Chapter 6 – a battle and a weakness.
“I heard you coming…” the wizard spoke.
“I didn’t really mean to keep it a secret,” Aarock responded as he drew his sword from its sheath. He approached the wizard simply. Like one would walk to school or like an executioner to a beheading.
The wizard seemed both in awe at his brashness and afraid. He pulled out his own blade. It seemed to be a mix between a wooden staff and a bladed tip.
“How old are you?” Aarock stopped as he looked pensively at the wizard.
“Two hundred as of this year,” the wizard responded.
“I would say congratulations, elves generally celebrate the hundred year marks with a great celebration…” he motioned with his other hand in a circle at the word grand.
“However- you probably achieved your youth from killing… hm.” he stopped for a moment to calculate the number, “fifty?”
“Fifty-one in fact,” the wizard spoke.
“This will be well deserved then,” A fierce look came from Aarock as he began to walk forward with a more abrupt pace.
The wizard noticed it too as he took a defensive stance. He held out his own blade in front of him sideways and began casting a spell. The wooden half began to glow a strange purple and the same color illuminated amidst the castle.
With a spellcast from his own sword, the bones from the castle grounds suddenly took to life. In fact the entire castle itself seemed to move with a giant quake.
The bones began to piece themselves together. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of bodies took shape as undead skeletons.
Aarock seemed more thoughtful then surprised about it, “Hmmm…. So many servants in one spell… Your mana pool is quite vast. You must have gained that from the wizards you slaughtered in your village.
The wizard was taken-aback as he realized that Aarock knew about his past. It had been so long ago that it happened, and there were no witnesses. Rather than discuss further, Aarock continued the conversation.
“How do you garner the loyalties of all these orcs by the way?”
“I gave them a place to belong,” The wizard replied simply, “in return to their vow of service- they can be rewarded within my kingdom – unlike wherever else they’d come from- looked on with disgust.”
“Well, they were cursed creatures from a cannibalistic tribe after all…” Aarock responded, “Actually it was during the first war… the dark wizard then used the tribe for his own purposes.”
“The children shouldn’t suffer for the wrongs of their fathers…” The wizard had preparation spells in place now as Aarock continued to move forward.
“I agree,” Aarock responded as the phrase stopped him in place. “Many children have suffered for the wrongs of their fathers…”
Aarock responded, “But you will be suffering for your own wrongdoing.”
Aarock suddenly charged at the wizard with a blade and his quick movement.
From the walls, the vines the castle came to life. It seemed everything within the dark wizard’s realm could be manipulated by him in a large quantity.
Everything within the castle seemed intent on protecting the wizard from Aarock’s charge.
With a quick flash- the skeletons that seemed to engage with Aarock during his run were cut into pieces.
The vines were pushed back simply by the battlecry that Aarock gave with his aura.
The wizard himself pointed the wooden portion of the bladed staff at Aarock, from it emanated a powerful dark charge of magic that seemed to be filled with hatred and demonic force.
Even Aarock had to step aside from it- while he was able to hold his sword to push back the major portion of the spell during his sidestep, a part of him cut into his shoulder and it began to ooze blood.
Aarock glared at the wizard as if nothing had happened with the same serious look. The wound that would have taken months for someone else to heal- healed in a second.
While Narika and the group did their best to hold off the undead creatures that charged at them – Narika watched the battle between two titans.
The dark wizard was no joke.
It seemed Dravneal had proper reason to keep his distance. In his lair, the dark wizard was perhaps the most powerful being he’d seen.
Now- shrills could be heard. A brunt of it directed itself at Aarock- however a straggling one or two from the hundreds that escaped made the group have to cover their ears by the pain. Trapped souls from a voice box. It seemed this was the method the dark wizard now used to drain the life of his victims. For any ordinary being- the shrill from the attack itself would cause its victim to cover their ears in agonizing pain.
