The Awakening

Something wakens in Castle Forsaken

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Taal Zodo
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The Awakening

#1

Post by Taal Zodo »

'It is in remarkably good shape', the tall, slender man thought as he weekly walked through the corridors of his old home, taking pauses to catch his breath and brace against the wall to fight waves of vertigo. 'Though I suppose that's thanks to magic... perhaps I am over doing it trying to walk so quickly after my slumber...' He pauses for a moment, hearing voices around the corner, 'oh great....' he sighs.



Just around the corner were two explorers, thieves more accurately, gawking over a large painting in a frame of gold. " I bet this one here is worth millions! " one of them exclaimed, " Told you if we could get in here, it'd be worth it! " The other one nods, practically drooling at the thought of all the shillings he could get, and all the women he could buy, with just one painting. " Yeah  Ned, you are brilliant! Hurry up and get that thing down will ya'? Maybe we can find a few more to sell before it gets dark. "



" I'll ask you kindly to take your hands off of my painting, and leave. " The man said as he glared at them, attempting to appear menacing but failing to do so.



" Wut? " One of them exclaims as they turn to see the six foot tall blonde, pale, gaunt figure before them. " You some kind o' vampire or somethin' mister? " " He ain't no vamp, " the other one snarls, " I hear his heart. He's just some crazy, talkin' like he owns this place. " The first one laughs, " Oh, yeah, like he could take the both o' us. We took on pleny things tougher lookin than him to get in here. What's yer name mister, so we know what to put on yer tombstone. " 



The man sighs, " My name is Taal and this is my castle. " A wave of vertigo hits him and he has no choice but to hold himself up against the wall. " Please, just leave. I wish no harm to you. "



They both kneel over laughing, " You wish us no harm? Look at you, you can't even stand right. " The other pulls out his daggers, " We waistin' time wit' 'im. Let's just off 'im and be done wit' it." They both ready their weapons and carefully make their way to attack him. One swings his sword at Taal, a moment of horror when Taal catches his blade with his bare hand, not a drop of blood falling from doing so. 



Taal looks back up at the two, his eyes dancing with fire and his voice changed to a voice of power and anger, " You should have listened. Time's up." With a snap of his fingers the skin on the two flays open as if unzipped and falls off of them to their agony filled screams, their insides catching fire once exposed to the air. Their lifeless corpse hit the floor, burned out from the inside. 



The fire fades from Taal's eyes and he falls to his knees, trembling. " Oh.... oh my god.... " Retching, he expels an food from within at the sight before him. Slowly, he pulls himself up and braces against the wall, tears streaming from his ice-blue eyes as he gazes upon the picture they wished to take, of a black winged angel. " I.... I am so sorry....... I am only glad you weren't here..... nor my wife or daughter to see this. " 



Thinking of his daughter, Taal pushes himself away from the wall and to another painting further down, of Tiana and Tala. He reaches forward, as if to touch them, " They can never see me like this.... But.... she is in danger.... "
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Mara
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Re: The Awakening

#2

Post by Mara »

Mara stood upon the cliff-side looking towards the west. Her home was high atop Angel's Rest in the Crystal Mountains, just within the borders of the Holy Kingdom of Angeria. To the west was the Empire of Chaladonia, though she could not see much of it, just the tall peaks of the ridge that separated the two nations and split the continent in half. No, what drew her gaze westwards was what always did at this time of day, sunset. How greatly did she admire the deep purples and soft pinks of the fading sun. To her back was Angeria, and nearer still Castle Forsaken, the reason why she chose the aptly named mountain peak as her home. To her luck it had ruins, a temple perhaps of a begotten age, that she was able to easily enough make a home out of. A stream spawned from the springs near the peak, providing her with fresh water and ample fish. Though in reality, eating and drinking were custom and not necessity for her. 



