Return of the Long Night
Volume I – Phoenix Rising
|Chapter 1: Awakenings||(Some time in the far distant future….)|
You dream, or are you now awake… a night sky full of stars above shine their light down on you, as you look around a dense, wooded forest.
A fire burns bright in the middle of this forest glade. Arranged beyond the fire is a single man small tent slung between 2 adjacent trees. A small brook, forded by several stepping stones, can be seen nearby.
Amongst the heavily wooded trees, what initially passes as a sleeping figure is in fact a skeletal corpse, dead many weeks or perhaps months. Clutched in his hand is a small cloth sack, which gleams red in the moonlight and camp light, soaked in the blood of the victim.
With swiftness that defies reason skeletal forms suddenly rise from the ground and move towards you, their bones clicking at joints long desiccated. For some reason, this bears resemblance to other dreams, yet your skills and experience come to the fore and you triumph, driving the undead forms back into the ground. Scattered remains of these skeletons litter the forest floor after your fever pitched fight.
Inside pouch is an unfamiliar small medallion shaped like a five-sided pyramidal obelisk – unrecognisable, yet its image draws you in as if its very existence was part of your reality. But even as you ponder this, the ground shakes almost imperceptibly and you know trouble is yet again brewing.
A sudden rushing noise captures your attention, as the forest surrounding the glade suddenly darkens. It is as if night had descended on the world and all light was struggling to fight its way free.
As you move towards the protection of the still burning campfire, what seems to be shadows or mist formed into humanoid shapes step out from the very trees themselves. Each holds an insubstantial, twisted sword that seems to glow with the colours of dried blood yet as they move past the leaves of the forest, the leaves themselves shrivel up, withering as if 100 summers was passing instantaneously, leaving only dust that blows away in the cold wind that surrounds these evil spirits.
This time, like past dreams, you fear you will not succeed – the evil held within these shadows goes beyond anything you have imagined.
Though they do not advance further, your blood almost freezes with the very evilness that these apparitions exude. Death has truly arisen to meet you this time – and in person, for a large hooded yet obviously skeletal form approaches across the stream to the south freezing the water as it walks over it.
“Yield to the Unlife or be forever destroyed. Though shall not trespass on our sphere. We have waited too long to let any race, even one as technologically inferior as you obviously are, interfere with our plans. This time is ours and all life shall perish, all matter destroyed – chaos shall rule for eternity.”
Suddenly they move and with such swiftness, one of your party falls. Drellet, her life drained, staggers as an insubstantial sword of shadow protrudes through her chest. Life drains quickly from her eyes, as the shade sucks the very essence from her, leaving a husk of what was once a great champion.
You struggle to survive, but you know the battle is futile. The undead do not tire, yet you do; the undead do not slow with injury, yet each scar and break slowly reduces your ability to defend. Another of your party, the hearty barbarian finally falls prey, as you are slowly forced back towards the fire to make your final stance.
The undead pause for a moment, and then move back – perhaps the fire protects you? Alas no, you have no such protection, and the shades separate allowing a large, hooded figure to approach. Its evilness is nothing like the others, as it dwarfs them with such malevolence.
Then through the vaulted corridors of the forest you hear a thunderous gallop, and a misty-white glow appeared far off but rushing towards you with unreal speed. The shadowy mists waver, and several of the apparitions draw back, leaving trails of loathsome slime matting the grass in their wake.
All at once a great light burst into the clearing, at the centre of which was a rider all in black but astride a mighty white unicorn. The darkness fled to the perimeter, gathering the protective shadows there. You stand by the camp fire, frozen in fear and wonder.
The rider, tall and stern with sable hair, draws a sword glittering like a clear winter night. It glows with a pure light and from its tip flared a ray of cleansing white fire. The foul creatures are burned in a flash of light, leaving only smoking trails of their grotesque ooze. The large hooded apparition of death suddenly fades away, howling in fear or anger.
As suddenly as the rider appears, he starts to fade to mist, with his enigmatic words drifting on the mist of the forest…
“Your destiny calls for the Unlife has marked you as enemy. However, your time is naught and we are not ready to stand against them yet. You must awaken for in awakening can your spirits truly take their place alongside us. Hurry for danger even now seeps into you whilst you slumber.
Awakenings demand action.”
|Srenn Flek||5||Man, mixed||Ranger||David|
|Tullo Sensil||5||Man, common||Cleric||Mike|
Next Chapter 1c: Celestial Awakening