Aarock however seemed unfazed. An aura of protection guarded him from the spell, but rather than completely surrounding him, he seemed to leave an open gap in the defense to his extended hand. A burn mark remained on his hand from the souls as they were channeled towards one location on his hand.
He looked at the trapped souls – “I release you…” he spoke.
The dark wizard looked on with hatred. Another spell cast requiring years of preparation, made null.
“Orcs!” the wizard screamed as he tried to hide behind his army of still living soldiers.
Aarock simply looked at them as they stood in front of a wizard.
Despite the extreme fear and shakiness- showing through their eyes- they stood their ground with extreme loyalty.
“I truly am impressed,” he spoke but with a spell, he waved his hand across the army, and they were bound in place by the pressure of air that worked as chains on the army.
“I would hate to kill you simply for being loyal,” he said as he walked by the army that struggled against the great force.
He proceeded forward towards the wizard.
The wizard then engorged himself on the surrounding magic, realizing that he’d have to fight, an empowerment spell it seemed. At the cost of pulsing veins extending around him, he seemed to be in full form- surrounded by a dark aura.
“What is your name, wizard?” Aarock spoke to the wizard as he took a stance- letting the rest of everything fall away.
“Jack the Necromancer.”
Two hundred years ago…
Jack was never ‘good’.
He was a wizard. In a tribe that respected power as authority… he was born to a weak mother and a good-for-nothing father.
His father used his magic to win the hearts of young girls at bars, leaving his mother alone.
He followed in his father’s footsteps… not trying to win romance… but the hearts of faithful followers.
“Hey kid,” a young jack spoke, “I can make this dead lizard talk.” The body of the lizard came out and ‘prophesied’.
“A gust of wind…” the lizard spoke as a gust of wind followed.
Hands clapped excitedly from the other kids.
Jack was proud of himself.
He practiced more such dark magic- nothing that would stand out, as dark magic was taboo. Even still, it was practiced often.
He learned more tricks.
Despite garnering popularity in school- it didn’t work to make them follow him.
He learned a spell. Absorbed in his studies he failed until he succeeded.
A spell to increase his power…
One by one- he made them all bow. Even the chief.
He started with his mother- he didn’t hate her, but he didn’t respect her weakness.
Following this- his schoolmates.
Then his father. Oh his father was the most satisfying.
With the first half of the village now dead- absorbed into his mana pool, he made the other half bow before him.
“So, if all of you are dead, then I’m the strongest right?” Jack said smilingly- his powers grew as he drained the magic force from the remainder and they became decrepit.
From there he walked away and disappeared for fifty years.
He studied spells.
Until one day, he saw a grey hair.
It was no longer power he wanted, it was life.
Life-draining spells- a wizard’s magic only gave him power. Their mana pool was independent of life-energy.
He’d have to drain ‘elves’.
The years passed as he perfected it.
Then one day- he attempted it.
‘Hello young elf’ the smile of an aged man spoke to a young elf. ‘Would you like to see a magic trick?’
Ok, he had knowledge, power, and long lifespan. He thought perhaps he’d stored up 700 years. He could get by in the shadows perhaps without anyone taking notice. After all, there was no one around him to talk.
It was a shame he could only extend his life, rather than make himself younger.
He was now one hundred fifty, and he’d still done little with his life. Wasn’t he powerful enough? Once again, he wanted to be revered- worshipped.
He needed followers.
A new spell. A binding spell. A charm spell. He started off with orcs- the disorganized, in small groups, flesh eaters… they first saw him as a target, however- he swayed them.
“Orcs, aren’t you tired?” he said while avoiding the attacks with grace.
Their curiosity outshone their frustrations.
“What if you didn’t lack for a meal?” he said.
“HOw…” the orc responded.
When orcs attacked, they attacked stragglers, they were disorganized, and they were contentious amongst themselves. All they could manage to do was attempt to survive.
When the wizard guided them, he made it easy- he led them with strategy and used his magic against their victims weakening them.
More and more joined the ranks as he brought them to a higher standing in their ranks.
