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I have a special treat for you. I have here Dale, our Lead Writer/content designer. I got him to write us another piece of wonderful lore for the game coupled with some commentary. Let me know what you think of it and if you would like to see more content like this below!
As a writer and content designer for Forever Interactive, one of the main parts of my job is to tell the stories behind the characters, locations, and the overall history of the world involved in the game play. Our game, Visions of Zosimos – Chaos Omen, deals with alchemical principles, and how the various kinds of matter interact with each other, the four main elements, earth, air, fire, and water, and what is known as the Afterlife, a place where our reality resonates and portions of our own history coalesce and reside.
Within those conditions are factions within in the Afterlife, people intrinsically linked with a certain element and whether or not they follow the Dark or the Light Realms. (more on these when we talk about the Tree of Life). The story below is a portion of the history of a member of the Dark Fire faction, known as Ordo Ignus Morte. His name is Representative Carlisle. While not the nicest of gentlemen, he is not inherently evil, although some would argue otherwise. Please enjoy.
In at least this section of the Dark Realm, it is almost perpetually dusk. There is never a great amount of natural light. That’s why the element of Fire is so important there. It is not only the main catalyst for most alchemical workings, but Fire is also a main source of illumination.
It is with that in mind that we see 3 young men, each having reached the age of manhood, each an alchemist in their own right, and each carrying a lit torch up a hill-side path that leads to a plateau. The 3 young men have been climbing the path for almost two hours.
“Why wasn’t a straighter path up the side of this plateau?” asked the younger of the three.
“Just to piss you off,” Answered the eldest. “The Elders specifically wanted to piss you off during our trial so they had the carvers take the longest route possible around the plateau. It makes them smile to think they are causing you to work extra hard on even the most tedious of tasks...to help build your character.”
“But why..”the youngest started to ask.
“Shut it,” shouted the eldest. “I don’t want to be taking the long way either, but we have to.”
“But why”? Asked the youngest.
“Because...” huffed the middle of the three young men, who was lagging behind the two others, as if carrying a heavier load, which he was, due to losing the toss to the other two, which meant he had to carry all of the gear “...it is meant to build character and resolve. An alchemist has to truly wish to become one with the flame. Only those who have wholly embraced the…”
“Would you both shut it?” snapped the eldest. “I’m trying to keep my ears open..”
“There’s a concoction for that you know,” said the youngest.
“...so that I can hear if one is coming. And of course I know. I already used it. Now shut it. You don’t want one ripping your heart out of your chest for you, do you?”
Seth, the eldest, would have seethed with anger at being interrupted, but he had used a hearing solution that he himself made and was hoping it would help him pick up on danger before it reached them. Jet black hair, a hawk nose, and smile that makes up for with charm what his tongue and temper cost him.
Daemon, the youngest of the three, blond haired and blue eyed, never ceased questioning things, or anyone. This gets Daemon in trouble mostly with their fellow students. His ‘sky is the limit’ tendency to inquire about everything is what led the Council of Alchemists to accept him. He was almost trounced on his first day for accidentally over-turning a cauldron while the teacher was explaining the answer to his 15 questions in ten minutes time.
Carlisle, the middle of the three in age, auburn hair, average height and build...nothing remarkable truly stands out about him, physically that is. His clothes are slightly bulkier than usual, but that was from all of the extra equipment he was carrying. What distinguished him was is ability to create new and useful potions and solutions and to easily make any concoction he was shown. His intelligence and quick wits made others truly jealous of him and kept him from many friends.
“But why can’t we just use a flying potion or an artificial set of wings to get up to the top faster?”
As Seth was pulling back a fist, Carlisle answered,”an artifical ability to fly would make one an easier target for one of them should they happen to fly across. Not of course to mention that it is forbidden due to the ceremonial…”
“Oh shut it,” snapped Seth as he stood there with his eyes closed as if he were trying to concentrate.
“Besides,” said Carlisle,” we are almost there already.”
Within another 15 minutes, they rounded the last curve on the side of the plateau and saw the makeshift stone campsite in roughly the middle of the plateau. A series of three stone pits encircle an almost black crystal that stands about 3 and a half feet.
Seth said,” Carl, set the campsite just outside of the circle. We have no idea how long this is going to take and we are going to need places to billet beforehand...for meditation if not for sleep if one doesn’t come tonight.”
