View Full Version : Necromancer: Corruption [Fantasy] [10,000 words]

March 23rd, 2013, 12:11 AM
I've been writing recently and after reading over what I've written I'm just not sure if my writing is up to snuff. I'm doubting the entertainment value of my story, the depth of my characters, and the style of my writing. So far I've written ~26,000 words of this book and am really looking for some critique.

I know that this is a lot to post here, but I really think that it would be hard to judge this story without the general idea of the book, one that comes after reading the first 3 chapters.

I apologize for the formatting, it is copied and pasted directly from word. I'd like to provide a link to a formatted version of it on google docs, but have been informed that linking to works outside of the website will result in the deletion of the post. Please note that there will be spelling and gramatical errors, as this work is only lightly edited.

Chapter I
The Keeper

“The Necromancer's eyes glowed under his black cloak as he peered into a purple and black orb in his hands. The light reflected from it showing the deep lines of his molten face caused by a life time of servitude to the dark arts. Cracking a light smile, his yellow and chipped teeth shined in the ethereal glow as two lean figures appeared in the swirling mists of the orb ”
The couple talked as they sipped berry wine from wooden chalices high in the trees of the Elven city of Fen'dril. Fayne was a young Elf of 27 who by all accounts of the word, was very “Talented” in the magic arts of the Druids. His long blonde hair easily reached his
slender stomach and was kept in place by an ornate headpiece made of silver. His green eyes sparkled in the soft blue glow of the room as he peered deeply into his lovers almond eyes.
“Something so important to you is more important than your time with me,” Avriel softly spoke. “You have been waiting for this since we met.”
Fayne studied her face intently before speaking, “You are who is most important in my life. I would never hurt you, even if it meant that I would not become a Keeper of the Equinox.”
“To give up on this is to give up on us Fayne...” Avriel's voice trailed off as she looked down at her white dress.
Fayne sat up from the table and walked quietly to Avriel. A tear rolled down her cheek, glistening like crystal against her smooth white skin. His hand brushed the tear aside and his fingers combed through her long brown hair. “A month away from you will be agony.” He whispered to her, “But I promise you that I will return as a Keeper.” Their eyes locked as Avriel turned her head shyly towards Fayne.
“When I wake tomorrow promise me that it will be the only time that my bed will be empty.”
“I promise.” Fayne assured her as he outstretched his hand. Avriel's small hand grasped his and she was brought to her feet.
“Your father...” Avriel hesitantly spoke, “...will he be the spirit of the Lis'maei that will
be awoken?”
Fayne's eyes turned away from Avriel as he spoke, “I cannot know for certain, but it seems this is to be the case. I cannot blame them though, everyone recognized my fathers potent Magi abilities.”
“But he wasn't a Druid, how can he be used in the rite?” Avriel asked.
Turning towards the window Fayne explained, “True he was not a Druid, but this is merely a title. Luna granted us all the ability to create through Magi, whether it is Druidic Magi or the Arcane Arts that my father specialized in, it is all the same force. Our society has the need to use titles to distinguish us from one another and to control the use of Magi, thus the only reason I will become a Keeper. To use the full scope of my abilities without this title would surely send me to a prison cell.”
“Your father spent no time in a prison cell, why would you?” Avriel questioned.
“Times were different then. Magic was not so segregated. My father studied Arcane Magi long before he slept as a Lis'maei. His Druidic powers rivaled his Arcane, but both were needed in war. In this time of peace the only ones we have to regulate are ourselves.”
Avriel turned Fayne to face her. “You do not know for sure that it is your father who will be used. The brotherhood are your friends, they would not do this to you.”
“They know my power is strong Avriel, they will only have to test my fortitude. My father is the only way they can accomplish this. I know it will be done....” He responded.
Fayne walked towards the bed in deep contemplation. His relationship with his father had always been a good one save for the final years before his death. These final years proved to be a lonely era for the young boy as his father spent most of his time in a trance like state. His astral projected spirit called a Lis'maei was attuned to nature and learned much from it, but his corporeal body suffered and wasted away.
Fayne turned to look at Avriel who shyly returned his gaze. “When I return to Fen'dril I wish us to get married.” He softly spoke to her.
Avriel's eyes widened and became misty. Her hand outstretched as she slowly walked towards him, guarding her heart with her other palm. She brought her face close to his and spoke nothing more than, “I will await you then.”