Pretty soon, he had a group, then a following, then a nation. Orcs were his first army. Following this he attempted to recruit the dragon to no avail.
As a leader, he made orders when not providing. He formed his kingdom- aligned his magic- grew his ranks.
The orcs were better off than before.
A few orcs refused- some strange ones who seemed unaffected by the curse any longer. However.
They were rewarded for their successes.
He made farms. Meat farms for the orcs. Orcs having been human at one point could survive on other foods- and some did- however, their nature shone out due to their desire for human flesh. It was part of the curse.
Unfortunately, he lost half of the orcs as well as the farms to an orc that refused to support meat farms. For some reason, this orc went against his natural instinct and chose not to eat humanoids. A vegetarian.
He lost more of his resources when the dragon made an arrangement with the Canjun in the area- thereby limiting his strength once again.
No enduring plan was without setback however. For now he was content with what he had for now. A moderate kingdom that he would then increase its inner strength.
The next step would be allies…
The wizard looked ahead of him as the mighty Aarock threw merciless swings. Even with all his magic power- enhancing his body physically to multiply his strength by a hundred score- he was unable to hold an upper ground.
He tried to throw out brutal strikes with his staff. When he’d enlarged himself, his staff had also enlarged itself- He was perhaps ten times his normal size. His swing left craters in the castle floor- however, Aarock was able to swiftly dodge his swing.
Frustration built up inside as Aarock simply treated him like a child. Had he not been the strongest in his village? Had he not made a deal with a demon and studied diligently for a hundred and fifty years?
He thought he’d kept on the down low, until now.
His attacks grew more sluggish. He had only one more opportunity. With a powerful expulsion spell Aarock was pushed back- he needed time. His good for nothing servants wouldn’t need their lives anymore. Immortals were powerful- that was for certain- if they didn’t die unnaturally, they could live forever, their bodies were graced with healing and didn’t decay, almost instantaneous- almost.
It wasn’t refined at all, but he studied just a little about how to kill an immortal. Even though only two immortals existed- he knew at one point, he would have to confront them when his kingdom grew. He was in no way ‘ready’.
And it would take all that he had.
A draining spell of all his servant. They did after all make a pact- in response to his protection, they granted their freewill to him- this was his goal all along. Sadly he was only to convince half his kingdom, while the other half was swayed by that lone orc to leave him. But half would be enough, channeling five thousand souls should be enough to accomplish it.
As he began his spell- tied to the souls of his followers rather than his own lifeforce- he would slowly drain their lives while cast
Who would have thought that he would attract the attention of ‘Aarock’? Who would have thought that his small place in the ungoverned map would have an interest to the one individual that preceded over Darantis?
He wasn’t finished yet! With this, even Aarock would have to bow.
Vienu watched the battle precede from the side. It wasn’t intentional but during Aarock’s and Jack’s battle- for some reason, he knew what attacks he was about to do before he even did it- and this one was no exception. It was something else entirely.
As the undead warriors all suddenly crumbled- he felt the wizard absorbing the energies. He felt the presence of a great darkness. Vienu and the group were too far from the two warriors to do anything except yell.
“Aarock!” Vienu spoke from the side.
Aarock turned his ear slightly to Vienu’s voice.
“It’s a draining spell!”
Aarock nodded. Even for an immortal elf, a draining spell on this scale could mean incapacitation- having unlimited magic and being unable to age didn’t mean that he was unable to die or feel pain. In fact, his body was just the same as others in that regard, his magic simply healed him to the point where he seemed that he wouldn’t get hurt for long- his cells didn’t age because they were already perfect. Magic for elves was like a muscle- they had to develop their use of it to use it more- this was why Aarock could use magic on a larger scale, because his recovery allowed him to maximize his usage of magic and develop it- it didn’t mean that he was a limitless fountain however- and the force of five thousand souls would definitely compete with his ability.
The orcs looked to be in dread as they began to faint one by one. It seemed that this was the trump card for the wizard- once the orcs were dead, he wouldn’t be able to make use of them again.
