Chapter 3: You Decide
In the Greenguard Forest, two monsters walk side by side, talking to each other in growls and snarls. One is lizard like with frog legs and abilities, the other a ridiculously large spider with green markings on its abdomen. They stop and snarl at each other, looking like they're arguing. While in their disagreement, a stick snaps in the dark, and the monsters stop and turn to the noise. The spider walks to the dense forest, and scuttles around, the frogzard watching intensely. Suddenly, the arachnid vanishes, startling the green lizard. It looks around to find the person, but doesn't see anything, when a black mass falls from the trees and lands in front of the monster. It jumps back, whimpering, and finds the spider upside down, legs sticking up. Dead. The frogzard slowly walks backwards, then sprints into the forest. Before he goes a few feet, a metal star digs into the ground in front of the beast. It yelps, and was about to run the other way when a blue figure drops, blocking its path. Before the creature could utter a cry, the being takes out a large blade and swiftly slashes across the chest, injuring his lungs. It falls on its side, gasping. The person walks to it and crouches next to the frogzard, and grabs an item, a necklace, from the clutches of the creature. "I believe this is mine, ugly." he said.
The creature takes its last breath, then rolls his eyes back, his tongue sticking out. Rokshaw gets up and walks through the forest, sheathing his sword. He puts the necklace on his neck, covering it under his suit. The nineteen year old man exits the tree forest, heading for a small town with some buildings, a hotel, and a tower: Battleon. Rokshaw enters a building, where his friend, Frisdal, who is cleaning a counter. "Hey there, Rokshaw. What brings you here?"
"I just came to get some food supplies." He said, passing some customers. Frisdal says, "The usual, coming up." He flips some knives, cutting meat, cheese, bread, and fruit, putting them on the counter next to the ninja when he's done. After a while, Frisdal puts the last food on the supplies, and Rokshaw puts a bag full of money on the counter. "Thanks, Frisdal."
The friend takes the bag, and Rokshaw puts some coins on the counter. "And a little for the store. This place looks like it'll fall down after someone sneezes."
"Yeah, it does look rundown, but it will be fixed, with some reminders staying."
"You mean those slashes in the wood from past battles?"
"Yep. All those treasured memories."
Chuckling, the ninja says, "Yep. It's good to keep reminders of treasured pasts. Well, I'll see ya later." He grabs his supplies and walks out; getting some suspicious eyes following him, but Rokshaw ignores them. He exits the store and walks through the town, looking at all the merchandise and inhabitants. Before leaving, he stops by another store, Yulgar's weapon shop, and stops by a desk. He rings a bell, and a guy wearing a tan apron with a green shirt and jeans underneath, carrying a hammer. "Yeah, Rokshaw?"
"Is my bow ready?"
"Ahh, yes." He walks into a room, and comes out later carrying a wooden bow edged with metal, its string shining in the light. "Here ya go. One of my latest inventions, and probably the last one I'll make for a while. These materials are so hard to find." Placing the bow on the desk, he continues, "The wood is made of a special tree, so tough a dragon can't even crack it. The metal is made of Etherstorm iron, heated in their volcano, giving it its durability, so it's even tougher and can never be burned or melted, and stainless. The string made from sinew from the carnivorous clam in the deepest part of the ocean. Hope you like it."
Rokshaw takes the bow and bends it around, then checking the string, which plays like a guitar. "Nice. Everything seems to be right."
"If you don't like it during the first year, you can return it and get your money back guaranteed."
"Thanks, Yulgar. You really outdid yourself."
"No thanks needed, but is really appreciated. Have a nice day." Rokshaw leaves, taking the bow with him, and heads back into the forest, done in the city. After a while in the jungle, he enters a clearing, and stops. Dropping the supplies on the ground, the man looks around, expecting something. He senses something from behind and swiftly takes out his blade and turns. He blocks an attack from a red robed individual with two Sais, and Rokshaw pushes it back and flips back from the attack. He readies his weapon, the woman doing the same. After a pause, she attacks first and Rokshaw ducks and swings his blade. Blocking the attack, the girl resumes attacking, but the man jumps and vanishes in the trees. The girl carefully looks around, trying to find Rokshaw, and quickly twists around. Her weapons are knocked out her hands and she gets pushed against a tree, a blade against her neck. Rokshaw breathes hard, waiting. After a while, the girl says, "Very good."
