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The Tales of Arlis Wolfstar

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The Tales of Arlis Wolfstar

Postby Highwayman » Mon Jul 16, 2012 9:14 pm

I thought I would post this story thread because of the length of some of my LCC backstories. I will post links to my images but will not post the images directly in this thread as they will most likely be posted already in the Castle MOCs forum. If I have erred then a mod can move or modify this post however he/she sees fit.

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Written for GC2/Part One

"Seeking the Sword of Karlamac"

Arlis Wolfstar trudged through the swamp, boots squelching in and out of the choking mud, praying to whichever gods would listen to him to dry up the sopping misery that sucked at his boots with every step. There seemed scant chance of that happening. He was sore, bruised from head to toe from his previous headlong trip into Blackhand Bay. He had been double-crossed by the members of the Wild Claw Clan of the Wolfpack and he had leapt into the bay as a last resort, escaping certain death. After washing ashore from his dive into the bitter sea, he limped his way to the Summit Inn where the Wolfpack was thankfully not waiting to finish what they started, probably thinking him dead. He ended up parting with the invasion plans he had went to such pains to procure for much less than pleased him.

But Arlis sensed sunny days ahead.

The King of Roawia sought a sword – one with supposed supernatural powers – and was offering a veritable king’s ransom for it. “Given to the king by the gods themselves!” some declared. Arlis chuckled at the thought, even as he plucked a blood-sucking leech from his forearm.

If all the old codger seeks is a rusty blade, I can surely deliver, the smuggler thought as he continued his trek. Naturally, the mechanisms of avarice were already at work in his mind. He figured that if he could locate this dusty length of steel then he could pocket the reward and use it as a bargaining chip to gain a full pardon for his past indiscretions. Of course he did not pretend he could give up the adventure and danger his particular trade entailed, but he was not opposed to living in the lap of luxury for a few years in Loreos.

Finally, after a week of unbridled wretchedness, his eyes fell upon a sight that lifted his spirits. Jutting out of the swamp like a series of grey broken teeth stood what was left of Fort Quagmire, a bastion of times long forgotten and forever lost to the swamps. He never thought he’d be so relieved to see the ruins of an ancient fortification where gods-know-what lurked. Arlis had it on good authority (or as good an authority as one could expect out of a drunk mercenary in Dingewood) that the ruins were home to a trio of fell wizards. He had heard as much before. Three powerful, all-knowing wizards, masters of the dark arts, playing house in the swamp. He did not see the appeal personally. He wasn’t sure why they were there, but if these wizards were as powerful, ancient, and all-knowing as the rumors claimed then they would surely know the location of this sword. Now came the matter of kindly asking for said location.

Suddenly an orcish host appeared around him, seemingly from nowhere.

“Lovely weather out here,” he chirped as a red orc approached him from the front. He seemed to be the leader of this merry, snarling group.

“The Masters are interested in your presence here,” it hissed. The orcs quickly seized him and hauled him inside the fort. As they dragged him through the ruins, he breathed a sigh of relief. At least he was no longer having to slog through that forsaken swamp. The orcs dumped him unceremoniously in a room to the rear of the old fort. Time had reduced the stone floor to rubble. Shattered red tiles stuck up through the broken flags like a quills on a porcupine. However, the tiled walkway extending through the middle of the room was intact. At the end of walkway stood a dais where a trio of men sat upon thrones, two of black and one of red. Fallen arches rose from the rubble behind the wizards, looking like stone fingers reaching up to clutch at nothing. Arlis swallowed hard as he took in the sight of the ruins and those ominous men who lived in the middle of such a place. The smuggler figured he had little choice but to approach them.

Image 1

“Why have you entered our domain?” the middle one demanded. He was an orc of considerable age, perhaps centuries. He was seated higher than the other two men.

“I have come in search of a sword – the lost sword of King Karlamac,” Arlis said with as much confidence as he could muster. Standing before the trio proved far more intimidating than he ever imagined.

“Karlamac and his mythical sword,” the one on the left said harshly. He barked contemptuous laughter. “Even a blessed blade is worthless in the hands of an imbecile.”

“Still sore at Karlamac for crushing your army, Volken?” the one on the right retorted.

