Wednesday, 24 October 2012

The Red Rooster At Dawn

I Sing to You Now Chapter One:
The Lord of the Land of the Burning Sun

Jak-Nagiur! City of Hate!
There I was born - such was my fate.
A jester I was, to the lord Alhacrast,
Whose empire was evil, mighty and vast.

Great was the power he held in his hands,
And ever his evil did spread to new lands,
His dominion was wide over the deserts south-east,
Where his rule governed over every race and beast.

But he was never happy with his mighty reign,
Always he sought for some greater gain.
Secrets he searched for, of new powers to wield,
And finally one day his fate was sealed.

Deep in the heart of the northern wood
Once a magical city stood,
Now it was a dungeon ruined by war
And "Fox Nawagu" was no more.

But a scroll was discovered, ancient and creased,
Scribed by the old race now deceased.
A weapon it showed that surpassed all else,
That might even threaten the Gods themselves.

The power it held could attain the supreme,
It could finally achieve man's greatest dream.
"Omnipotence," the lord spake, "Eternal life;
This will I get, though great be the strife."

He planned therefore this secret to gain
By travelling west to the Drakalor Chain,
And a secret he kept it to all but me,
His only companion on the long journey.

He chose me because I was clever and loyal,
And my fear of him would never spoil.
I was to entertain and serve to my best,
And fight lesser monsters whilst master did rest.

I Sing to You Now Chapter Two:
The Light of the Northern Kingdom of Ru

A great sage there was, The Sorcerer of Light,
Renowned through Ancardia for his power and might,
As a wielder of magicks great and raw,
And as an avatar mighty for the forces of Law.

Lubaf Yggaz was the man's name,
Though few now remember his greatness and fame.
A young man did follow him, who named him "master",
And you may well have met him - his name's Khelavaster...

Now Lubaf did know of the City of Hate,
And its existence was ever a scourge very great,
So oft did he spy on the daily running
Of the evil city with magic and cunning.

Thus did he learn of Alhacrast's quest,
And after he never again could rest,
For evil immortal was a sore thought,
And he was determined to stop it from being sought.

Then in his mind he made a terrible vow:
That with all of his strength he would not allow
The plans of Alhacrast to flower,
He swore to stop it with all of his power.

That promise he did in the end achieve,
And at the memory of it I do greatly grieve,
So come close now and listen up well,
As with sorrow this tale I shall only once tell...

I Sing to You Now Chapter Three:
The Hidden Secret of Divinity

Lubaf and Khelavaster set off in haste
Through forests deep and deserts of waste,
Relentlessly tracking Alhacrast's trail
Through the day and night without fail.

But my master tarried along the road;
On the ancient scroll his mind did bode,
Always researching with some hope of gleaning
The secret of the trident and its meaning.

There was a tome found alongside the scroll
With guidance on how to attain and control
The power that the old scroll could set free,
Imprisoned by Chaos for eternity.

But the text was very old and battered,
With many pages torn and tattered
Beyond reading. Thus much was lost,
And could not be recovered at any cost.

A weapon it spoke of, some great artifact,
But it was hard to divine its nature exact.
A gate it did mention to the Chaos plane,
And within was some terrible power or bane.

Three items were needed to pass through the gate,
But the trident was needed to seal divine fate.
A Red Rooster was mentioned, but the meaning was hidden,
And throughout the text was uncertainty ridden.

Ever we neared the Drakalor Chain
Which the book did hint at again and again
As the source of great power and secrets old,
Where the gate could be found in depths untold.

I Sing to You Now Chapter Four:
The Battle on the Edge of Drakalor

On the last night of Tree we scaled a mountain high,
And from its top we could there descry
A village nestled in the hills to the south,
And we knew we were close now to the Chain's mouth.

But then suddenly my lord stood up erect,
"Some power nearby I do detect."
But too late he was to see Lubaf's aim,
As on a sudden we were hit by a great ball of flame.

When the smoke cleared I gasped in fright,
As before us stood the Sorcerer of Light.
In his hands was raised a staff of power,
And upon his face was a fiercesome glower.

"Khelavaster" he said, "Search the bard.
If he dares resist then hit him hard.
We need the ancient tome and the scroll,
They must not be held by such a chaotic soul..."