The man backs up, casing the blade. "Thank you."
After Mazumi dusts her off, she adds, "I taught you well, Rokshaw. To me, I think you are ready for the greatest mission."
"And what would that be?"
She walks over and waves a hand to the world. "To be out there, helping anybody in need. This is where we part."
Understanding, Rokshaw takes a bow. "Thank you for all that you taught me."
"Make sure you use them to get great victories. And one more thing." Mazumi walks to a chest and takes out a red suit. "This is for you. You've earned it."
The man takes the suit, surprised. "Isn't this for the highest ranking pupils?"
"Yes, and you are a high rank."
Rokshaw looks at it more, then says, "Thank you."
The trainer pats his shoulder and says, "Take care out there."
"I will." He said before running back to the forest. Mazumi watches him go, thinking, One of my best pupils yet.
One girl walks through a dark hallway, armors and skulls decorating it. The girl is wearing red armor with a cape, and a face full of friendliness and stern. She has red, long flowing hair reaching to her waist, bright blue eyes, and a bright smile, when she smiles. Compared to her father, she is the light in the black. As Gravelyn heads to her destination, she thinks of her life before, when her father wasn't the Lord of the Shadowscythe…
A young Gravelyn, wearing a bright red dress, runs through the open fields, laughing like there's happiness all over the world. She rolls down a hillside, her pet wolf catching up. She stops at the bottom of the flower hill, and the wolf licks her face. Laughing, she says, "Alright, Crystal, down girl."
After calming her pet down, Gravelyn says, "Let's get back to daddy before he gets scared." They run back up the hill to the castle where her dad is. After running over the moat on the bridge, being greeted by some friends, she runs to her house where Sepulchure, a handsome man with dark red hair, hazel eyes, and lean, wearing his guardian armor, is writing on a piece of paper. "Hi daddy." Gravelyn said.
Her father turns and brightens at the sight. "Hey, Gravelyn." He picks her up and puts her on his lap. "How's my favorite daughter doing?"
"Great, daddy." She looks at the paper and asks, "What are you doing?"
"Just writing a report on my latest battle. You know, the one with a giant, water breathing dragon with children. That was a nightmare."
"Uh, I'd rather not talk about it. The battle was really…how should I put it…disgusting."
"Eww." She said, making a face.
"Yes, it was. Hopefully that's the last 'eww' battle I ever take." He puts her down, and she runs to her favorite spot in the house. Sepulchure write down the last thing, and puts his pencil down. "All done." He turns to his daughter and finds her playing with her wooden sword, parring and thrusting at a dummy. The warrior chuckles, then says, "Gravelyn, I have a surprise for you."
She stops her fun, and looks at her dad. "Really?"
"Yes. Remember that river where your mother would take you?"
Sepulchure smiles. "Why don't we go there again?"
Gravelyn girns wide and starts hopping in glee, laughing. She runs to her dad and hugs him tight."Thank you thank you thank you!"
The warrior also starts to laugh, and he gets up, moving his daughter away. "Okay, we'll go once I turn my report in." He picks up the paper and was about to walk out when his friend, Alteon, walks in. "Hey there, Sepulchure."
"Hey Alteon, what brings you here?"
"I just came to see how you're coming with your report."
"As a matter in fact, I was about to turn it in and go to the river with my daughter."
"Ah, well, How 'bout I help and take the report to the king, and you and Gravelyn," He waves to the little girl, who waves back. "can head there now."
"I would really appreciate that." He gives his friend the report, and Alteon says, "Hope you have a nice day, pal."
Alteon walks to the castle, and Sepulchure and Gravelyn walk out and head to their famous river…
Gravelyn sighs at the memory, a smile starting to creep on her face, but it quickly disappears. She continues down the hall, and enters a room where she finds her father, in his red armor, is looking out a window, where a city, some distance away, is thriving. "Father?"
He turns and spots his daughter, his threatening dragon helmet shining. "Gravelyn, how are you doing?"
"Fine. I was wondering where we are going?"
Turning back toward the city, and says, "We are going to Swordhaven where I shall get rid of the person threatening all of Shadowscythe. King Alteon."
