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Blood Moon, First Draft

Cold winds whipped against the cloaks of the traveler as he rode down the trail under the light of a full moon. Wind rushed through his already messy short black hair and stung his lightly tanned face. Clouds were overhead, showing signs of a coming thunderstorm. I hope I make it before the storm does… the traveler thought to himself.

A flicker of light in the background, and BOOM! The sound of thunder boomed and echoed from a distant behind him. The horse he road started to rise from fear but the traveler was quickly able to calm it. He rode on, multiple booms of thunder heard over a short period of time, and he could see the lanterns of distant guard towers, likely to be guarding the town his current quest’s location. Freezing rain came in just in time too...

He arrived at the tall wooden gates of the village and heard the deep voice of a middle-aged man from above yell, “Halt stranger, why have you come to Vander!?”

“I am Xavian Gellantara, a monk of the four winds that has come to this distant village to aid it in its need of adventurers’ for a coming crisis,” Xavian yelled to the guard.

“Very well,” the guard said and yelled behind him, “Open the bloody gates!”

“Thank You,” Xavian yelled up and rode inside the town, and hitched his mount to an inside stall next to a tavern, giving the stable boy three stable coins. Xavian walked inside of the tavern, nearly drenched from the rapid rainfall, and hung his cloak on a nearby coat rack. His cloak took most of the rain fall, leaving his black tunic and grey trousers almost completely dry.

The tavern wasn’t busy like usual taverns, very few patrons were there and were in quiet conversations amongst one and another, barely looking drunk. There were two patrons though, that did look a bit…suspicious and different, sitting at the corner of the bar.

Xavian walked towards them, and could see a human and a half-orc. The half-orc was fairly big, and very muscled, as shown by his full plate armor. He had dull green skin, red eyes, a reddish brown war hawk, and part of his right ear seemed…bitten off. He looked trained by his look, but blood-thirsty too, and his large great axe sitting next to the table said so too.

The other man, the human, was nearly the opposite. He had fading and thin black hair, a goatee of matching tone, grey eyes, and pale skin. He had an evil looking tattoo around his right eye, and a very frail looking body. He was a mage, possibly a necromancer, by his black robe and a skull symbol on its front. He had a grim looking book at his side too, along with a dagger carved from bone.

“Hale strangers, what brings you here?” Xavian asked.

“Mind yourself stranger!” the half-orc snorted. The necromancer just looked at him.

“Uh…not much of the talking kind…very well…I’ll be on my way…” Xavian said and left, the two just giving him strange looks. Not too friendly… he thought to himself.

“Not much for talking they are, wouldn’t even give a tip for their drinks…” The bartender said.

“They might come around,” Xavian replied, “Though, I would like to ask you something, seeing your from this town.” The Bartender nodded. “I was wondering if you could tell me where I have to go to sign up for the adventurer’s needed post that was sent to numerous nearby towns?”

“Ahh! A mighty adventurer we have here! Those two over there are here for the very same, looks like you have competition” The bartender grinned, “well, all you have to do is go to the mayor’s office in the morning tomorrow, he’ll inform you of everything. The mayor’s office is north of here.”

“Thank you kind sir,” Xavian thanked the man and tossed a silver coin, the bartender tipped his head in thanks, “Oh! How much for one room, please?”

“15 Silver”

“Ok,” Xavian paid the 15 silver and got the key to go up to his room. As he walked towards the stairs, he noticed the dark-looking duo glaring at him, sending shivers down his spine.

Room 08, the door said, as well as the print on his key. He put the key into the lock and turned, turning gears within and unlocking the door. Inside the room was a simple single bed, a mini dresser at the end of the bed with a candle stick, a desk on the opposite side of the room with a simple chair. It’ll do Xavian thought to himself. He stepped inside, closed the door behind him and locked it, and went to bed.
* * * * *

“So, do you think that kids dangerous?” the half-orc asked the thin, pale man.

“He seems strong but we will see tomorrow, apparently he’ll be…assisting us…during this mission…another man to split the gold with…”

“Bah! We can just turn him to a sac of dead meat once we get into the forest, one less person to pocket the reward.

“Yes, one less person to pocket the reward…” the necromancer lightly mimicked the half-orc, “one less person…”

“Yes, BARTENDER! TWO MORE MUGS OF YOUR ALE!”
* * * * *

KNOCK! KNOCK!