But though my fear of the Sorcerer was very high,
It was not as great as of my lord nearby,
So when the young man came I tried to flee,
But he caught me and struck me down quickly.

He grabbed my pack as I lay on the ground,
And the old book therein he quickly found.
But his eyes met mine as my bag he sacked,
And I could see that with guilt his mind was wracked.

For with the followers of Law such is the way:
Don't question orders and always obey.
Foolish are those who follow such teaching,
And I could see Khelavaster fell foul of such preaching.

But the old scroll was never entrusted to me,
My lord always kept it personally.
So when my pack had been searched and thrown away
Lubaf turned on my lord who stood at bay.

"Alhacrast!" he said, "This is the end!
Against my power you cannot contend.
Hand over the scroll and your death will be faster.
Refuse and your soul will be faced with disaster."

"Never!" was the answer, "The scroll is mine!
Only I shall have the power divine!
I would sooner be tortured, maimed or dead
Than give up the secret of the Rooster Red!"

"Rooster Red? Of what do you speak?!
Tell me the meaning, you vile dirty sneak!
Tell me!!" he screamed, "I have to know!"
And his bright fierce eyes with wrath did glow.

In anger Alhacrast's head he smote,
And he grabbed my lord tight by the throat.
Alhacrast dropped to his knees with a yell,
But I saw then the look in his eyes was fell.

"So, Yggaz, I see what you're after.
You can't hide that from me," he said with grim laughter.
"You yourself want the secret of the scroll!
Your old age, I guess, is taking its toll..."

With sudden rage Lubaf raised his staff high,
And I thought that my master would surely die,
But then came a wind from the west, low and faint,
And on that wind was the scent of taint...

Lubaf's power did suddenly wane,
And Alhacrast found his energies gain.
Rising he raised his hands high and prayed
On the forces of Chaos to bring him aid.

The clouds turned black, the west wind did howl,
And the smell of taint turned hideously foul.
Eight chaos fiends appeared in sight
And leapt on Lubaf with all their might.

That dreadful battle I did not get to see,
As seizing our chance we fled then quickly.
To the High Mountain Village we made our way,
Whilst the sun sank low at the end of the day...

I Sing to You Now Chapter Five:
The Forging of the Deadly Silver Scythe

'Twas late in the eve when we reached the town,
And we found there a passage leading down
Into the heart of the mountains and out to the west,
And we thought to traverse it without any rest.

But since our encounter my lord had schemed,
We should leave a taunt for Lubaf he deemed,
To lure him with the Red Rooster as bait
And to set him an evil trap and wait.

"Light Everlasting" was the message addressed to,
But in the ancient tongue it said "Fox Nawagu",
In memory of the city whence the scroll came,
And as a mock to Lubaf's much-renowned name.

Then we fled the city and hid our escape,
And my master's plans we began to shape,
For with the right preparation he could outfight
Anyone, even the Sorcerer of Light.

The next day was the first of the month, with no moon,
When good forces waned whilst Chaos did boon,
But further to that was the Drakalor Chain,
Where the powers of evil did seem to gain.

Alhacrast sensed the taint in the air,
At which all powers of Law must despair,
There was something special about this land,
And he sought to use it to gain the upper hand.

I was bade to make a banner high,
With a rooster emblazoned in silver dye,
All through the night I worked and I strove,
And by morning a standard of brilliance I wove.

But my lord's task was far more great,
To make a weapon that could violate
The defences of even the Sorcerer of Light,
A weapon that could surely win the fight.

Some items he bought from the mountain village,
For others he needed we did kill and pillage.
At midnight he began with struggle to make
The weapon mighty, for much was at stake.

With magical fires of heat high and vast
He began to smith, forge and cast
A weapon in the form of a mighty scythe
Through which chaotic energies would twist and writhe.

The shaft was smithed of solid metal,
Eternium, twisted and thorned like nettle,
Dark magics ran along its length,
Filling it with an evil strength.

The blade was exceptionally long yet lean,
With force and sharpness exceedingly keen,
In the forging was a potion of chaos raw
To fill lawful forces with fear and awe.