Her eyes widen a little, and asks, "But wasn't he a friend of ours?"
"Friends? Ha. If we were friends, then why didn't he come when you lost your mother?"
After hearing this, Gravelyn tries to hold back a tear. "Well, father, I was wondering if we can go down to the river before the attack."she asked hopefully.
"I'm sorry daughter, but I need to get the army ready."
She looks down, saying, "Of course."
"Now, if you excuse me, I need to check on Chuckle's progress." Sepulchure walks out a door, and Gravelyn walks to the alcove, looking around. Whatever happened to my father? While thinking, she spots some movement on the ground. The girl tries to get a closer look, but it quickly vanishes. The last thing she saw was a flash of dark red.
Rokshaw hops down a tree, carrying a dragon in his arms, and hands the animal to Aria. "Here ya go. Little guy almost burned me to a crisp."
After taking the pet, she says, "Thank you for saving Fury."
"If he's a dragon, then how come he didn't just fly off?"
"Well, in dragon time, he is probably a late bloomer. Plus, he has a sprained wing."
Fury whimpers in agreement, and the ninja says, "Ohh. Well, hope you have a good day."
"Well, do you want anything in return for saving Fiery?" Aria asked.
"No, that's okay."
"You sure? I have plenty of pets you can have."
"Well…Sure. I could always use a partner."
"Great." She walks to her store, Rokshaw following. After entering the shop, he finds the place packed with animals. He walks past different kinds of animals, from friendly cats, to ferocious Chimeras. He takes a look at all of them while Aria says, "I have all kinds of pets here. At least the ones I can calm. Look around and find one you like while I fix up Fury here." She enters a separate room where she patches up his sprained wing, and Rokshaw continues looking around. He finds some moglins of all kinds, bats, wyverns, and dragons. After he turns a corner, checking a deep blue wolf, something nudges his leg, and Rokshaw turns to see a red and bright orange dragon bumping him. "Hey there."
The dragon purrs as the ninja pets him, and Aria walks toward him. "Did you find an animal you like?"
"Maybe. Uh, what type of dragon is this?"
"Oh. That is a fiery dragon from the land of Etherstorm. They're super rare to have a pet because they are ferocious even without using their powers. I was just lucky to catch and serene him. I was lucky not to have a permanent burn on my arm."
"So what's his power?"
"He is similar to a volcano, so he can breathe fire as well as lava, can survive extreme heat, and super loyal, once you can get it."
"How much does he cost?"
Aria seems taken back, and asks, "You want to buy him?"
"Well yeah. I think he will make a great pet."
"Uh, well sorry for my reaction, but nobody seems to want to buy him. I was surprised he isn't biting your hands off."
"Really? He doesn't seem that mean." The dragon purrs again, and Aria says, "Well, he would be fifty thousand gold coins, but since you saved one of the pets, he's only ten thousand."
Rokshaw checks his bag, takes coins out, and hands them to the store owner. "Here ya go."
"Thank you. I hope you and your pet will have a great day."
The ninja walks out, his dragon flying after him, and he thinks of a name. "What should I call you? Fire boy? No, too simple. Flappers? Too childish. Crimson? Maybe as a backup." Then, he gets an idea and says, "I think I got it. How about Storm?"
Storm flies in a circle in joy, and the ninja says, "You like that, don't you?"
Suddenly, a shadow covers the land, and Storm blows fire in the air. Rokshaw looks up, and his blood drains out of his body. In the sky is something he hadn't seen since last year: A giant skeleton dragon floating, his skull grinning at the fears of everyone. The dragon whimpers and hides behind Rokshaw's legs, and the man watches the skeletal kingdom move across the air. He looks forward to where the dragon is heading to, and sees a large town with a giant castle. "Uh oh. Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"
Storm growls, and they duo head to the city.
Artix leans against a wall, twirling his axe out of boredom, Robina sipping her drink. "So Artix, anything exciting happen?"
"No, nothing." He groaned. "I wish something would happen so I can destroy it." The place darkens, and the two look up to see Sepulchure's kingdom. "You did ask for something." Robina said.