The breath caught in Arlis’s chest. Just how old are they? he wondered silently.

“Silence,” the orc commanded. “Karlamac's bones have long turned to dust so we will spare him no thoughts.” He gave a pointed look at the one called Volken. He turned his attention back to Arlis, though the smuggler did not wish it. “Why do you seek to wield the blade of Karlamac?”

“I don’t wish to wield it,” Arlis answered frankly. “I only wish to profit from it.”

The wizard on the right howled with laughter. “I like him,” he said, wiping a tear away. “I say we tell him where the sword is.”

“Silence, Rook.” The orc looked down from his throne, his thick black beard obscuring the lower half of his face. After a time he said, “I am inclined to agree with you though, Rook, if for nothing more than entertainment. I do not think that this mortal could ever hope to best the Guardian.”

“The who?” Arlis said, not bothering with the pretense of courage.

“A relic of the past old Duke Wirklich Nervig dug up to protect the sword,” Volken said with a predatory grin. “He went to great lengths to keep the sword forever hidden away.”

“However, nothing is hidden from us,” Rook added.

Image 2

“The sword awaits you on the mountain west of Fangwood Monastery. It lies at the peak of one of the lesser mountains in the range, reached by a forgotten path leading to its precipice. The sword will be waiting, as will the Guardian. It will be greatly entertaining for us whether you obtain the sword or perish.”

“So…are you all coming with me?” the smuggler asked.

“We have ways of watching from afar,” Rook said, steepling his fingers.

“Kneel before us and we will use our magic to transport you to the mountain,” the orc said, rising from his throne of blood.

Beats walking through the swamp again. Arlis knelt upon the tiles as instructed. The other two wizards rose and they began chanting together. A blue light surrounded the smuggler, increasing in intensity until it was near blinding. Suddenly he was weightless, hurtling through the blue light. His head spun unpleasantly and his stomach roiled. He tried screaming, but he could not hear anything. Then there was darkness. He blinked, blinked again, and then looked around. He lay on a broken stone path. He rose unsteadily to his feet and wobbled over to the edge of the path. He could see what was left of Fangwood Monastery and the swamps stretching out before him. The wizards had succeeded in teleporting him to the mountain.

“What have I gotten myself into?” he asked aloud as he began his lone walk to the top where he would find the sword…and the Guardian. He suddenly stopped and looked around as if searching for somebody.

He could have sworn he had heard Rook laughing.
Last edited by Highwayman on Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Tales of Arlis Wolfstar

Postby AK_Brickster » Mon Jul 16, 2012 10:43 pm

Excellent story! I couldn't help but grin while reading it. :sly:

Looking forward to stage 2!
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Re: The Tales of Arlis Wolfstar

Postby Formendacil » Mon Jul 16, 2012 11:24 pm

I not only wish to commend the story, but the excellent proper usage of the different CC forums. Linking here from the MOCs Forum where you have lots of story is precisely what we like to see.

You set an excellent example for the LCC community generally. Thank you, sir.

~Formendacil - Moderator

P.S. What has he got himself into!? :tasty:
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Re: The Tales of Arlis Wolfstar

Postby DarkTemplar » Wed Jul 18, 2012 3:27 pm

Great story, I really loved the imagery especially the steepling fingers :). I also like how you're always tying back to the specific motives of your character. Keep up the good work.
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Re: The Tales of Arlis Wolfstar

Postby Medieval Guy » Wed Jul 18, 2012 5:41 pm

That is an excellent story! It's very well-written, and the plot is intrigueing. Fantastic work.
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Re: The Tales of Arlis Wolfstar

Postby Highwayman » Sat Jul 21, 2012 3:08 pm

Thank you guys so much for your comments! I did not expect many people to read my story because of its length so I appreciate each of you taking the time to read it. C:
Formendacil wrote:I not only wish to commend the story, but the excellent proper usage of the different CC forums. Linking here from the MOCs Forum where you have lots of story is precisely what we like to see.

You set an excellent example for the LCC community generally. Thank you, sir.

~Formendacil - Moderator

P.S. What has he got himself into!? :tasty:

Thank you for the kind words. I'm just doing my best to be a good member here at CC.