Carlisle began to set out their supplies while Seth and Daemon went forward to examine the crystal.
“Can it really do what the elders say it can?” asked Daemon as he reached out his hand to touch the crystal.
This time, Seth did actually hit him...sent Daemon sprawling into one of the stone pits.
“Are you insane?” yelled Seth. “The resonance vibrations in that crystal would kill you, pop every organ in your body, not to mention shatter most of your bones. The shock wave could kill us too.”
“Seth,” hissed Carlisle.
Seth quickly looked up and around, but didn’t see anything in the sky, or coming up from the canyon floor below. He nearly turned to snap at Carlisle, but stopped when he saw the look of caution in his eyes. Seth nodded at Carlisle and took a deep breath.
“Daemon, if you so much as look at that crystal again before we are prepared,” said Seth, “I will toss you off of this plateau.”
Daemon blanched and quickly moved to take some of the wood that Carlisle was setting out to one of the small stone pits.
“The lookout should get in position,” said Carlisle. “Should he not?”
Seth grunted and moved to a position exactly three feet north of the northern stone pit and squated down into a meditative position.
“Let me know when the fires are set,” said Seth, and settled himself down comfortably, with a deep breath and closed his eyes.
Daemon tip-toed his way over to Carlisle and whispered,” Wouldn’t he know when they were lit?”
“Not if he’s doing his job right,” answered Carlisle. “Once they are lit, the eyes become almost useless, if not problematic. Sure we use them to see, and would still be able to. But they are tricky and very quiet when they want to be while they are in the air. Sure we could easily see and hear them if they move on the ground, but in the air, at full night, a darker scaled one can almost be invisible if it wants to be. Better to prime the other senses for detection.”
“Won’t he feel the heat from the flames?”
“Again, not if he’s done his job right. The stone around his neck should protect from heat from a general fire. It wouldn’t protect from the damage flame can do, but the heat...yeah, he won’t feel a thing.”
Daemon’s eyes widened in awe at Seth.
As he handed Daemon another pile of wood and gathered up his own and moved toward the southeast pit, Carlisle asked,”Would you mind if I asked you a personal question?”
Daemon said, “ Sure.”
“It feels impolite to ask, but I have to. How did you get called for this?”
“My father is Second Elder,” answered Daemon.
“Ahhh,” said Carlisle. “I meant no disrespect, truly, but if one was ready, one would know some of this.”
“I believe I am ready,” said Daemon. “I just get nervous and when I do, I get forgetful.”
“Well,” said Carlisle,” I do share in some of his,” nodding to Seth,”frustration. However, I will hope for success for you, and not just us all. You deserve a chance to shine in the darkness.”
Daemon smiled and then began to lay the wood in the proper configuration.
“Excellent,” said Carlisle. “Finish this one up while I get the billets finished and then we’ll light them.”
A short time later, Daemon and Carlisle stood before the southwest pit.
“The stone, the potion, then spark,” said Daemon under his breath.
“Correct,” said Carlisle.
“Wasn’t asked,” snapped Daemon. “Just thinking out loud.”
“Ah, yes,” said Carlisle. “My apologies. You have the honor.”
Daemon took the yellow stone and dropped it into the center of the configuration of wood and then un stoppered the yellow potion bottle and poured it’s contents on the pile in a circular motion. He then took out a small grey stone and crushed it between his fingers at a which a spark fell from his hand and onto the the wood. A bright yellow flame flared into life.
The two then moved to the southeast pile and Daemon performed the same movements with a red stone and position and then on to the north pit with a white stone and white potion.
Daemon breathed a sigh of relief.
With his head down, Daemon said,”You would have stopped me if I was going to do something wrong, right?”
“In a heartbeat,” replied Carlisle. “I don’t want to die. But I didn’t have to, did I?”
“But you did think that…”
“After the first I didn’t. You should have more confidence.”
Daemon’s face lit up for a brief moment, which quickly went away as he applied a mask of “maturity”
Carlisle let a very short, but shrill, whistle.
Seth then began, with his eyes still closed, to lay out a series of 3 crystals, one behind him in to the north and the other two to the southwest and southeast. When finished, they each flared briefly and dimmed. Seth stood up and stretched.
“To this day,” said Seth,” that is still one of the most surreal experiences I have ever had.”