“Sir! The bartender wanted me to make sure your up so you can make it to the mayor’s office before he starts!” a barmaid yelled to room 08.

“Thank You miss! I was up, just meditating, I’ll be out in a minute.” Xavian replied, and got up. He unlocked the door, handed the girl the key and a silver coin for tip as she went in to clean. He went to the main lobby of the tavern.

“Thank You for lending me a room,” Xavian thanked the bartender, and looked at the coat rack to see his cloak missing, “Um, do you remember what happened to a brown cloak that was hanging on that stand?”

“No thank you, and no I don’t, sorry…should keep better care of your possessions.”

“Yes, well it was inexpensive, well, bye.” Xavian said and left the building and walked towards the mayor’s office down the road. He noticed for a small town, the streets were quite busy today, must have sales going on Xavian thought to himself. It was about a 10 minute walk till he saw a large manor, bigger then usual buildings of this town, he figured it to be the mayor’s home. He walked up to the gate to see five other people, all looking trained, standing there. The two from the night before were there too.

The other three seemed to have been in a fight, but the young one seemed all to naïve to be here. Probably no older then 18, with barely a beard on his chin. He had a sword at his side and a shield on his back, and wore leather armor. There was a woman there, an elf, with long orange hair and bronze tan skin. She had a longbow on her back with a quiver of 40 or so arrows. At the sides of her leather armor were a twin set of daggers. The third was a middle-aged man wearing heavy chain mail and had a mace and buckler at his side. The buckler had a symbol of a sun, a symbol of the deity Pelor. If this mission gets more dangerous then expected, someone with divine capabilities will be useful Xavian thought to himself.

Xavian walked up to the group and said, “Are you all here for the adventurers request too?”

“Yes,” the clerical man said with hand extended outward and Xavian shacked it, “I’m Jordan, a war priest of Pelor, and who might you be?”

“I am Xavian Gellantara, monk of the four winds.” Xavian replied back with a smile.

“A monk of the four winds? Never heard of that, tell me friend, what are the ‘four winds’ that your monk training originated at?”

“The four winds are-” Xavian began but was interrupted by the young man.

“The four winds are a reference to the four elements; Fire, Water, Wind, and Earth. As a monk of them, your able to generate these elements into your strikes, right?…sorry…” The young man began but regretted with a sad look on his face for interrupting his elders.

“Nonsense, no need to be sorry for intelligence, just don’t interrupt people from now on, it is quite rude, but you are correct lad, and what might your name be?” Xavian reassured, lectured, and asked.

“Benjamin!” The young man said with a reassured smile. Xavian shook hands with the child.

“Well Xavian, once we get on with our ‘quest’ I would like to see your actions in use!” Jordan said.

“Yes, as to you and Benjamin” Xavian replied and both nodded their heads.

From the home a man came and opened up the gates and said, “Welcome to master Zirul’s manor, the mayor of this humble town,” he bowed and pointed them to come inside. They came to the entrance of the manor to see a wide stair case right before them with a large painting of an elderly but wealthy and powerful man.

“Lord Zirul will be with you in a moment.” The finely dressed man said and left into one of the rooms behind the stairs.

“I wonder why he needs adventurers to come here…” Benjamin asked himself.

“I heard it something to do with that enchanted forest nearby.” Jordan answered.

“I see, I wonder if its because of the druids?” Benjamin said.

“Who Knows…”

Xavian walked towards the elf girl to see her staring at him. “What’s your name miss?”

“Silvia,” She told him.

“Silvia, lovely name, you’re an elf I see, what forest do you hale from?

“No forest, I was city born.”

“I see, your appearance says other wise, are you a ranger?”

“Yes, I learned the ways of the forest from my traveling companions, my bow is the only thing I have to remember my home…”

“I see…,”

She nodded and looked away, thinking to herself.

“WELCOME ADVENTURERS!” A voice echoed from the top of the stairs, causing everyone to look towards that direction in shock. A man, elderly looking, walked down the steps of the stairs, his shoes echoing as he hit the surface of the stone stairs.

“I am Zirul, the mayor of this village, I welcome you all,” He began, “Now, before I tell you what you must accomplish, you all must first be tested, the room to your right will lead you down into an underground chamber where my summoning friend have made some…tests for you all. I must warn you though, their still deadly and you may die, so if you have a faint heart or poor training, do not continue onward.”

