Apocalypse II: Chapters 3 & 4

Apocalypse I: Chapters 1 & 2

For twenty years Lynn has sensed a dark cloud enveloping the North Forest that prevented his Acora sight from penetrating its depths. It has always felt suspicious, but was no cause for alarm. No cause for alarm, that is, until this ominous Nothing spread into the East Forest , snatched up Lakai, and withdrew back to where it came from. Immediately Lynn and his faery friend Elvina set out for the Crystal Castle to discuss this new development with Queen Dinictis and King Jason.

He explained the situation, and they decided to observe the behavior of the North Foresters more closely in the upcoming Yi Faiye Balam. The Yi Faiye Balam was the central holiday for all of Caldora. It was a celebration honoring the Earth Dragon and people from each of the Four Forests made annual pilgrimages to the Mouth Cave for this event. After the ceremonial sacrifice of food and flowers, and the ceremonial formalities were over, the Caldorians resigned to feast, drink, and dance all through the night.

Jason left the merriment of the crowds to spend some time alone in the Mouth Cave . There he was confronted by the vengeful Aloquin, who caught him in a jolting stream of lightning that rocked the King to his very soul. Aloquin revealed him that he was his father, and ripped from him the gift of immortality bestowed upon him by Dinictis. He would have proceeded to kill his son had Lynn not stepped in and knock him down. At this Aloquin disappeared, but not before promising the dark elf a world of pain when the time came.

The force behind the psychic veil was revealed, and Dinictis, Jason, and Lynn returned to the Crystal Castle with a lot more questions than answers. The only practical solution was to send an inconspicuous spy into the North Forest to investigate the issue firsthand, and the only one qualified for this task was the absentee First Rank, Raven. A royal emissary was sent to Nastra in the West Forest to bring him back for an audience with the Queen. Raven listened to Dinictisí proposal, and agreed to it without a second thought. But just as he was about to leave, Jason declared that since Aloquin is his father, he should go as well. Nobody questioned the King.

Raven and Jason set out on their journey to the North Forest across the Open Field, and while the King tried to be friendly, his companion made it clear he was not wanted. Upon arriving in the North Forest , Raven noticed right away that something was wrong Ė he did not feel a life force from the woods. They made their way to Trellia, and stayed at the family cave of Raven ís cousin, Keramis the Fifth Rank. Keramis told them about Aloquinís arrival in the North Forest atop the revered black dragon Kranti, his declaration of Kingship, and his swift elimination of all overt opposition.

Aloquin now resided in that ancient symbol of power, Kayintas, surrounded by his loyal army of followers. He got wind of Ravenís return and asked his minions to test whether First Rankís martial prowess was still top notch after living in the tame streets of Nastra for so long. Such tests were common practice in the North Forest , used to keep the high ranks alert and on their feet, but their respect for Ravenís skill ran deep. Only one dared to tackle this task: a stealthy forest dragon with shimmering green scales.

The next morning, Raven and Jason made their way to Kayintas. Raven told the King to be quiet and stay alert, but the warning fell on deaf ears. The half-elfís annoyance grew until he could stand it no longer and loudly snapped back at Jason to shut up. But this instant of dropped guard opened Raven for the hidden forest dragonís lunging attack, which would have succeeded had the King not grabbed hold of Raven and pulled him to the ground. The forest dragon cackled and slithered away to spread the news.

Never in his wildest dreams could Jason have imagined the impact such an action would have on Ravenís reputation, let alone the horrors that awaited defaced high ranks. Raven, however, knew full well that his fate was sealed, and anyone caught with him would be doomed as well. Cursing, he sprung to his feet and told Jason to stay away from him as he disappeared into the brush. It didnít take long for a swarm of ground-dwellers to hunt him down, overwhelm him, and drag him through a maze of underground tunnels to the Kayintas prison.

Apocalyse III: Chapters 5 & 6

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Revised: 12 May 2010 07:47:48 -0400 .