**** **** ****

The dew reflected the pink early morning sunlight onto the wooden spires of Fen'dril. Fayne looked out the window of his room into the forest that outstretched the elven city. He strapped on his brown leather robe and pulled his worn but sturdy boots on. Fayne's most prized possession was a slender longsword named Truestrike made of silver given to him by his father. It had been enchanted with arcane energies that gave it a faint silvery glow. This enchantment not only made it extremely light weight, it also was able to create bright flashes of light that could diss-orient foes. Along the blade lay embossed vines and the hilt was wrapped with gryphon leather. He took this as well and slid it into the scabbard along his waist.
His lips softly met Avriel's cheek and though still in a deep sleep she released a smile.
“I will return to you as a Keeper...My word is as strong as my love for you.” He whispered before turning towards the door. He reached toward the mantle for his charm necklace made up of the treasured moonstone his people had grown to love. After fastening it around his neck he gave a final look to Avriel and closed the door.
The Elves of Fen'dril learned long ago that to protect themselves from the Barbarians from the plains, the Deathswarm from the south, and the Drow to the east, they needed a strong defense. They found this in the tall trees of the Fen'dril forest where they had built their homes. Fayne new this reality as much as the next Elf living there, as he walked down the endlessly long spiral staircases to the forest floor.
“Fayne!” A call from further up one of the staircases rang out. Fayne looked up through the long rays of lights streaming between the boughs of the great trees and could make out a slender figure treading down the staircase. “We still have a few hours before we leave for the ceremony, what are you doing up this early?” The Elf questioned.
“Ah Ledal, I could ask you the same question.” Fayne retorted to his childhood friend.
“I was up admiring the sunrise as it may be the last I ever see.” Ledal explained with a big smile, one that Fayne had grown quite accustomed to over the past 23 years. Ledal had grown up living just below Fayne and they had spent much of their childhoods together. Ledal was always an energetic and spontaneous person, quite the opposite of Fayne. However, rather than clash due to these differences the two seemed more like two halves of a whole.
“This certainly won't be the first time that we've witnessed a sunrise that could have been our last.” Fayne said while trying to hold his laughter.
Ledal Looked at him with a raised eyebrow, “Was that to have been a joke at my expense Fayne?” The two shared a hearty laugh as they reached the bottom of the staircase.
“It may have been an insult Ledal, but I would have never guessed you would have caught on to that.” Fayne spouted out through some laughter.
With an embarrassed look on his face Ledal taunted Fayne, “Maybe you should have your blade speak for you!” Ledal bent down with a smile and grabbed the two short swords he had sheathed on either thigh.
“Easily!” Fayne happily agreed. In a flash he had drawn Truestrike and was swinging deftly towards Ledal's neck. Ledal stepped a pace back to dodge this and retaliated with both weapons aimed straight at Fayne's abdomen. Riposting this attack was easy for Fayne giving him time to taunt Ledal, “I thought the son of Reldin was faster than that!”
This simple taunt seemed as if it had entered Ledal's ears and had left directly through his blades. His lean arms released an onslaught of swift attacks, striking at vital spots on Fayne's body. The chime of their weapons rang out in the morning air as Ledal's attacks were parried by Fayne. The speed of Ledal's attacks did not slow but Faynes strength was waning, he was a Magi not a Swordsman and Ledal was aware of his fatigue. His attacks hit harder and faster trying to gain ground on him. Fayne knew he couldn't last much longer against his opponents attacks through brute strength.
“Cel'man Crio!” Fayne cried out. A giant flash of light exploded from Truestrike, blinding
“My eyes!!” Ledal cried out in pain as he stumbled to the ground, one of his blades flying from his hands landing some feet away from him. Seizing the opportunity Fayne quickly began casting a spell that soon covered the fallen blade in thick roots.
“Clever” Ledal said as he wiped the tears from his eyes, “But its not over yet!”
Ledal picked himself off of the floor and viciously sprinted towards Fayne blade first. With little time remaining before the impact of the blade Fayne had released a heat spell on Ledal's weapon, leaving it quite impossible to hold.
“It seems I am the victor.” Fayne laughed as he bowed towards his friend.
“The victor in what?” A deep voice said from behind Fayne. The unseen Elf's hand rested on Fayne's shoulder. “You've used a great deal of energy in mere horseplay, yet you have an immense task ahead of you young druid. One such as yourself who is trying to become a Keeper must surely know the dangers that await you.”
Fayne cleared his throat and peered nervously toward Ledal who returned the look.
“I think it is time we became acquainted, son of Dalan.” The grip on Fayne's shoulder was released, “I am Arch Druid Relis, Leader of the Brotherhood of the Equinox and soon to be issuer of the initiation trials for you and your friend there.”
Fayne backed up to stand next to Ledal who was still squinting in one eye from the bright flash. “It is an honor to finally meet you Arch Druid Relis,” Fayne curtiously stated while bowing. Ledal was soon bowing as well, thanks to a stiff jab in the side from Fayne.
“The pleasure is mine young Fayne, I have waited a good while to see your abilities. If they are anything like your father's then...I think you shall have no problems in your trials.” The old druid quietly cackled to himself with a sly smile. “I must plead from you that you stay yourself from using your 'abilities' until we are ready to leave though. I will await you and your friend at the eastern druid grove along with the other two subjects, and with this I must bid you farewell for now.”
“He didn't even know my name!” Ledal pouted as Relis walked away.
“Having our futures so unsure I think that would be a small concern of yours Ledal,” Fayne said half Jokingly.
“Magi can't always save you Fayne,” Ledal said as he chopped the roots off his entangled sword, “You'll need my strength out there to be able to pass these trials.”
“And you'll need my Magi,” Fayne responded with a half smirk.

**** **** ****

The sun came through the boughs of the druid grove like streamers of silver, heating whatever spot they touched.
The forest here was thick, too thick for any Elf to pass through. It's secluded nature was a choice made with intent by the man who had brought the Keeper initiates here.
The four young Elves stood in a row facing Relis, intently listening to his every word. The old Elf's smooth complexion had been lost decades before, now only showing signs of a long life. His white wiry hair was barely visible beneath a golden coif tucked under a green cowl. His olive robes slightly whipped about in gentle breeze as he spoke.
“The four of you have expressed your interest and have shown your dedication in becoming Keepers of the Equinox. If chosen you will be recognized as the elite protectors of not only the the Fen'dril forest but the very city itsElf. You each have been chosen to come here for specific reasons,” Relis explained.
“Elin, you have been brought here for your finely honed usage of the longbow. You have proved that your accuracy is unmatched. For your trial you shall be given a quiver of enchanted arrows. These arrows will conflagrate when they leave your bow and burn for an extended period of time,” the old Elf said as he relinquished the quiver of fine arrows to the boy.
“Ledal, you have shown great skill in your usage of the short swords. I present to you two of the finest Elven short blades. These will never dull and are as light as a feather.”
Relis opened a chest containing the two beautiful weapons. Although they looked like normal short swords they were indeed as light as feather and as sharp as a razor. Ledal happily accepted the gift and after some admiration placed them into his thigh scabbards.
“Gametris your empathy with animals and path finding are unmatched. A true ranger's heart beats within you. To you I present two items. These boots are magically enchanted to let you run as quick as the fastest cheetah. Although you will tire as quickly as you would if you were running these distances. The second item is this small globe. It will begin to glow whenever you are around a fresh source of water.”
Gametris was happy to receive these gifts and promptly was in the boots. He knew from too many adventures in the forest by himself that water was precious, the orb would suit him well.
“Fayne you have been recognized as a strong Druid and have shown interest in the Arcane Arts as well. But I have nothing to present to you,” Relis spoke with a serious tone, “No, this is a gift presented to you from your father. It was to be given to you should the day ever come that you took the trial of the Keeper.”
Relis pulled out a small brown satchel from under his robes and placed it in Fayne's hands, closing his fingers around it. “You mustn't open it until you are in the wilds Fayne. Your father left no instructions on what it is or how to use it.” Relis pulled his hand back leaving only the small satchel left in Fayne's hand.
The young Elf's eyes stared at the small gift that his father had left him. The satchel was nearly weightless but felt slightly warm to the touch. Thoughts of what it could be rushed in his head but were soon cut short by the continuation of Relis' speech. For now the satchel would find a comfortable spot in Fayne's leather robe.
“I will now transport you all the trial grounds” Relis explained. “Your goal is a simple one: In the wilds there lies a Lis'maei who is roaming. You must all work together to find it and complete it's task. This Lis'maei was a sleeper from Fen'dril and will recognize you all but it will not give you the task unless you are all present. You will also be unable to complete the task if you are not all present. You have one month to complete this task or you shall fail the trial of the Keeper and be unable to join the Brotherhood of the Equinox.” Relis reached from his pocket and pulled out a green disk which he placed on the ground in front of the four Elves.
“Close your eyes and clear your minds,” the old Druid stated, “Good luck to you all.”