Undead warriors fall off the dragon and start attacking the town, and Artix hefts his axe, Robina notching an arrow. They run toward the battle, and start beating back the skeleton army. As they fight, the castle moves forward, dropping even more warriors in the castle. Artix spots them, and says, "Robina, get to the castle. Hurry!"
She nods, and rushes to the center of the town, while Artix's pile of dead undead warriors grows larger. He smiles at his inevitable victory, but then magic undead appears, and attacks with elemental powers. "Oh no." He gets surrounded, but he isn't giving up without a fight. The slayer hacks off the heads, jumps over magic, and squishes bones to dust. Soon, he makes a mistake, and a warrior knocks off the axe out of his hands, and pushes the slayer down. Artix looks up at the undead, and one raises his sword for the killing blow, when an arrow nocks through its skull. It falls to pieces, and the slayer guesses, "Robina?"
"Not quite." said a masculine voice. Artix looks around, and five more skeletons fall apart. The others checks around in confusion, and see a man in red garbs. "Hey there. Have we met before?" He vanishes, and the rest of the undead explode. The man stops in front of Artix, and offers a hand. "Who are you?" Artix asked.
"A friend." he said. The slayer grabs the hand, and the man lifts him back up. "Looks like you guys need some help."
"Yeah. Looks like." His eyes widen, and yells, "Look out!" He pushes the man away, and dodges a swipe of a blade. He looks for his axe, but the undead swipes again, making him dodge again. Suddenly, something red and orange flies past his head and starts gnashing the skull. The skeleton shrieks in pain, and the animal rips the head apart. The body falls to pieces, and Artix takes a better look at the thing to find a dragon. His eyes widen as the man walks back. To Artix's surprise, he leans down and pets the dragon on the head. "Good boy."
"Uh, you do know that you're petting a dragon."
"Dude, they are ferocious beast! They are dangerous!"
"Not if you get one calm enough for a pet. And being so dangerous, they make great guard pets."
"Uhh, okay." He gets up and grabs his axe. "What's your name?"
"Rokshaw. And this is Storm." He said, pointing to the dragon.
"Okay well, I got this place handled. And it looks like the castle is getting the worst."
"Already on it." Rokshaw said before running toward his destination, Storm following close by. Artix watches him go, and asks himself, "What is he? A ninja?"
After Rokshaw runs over the wall and the moat, he looks around, seeing the undead everywhere. He enters the castle and sees a girl in green shooting warrior after warrior. She spots the ninja and asks, "What are you doing here?"
"Believe it or not, I'm here to help."
"Help? What can you do, and why do you have a dragon?"
Rokshaw takes out his blade and slashes an undead behind him, then shoots an arrow at a skeleton mage. "Is that good enough for ya?"
"Okay, I'm a little convinced."
"Great. You might want to duck."
The girl raises an eyebrow, then turns and sees the dragon coming at her. Yelping, she ducks, and Storm fires a spray of lava at a warrior, which melts. The woman looks at the dragon, then says, "Okay. I want you to check on the king. I'm Robina, in case you're wondering."
Rokshaw nods, then runs up the stairs toward the throne room. He slashes down other undead, looking for the giant doors. "C'mon. Where is the room?" He hears Storm whimpering somewhere, and he says, "Not now, Storm. I'm trying to find the Throne room."
The dragon still whimpers, and Rokshaw turns. "What are you whining a-whoa!" He ducks at an axe coming, and slices the undead in half. After it crumbles, the man looks at his pet, and sees him scratching on a door. "Oh. That's what you're whining about." The ninja runs to it and starts pounding the door. "Hello! Is anybody on the other side?" Realizing what he just said, he whispers to himself, "Of course there are others on the other side. Its where dead people go."
"Hello? Can anybody open the door? We're here to help!" Rokshaw hears rattles, and turns to see undead warriors surrounding him. "Hey! OPEN THE FREAKING DOOR!" He pounds on the door with more force, but it still doesn't budge. Giving up, he turns back to the undead and threatens them with his sword. "Back! This thing is deadly to all, living or undead."
The army stops, and looks at each other, a confusing look on their skulls. Later, the lead army heaves their weapons up in a throwing position. Rokshaw's eyes widen. "Oh no."