As the sun was now beyond sight, Mara turned towards Angeria, her heart heavy for the people there. Still called the Holy Kingdom on all the maps, it was a land in shambles and ruin. 'This stone will make right the broken promises,' she remembered with sadness, 'it is the chaos stone of disorder though, While I know that it will work, that it will give everyone a chance where the gods have denied him, I cannot know what the cost will be, nor deny that a cost there will be.' And what a cost it was. The world was still recovering from its use twelve years ago. Angeria, perhaps being nearest to where it was used within Castle Forsaken, was the hardest hit, with the floating, majestic Auster Lands stripped of life and its royal family seeking shelter on the ground below, its people still fleeing raging magic storms. She could not deny that the cost to her was worst yet, playing with her wedding ring remembering her dear husband, tears streaming from her pure white eyes. 



It was then that something brought her out of her memory. Something, a surge of power from Castle Forsaken, of the likes from a distant memory. " Could it be? " she whispered to herself, before leaping into the air and flying straight to the castle below.



Castle Forsaken, an ancient first era castle that had become the home of Taal Mercleis before, and during the Great Magic War. It was here that her and her husband found the paintings and she found, or more appropriately, rediscovered and accepted her true self. It was also here that they met the xodian and used the Chaos Stone, an act that she wonders if it was the right thing to do. But, she reassured herself, it did set things right. It gave those who were sent to Xodod without ever a chance at life here, to have that chance. 



Mara followed the source of power and teleported within the ancient castle, just within the shadows so that she could get a better look before revealing herself. Her heart stopped at the scene before her, a couple of charred bodies and a man reaching longingly towards a painting... but this was not just any man, it was her god, Taal. Sighing, she makes use of her power to get rid of the bodies and then kneels, " My Lord, you are awake? "
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Taal Zodo
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Re: The Awakening

#3

Post by Taal Zodo »

Taal froze. He recognized that voice. " Mara, you've come, " his voice quivered. " I had hoped you'd never see me like this, again. " Slowly, he turned towards her, bracing still against the wall, and noticed that the bodies were gone. " ..... Thank you, Mara. But truly, I wished that didn't happen. I wish... that I had better control... or better yet, that I would be free of him. "



Taal sighs, " Yes, I am awake. Or should I say, waking up. I'm more awake that the darkness within me, but it would seem that threats to me bring him to the surface. That, and my grief as well as the grief and suffering of others helps him to recover. It shan't be long before he's strong enough to take control longer, as he did within the dream. Only this time, he can grow even stronger. "



Taal looks down at the floor, " I wish you weren't here Mara, but I am glad to see you. Still, I'm saddened that you find yourself still in the presence of a monster. "
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Mara
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Re: The Awakening

#4

Post by Mara »

After being acknowledged, Mara stands and looks sadly upon her lord, " Please, m'lord, you've nothing to feel guilt over. The fact that you still can feel guilt shows that he has yet to win, that a chance still exists for you. " She smiles sheepishly, " Besides m'lord, I'm sworn to follow you whenever it is you and not him. " 



She shakes her head, " You and I both know that I've seen far worse from him, but I've also witnessed your goodness more times than can be counted. You are no monster. It is he who is the beast, you are guiltless. Better yet, you are the dam that keeps back his wickedness. " She sighs, " In truth, if I had kept better watch, those two would have never met with him."



Mara approaches Taal, and gently wipes the tears from his eyes, " M'lord, if it is grief and suffering that he desires, than let us deny that for him. Let me serve you, as I have always done, in stopping that monster from getting his fill. With you behind me, there isn't a darkness, a sorrow, or a terror that can't be defeated ."
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Taal Zodo
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Re: The Awakening

#5

Post by Taal Zodo »

Taal smiles, a light chuckle even escaping him. " Your light and hope could slay the darkest demon of Xodod, Mara, truly. " He nods, " But I am ever grateful to have you as my friend, and ally. " He smiles, " I know you'd wish to correct me, but you are no more my servant. I do not wish that from you. I wish instead for you to aide me as a friend who desires to, instead of as a servant who has no choice. Should you for whatever reason wish to not aide me, then I wish for you to have the freedom to do just that. "



Taal sighs, " Your idea of fighting the darkness of the world to starve him is an interesting one. " He didn't want to voice out loud that it would ultimately fail, this world was too large and too full of suffering to be feasible. Still, perhaps....