Chapter II
The Trial

“Green light shot from the Necromancer's finger tips as he cursed another corpse into undead servitude. The newly awakened minion felt its masters intentions clearly. Images of Fen'dril shot through it's mind. It's existence was to serve his master. It's purpose was in Fen'dril.”

The four young Elves awoke to the stars overhead. The nearly full moon hung in the sky above, basking the vast Fen'dril forest in a silvery glow. Their keen Elven eyes showed clearly their surroundings. They lay upon a treeless grassy hill moist with midnight dew. The forest was eerily quiet on this night and no wind was to be found.
Fayne shook Ledal's shoulder in an attempt to wake him. “Wake up!” he whispered as loud as he could, “Everyone is awake, you are always the first to fall asleep and the last to wake up.”
“I'm up, I'm up,” Ledal said reluctantly while wiping his eyes, “Your such a bother sometimes.”
“We haven't all the time in the world you know,” Fayne whispered in a slightly annoyed voice.
Ledal sat up with a large yawn and began to put on his leather boots. “Maybe tonight we can go hunting rather than look for this Lis'maei? Bread was good for the first eight days of this trip but I need some meat.”
Fayne pondered if what Ledal had said for the seventh consecutive day in a row had any merit, but his thought was soon cut short by Elin speaking up, “Our time here is not long Ledal, stop thinking of your stomach and more about the trial at hand.”
Staying his tongue Ledal gritted his teeth nodded his head before retrieving a piece of stale Elven bread from his pack. Although bland tasting, this finely crafted bread was full of energy and could last weeks before molding.
Gametris stood up silently and looked towards the forest. His longsword slumped lazily over his shoulder, he started walking down the hill. The other three seeing this knew it was time to leave. They all respected him as a master ranger and a great (albeit quiet) leader.
The group of Elves crunched through the leaves as they made their way through the forest. The thick foliage blocked most of the Moon's light, but Elvish eyes are keen even in the dark. Gametris stealthily lead the party ahead at a fast pace, jumping over logs and small obstacles with the least of effort. Fatigue was growing in each of them but their goal overwrote any pain in their legs.
For many miles the group traveled uninterrupted through the forest, the way they had done for the past seven days of their trial. Gametris stopped abruptly causing his companions to nearly run into him. He held a hand as a signal to stay quiet as he slowly crept through the increasingly dense tangle of vines and trees.
The thick forest came to a sudden end in the form of a large stone structure covered with moss and vines. From the look of it the structure had been here for centuries, if not longer.
Fayne brushed his fingers across the coarse stone, clearing away some of the vines.“I recognize this,” he whispered in an interested tone, “Not the wall itsElf, but the magic surrounding this place.”
The three other Elves looked at Fayne questioningly as he placed both his hands on the wall. He closed his eyes and felt a strange sense of familiarity within the stone structure. He heard a familiar voice, and a power within him stir.
“Arcane energies,” Fayne explained, “they conceal the entrance to this place.”
“Can you sense the door?” Ledal asked curiously.
Fayne removed his hands from the structure and slid his fingers into the pocket of his leather robe and withdrew the satchel Relis had given him on the first day of their trial. He had opened it later that day and found naught but a white crystal no longer than a finger inside. Until that moment he did not know what the crystal was, but now he was certain of it.
“Arcanum Crystal,” Fayne said as he gently removed the faintly glowing crystal from the satchel.
His companions looked at the crystal questioningly as it began to grow brighter. Fayne closed his fingers around the crystal, squeezing it tight. The crystal grew cold in his hand, emanating more light and creating a faint buzz. Fayne saw images of swirling white lights in his mind dancing around, mixing with his thoughts. He began to feel dizzy and each moment the crystal grew brighter and brighter until a great flash emanated from it.
The Elves shielded their eyes from the flash and bent low to the ground. When the light subsided Fayne's unconscious body lay on the ground still clutching the Arcanum Crystal.

*** *** *** ***

Avriel sat on the edge of her bed sipping on Tea made from the finest of the Luthe Plant. Although it was late, no rest came to her. This was not the first night she had gone without sleep, her troubles had started the day Fayne had left for his trial.
She slowly traced the outline of a silver watch that Fayne had given her some years before, flooding her mind with memories of him. Years before, when she had been given the watch were among the happiest times of her life. She and Fayne traveled through the Fen'dril forest looking to find nothing more than the beauty of nature and the love of one another. However, when Fayne's father Dalan had begun to enter his trances to become a Lis'maei the young Elven boy began to spend more and more time studying magi.
She knew in her heart that Fayne loved her, so she persevered through these lonely times as he studied. These were rough times for their relationship, the toll especially hard on Avriel. Eventually Fayne had taken the first Trial of the Druid and passed, showing he (like his father) was a strong Magi.
The further Dalan fell into his trance the more his body withered and the less time Avriel saw Fayne. During the last few months of Dalan's trance Fayne was with him night and day using his Druidic magi to heal his fathers weak body, but it was no use and his father soon passed from the corporeal realm into the spirit body of a Lis'maei.
Fayne spent months in solitude not answering the call of anyone, including Avriel. She became distraught, giving up on life and she too went into solitude. It was not until Fayne went to Avriel that she finally left her tree top room. He explained how he had failed his father but would not fail her, and vowed to stay by her side forever. Avriel tried to explain how the choice to become Lis'maei was his fathers, and that for Fayne to try to heal him was unnatural.
Fayne disagreed with her, thinking his powers were just too week to keep his father alive and vowed to become a Keeper to protect her.
Her memories soon faded back to reality and her eyes settled back on the silver watch, slowly and monotonously ticking each second one by one. She lifted the cup of tea to her mouth for another sip but dropped it in a frightened shriek as she saw a grim figure approach her from the reflection in the liquid.

