Episode 3: A Taste of Chaos
Two days after exploring the ruins of Illistria, Laurel, Lumos and Thistle waited patiently for a message from Lord Lindrel. Lumos reported their findings and now sits at a bench near the main plaza of the village. He’s reading a book on the history of the village, called Jaunr, and how it is connected to the great heroine. Apparently she called this place her home for many years, but after some time she left disappearing with everything except her unquestionable legacy. Meanwhile, Laurel and Thistle were on a nearby field practicing with the newly found ringblade. The weapon was proving unwieldy for Laurel to handle. Thistle tried her best to encourage Laurel to keep trying, but her patience was running out.
Laurel – “Urgh, this is hopeless. I guess I can keep trying some basic forms, but this thing is so unruly.”
Thistle – “Laurel, this isn’t something that you’ll get immediately after trying for the first time. Only with a lot of practice can you master a weapon like this.”
Laurel – “Maybe I can study more forms from books.”
Thistle – “The books will show you the fundamentals, but you will still need to practice, like I said.”
Laurel – “You’re right, I guess I’ll just keep at it. Is Lumos still reading at the plaza?”
Thistle flew up, looked towards the plaza, then flew back down.
Thistle – “Yep, he’s still there.”
Laurel – “Let’s join up with him, we should be hearing from father soon.”
While Laurel and Thistle made their way back to Lumos, a small scroll appeared before him. It contained a message from Lindrel telling them to head to Brensur and that there were rumors of another artifact there. They would have to speak with the king of that world about it to learn more.
Laurel – “Still reading up on history Lumos?”
Lumos – “Actually, a message just arrived. Your father wants us to go to Brensur. Apparently the royal family knows about an artifact hidden there.”
Laurel – “What else did he say?”
Lumos – “He said to be careful and that we did good work at the ruins. He’s worried about the energy that was released and that he would commission an investigation from the council.”
Laurel – “Well, that’s progress. Shall we head to the Inn to pack up?”
Lumos – “Indeed.”
Thistle – “I’ll go ahead, see you there!”
Shortly after flying off, Thistle reached the Inn and entered the room they had rented through one of the windows. For a while she floated around examining the room, then moved outside and floated high above the building. Near the entrance of the village a group of people caught her attention. Some of them were heavily armored. They were accompanied by what seemed to be a priest of sorts with a unique set of robes. She continued to observe them as they stopped. Two of the armored warriors and the priest continued into the village. Laurel and Lumos were just about to enter the Inn when the priest approached them.
Priest – “You there! You are that renowned sage Lumos, correct?”
Lumos – “Yes, who might you be?”
Priest – “My name is Garan, I am a priest of chaos. I believe you discovered something in some ruins nearby, hand it over.”
Lumos – “Priest of chaos? What nonsense is this? You have no claim to our discovery!”
Garan – “Then you forfeit whatever peace this village once had.”
Laurel – “If you want the artifact then you’ll have to fight for it.”
Garan – “You leave us no choice. Warriors! Bring chaos to this place and its people.”
The warriors near the entrance of the village began to spread out. Some lit fires, others engaged people at random. Village guards scrambled to contain the fires and protect the populace. Thistle had flown around the village and warned some of the guards that were on the opposite side of the village to ensure they could arrive in time to reinforce the rest. She rejoined Laurel and Lumos shortly after. At first Laurel was hesitant to use the ringblade artifact for fear of losing it. Only two warriors were aiding the priest. When the first warrior charged she dodged to the side and used her magic to push him to the ground. The second one moved closer, but instead of charging in he was more tactical in his approach. Every swing was measured and well timed. This warrior showed more experience, all Laurel could do was use her swiftness to dance around his attacks. As she fought the two warriors Lumos faced the priest. It was an unseen battle. In their minds they prepared spells and counterspells. Despite his age Lumos had vast knowledge of magic. Garan was aware that any mistake would result in his failure. Laurel was scratched on her right arm by one of the warriors, her short scream of pain called Lumos’ attention. This was the opportunity that Garan was waiting for, he launched an orb of darkness toward Lumos. The great sage was ready though. To counter he redirected the orb to one of the warriors fighting Laurel. The dark spell hit his armor and cracked it as if it had decayed. Lumos then fired his own spell, a spear made of light that hit his target on his left shoulder. Garan was stunned at how swiftly Lumos was able to perform his spells. The spear flashed with energy and disrupted Garan’s access to the mana flow. Without the energy to cast more spells the priest was defeated. Meanwhile Laurel had to use the ringblade to defend herself. She used the weapon to deflect some of the attacks that the warriors made. They kept pushing her back further and further. At one point she launched the rindblade to attack, but the energy channeled to it was too strong and it flew off, passed between Lumos and Garan and finally embedded itself on the wall of the Inn. Thistle knew Laurel was in danger so she called upon her magic and sent forth a fiery wind against the warriors. Their heavy steel armor quickly became a sort of oven. The warriors had to retreat behind Garan. These agents of chaos had failed their attack. The village guards pushed the others back. Lumos saw the opportunity to drive them away for good and used the now released ringblade to tear the armor off the warriors behind Garan. His movements were quick and precise. The warriors tried to deflect but a combination of light beams kept them out of balance. When Lumos was done, the warriors’ armor had been sliced to ribbons and fell apart as they ran off.
Garan – “You are a formidable opponent Lumos, I will remember this.”
Lumos – “Take your agents of chaos from here and do not come back.”
Garan sounded the retreat. There were no casualties from either side. Fires damaged some of the structures but it was nothing that could not be repaired with ease. The captain of the guard thanked Thistle for giving the alert as well as to Laurel and Lumos for aiding in the fight.
Laurel – “The old sage indeed does have some moves. Where did you learn to use a ringblade?”
Lumos – “Well, by my age you should know that the trials were still active. I undertook the trials of light and darkness. Both pretty grueling in their own right. Then I undertook the Ribashkan, or the trial of balance. From there I mastered the use of a ringblade for combat. Oh, by the way, you misplaced this.”
Lumos handed the ancient ringblade back to Laurel.
Laurel – “Why give it back to me? I’m obviously pretty bad at it.”
Lumos – “Your current experience with the ringblade may be lacking, but I am sure that with practice you can learn to master it, no trial needed.”
Thistle – “Don’t give up on it Laurel.”
Laurel – “If you insist, but be careful I don’t end up cutting off an arm or an ear.”
Lumos – “I will help teach you.”
Laurel – “Why didn’t you tell me about your experiences? You’re quite the fighter.”
Lumos – “I hesitated because I did not think it would be necessary. Now I fear things have changed. Your father’s intuition was correct. There are some hostile players moving in the background. We must uncover their plans. For now, we know they are on the same path as us, seeking artifacts.”
Thistle – “It’s probably not to help the world.”
Laurel – “Do you think they had anything to do with what we saw at the ruins.”
Lumos – “It is possible they are connected, but we will need more information. We should prepare to leave. I don’t know if we’ll meet them again, but we’d best make haste for Brensur.”
Laurel and Lumos grabbed their few possessions from the room at the Inn. As they did this, Thistle surveyed from high above the village. She could still somewhat make out the silhouettes of the warriors and the priest, though they eventually disappeared in the horizon. Laurel also patched up the cut on her arm. The history book that Lumos had been reading was left with the innkeeper so that he could return it to the nearby library.