“Ever get lost in a cloud?” asked Carlisle.
“Once,” answered Seth. “Came out of the trance all wet. It was embarrassing.”
“Well,” said Daemon,” how bout we get some rest? I think we’ve earned it.”
“Smartest thing you’ve said all day,” said Seth.
They spent three days waiting like that. The lookout set at true dusk and the fires lit as usual, with the same person lighting each fire on the same night.
On the fourth night, Daemon was woken up by a sharp pain on the back of the neck and up he sat with a start. He glanced around and saw that the north lookout crystal was flashing. He ran around the great black crystal, without giving it a glance and touched the flashing crystal. An almost silent gong sounded and Seth and Carlisle sat up.
“From…?” Seth started to ask.
Daemon answered, “the north”.
“I was hoping not that one” said Carlisle.
“Why…” Daemon started to say.
But Seth snapped,” because they are the most vicious and powerful you idiot. They are the ones that usually kill those who call them. They get a little more than upset.”
“They take it as an affront to their power,” said Carlisle. “Personally, I was hoping for a free-range wild. We’d get to learn more from them.”
“Go and be a hunter then,” said Seth. “They are the ones that study.” We’re here for the flame and not to ‘learn from them’.”
“I would rather also learn from the experience, “said Carlisle. “We will have to do this again you know. I’d rather learn all I can. Besides, it’s better to capture the flame from a free one. It’s more powerful”
“You can ‘learn’ from any of them,” said Seth. “Let’s just get this ready.”
As they each went to their packs, Daemon thought he did a good job of hiding his fear. . He didn’t. Carlisle saw his shivers of fright. Carlisle, however, said nothing.
They each brought out an amulet, whose silver chain they place around their neck, but held out with their left hand and a small silver shield in their right. All three then faced towards the north.
At first they could not see it at all. The great beast was near and yet they could not see it. But as a dark cloud bank moved, the moon’s dim glow illuminated it. A 40 foot wingspan, scales a deeper red than any thought possible, just this side of black in this light, but also stronger than any steel. Claws that shined of their own brilliance and as long as a man. Long neck outstretched as if ready to strike and then a roar that they could not only hear but feel.
Both Carlisle and Seth struck their shields with their amulet and a silver sheen of force arched out around the rim of the shield.
“Daemon!” should Carlisle. “Your shield!”
Daemon shook his head and did the same...force shield lighting with a slight waver.
“Kid’s going to die,” whispered Seth.
“Have faith,” said Carlisle.
The great beast dove straight for them, similar to one of Earth’s tiny projectiles.
“I wonder why…” Seth started to say as Daemon got his shield up in time to take a tremendous swipe of the beast’s claws. Daemon was knocked back and to within a few feet of the black crystal.
“...it hasn’t breathed yet,” finished Seth.
“It must know,” said Carlisle. “There are some who are intelligent enough to remember getting summoned. It must know why we are here.”
“Damn,” muttered Seth.
The great beast had swiped at Daemon but continued on in flight. It swung around for another pass. As Seth and Carlisle turned in that direction, Carlisle called out,”Are you alright Daemon?”
“Of course,” snapped Daemon. “Why would I…”
“Didn’t come to check on you, did I?” said Carlisle.
Carlisle could almost feel Daemon nod.
As the beast came down at them for another pass, Seth touched a gem in his amulet and a great silver sword blade thrust out, as did an accompanying hilt and swung it in an arc as the creature struck his shield. A great cry of pain erupted from the beast and it crashed to the ground with loud boom.
“That’s not so tough,” said Seth.
The creature stopped itself from rolling off the cliff and stood up, stretching to its great height roared. As it turned toward the 3 young men, Carlisle piped up, “ you were saying?”
A slight chuckle escaped Seth’s mouth and then he turned to rush at the beast.
“Idiot,” though Carlisle, who moved to stand in between the crystal and the now landed beast.
“Have both shields ready just in case…”Carlisle started to say.
“...it tries to use both weapons at once,” finished Daemon. “Nervous, not dumb.”
“Never said you were,” smiled Carlisle, who turned back in time to see Seth hurtling through the air over the crystal, a slight blood trail in the sky. Carlisle’s eyes followed Seth’s ‘flight path’ and saw him land near the billets. He turned to move toward Seth to check him and felt himself knocked away to the ground. He blinked and saw Daemon standing over him with his shield shining in the night as the great beast’s claws tried to rend their way through the shield.