*** *** *** ***

Fayne's eyes slowly opened as Ledal lightly slapped both sides of his cheeks, “Wake up!” Ledal exclaimed excitedly, “We've found the Lis'maei!”
Fayne held a hand to his aching head as he sat up, “What happened?” He asked in a confused voice.
“When you cast whatever spell you did from that crystal the walls of the structure disappeared. As you can see, all that is left is that small temple in the distance,” Elin explained as he pointed towards a small stone temple, “It seems the structure was an illusion and with it gone it revealed that Lis'maei temple”
Fayne stood up and slid the Arcanum Crystal back into the pocket of his leather robe. “No point in standing around here then I suppose,” he said as he adjusted his blade along his waist and headed towards the temple.
He still did not understand what power he had unleashed from the crystal but knew that he possessed the power to manipulate arcane energies. This pleased the young magi, although the pain in his head still hurt from the flash. A small price to pay he thought, for such a substantial gain.
The temple was made of black stones that had been smoothly polished and had been fit together so perfectly that their seams were hard so see with the naked eye. A tall building, the temple stood as high as as a three story house. The stairs themselves were wide and small, the stone they were carved from was etched with images of leaves. Four spires rose above the temple along the corners adding a distinctive Elvish look to the structure.
Ledal hurried ahead of the four as they approached the temple. “Let me lead us forward,” He stated with a determined face as he drew his blades. The three nodded and they too unsheathed their weapons. Ledal stealthily lead the party up the stairs, blades at the ready and an ear to the wind. As they approached the top of the stairs the saw a dim blue light emanating from a room above. Ledal signaled the others to have weapons at the ready and together they charged up the stairs.
Nearing the top, two dark figures stepped out from the blue glow with bows drawn, instantly firing them with deadly accuracy. An arrow flew by Ledal, narrowly missing his blade as he tried to deflect it. The other arrow soared through the air and landed into Gametris' hamstring, knocking him off balance and he was soon tumbling down the stairs.
Fayne and Ledal raced up the stairs blades first as Elin drew an arrow from his quiver. The shadowy figures became visible as the two reach the top. Standing before them were two beings who were clearly Human at one time. The empty eye sockets of the beings glowed an ominous red and flesh seemed to be melting off in strands from their faces.
The smell of rotting flesh immediately filled the area as Ledal's blades spilled the entrails of one of the beings before it had a chance to draw its blade. The smell of the putrefied innards as they crashed to the floor in a sickening waterfall was strong enough to make any man horribly sick, adrenaline alone saved the two from this fate. The being seemed unfazed by it's disembowelment as it lashed out with a powerful counterattack towards Ledal. He blocked the attack with his blades but the force of the unholy blow knocked him to his knees. As he regained his balance a fiery arrow flew from Elin's bow striking into the disemboweled being's neck, setting it ablaze as is writhed in agony on the floor.
Fayne swung at the second being's sword arm, narrowly missing as it dodged the attack with supernatural speed. The being retaliated with a kick to his legs, easily knocking him off balance. Had Ledal not grabbed the undead creatures sword arm as he swung towards Fayne, it most assuredly would have been the end to the young Elf.
The monster threw Ledal over its shoulder sending him sprawling onto the stone floor with a deafening thud.
Back on his feet Fayne stumbled towards Elin who was rushing towards the creature with his blade at the ready. The creature jumped onto Ledal with a shriek of anger, drawing its sword high into the air. Elin's blade swung at the creature's hand severing it clean off, along with the blade it held sending them both to the floor.
As Ledal and Elin wrestled with the creature, Fayne had been evoking a spell. Red lines traced his fingertips and started to crackle as his concentration increased. A fiery outline circled his hand as he brought it higher and higher.
“Move!” Fayne yelled towards his companions as he raised his hand high into the air. His companions jumped out of the way just as Fayne snapped his fingers and shot a bolt of fire screaming into the monster's chest. The being erupted into flames and fell onto the floor engulfed in the conflagration.
“Are there more??” Ledal yelled as he wiped the rotten flesh from his leather armor.
“If there are they'll have to wait,” Erin said as he bolted down the stairs, “we must help Gametris!”
When they reached the bottom of the stairs they found an unconscious Gametris laying on his stomach, a pool of blood forming around his thigh. Elin quickly bent down and rolled his body over.
“He still draws breath,” Elin said as he held his ear to Gametris' mouth, “He has fallen unconscious from the impact of the stairs and not from blood loss I hope.” He brought a hand to the broken arrow shaft jutting out of his thigh. “We must remove it, quickly bring me your dagger Ledal.”
Ledal retrieved his small dagger from his boot and handed it to Elin who quickly removed the leather from around the arrow shaft. “Hold his leg down,” Elin requested as he gripped the arrow shaft. Elin pulled the arrow from his leg with a mighty jerk that woke Gametris in a roar of pain. Gametris sat up in a fit of confusion staring at his bleeding leg.
“I was shot? By who?” he painfully questioned through gritted teeth.
“Some kind of undead beast,” Fayne replied, staring towards the glowing blue room at the top of the stairs, “They looked to have once been Human.”
“I question why they were in the Lis'maei temple though, necromancy does not seem like something the Brotherhood would use for a trial. It has been outlawed for as long as Fen'dril as stood,” Elin said as he dressed Gametris' wound.
“Let's return ,” Fayne said, still looking towards the top of the temple, “Elin, you stay here with Gametris in case one of those beasts return. myself and Ledal will seek out the Lis'maei.” Elin nodded in agreement and turned back to continue tending to Gametris' wound.
Weapons drawn, Fayne and Ledal had reached the top of the steps once again. The smell of death overwhelmed their senses as they walked past the two smoldering undead corpses laying crumpled on the floor. The door at the end of the small hallway's edges were glowing with a blue hue as the Elves approached it. Giving a nod of readiness Ledal swung open the stone door to reveal the room within.
A blue orb wrapped in glowing red chains of unholy bondage floated before them in the center of the room. The only light was the orb's own iridescent glow, illuminating the small room with a cool light.
“Lis'maei...” Fayne said as he walked towards the orb, his eyes fixed as if almost in a trance, “...unholy chains bind it.”
“Those undead were here as guards perhaps?” Ledal offered.
The orb surged with light as Fayne neared and a telepathic voice washed over the Elves. “I know your kind,” a tortured but beautiful voice echoed in their minds, “I was once of your realm.”
“Lis'maei...” Fayne almost whispered as the blue glow reflected from his almond eyes, “Why are you bound?” he questioned.
“I have been bound by the same force that threatens Fen'dril,” The Lis'maei's voice told them.
“Threatens Fen'dril??” Ledal questioned with a concerned look on his face, “What threatens Fen'dril!? Is this part of our trial!?”
The blue light emanating from the Lis'maei grew brighter again as its voice reached their Elven minds, “I am no longer part of your trial young Elves. I believe I was imprisoned so that you would not find me...for what reason I do not know. I sense Fen'dril is in much danger though...yes. You must return with haste, I sense...evil.”
“How can we free you?” Fayne questioned.
“There is no time young one, you must return to Fen'dril at once...” The Lis'maei called out as if almost pleading.
Fayne had no arguments in questioning the safety of his beloved home. He walked towards to the door, looking back only to reply to the Lis'maei, “We will be back to free you.”