Now I present to you all the rousing conclusion to my GC2 entry! And it has more linked images than before. ;) Both comments and criticism are always welcome!

---------------------------------
Written for GC2/Part Two

"The Guardian"

Arlis Wolfstar trudged up the mountainside, legs burning with the effort. He wiped his forearm across his sweaty brow and collapsed to a grassy patch to rest. He sat there and looked to the east where the forest rolled out before him like a carpet. Fangwood Monastery resided there within the forest, silent as a tomb. A man could not tell from this distance but the monastery had been abandoned for centuries. A statue of a god-hero long lost to time cast the whole of the place in shadow. The statue stood tall and proud, moss and lichen surprisingly absent from its surface. The smuggler could not remember when he had last laid eyes on such a scene.

Image 1
Image 2

Arlis rose from the ground. His knees clicked and popped upon his ascent, a reminder of his age. He mopped his brow once more and began climbing up the mountain again. Though the landscape to the east was nothing short of majestic, his mind dwelled elsewhere. He knew the Guardian awaited him.

After an hour of steadily ascending the mountain, it leveled out into a plateau. Grass became more abundant and the smuggler could see stony arches in the distance. He noticed his heart beating faster.

“Time to see what I’m made of,” he murmured. He was a fair swordsman, but a far better liar and thief. Before he had fled from Garheim he had been trained in the ways of war, but he preferred to forego the blade if possible. As he approached the first arch, he saw a shield emblazoned with the image of a roaring bear – the sigil of Duke Wirklich Nervig. He knew he was in the right place. He entered through the archway, looked ahead.

He saw it.

A shining sword of gold lay upon an ornate slab.

Image 3

“Karlamac’s sword,” Arlis whispered. He looked about nervously. The Guardian was nowhere in sight. Where could he be? he thought. He stepped carefully forward, unsure of what to expect. As he approached the largest and final arch the wind gusted violently. He grabbed one of the stones lining the path as a black storm came, whipping through the sword’s resting place. The blackness took shape, swirling around itself like a whirlpool. Slowly the distorted image took on a manlike form. The gale ripped at Arlis’s face, threatening to fling him from the mountain. The savage storm ceased. The smuggler lurched to his feet, wiped the dirt and grit from his eyes. When his eyes cleared, his heart dropped.

The Guardian stood before the sword of Karlamac, ready to protect it until the end. It wore armor of black, standing nearly as tall as two men. Beneath its obsidian helmet was but a skull. Red orbs gleamed in its deep eye sockets. It brandished a blade of utter darkness.

Image 4

“You seek the Eli’kar, the Holy Blade of Karlamac?” it rasped. Its voice sounded as though it came from a grave.

“I do,” Arlis said boldly, though terror coursed through his body. A strong eastern wind sent the smuggler’s cape billowing.

“Only he who defeats me can hope to wield the sword,” the Guardian said, each word cutting Arlis as sharply as the wind. “You must defeat me in single combat.” The towering beast made a horizontal motion with his sword and a number of weapons appeared in front of the smuggler. They floated before him. “Choose,” the Guardian hissed.

Arlis’s eyes darted over each of the weapons, his mind still racing to comprehend all that was happening. A long sword, rapier, battle axe, greatsword, war hammer. He grabbed the long sword, tested its weight, and nodded in satisfaction.

Image 5

Image 6

“Very well.” The remaining weapons disappeared. The Guardian hoisted up a great shield bearing a charging bore. Its eyes burned furiously inside the empty skull. “Let us begin,” it said. It lumbered forward and swung its blade of onyx through the air. It arced down, smashed into Arlis’s sword as the smuggler parried. Arlis reeled back, arm tingling from the impact. The Guardian swung once more, seeking to cleave the smuggler’s head from his body. Arlis ducked the attack and jabbed his sword forward. Its point dug into the unarmored joint in the Guardian’s knee.