“Thanks,” said Carlisle.
Daemon just grunted as he crouched there, absorbing the blows from the winged creature.
Carlisle dashed to check Seth and found him already standing up.
“I’m alright,” said Seth. “It’s not too bad.” as he quickly pulled out a poultice and applied it to the wound in his side. “How’s the nitwit do…”
A flowing scream roared out from the darkness as the dragon and swung with it’s tail and hit Daemon squarely, throwing him out past the light of the fires.
Carlisle went to pick up his shield and saw that the light had gone out. No energy field extended from the edges of the silver plating.
“Dame,” exclaimed Carlisle.
“Figures,” sighed Seth. “Alright, once more into the breach…”
As the dragon reared up, both of the men caught a whiff of sulfur.
The great flame flowed over them, almost a blanket of warmth, if not for the stones they both wore. But neither had had time to raise the amulet shield. Daemon crouched before them with his amulet out stretched.
“Nice one,”said Seth. “But the shield is too big. It’s blocking the flame from the stone as well.”
“You do it next time,” grunted Daemon. “I just saved your…”
A great claw had just then swiped in and caught Carlisle squarely in the chest.
“Nooo,” shouted Seth, who charged forward with his silver shield raised and sword once again from the amulet.
Daemon rushed to Carlisle’s side and saw that there was no blood. He touched the ruined shirt that was covering his chest and saw glints of metal beneath.
“Chainmail,”sputtered Carlisle. “Got it from from a Hephite. Thought it might come in handy.”
Daemon chuckled and said, “Nice one. Always thinking ahead, huh?” and extended his hand to help Carlisle up.
“I try,” replied Carlisle.
And that’s when a short cry was heard from the other side of the crystal...and a spout of flame came toward them. This time it was Carlisle who got his amulet up in time.
“Wow,” said Daemon.
At that same moment, the black crystal flared a bright orange as it had been hit square on by the gout of flame.
Another roar of pain came from the beast and cry of triumph from Seth as his sword nearly cut off one of the great beast’s limbs.
“To the crystal with a fork,” yelled Carlisle. “I’ll go and back up Seth. Cause the vibration. It will drive the beast away.”
Carlisle rushed to the other side of the crystal with his amulet at the ready.
Daemon approached the crystal pulling out a small silver tuning fork. He could see the light within the stone now. It’s brilliance was dazzling. As he struck the crystal with the fork, a great crack resounded across the plateau, nearly causing Daemon to drop to his knees. Proud at himself for not falling, he looked around and a small piece of the crystal was lying on the ground. It was still glowing brilliantly. The main black crystal, was not. A great cry rang out as another gout of flame erupted. After it was over, a quick wind gust nearly knocked Daemon off his feet and blew a great cloud of dust smack into his face.
“Bleck!” uttered Daemon as he spat out the dust and dirt.
Carlisle came walking over with a shocked look on his face.
“Seth is gone,” stammered Carlisle. “The great beast got one last flame blast off before it fled. We were seperated and I couldn’t extend my shield far enough. Seth couldn’t get his flame shield because he had the sword out. He...was turned to a pile of ash.”
Daemon spit out more of the ash, and nearly threw up.
He looked down and saw the glowing crystal.
‘All of this just for a little…”thought Daemon as he picked up the crystal.
As he died, Daemon’s last vision was Carlisle standing over him.
“We warned you about touching the crystal,” said Carlisle. “You forgot your gloves. Sorry I didn’t have time to mention it.”
As Carlisle picked up the crystal, with his gloved hand of course, he let out a soft sigh. And then promptly swallowed the crystal.
“The coating woven into the gloves counteracts the resonance frequency of the crystal, allowing the brief moment of contact. You should have done your homework more thoroughly.”
Carlisle then picked up Daemon’s tuning fork and pocketed it. He placed his own on Daemon’s body and stepped back. He leaned back and sharply exhaled and a great gout of flame spewed from his mouth and flowed over Daemon’s body, turning it to ash.
After packing up, Carlisle though, ‘I think I’ll take the shortcut down’.
He reached into his pocket and pulled out a vial of liquid and drank it. He then walked over to the edge of the plateau and jumped. A small set of wings appeared on his back and he glided to the ground. He did his homework after all.