Chapter III
The Champion

“A grim smile spread across the face of the necromancer as he peered into his orb. His plans had been set into motion, playing out perfectly. He knew soon the time would come when he and his champion would finally meet. He waited now, quietly laughing to himself inside his dark chambers.”

The party raced back towards Fen'dril through the night. Their bodies were exhausted from having to support Gametris as he weaved in and out of consciousness. As the four approached the outskirts of Fen'dril they could see smoke rising from the trees, their hearts raced as they began to suspect the worst. They finally broke through the forest into Fen'dril, the air stinking with the smoke from the piles of burning corpses. The town seemed empty save for the groups guards throwing fresh bodies into the fire.
“We need to get Gametris to a Cleric right away,” Elin panted.
“You two carry him to a Cleric, I'm going to find out what is going on,” Fayne replied already heading in the direction of the Druid enclave. Ledal and Elin nodded in agreement as they dispersed Gametris' weight amongst them.
Fayne's muscles neared exhaustion, each step bringing him further to the edge. He gritted his teeth as he reached the large circle of trees surrounding the Druid enclave. Inside two druids leaned over the corpse of one of the undead creatures, seemingly studying it.
“What happened here!?” Fayne shouted desperately. The Druids stopped talking to one another and turned to face Fayne.
“Undead,” one of the Druids said, “They came in the night in small numbers, we easily overcame them.”
“Undead? Why here?!” Fayne demanded.
“None of us know,” the Druid said as he readjusted his gaze back to the undead corpse, “never in Fen'dril's history have we seen an attack of undead. It seemed such a small number to accomplish anything, we don't think that Fen'dril was the target...possibly a mistake.”
“Was anyone hurt?” Fayne asked as thoughts of Avriel swam through his mind.
“A few injuries amongst soldiers but nothing more. It was a small attack and easily dealt with. Although it seemed very odd, they only attacked the most heavily guarded areas of the city...”
Although their words were reassuring, waves of panic still washed over Fayne's mind. The image of his lover flashed in agonizing jolts, sending shivers down his spine.
“I must get going,” he said, taking off in a dash towards Avriel's house.
He ran up the spiral staircase leading up to her house, the sound of his speeding heart filled his ears. Beads of sweat rolled from his head and fell to the forest floor below. Avriel's door slammed open as Fayne threw it aside and rushed in. Avriel's small body lay unmoving against the cold wooden floor. Her thin white evening gown stained with half dried blood. Fayne's eyes widened with terror as he approached his lover's body in disbelief. Tears welled in his eyes, dripping onto the floor.
“Avriel?” he cried out, his voice cracking from the pain in his throat, “Avriel, answer me!” He put his hands on her shoulders and rolled her over, exposing a clean cut across her throat. He turned his head aside as waves of pain shot up his body, tears rushing from his eyes and landing on Avriel's evening gown. “T-This can't be,” he whispered.
He stood up in a rage, drawing Truestrike. His tears flew from his face as he turned in a circle analyzing the room. He threw the room apart in a raging fury, “Show yourself!” he shouted, as he flipped over a large oak table, sending the contents flying across the room. His knuckles turned white from the grip he placed on his sword's hilt.
Fayne collapsed to the floor, holding himself up on one knee by the blade of Truestrike. “Avriel...” he whispered through the tears. He crawled over to Avriel's body and lay his arm around her as if to protect her from death. Her heart was silent, her body cold to the touch. He brushed back her hair to see her face and traced his fingers down her arms. Noticing a note laying folded in her hand he carefully opened it:

“Dearest Fayne,
By reading this I'm sure you've seen the demise of your beloved. It was a quick death, the pain did not last for long I assure you. I will get straight to the point however and inform you that her death shan’t be permanent if you should so choose it. There is a way to restore her life once again, all I would need from you is a little cooperation.
I'm sure by now you have guessed that the undead are my doing, and you would be very much correct, however I digress. If you wish to return your lover to life you must meet one of my servants at Silvermist lake at dusk. Bring only her with you and no one else if you wish any success of this endeavor. Please make haste young Elf, I'm afraid time is not on your side in the matter.”

Fayne closed his eyes, tears rolling down his cheeks as he seethed with anger. He ripped the note in half and fell helplessly to his knees. The fatigue from running mixed with the sorrow from death leeched every ounce of strength from his body. Still, he knew there was only one option. He must do everything in his power to get revenge on those who did this to his lover. His muscles strained as he lifted his weight back onto his knees. He staggered towards the body of Avriel and with everything left of his strength, managing to get her onto his back.
Step by agonizing step Fayne carried Avriel's body towards the edge of town, his body shaking from fatigue. He did not turn around as the footsteps from Ledal ran towards him.
“Fayne, where are you taking Avriel?” Ledal asked through tired gasps for air. Silence only filled the air as Fayne pressed on. “Where are you going?” He pleaded as he ran ahead of Fayne. A look of horror filled Ledal's eyes as he saw the cut across Avriel's neck. “What the hell happened!?” Ledal cried as tears began to fill his eyes.
“Leave,” Fayne said, showing no emotion.
Ledal stumbled to keep pace with Fayne. “Fayne we have to go back, we have to go to a Cleric! Please, tell me what happened!” Ledal begged.
A green aura coursed through the air around Fayne as he stopped in his tracks. He close his eyes as he spoke, “I'm sorry but you must understand...” Magical roots ripped up from the ground, wrapping around Ledal's legs and quickly entangled his entire body. Ledal's eyes showed a confused and terrified look through the streaming tears. Fayne never looked back as he kept walking towards the outskirts of town.