The half-orc was the first to enter, followed by the necromancer, then Jordan, then Silvia, Xavain started but stopped to see Benjamin a little startled. “Come on Benjamin, you have a test, I’ll help you out.” Benjamin smiled slightly and walked down with Xavain.

When they reached the end of the stairs, they came into a large empty room with an opening at the top to see the sky. It looked like an arena of a sort. The door quickly slammed behind them and trapped them within. Jordan yelled, “What is the meaning of this Zirul!”

“The meaning of this, cleric, is you all must be tested before you go on with my mission, if you die here or struggle fighting these monsters, you stand no chance for what I’m about to ask you!” Zirul told everyone, with a magically amplified voice. “Now, defeat the summoned monsters, OPEN THE GATES!”

The gates surrounding the arena all opened releasing multiple creatures. A bunch of Skeletons, two giant scorpions, and one young adult green dragon. Everyone quickly began to prepare for a battle that was just forced upon them.

Jordan began a prayer to his god and a magical light white surrounded everyone, “This will protect you my friends!”

The necromancer began casting a spell to himself and the half-orc roared in rage and began charging into the middle of the battle. Silvia quickly pulled out her bow and began firing arrows at the dragon, there steel tips barely piercing its leather skin. Benjamin pulled out his sword and shield and moved into a defensive, nervous stance.

Xavian quickly ran, with near inhuman speed due to his training and roundhouse kicked a skeleton in the head with a flaming hit and knocked it clean off, causing the rest of the body to crumble to the ground below. A skeleton came up behind and tried to hit him with a rusty scimitar but missed as Xavian back flipped over the creature and drop kicked it into a bunch of pieces. He rolled out of danger again and prepared for the next attacker.

The half-orc swung his large axe at one of the giant scorpions, cutting one of its legs clean off. It attempted to stab its stinger at him but missed as he side-stepped out of the way and swung, cutting part of the stinger. He only just smiled as he heard his axe cut through bone and saw blood spew out of the opening. He continued to chop away.

Jordan pulled out his holy symbol and pointed to a group of skeletons charging in his direction, and shouted his deities’ name and a bright light came out of it, destroying half the group and causing the other half to flee. He then pulled out his mace and charged at them, slamming the metal head onto the bone head in challenge. The metal won.

Benjamin cautiously moved up towards a skeleton but stepped on a bone in the sad, snapping it, causing it to turn around and quickly lunge at him, but was blocked by a wooden shield and then Ben retaliated by swinging his sword at it, cleaving its head nearly clean off. The body crumbled and Benjamin smiled.

The necromancer finished his spell and unleashed a large bolt of lightning at the scorpion the Half-orc was chopping, sending it straight through it’s face, causing a clean hole that could be seen through the other side. The scorpion just dropped dead and the barbaric half-orc kept chopping before noticing the thing is dead. He then turned around and swept at a group of skeletons. The necromancer began preparing another spell.

The dragon spitted out a burst of acid at Xavian, but Xavian dove to the side and rolled towards the dragon and came up with a kick at its face, only causing the dragon to move its head slightly to the side. Xavian quickly landed and rolled before the dragon had to time to spit another blast of acid at him. Silvia took advantage of this and shot an arrow straight into the mouth of the dragon, going straight into him and looking as if it did some damage. She smiled and put back her bow and pulled out her daggers and made a prayer to herself and charged at the dragon.

Jordan slammed a few his mace down onto a few more skeletons, but one walked up behind him and tried to slice at his back, Jordan noticed but didn’t have enough time to react, but Benjamin quickly came up and blocked the skeletons rusty blade with his own and slammed his shield down onto the skeleton, causing the skeleton to stumble back, and Jordan followed up with a sweep of his own mace straight down onto the skeleton’s chest, bursting it.

“Thanks Kid,”

“No problem old man.”

“Not that old…”

“Whatever” Benjamin smiled and began fighting attacking a few more skeletons.

“Whatever happened to manners” Jordan put a hand to his head and smiled then followed Benjamin into battle with his mace.