Storm growls and spews lava at them, but they dodge the attack. When they were about to make the ninja in ninja kebab, the doors open and two hands grab Rokshaw and Storm, and pulls them in. Just when the doors shut, a volley of weapons embeds into the door.
Rokshaw crashes on the floor, his dragon flying up. He looks up at his rescuer and sees a king wearing gold armor with blue robes, a crown, and has a beard and wise, blue eyes, and a dragon design on his gauntlet. The ninja looks around and sees columns around doorways and a throne in the middle. "Are you crazy?"
Rokshaw gets up and asks, "Are you King Alteon?"
"Yes I am. Who are you, and what class are you?"
"I'm Rokshaw, and I am one of the first ninja in a decade." Storm floats down and lands next to Rokshaw's feet. "And this is my pet, Storm."
The king looks at the dragon, and says, "Nice pet. So what are you doing here?"
"I came because your kingdom was in danger. Robina sent me up here to check on you."
"Ahh. Okay then, well welcome to my kingdom. Or what's left of it anyway." King Alteon walks to his throne and sits down, grabbing his dragon sword. Confused, Rokshaw asks, "So what are you doing?"
"I am waiting for a certain someone to appear."
"And…who would that be?"
"If the kingdom Shadowfall is here, then Sepulchure isn't far."
"Okay, I get it. You're waiting for your nemesis to come. But, who's Sepulchure?"
The king was about to answer when they hear a thud. King Alteon gets up, readying his sword, as another thud sounds. Rokshaw backs up from the doors as cracks appear around the doors. He hears cries of pain on the other side of the door, then silence. The ninja raises his sword, but Alteon says, "No. Get back. This is my battle."
"Whatever you say, my liege." He walks to a wall, sheathing his sword, when the door blasts apart. Soldiers rain in, all dead, and a tall figure in blood red armor walks in, the dragon helm shining menacing. Two guards run into the room and attack, but the lord's eyes shine, and a column of skulls shoot out of the ground, knocking one guard. He points to the last guard, and he is lifted off the ground, surrounded by swirls of darkness. The guard explodes, his bones piling up. "Hello Alteon. It's been awhile. Ten years to be exact."
"Sepulchure. I was wondering when you'd show up." Alteon said, aiming the tip of his sword at the lord. Sepulchure looks at the sword, and says, "So, we're not going to chit chat like ol' friends?"
"You lost that friendship a long time ago."
The lord chuckles and says, "Then it's time to meet your maker." Sepulchure rushes in, and swings down his sword, but Alteon blocks it. They attack one another, not getting an edge. The lord walks back and swings an arm and a wave of darkness lead by skulls rush to the king, but he uses his swords power and creates a force field, blocking the attack. After the field dies down, Sepulchure takes the chance and knocks the king back. He was about to make the death blow, when he senses someone behind him. He quickly blocks the attack from a sword and grabs the person's neck. The lord turns to see Rokshaw trying to pry the fingers off. "This battle is between me and the king, boy." Then, he screams, and looks down to see Storm biting his ankle. "Get off you filthy animal!" He tries to shake the dragon off, and Rokshaw uses the opportunity. He kicks the lord's head, and makes him let go of his neck. He attacks, but Sepulchure blocks and punches. Ducking, he continues attacking, but the lord feints to the left, then punches the ninja. He flies in the air and crashes on the wall, cracking it. "You are strong. We could use your strength."
Rokshaw gets up as he talks. "Join the Shadowscythe with me. Together, we can overcome any enemy and collect great riches."
"Don't listen to him." King Alteon said. "Join my army, and together, we can defeat the evil that plagues this land."
"Do not listen to that whelp. Join with me, and you can have unlimited power."
Rokshaw looks at the good and evil, not making up his mind. "I…I…I…" Suddenly, an explosion comes from a wall, sending rocks everywhere. Alteon ducks, but Sepulchure isn't so lucky. A rock crashes onto him and he crashes against the wall. He throws the rock away and yells, "Who did that!"
Everyone looks at the opening, and a dark purple figure appears from the dust. He walks out of the shadow to reveal a pale face with green eyes and shadows under it, and black hair sticking up.
Rokshaw asks, "Who's Drakath?"
The being chuckles, then says, "Well, Rokshaw, I am the lord of chaos."