The lake was silent, a cool breeze flowed over the its placid waters as the moon reflected on its surface. Sounds of insects buzzed and filled the night air with gentle ambiance. The crunching leaves marked Fayne's successful arrival. He reached the waters edge and lay Avriel's body on the shore. Crawling to the water in desperate gasps for air he poured handful after handful of water into his mouth.
His body coughed as he drank, unable to stop the deep lungfuls of air.
After getting his fill of the cool water Fayne lay on the rocky shore, his muscles twitching from overexertion. He unbuttoned his leather robe letting the night air chill his body. Fayne turned his head to look at Avriel's body. Her once glowing skin was now a cold gray, blending in the with night. Memories of his fallen lover screamed in his mind, overwhelming his emotions and bringing tears to his eyes once again. He attempted to drag himself to her side but his muscles did not have the strength to move his weight. His eyes became blurry and blackness washed over him.
Fayne awoke several hours later to the sounds of footsteps against the leaves. He sat up still in an exhausted daze, attempting to focus his eyes on the three figures standing before him. One of the creatures stepped forward coming into a hazy view. It appeared much like the undead Fayne and his party had seen at the Lis'maei temple the day before, save for a few remarkable differences. This creature was adorned in elegant crimson robes and carried a quarterstaff littered with runes. It's eye sockets had red glowing dots where eyes once were, and the flesh was stripped from its jaw.
“The master...wishes...to see you,” the creature spoke in an unworldly tone, pointing a boney finger at him. Fayne's body shook with exhaustion as he rose to his feet, full of anger for his fallen lover. He drew his sword but was barely able to lift it to meet waist level with the undead creature. “Killing me...will do you no...good,” the beasts words echoed, “The master...wishes...to see you.”
“Where is he?! Where is your master?!” Fayne screamed with a viscous tone, gripping his blade with all his strength. “I'll make him pay for this...I'll make him pay for Avriel!”
“I will....take you...to the master...if you wish...” the undead creature spoke, “and the girl....as well.”
Fayne knew that even if he could kill the beasts it would do him no good. He wanted to get revenge on who was behind this, not his lackeys. He sheathed his weapon and spoke, “Take me to your master but don't lay a finger on the girl.” He walked over to Avriel's lifeless body and picked her up in his arms. The undead Magi slowly nodded and his two companions stepped on either side of him. They clasped their hands together and began an unholy chant. The air around the group seemed to freeze and blue cracks appeared along the ground. Fayne's eyes began to get heavy as the spell took effect.

**** **** **** ****

Fayne awoke laying on a large bed with red satin blankets. Two undead guards faced away from the bed towards the center of the large circular room. Directly across from him on the other side of the room lay a boney throne with a hooded man. In front of him Avriel's body lay outstretched on a stone alter. Fayne lifted himself up expecting a great amount of pain from exhaustion but he found none. His body was quite refreshed, his mind perfectly clear. He swung his legs off the bed, leaving the blanket behind. Black and gray robes adorned him now, matching his figure perfectly. The robes seemed to be made of a durable cloth that felt similar to leather.
The undead guards did not move an inch as Fayne passed them. Their black armor glistened from the licking of the torch flames. The floor of the room was comprised of perfectly symmetrical black cobblestones, cold to the touch on his bare feet. He approached the alter where Avriel's body lay, cautiously keeping an eye on the guards and the man in the throne. Avriel's body lay on the alter perfectly preserved. Her skin no longer looked gray with death, nor did it have the glow she once had in life. Her arms lay crossed on her chest and her face held a peaceful expression.
A calm voice came from the hooded man sitting in the throne as Fayne reached a hand towards Avriel's face. “You cannot touch her...a field surrounds her, it was necessary to keep her body from further decomposition you see,” he said as he stood up, “That is, if you'd like to have her as you remembered.”
Fayne clenched his fists seething with anger. “You did this to Avriel!” He screamed, “I'll make you pay!!”
“That would be...quite pointless,” the hooded man said as he approached Fayne, “you are weaponless, my minions surround you, and most importantly if you were to kill me...your lover there would be lost.”
Fayne's shoulders heaved as he took in deep breaths.
“Why did you do it...why did you kill Avriel?” He asked through clenched teeth.
“You see dear Fayne, it was not you I had originally intended on bringing here. No, it was your father...he was gifted as a Magi. He delved into all forms of the arts...including necromancy.”
His heart sunk at the thought of his father practicing necromancy. Fayne knew his father was proficient in many forms of Magi but never did he imagine that necromancy would be amongst them.
“He became quite powerful as a necromancer...he had a special talent for the Magi arts, as I suspect you do as well. After I had trained your father in the necromantic arts however, he stole an item from me...a very important item. I tried to locate it but your father became a Lis'maei to protect the secret, but not before I found out where it was. Unfortunately the key to getting this...item lies within your families blood, and your father no longer has a body. This brings us to you, young Fayne.”
“You want my blood?” Fayne questioned.
“Well that would be quite simple...it is not just the blood that I need Fayne. You see...this item that was stolen from me contained a powerful crystal of mine. One that I had imbued much of my power into...the reasons do not need to be explained at this time but it was necessary,” the hooded man circled Fayne as he explained, “The crystal that holds my power...was enchanted by your father. I will unfortunately never be able to use it again...your bloodline will be the only ones able to tap into its power. Your father gave you a crystal...am I correct?”
Fayne reached into his pocket expecting the satchel holding the crystal to still be there, however he was no longer wearing his original clothing.
“That crystal was part of my power. Your father kept it because it is one of the keys to obtaining my stolen crystal.” The hooded man stopped in front of Fayne, eying him from foot to head before finally removing his hood. The wrinkles from a life time of practicing the dark arts strained his face. His eyes were black with malice, his wiry white hair pulled back into a small pony tail. “My name is Malencius. I once lived in Lainterdal. I studied for my entire childhood to become a powerful Wizard, and yet when I had become one...I sought more power. Eventually my study into the necromantic arts had me banished from Lainterdal and I found my way here...” Malencius put his hood back on as he walked back towards his throne.
“Fayne...there are things in this world in which I cannot accomplish any longer on my own. The loss of my crystal has limited my power...If you wish to see Avriel amongst the world of the living once more you must become my apprentice. Your power can become strong enough to raise her once again. In return I ask for your assistance in my personal matters.”
Malencius' words rattled through Fayne's mind. The thought of helping a treacherous necromancer sickened him to his core, but the thought of losing Avriel forever hurt much worse. He knew he could not live without her, but he could not live with himself if he served this man.
“Make your choice young Elf,” Malencius said as he pulled Fayne's Arcanum Crystal from one of his pockets. “Take this crystal and bow before me and I shall make you my apprentice. Soon you will gain enough knowledge to raise your fallen lover. Or you can turn now and walk through the doors and leave her behind”
Fayne's emotions were torn, but knowing that leaving now would only mean giving Avriel up he made his decision. Malencius cracked a smirk as Fayne slowly walked to him, his head held down. “Take the Crystal my child,” He said soothingly, “Fulfill your destiny.”
Fayne lowered himself onto one knee in front of the necromancer, hand outstretched to receive the Crystal. Malencius' smile widened as he watched his plan finally coming together. Black rings formed around the Arcanum Crystal as Malencius chanted in inHumanly deep tones. The air grew cold and thick as beads of green energy popped in and out of existence around Fayne. The Crystal became jet black and its surface became as reflective as a mirror. Malencius placed the newly enchanted Crystal into Fayne's palm, closing his fingers tightly around it.
“You will feel...some pain as you gain it's energies for the first time,” Malencius explained, “You will feel more power than you ever have before!”
A burning purple light emanated from the Crystal ripping through Fayne's body, throwing him to the floor. The dark energy surged through him, contracting every muscle in his body. His back arched as the energies grew more intense, throwing his head back against the stone floor. His eyes turned black and rolled back, his skin crackled with power. Fayne's screams came out in a demonic tone, almost as if he were drowning in blood. Then, as quickly as it had began the rite was over. Fayne's body lay twisted on the floor, blood dripping from his closed eyes.