The half-orc rushed towards the other scorpion, and began chopping at it again, though not slicing its legs off like the other scorpion, and not too lucky again when this scorpion retaliated with its stinger and pierced the half-orcs full plate and stung straight into his arm, poisoning him. He felt a burning sensation in his arm, but used the pain as strength and grabbed the stinger and began pulling at it, crushing bone. It pulled its stinger away, but the half-orc swung his great axe at its head, slicing out one eye.

He heard the thing screech but that only turned on the half-orcs lust for blood. The thing tried to stab the half-orc again, but missed and the half-orc swung its axe around, chopping the stinger clean off. The half-orc then rolled and cut off its right legs and stepped onto its back and chopped straight into it, killing the thing more then it needed. He only smiled at the pain in his arm and the blood that covered him.

Xavian jumped and ran up the dragons back, his feet enchanted with flaming fury to burn the creature with every step he took, and he then came with a punch straight for its eye, piercing it. The thing screeched in pain from its now missing eye, and tried to shake off the monk, who only hung on with all his force. Silvia came up from behind and stabbed the daggers tail, and then jumped on and ripped down its right wing. She rolled and Xavian jumped off the dragon’s head and flipped in the air then landed on the sand.

“Very nice skills”

“You too monk, LOOK OUT!”

The dragon swept its tail but Silvia dropped to the ground and Xavian jumped over it, both avoiding it. The two then came down and attacked the dragons wings, Silvia slicing through its bone and cutting off the wing and Xavian axe kicking the dragons wing, breaking it making it too painful to use. He then jumped onto the dragon’s head and chopped at its neck, breaking it and sending the dragon down onto the ground. Him and Silvia smiled at each other and then ran off towards other opponents.

Jordan and Benjamin went back-to-back against a group of skeletons surrounding them and started fighting them off, one by one. Jordan smashing his mace against their frail skulls and Benjamin slicing at their thin necks. The necromancer finished his long-awaited spell and sent off a ball of flaming energy towards a group of skeletons, nearly right next to Benjamin, a burst of flame engulfed the skeletons and Benjamin.

“NO! BENJAMIN!” Jordan yelled as he smashed a skeleton’s head and ran towards the burnt corpses. He threw around burnt bones and saw the scorched body of a young boy. He quickly prayed to his god and put his hand over the boys torso and a light of healing energy emanated from his hand and surrounded the boy. His wounds were healing and his eyes began to flicker open slightly.

“J-Jordan?”

“Quiet lad.”

Xavian saw what happened to the boy and began to worry but now seeing the healing being done to the boy, his worries were lightened as he had faith in the cleric’s healing ability. Silvia came around and sliced a skeletons head off and walked towards Xavian.

“That was the last of them…, lets check on the boy.”

Xavian nodded and ran towards Benjamin to see how he was holding up.

“What happened?” Xavian asked.

“A burst of magical fire appeared and exploded towards the skeletons but caught Benjamin too.”

“Magical fire…that wizard!” Xavian yelled out and began running towards the pale man and lifted him up by his robe.

“What in the gods names were you thinking!” Xavian yelled at him.

“I was thinking, monk, that we needed to eliminate these things so we may continue onwards.”

“By nearly killing Benjamin!”

“The boy was just a casualty, anyway, one less person equals more gold for us!”

“Who cares about money, you nearly killed him!”

The half-orc came up from behind and swiped Xavian away and said, “Do not hurt my master or I will kill you with my bare hands monk! Now begone!”

Xavian desperately wanted to attack both of them but knew it would be a waste of time and would probably end up getting himself killed, he just ran back to the boy.

“He wont be able to do any adventuring for a long time, leave him to the priest’s of the church, they’ll help him.” Jordan told Xavian.

“CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL OF YOU!” The old man’s voice magically echoed once again, “I see most of you survived, that’s pleasant, now if you will continue up the stairs, I will now tell you why I have requested adventurers here.” The gate opened up as he finished.

Jordan lifted up the boy and carried him up, and everyone else went up the stairs. The well-dressed man from before came to greet them, and told them, “He’ll be down in a minute, as for the boy, I’ll have my men take him to the temple of Asandra, he is in good hands, don’t worry. Set him down on that couch there”

Jordan placed him and whispered one last prayer for him and walked towards the rest of the group. The old man came down the stairs once more and said, “Welcome once again, as you all must desperately wonder why you are here, well the reasons are-”



TO BE CONTINUED





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