Taal turns back to the painting of his wife and daughter, though  when he painted this painting he didn't know them. They didn't exist yet and he was only fourteen. Still, somehow in his soul he knew them even then, just as he remembers them now. " That being said, " Taal says, a bit of hesitation " He will stop at nothing to regain himself here, in this world. Already, he has made the plan and his fallen lords come for this world to aide him. " He sighs, " Will you help me? "



He turns back to Mara, " It... it is my daughter, Tala. She and an elf she is with, who was a friend of mine in the dream and rightful ruler of elven kind here in this world, are in grave danger. The demon lord Bealias, he waits to ambush them, using something that could help this world and them both as bait. " He sighs, " Please, will you help them? "
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Mara
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Re: The Awakening

#6

Post by Mara »

Mara smiles, " M'lord, I swear that my servitude comes from desire and not order. I wish to serve you for you are the perfect symbol of mankind, both good and true with faults that you don't deny. Who else among the gods could ever truly understand the condition and suffering of mortals? You suffer with them. You go further than any other to help them. You are a true and noble spirit who just so happens to be fighting off the greatest of all evils. " She continues to smile, " I promise that should I ever find fault with you, I'd stop following you and being your friend, and would actively seek to protect others from you, though it will pain me to do so. "



Mara glances over at the painting, " Your daughter, she is so pretty. " She turns to him and gently, reassuring places her hand on his shoulder. She knew why he wouldn't go himself. He didn't want to expose Zodo to her, and to have her accidentally harmed or worse by him. Mara was sad for him, and secretly vowed that she would seek a way to free her lord.



" My dear friend, please rest assured. No harm shall come to your daughter nor her friend. I shall be the angel at their back, delivering them from the demon's game. " She withdraws her hand, " But, to where should I go? If you can fill my head with the knowledge of the place, I shall be there as quick as light. " She sighs, fearing she already knew the answer, " But then what should I do? Should I follow your daughter? Should I follow the elf should they split ways? Should I bring her to you? Should I even tell her of you? " Her eyes pleaded with him, not to ask her to do something she couldn't, to lie.
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Taal Zodo
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Re: The Awakening

#7

Post by Taal Zodo »

Taal smiled, feeling a slight sense of peace knowing that Mara would protect Tala. Mara would be able to fend off any demon and break any spell they could have over someone. She might not do so well against a demon prince, or Zodo himself, but a demon lord such as Belias would be easy for Mara. 



" The Ruined Castle of Dasek Moor ", Taal responds, " within the Chalcedonian Jungle. " He places his hand upon her forehead, " Here is an image of it, it should suffice. " He removes his hand. " They aren't there just yet, but it is to there that they will go. Please ask not why I know this, you probably already know why, and how. "



Taal smiles, " Thank you for this Mara, it does help me to know that my most trusted friend is on the case. However for now I only ask that you save her from the demon. The rest of what you do following that is up to you. You must decide upon the best way to help from that point on, I cannot risk ... him... knowing of it for I know that he will seek to stop you, and to ruin your efforts. "



Taal sighs, " I also will not ask you to lie for me. You can tell her what you think she needs to know, even if it is things I'd rather spare her of. She may need to know, and understand, before too long anyways. I also will not forbid you for bringing her here.... but I will ask that you do not. " He sighs, " I love and miss my daughter dearly, as I love and miss my wife. Until now both were shielded from me, until the demon knew of Tala. It is better that way. I would never forgive myself should she die to my hands.... "



He smiles faintly, " At least until your mission to save me succeeds. " 
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Mara
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Re: The Awakening

#8

Post by Mara »