**** **** **** ****

Fayne awoke once more in the crimson satin bed. How many days had passed since the rite he did not remember, as he had came in and out of consciousness for what seemed like an eternity. His attempt to sit up was cut short by chains that bound his limbs and neck to the bed.
“A necessary precaution,” the necromancer said as he stepped into view, “In your sleeping state you were quite violent my dear boy. The power within you is...very strong. This new found energy mustn't be taken lightly Fayne, it will lay unsteady in your hands for quite a while.”
The chains bonding Fayne sparked an irrational anger inside of his body. He thrashed around on the bed attempting to free himself of the chains.
“Let me go!” Fayne roared in a demonic tone.
He pulled his arms against the chains, drawing blood from his wrists. His muscles surged with his new power, filling him with confidence. Malencius nodded to one of his undead minions who approached Fayne's shackle. The undead creature turned the key to open the shackle from his right arm. Fayne immediately grabbed the creature's neck, squeezing with all his strength. A grim smile of satisfaction spread across Fayne's face as his fingers sunk into it's rotting flesh. With a quick motion towards the ground he threw the lifeless beast onto the floor, separating it's head from it's body in the process. Fayne grabbed at the chains binding him and ripped them off one by one, fixing his gaze onto Malencius.
“Careful my apprentice, you mustn't let your rage consume you. It will dissipate in time I assure you,” Malencius cautiously advised.
Only a smirk appeared on Fayne's face as he stood up to face Malencius. He pulled back his arm and aimed it directly at the necromancer's face, ready to strike a blow. Malencius held a limp hand towards Fayne's arm causing it to fall to his side, completely paralyzed.
“You must control your emotions my child,” Malencius explained, “This anger you feel is not true, it is only the new power you have acquired.”
Fayne's arm shot waves of pain throughout his entire body as the paralysis was abruptly ended. He fell to his knees grasping his arm, the pain clearing his rage back into rationality.
“Stand up Fayne, we have much work to do and very little time,” Malencius spoke as he turned on his heal and proceeded to walk towards a door near his throne, “Come this way my child. Let us begin honing your new power.”
Fayne picked himself from the ground still reeling from pain. “The rage...why did I feel such anger and hatred?” the young Elf asked, slowly walking towards Malencius.
The necromancer reached the door and turned to face Fayne. “There is a debt to be paid for practicing the dark arts my child. The power you have comes at a price, and madness is inevitable for the weak willed. Power corrupts even the mightiest of men, and this Magi is no different. You must learn to deal with your emotions Fayne, realize that while your power increases your emotions will be torn between the real you and your corrupted sElf,” Malencius explained, “This is your first lesson my apprentice. Now, follow me and we will begin testing your power.”
Fayne followed the necromancer through the door into a long downward sloping hallway lit with torches. The air was stale and was getting progressively colder as the two continued down. They walked down the path for several minutes, traveling deeper and deeper underground until finally reaching a large stone door carved with runes. The door slid open as Malencius lightly tapped it with his middle knuckle.
The large pentagon room had a low ceiling, with each of the sides holding what looked like a jail cell. Inside were unconscious chained men and women stripped nearly nude, some on the brink of death. The room was very cold and the only light source was from a hole in the ceiling leading up to the surface, letting in a gentle breeze and a few strands of sunlight.
Fayne's chest tightened and his heart moved to his throat as he saw the imprisoned Humans. “Why...” Fayne stuttered, “Why are these Humans imprisoned here?”. It was in this moment that Fayne began to realize the situation that he was now a part of.
Malencius cracked a smirk that was barely visible under his dark hood. “They are your play things young Elf.” He turned to face Fayne as he spoke, “They will be used to hone your power, to feed your dark desires, and to teach you...more about your new sElf.”
Fayne's hands turned to fists as he looked at the imprisoned Humans chained to the stone walls. The gravity weighed in and his doubts started to surface. Only the love for Avriel stayed his rage.
“Dark Magi is a strong force Fayne, but as I have explained...it comes at a price.” Malencius explained as he slowly started walking towards the far cell, Fayne trailing shortly behind him. “You must give a part of your own life essence to instill life in others. All my minions you have seen, they all hold a part of myself...It is what gives them false life. In the beginning it takes much of your energies to control the dead...even more to control the living...”
Fayne stopped short on hearing this, “...Control the living? I thought you foul Necromancer's only controlled the dead.”
Malencius laughed as he turned to face Fayne, “No dear boy, the living can be manipulated just as the dead can. The difference is the living contain their consciousness still. They can fight your power...You must instill into them a greater force than than their own lives...possible for a powerful Necromancer, but rarely done due to it's toll and probability of failure.”
Malencius produced a key from his robes and his boney hand reached out to the cell containing two men. The cell door swung open with a long screech. The Necromancer walked to one of the men, eying the man's physique. “This one will do nicely.” He stated as he reached into his robe. Malencius pulled a small dagger from his robe and handed it to Fayne. “Take this young Elf, and end this man's life. He won't feel pain I assure you...He is under a powerful spell and is very unconscious.
Fayne's emotions twisted with guilt and confusion as he held the dagger in his hand. Was the life of Avriel worth any more than this man's? Who am I to be so sElfish he thought to himself. He almost dropped the dagger until another though came racing into his mind, seemingly from nowhere and holding a powerful feeling.