It developed a pale white luminous glow
That changed and corrupted both wielder and foe,
And when held by my lord, tall and slim,
He looked like Death incarnate, dark and grim.

It was named the Moon Sickle for its deathly chill,
And I know that the weapon does exist still,
But it's power and strength has now decreased,
Since its maker and master is now deceased.

I Sing to You Now Chapter Six:
The Red Rooster Rises with Bright Magicks

When dawn was approaching our work was complete;
Astounding had been Alhacrast's feat,
And though weary he did not cease to prepare
Ere the sun arose in the eastern air.

Monsters he summoned of all shape and height,
Troll and ogre, ghul and wight,
Chaotic creatures corrupt and dement,
He summoned all till his power was spent.

We made our camp on a low clear hill,
And our view was wide over the forest still.
When the sky in the east began to glow red
I raised my standard high above my head.

Over the image of the rooster I did pour
A potion of mana to increase its splendour,
It shone and sparkled as I held it high,
And the blood-red sun struck the dye.

Across the woods the red rooster did glow,
A brilliant lure for our deadly foe,
But the forest was utterly silent and still,
And the morning air was deathly chill.

From the east we heard a sound like a drum,
A distant long and deep *THUMB*.
We saw a shadow far off in the wood,
Moving slowly closer to where we stood.

As the sun rose further the shape became clear,
A hulking giant without peer,
With fearsome power and enormous height,
It was the emperor moloch in all its might.

Never again have I been so scared
As when I realised Lubaf had also prepared,
In darkness and treachery and sheer desperation,
He had summoned the ultimate abomination.

I Sing to You Now Chapter Seven:
Lubaf's Vow and the Wrath of Heaven

In blindness and folly a vow he had made,
That could not now be forgotten or stayed,
All of his power he had sworn to use
To ensure that Alhacrast would lose.

But now he found his powers were weak
Whilst those of chaos did greatly peak,
And he saw now the only way to win
Was to commit a terrible and grievous sin...

Long had he studied the forces of evil
In his many battles against powers primeval,
Much he knew of secrets terrible and dark,
Unspeakable demons and horrors stark.

He could sense the power in the Drakalor Chain
That helped boost those forces corrupt and profane.
His mind now turned to such thoughts in despair,
And so for this evil he began to prepare.

He told Khelavaster that alone he would fight,
And bade him stay in the village that night,
To study deeply the book they'd acquired
In the hope of finding the knowledge desired.

Deep he travelled into the forest dark,
And there at midnight he began to embark
On an ancient and terrible cursed rite
To summon a monster of unequalled might.

From the dark clouds above a light rain sputtered.
As black sigils he scribed and fell words he uttered,
It was then he committed his most despicable act,
As he readied the sacrifices for his terrible pact.

Two children he had kidnapped from a nearby abode,
And to this place they'd been unconsciously towed.
Now their bodies were covered with symbols of hate
As they lay on the ground, bound and prostrate.

Lubaf raised his hands and began the incantation,
His heart now hardened in determination,
He bathed the children in scorching flame
And in an ancient tongue he began to proclaim:

"I call on thee, power of chaos supreme,
Hear my sacrifices cry and scream,
Their souls I offer for thou to devour!
I summon thee with all my power!"

But as the children died there was a sudden crack of thunder
And the night sky above was torn asunder

A bolt of energy came searing through the air
And struck Yggaz in a roaring flare,
His robes were torn, his body battered,
His staff was broken and his mind was shattered.

But his true suffering was just about to begin
As he looked up upon a giant demonic grin,
That hulking figure of towering might
Stood before him with an aura of terror and fright.

"Master," came its voice, mocking and chill,
"You have summoned me, what is your will?"
With trembling fear the old man did speak,
"S-Stop Alhacrast, give me what I seek!"

From the emperor moloch a deep laugh erupted,
And it spoke in its voice vile and corrupted,
"The ancient scroll I will most certainly collect,
And at the Elder God's wishes I have sworn to protect."

"But you, I know what you wish to acquire,
My eyes can see clearly your desire,
Old age and death gnaw at your mind,
It is eternal youth you wish to find."

"Miserable mortal, that I can bestow,
But its terrible cost you shall shortly know"
Demonic claws wrapped round Lubaf's head,
And he screamed as the moloch's hand glowed red.