Mara smiled as the image formed within her mind. It was almost as if she had been there before. It would work. "Y es, with this I can teleport straight there. " 



She frowned a bit as he talked about how he knew all of this, or didn't talk about it but somehow alluded to it. It all made sense though. Demons of Xodod are connected to Zodo, just as bees are to their queen. Taal would know all that Zodo knows, and right know Zodo is too weak to keep any of that from Taal. So the demon has already seen the two and knows that they will be coming back. This is never good. This means that the demon will be waiting with whatever trap it has set, and with Belias, that would be a trap of the mind. Belias is the demon lord of lies, though she also knew that despite that, he himself is unable to lie. Instead, he causes doubts. He's used it to turn brother against brother and people against themselves before.



Mara kneels, " Understood, m'lord. I shall take the path that I sense is best, once I have delivered your daughter and her friend from danger. I shall also try to keep her from here, but please understand that I cannot lie to her. If she seeks you out, I shan't be able to stop her, though I will insist upon her that she should wait. "



She rises, " I shall cast upon the doors and windows a shield of light. It won't stop everyone, but it should repel the common thief, and you should have a chance to rest in peace. " She winks, " Though the spirits of the castle town might be delighted to see their lord again, and the garden is as beautiful and unique as ever. "



She bows and disappears, teleporting to Dasek Moor. She finds herself an alcove where she can watch while remaining hidden, and waits. 
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Taal Zodo
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Re: The Awakening

#9

Post by Taal Zodo »

Taal stood watching from a window in a high tower of Forsaken. The window faced out past the mountain entrance, where yet another cross with yet another angerian woman was going up. He gripped the window frame tightly, a bit drained after having sent his wraith to save Tiana. Still, he'd do as he has done the past several weeks...

"Welcome Tiana," Taal said, not looking back to see his wife. He knew she was here. He brought her here. "That fool will spare at nothing to awaken the darkness within me. Why does he crave destruction so?" He shakes his head as he watches the red robed priests leave, then tugs at the magic to cause the nails bonding the woman to come free and the woman to fall from the cross. Taal whispers, "the rest is up to you woman. Do you have the will to live? Or will you succumb to your grief?"
Tiana
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Re: The Awakening

#10

Post by Tiana »

Tiana held her head high, glancing at the head as it rolled to a stop at her feet, he had warned he as he left that he was going to his death, she felt none of the energy she had given him, and she felt hope, he may now be free, and able to come back as he wants, the choice would be his and he would know.

She arched an eyebrow at him, "full of pomp and pride, aren't you?"  she commented, and her free hand flew to one of the hilts of her swords as the sky opened up and she froze, not from fear, but shock, she knew the voice that boomed out.  In a few seconds things went black though she saw the demons being destroyed and she knew her uncle and Tann would take care of the people.

When things cleared again she stood in a plain room, facing a man who was looking out the window at something that held his attention.  "Welcome Tiana," he said, though he didn't have to speak for her to know who she was facing.  She hadn't seen his face except in her mind since they woke and she had missed him dearly.  She stared at him, not moving for a few seconds memorizing every detail she could see.

She stepped forward as he sighed stating "that fook will spare nothing to awaken the darkness within me, Why does he crave destruction so?"

Tiana soon stood at his side and looked out the window and saw the women fall off the cross and heard Taal's whisper, "the rest is up to you woman, do you have the will to live?  Or will you succumb to your grief?"

She looked at the woman, "she will rise, her grief will turn to anger, and in turn, determination to see justice." She sighed,  "he is full of pride, determined to prove he is the best, and that HE can free the world from evil." She chuckled softly, "sounds familiar."

She faced him and slipped in front of him so she was between him and the window and she looked into his eyes, "I dont know how much time we will have, but you haven't changed.  Still the contradictions cased into one being, still the man I love." With that she kissed him, all her emotion in that kiss, the fear she would never see him, the worry he was harmed, and most of all, the true love she felt for him, regardless of what rested inside him and she always would.
 
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