“Which copy is it coming from?” a hundred versions of Jack were circling around Aarock- an obvious dark magic of obscuring Aarock’s ability to fight head on.
An incapacitation spell came from all hundred- one that was designed to imprison him while his life would slowly be siphoned away and extend the wizard’s own.
Vienu felt the presence of a dark force condensed in one entity standing on the steps and pointed at him just as the wizard threw out a purple bolt of energy from his hands.
Aarock looked at the direction of the real Jack that and sidestepped at a speed almost impossible to see. The bolt thrown at him took a chunk out of his arm as Aarock rushed towards the real one with his sword.
He then took his sword up and –
The wizard seeing that his spell had failed could think of nothing else called out to the demon-kin.
“Where are you Eriyah-din?” he called out to the one entity that had been alongside of him throughout the years.
“I’ve found someone stronger than you… You’re too weak.” Eriyah-din spoke as he abandoned him.
Of course. For demonos- humanity was nothing more than a playground to use for their own desires.
Jack looked as Aarock came rushing at him and with a leap…
“Do you want to live?” he heard a voice – he couldn’t tell where.
“Yes,” he spoke.
“Vow yourself to me.”
“Who are you?”
“This was your plan all along…” he thought bitterly… Eryadin had mentioned Lardin in passing. The demonos king. Unlike others- Jack had no need of serving demons. He thought that Eryadin was there to serve him… but it was at this moment, he knew that Eryadin had waited and helped him- to give Lardin another servant when there was no other choice.
“Yes or no?”
“Yes…” If there was an afterlife, there was already no place for him there. A deal with the king of demons would extend his life at the very least… he agreed.
Aarock’s sword came down on Jack like a guillotine when suddenly a flash of light and darkness bombarded the room.
Rather than the beheading that Aarock and the others assumed would occur, Jack vanished.
Aarock looked up sensing another presence.
Rather than the usually confident Aarock, a more serious persona took place.
He looked intently behind him to the kids.
A dark bolt of energy swung its way across the the chamberroom and approached the kids.
He threw out a spell to counter the dark surge of energy. While he was familiar with dark wizards- the demonic magic was the true source of all dark magic.
He wasn’t sure if it would be enough until he saw a light emitting from the younger boy named Narica who was holding onto Mika.
The dark bolt approached the group- intent on something ominous- a curse or death spell in its escape- however instead of this the bolt simply bounced off of them and then rushed through a window to the outside.
Aarock tucked away his sword.
“Demonos work in the shadows…” he said. “that will be the only time we see an attack from him.”
All around them the ambient darkness that surrounded the lifted. The bones of the creatures disintegrated into the wind- as if they’d been held there past their time and were finally allowed to follow the course of nature.
Some of the orcs that had died lay there. Some were slowly regaining consciousness- and as if they had woken from a long dream- their eyes took on a more human appearance- the curse was lifted.
Aarock spoke, “Those of you lucky enough to remain alive! Go! Show your face to me again will mean death. If I hear of you causing trouble- I will come back to avenge…”
Upon hearing Aarock the orcs still alive retreated away from the group.
Once again he looked at the group one at a time checking up on them. Minor scrapes but nothing serious. He would have easily been able to repair anything had there been anything more serious, but scrapes he thought were fine.
“After all of that…” he spoke looking at each of them and drifting off in thought. The group waited for him, “well, I guess we should keep moving towards…” He picked up his bag as he looked at the group. They looked exhausted. Especially the two little ones and Narika.
“You all probably need to rest up, hmm?”
He directed his attention to the orcs still remaining. “Alright, all of you!”
“You need to leave now!” he pointed to the exit of the castle. None of them had any desire to confront Aarock and slowly walked out.
“-What if they…” Mika replied weary of the orcs surrounding them.
“-Well now,” Aarock spoke not allowing him to finish the thought-, “let’s see what we have in the ways of food.”