The hair turned black on his head and his beard,
His skin was smoothed, his wrinkles disappeared,
But at the same time as he lost his physical age
All knowledge and memory was stripped from the sage.

He was reduced to a gibbering and frothing mess,
And the moloch laughed to see his distress.
The demon turned and strode slowly away,
Leaving Lubaf babbling in eternal dismay.

I Sing to You Now Chapter Eight:
The Final Song in these Miseries of Fate

The emperor moloch tore through our troops with ease,
Bashing them away like they were fleas,
Most quickly gave up and fled,
The others were very soon all dead.

But my master stood firm, ready to fight.
When the demon approached he gripped his scythe tight,
With sudden speed he rushed forward and struck,
And the moloch's fist he avoided with a duck.

Three times more he smote hard with his blade,
And the demon's attacks he did narrowly evade,
But his strikes were not enough to pierce
The armour of that monster fierce.

Then the moloch struck with strength profound,
And my master's blood spilled over the ground,
The Moon Sickle was knocked clear away,
And the monster's shadow fell over his prey.

My master quickly twisted up casting a spell,
And around him a thick rain of acid fell.
The emperor moloch did smoke and sizzle
As the rain reduced down to a drizzle.

But it merely grunted before raising a foot high
And brought it down hard where my master did lie,
Alhacrast struggled with magical power
To hold back the force of that monstrous tower.

"Mortal," spake the demon, "You are too weak,
You are not worthy of the power you seek."
But no matter my lord's terrible plight
Alhacrast refused to concede the fight.

"I... will not... give up!" my master did yell,
"Accursed fiend, get ye back to hell!
I will die before I abandon my quest!"
"Then die," said the emperor moloch in detest.

And so the demon rained down an unstoppable punch
That smashed into my master with a terrible crunch,
Sadness overwhelmed me as the earth was stained red
And I knew that my master was surely dead.

From Alhacrast's corpse the monster then stole
The ancient and now crumpled scroll,
"Lord" spake the demon, "I shall do now as bidden,
And ensure that this item is forever hidden."

He then set off south-east at a slow pace,
And though I sorely wanted to give chase
I was weak, and grieved for my master still,
So I lay there crying in the morning chill.

I buried my lord, and made a small mound
Of stones, upon which was crowned
The banner of the Red Rooster bright,
In memory of my master's might.

By midday my mourning was finished,
And I set off before the tracks were diminished,
To follow the emperor moloch's trail
Without fear of what this would entail.

East and south I travelled swift,
And then the trail did westwards shift,
I followed it further until dusk was nigh,
And then the monster I did descry.

A great burning tower lit up the eve,
The shadow of his great form I could perceive
In the distance, and so I followed with care
To see where the demon would take its lair.

Two days and nights I followed without rest
Keeping my distance as it travelled west,
Over mountains into a valley by night,
Then west and south by dawn's early light.

It came to the foot of a mountain high,
But the sheer walls the monster did defy,
With its bare hands it crushed through the rock,
Crumpling it as if it were chalk.

He burrowed a tunnel deep below
And with a corruptive aura it began to glow
And glitter, with scintillating light,
But I did not enter as I was frozen with fright.

I fled the cave, though I remember it still,
Amongst many memories dread and chill,
Even after many years I cannot forget
Such a terrible and abominable threat.

Aye, I have travelled far and wide since then,
And seen the passing of countless lives of men
In battles and wars and places of dread,
In hells of madness where dark paths led...

But now I have returned to the resting place
Of my master, who none could ever replace,
And though for vengeance I have not the power,
Perhaps, adventurer, it is time for your hour.

I shall tell you the place of the scintillating cave,
But a warning I must give as I send you to your grave,
No matter your bravery or your audacity,
There are powers out there beyond mortal capacity.

From the powers of Chaos our doom is at hand,
So go back to your home, leave this land,
Return to your loved ones, family and friends,
Enjoy your last days before it all surely ends...

* The Mad Minstrel reluctantly tells you the location of the
scintillating cave. He then sighs and takes out a dagger, and stabs
himself through the heart with it. "And so... the music dies..."

[Inspired by Ancient Domains of Mystery]

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