprehend or kill the monster, and Volanare realized he was right in the middle of what was likely to be a bloody battle.

He tried to catch the monster's eye again, begging. "Don't kill them!"
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