“What?” Arlis asked, eyes wide. The Guardian did not flinch and it did not bleed. Arlis never saw the butt of the Guardian’s sword. It smashed into his head, knocking him aside as though he were a child. He rolled to a stop on his side, struggled to his feet just in time to dodge a killing blow. The Guardian’s black sword skittered down the stone wall, throwing dust and shattered rock in its wake. Arlis struck forward once more, sword grinding against the black armor. The two fought relentlessly, trading blow for blow. The Guardian drove shield’s rim into Arlis’s mouth, sending a gout of blood to splatter the ground. The smuggler regained his bearings quickly and lashed out, bashing his steel against the creature’s helmet. The Guardian answered the blow with another ragged overhead strike. The smuggler caught the blade’s edge on his cross-guard. The Guardian bore down with all of its hideous force.

Image 8

Image 9

“Give up and accept death,” it rasped. Its breath blasted forth, colder than Garheim’s most frigid wind.

“Sorry,” Arlis grated through clenched teeth. “You’ll find I am quite stubborn.” He spun from beneath the Guardian’s sword. The creature gouged at Arlis, missed, gouged again. His second fierce jab struck the arch, embedding the obsidian blade deep into a crack. The smuggler saw his chance. He jumped forward, allowing his body to spin in the air to build momentum, and slashed with all of his strength. He came to a crouch behind the Guardian, sword still outstretched.

Image 10

Image 11

There was a great clatter as the Guardian fell to the broken path. His head rolled to Arlis’s side. The red orbs inside the skull gleamed briefly and then faded. And with that the Guardian disappeared as though he had never been there at all.

“I guess my swordsmanship wasn’t as bad as I thought,” he gasped, rising from his crouched position. He grimaced as he stood erect. The Guardian had left his mark. Blood ran from Arlis’s mouth, and the side of his head pulsed with shooting agony. But looking ahead at the sword upon the slab, he could scarcely feel the pain.

He limped to the slab. The sword glimmered in the fading light of day. Arlis stood, mouth slightly agape. This was truly a sword of kings. Eli’kar, the Guardian had called it. The smuggler reached out slowly, as though the mystical blade might take on a life of its own. Then he grabbed the hilt.

Image 12

He smiled, hoisted the blade high above his head. The prize was won, the Guardian defeated. Before he could celebrate, a familiar voice boomed out over the mountain, reverberating all around him.

“We never thought you would actually succeed in defeating the Guardian,” the ancient orc wizard said, his voice everywhere and nowhere.

“Well played!” Rook added. “I wagered on you mortal. Thanks for not disappointing.”

“It proved an entertaining bout,” a glum Volken stated. It sounded as though he had gambled on the Guardian reigning victorious.

“I’m so glad that you all were able to take such pleasure in my near-death experience,” Arlis said, still admiring Eli’kar. “But thanks to you fine fellows I’ll be able to pocket a tidy sum for this sword. I do have to say I hate to give it up though. The sword that crushed Volken has to be at least marginally blessed.”

“You push your luck with pithy comments,” Volken said. His voice was full of menace, but Arlis knew by now that the orc would bring him to heel.

“Enough, Volken,” the orc said. “Arlis Wolfstar, our meeting was not one of coincidence. Our paths shall cross again…and sooner than you think.”

And with that there was silence, save for a light wind rustling through the grass. Arlis looked at the sword and then out to the monastery and forest. The towering statue still stood its grim vigil over everything it surveyed, indifferent to the struggle for the sword. He began his slow, arduous journey down the mountain and did his best to not let the wizard’s ominous prediction disturb him. He felt a draft around his foot and noticed a hole in his boot. He frowned.

It would be a long trip north.
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Re: The Tales of Arlis Wolfstar

Postby Mark of Falworth » Sat Jul 21, 2012 6:18 pm

Very neat story! Great GC2 Entry! :D
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Re: The Tales of Arlis Wolfstar

Postby AK_Brickster » Mon Jul 23, 2012 3:34 pm

Fantastic story! I thoroughly enjoyed both stages. The forced perspective in your early links was really nice and you did a good job of conveying action with your posing, cape billowing out behind, and the transparent pieces holding up the dismembered head of the guardian. Great job overall. :)
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Re: The Tales of Arlis Wolfstar

Postby krzyzak » Sat Aug 11, 2012 12:34 am

You have a talent for writing! the word all came together nicely to make a wonderful story.Those pictures were a nice touch as well. Hmm, maybe I should start writing. :sly:
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