“You aren't being sElfish. You know that the life of an Elf holds much more weight than a life of a pathetic Human wretch. Who is to say that this man wasn't a murderer? A rapist? Kill him.” The voice spoke in his head.
“No! This isn't right, every living thing has the same right to life as anyone else. I can't kill this innocent man just for my sElfish reasons!” Fayne retorted.
A surge of delicious energy washed over his body, seeping into his bones and filling his muscles with strength. “We've already come this far Fayne. You've already accepted the dark Magi. Stopping now would put Avriel's death to waste.” The voice spoke once more.
The words rang true with the Elf this time and the surge of power had instilled in him new confidence in what he must do. Fayne did not notice the tear rolling down the man's cheek as he slowly slid the dagger across his throat. Blood poured from the cut and the man's eyes opened with pure fear. He thrashed around on the chains as he gurgled out unintelligible words until all his life emptied from his now empty shell.
Fayne felt calm as he asked Malencius, “I thought he was under a spell? He felt pain and sorrow, I saw it in his eyes. Why I do not weep for him I do not know.”
The necromancer smiled at Fayne as he spoke, “You will become more numb to death as you grow to fill your true power dear Fayne. This man's death will allow you to grow, will allow you to see your power. I sense it within you young Elf, I know what your power is capable of.”
Malencius turned back to the man's body, “Now to proceed with the raising of this man. Our undead servents are one of the most important tools in our arsenal. They are at our full control and can hear our thoughts...as their unlife is our life. Casting spells can sometimes be a long process Fayne, and our minions give us ample time to hold enemies at bay while we evoke them.
“He will become my servant?” Fayne said as he cracked a small smile. A powerful feeling swept through his body.
Malencius chuckled as he spoke, “I see this pleases you Fayne. This will be your servant, he will be instilled with your life. You can think of him as an extension of your sElf, the same way you should think of an arm or a leg. As I had said earlier...I am looking to regain my lost crystal. This crystal holds most of my powers within it. You see young one...to raise a servant you must instill your life force into the being, however...if this being is destroyed your life force is lost as well. That is why we as Necromancers instill our life force into crystals, then use the crystal to give unlife.
“So you are basically just enchanting the crystal \with life force instead of Magi...what good would that do?” Fayne questioned the old man.
“Several benefits young Elf, the most important of them being the fact that an enchantment into the crystal means that it takes much less life force to raise the dead when you use the crystal. Another of which is not having to cast a long spell to raise a servant...the summoning ritual is not a short one when cast directly onto the dead. Therefore we cast it into the crystal and it can be imminently used to raise as many servants as possible with the amount of life force you have instilled into it...The crystal that your father stole from me has much of my life force instilled into it. I was to raise an army.”
Fayne gave the Necromancer a questioning glare as he asked, “Raise an army? For what purpose?”
The old man laughed, “There will be a time for explanations later Fayne, for now we must work on the task at hand.” Malencius produced a small tome from his robe and handed it to Fayne. “Read this young Elf, it is a tome written by myself explaining how to imbue your life force into the crystal given to you by your father. I have matters to attend to, I shall return this evening.”
“Do you intend to leave me down here alone without food or drink?” Fayne shouted to Malencius who was now approaching the stairway door.
“I will send a servant to you with food and water,” Malencius explained as he opened the door. “Do try to be careful when you enchant that crystal however.” And with those words the chamber door closed, locking Fayne inside with nothing but a crystal, a tome, and a dead man.

March 23rd, 2013, 12:41 AM
Just a quick comment. I haven't read your piece yet, but typically, you won't want to post more than 2000 words, especially if it's your first piece. It's much easier to focus on and critique a smaller chunk.

March 23rd, 2013, 05:02 AM
Just a quick comment. I haven't read your piece yet, but typically, you won't want to post more than 2000 words, especially if it's your first piece. It's much easier to focus on and critique a smaller chunk.

Understandable, I just thought that one couldn't get the full scope of the work without reading at least the first 3 chapters. I know not everyone will be willing to read such a lengthy segment, but I appreciate all comments and criticism that stem from this post :)

Red Heron
March 24th, 2013, 03:56 AM
It's not that posting as much as you did is a bad idea, just posting that much all at once. Posting each chapter at a time would have made critique easier, and increase your chances of getting it.

I like the way you're injecting the Necromancer around the story, it makes me wonder what he has to do with things, what will happen next!

I have to say that I found the first section of Chapter 1 very boring. It seems to just be a bit of exposition that did nothing to hook me into the story or characters. Think about how you greet a reader. Why should I read or care? Show me stuff please!

I will continue reading this tomorrow. I hope you found this comment useful!

March 27th, 2013, 11:03 PM
Just a quick comment. I haven't read your piece yet, but typically, you won't want to post more than 2000 words, especially if it's your first piece. It's much easier to focus on and critique a smaller chunk.

Yes I understand that most people won't be willing to read this long of a piece. However, I found it necessary to at least have the first 3 chapters to get any sense of the story taking place.