War of the Scaled Horde

Day of Reckoning

The battle was met deep in the heart of Felosian territory. Both the Guardians and Horde wasted little time engaging each other in the bloody dance of battle. Joining the Guardians' side were the best of the felosian army, and on the Horde's side came ever-stranger creatures from other dark realms.

In the skies over the battlefield, the dragons parried, circled, and struck each other in ever violent clashes. The dragon Granimyre led the charge against the rebel dragons which remained from the previous battles with the elders. Streaks of dragon breath lanced across the sky, and every few minutes, the body of another mortally wounded dragon would come crashing down to the earth.

On the ground, Ronan paused a moment from his assault to survey the battlefield. The Guardian army was slowly advancing against the Horde, and the enemies' line would soon collapse. But unknown to the Guardian army, a battalion of trolls and goblinkin had snuck around the front line in the early morning light, and were heading to the south, straight for the felosians' most sacred temple

Most of the people from the surrounding villages had fled here, and were now being evacuated from the temple as the battalion approached the last refuge of the felosians. With the bulk of the felosian troops fighting in the larger battle still some miles away, only Telaron and a handful of priests and warriors remained to defend the temple.

The battalion was fast approaching, and Telaron needed to stop the advance so the refugees could escape. He began a low chant, summoning from within his mind the most powerful spell he knew, one that he had been unwilling to use before now. As he concentrated, storm clouds began forming overhead, just in front of the approaching army. The clouds swirled and darkened, and the air started to feel charged with energy. As the army continued its advance, many began to sense something was amiss. They slowed their pace, glancing frequently at the darkening sky above them. None of them were prepared for what was to follow.

Another sudden change in the air, and a massive bolt of lightning streaked from the clouds, straight at the center of their lines. As the bolt struck the ground, it arced and forked out in every direction at once, striking every living thing within range. A second bolt, then a third, exploded from the clouds and bathed the area in bright, deadly fingers of lightning. By the time the last arc had fizzled, all but a few of the army's members were either dead or dying. Those that remained turned to run or crawl as fast as they could, fearful of another possible barrage.

As the spell finished, Telaron collapsed to the ground, exhausted. From behind him stood a young member of the temple, having witnessed the battle from behind a pillar. He looked around quickly, then darted out to where Telaron lay. As he helped pull Telaron to his feet, Telaron looked at him and half-whispered, half-muttered, "You...should not be here. It is not...safe."

"I could not leave you to die alone," the younger felosian replied.

"Your loyalty is commendable, young Hondell, but what use is it to the teacher if the student does not live to benefit from his teachings. You have learned all that I can teach you, and now it is time for you leave. Take the amulet to the portal, and join the others where it is safe. I am resigned to my fate..."

As he finishes speaking, a bright flash appears in the sky, far off where the main battle continues to rage. Both Telaron and Hondell turn to see the far-off skies begin to brighten and flash again.

"What was that?" Hondell wondered in awe.

Telaron's gaze fell to the ground, and he slowly lamented, "It is The Reckoning, the end of the world as we know it. The gods are locked in battle over fate of our world, and there is nothing we can do to stop it."

Another flash in the sky, and Telaron turned back to his student. "You must go now...before it is too late."

With that, Telaron freed himself from Hondell's supporting grasp. His eyes pleaded with Hondell, and the young student reluctantly turned and walked into the temple, to the portal within the inner sanctum. Telaron then turned his gaze back toward the flashes in the sky, and waited...

Just as it looked as though the Guardian army was about to crush the dark forces, the ground beneath their feet began to tremble, and large fissures opened up to swallow the helpless mortals. Then, in a violent eruption of fire and rock, Dramar's form exploded from out of the ever-widening fissures. He had quickly grown tired of the drawn-out battle, and was now poised before the guardian army to end it once and for all.

With a thought from him, the skies let loose a barrage of fiery stone and hail against Granimyre and the elder dragons. The storm struck down friend and foe alike, for Dramar no longer cared for such trivial distinctions. Granimyre rose before Dramar despite the storm, and let loose his own power against the evil god.

Dramar's onslaught was halted for only a moment under Graminyre's raw power, but Dramar quickly retaliated against the mighty dragon with a powerful blow of dark energy. The blow knocked him from the sky, and sought to drain its prey of life. But Granimyre would not be had quite so easily this time. He had learned much from his last encounter with this energy beast, and quickly destroyed it with a burst of holy magic.

Just as Granimyre was lifting himself back into the skies, Dramar prepared another salvo. He released it with great relish, but before it could strike its intended victim, another figure entered into the battle, and dispersed the salvo with a mighty blow of her own. Before Granimyre facing Dramar, was Tatyana, the Goddess of Earth and Nature, and member of the Council of the Ancients.

Her eyes narrowing to mere slits, she announced with contempt, "There will be no more destruction! We will no longer stand by and watch as you lay waste to all we hold dear. Withdraw your army and end this, or face our judgment!"

With that, other Ancients appeared, each encircling Dramar and poised for battle. These were the Ancients who had, until now, remained neutral throughout the years of war. With Dramar's allies already distracted with their own battles, Dramar found himself alone and apparently outmatched. He merely grinned...A thin, malevolent grin.

He charged Tatyana, and was promptly met with a blast from all sides. He staggered only momentarily, and returned fire with his own dark power. More blasts struck him, and he began cackling with mad laughter. His aura turned dark as pitch, and his eyes turned to pools of dark swirling energy. He summoned forth the very power of Balagan, the realm from which he had gained his new powers.

The Ancients responded with another onslaught of energy, and though he seemed fazed by the blast at first, he struck out at them with powerful blasts of his own. The battle continued on like this, and appeared to the observer to be a mass of giant, ethereal snakes writhing and clashing in the air over the battlefield. Soon, the Ancients began to weaken under the strain, while Dramar seemed untired by his efforts.

Through the magic of his sword, Ronan watched from the ground as the Ancients battled overhead. As the Ancients continued to lose ground to Dramar, a desire to help swelled from within the depths of his soul. A powerful impulse from the sword coursed through him like the torrent of a mighty river, and he could bear the anticipation no longer.

He called out to Granimyre, and the great dragon swooped down from the heavens. With a swift and sure movement, he was aloft again, with Ronan safely in his huge palm. Granimyre soared into the battle behind Dramar, and peppered the dark god's form with a multitude of breath and magic attacks. With Dramar's attention momentarily distracted to one side, Granimyre quickly banked around him to the front. Another sharp turn back around to his rear, and Granimyre tossed a small package straight at Dramar's rear flanks.

With sword outstretched, Ronan plunged toward the giant form of Dramar. The sword sunk deep into Dramar's back, releasing an initial blast of energy that threw Ronan helplessly into the darkened sky, with Granimyre desperately flying into the clouds to save his friend. Dramar roared in pain, the blade's holy energy crackling throughout his body with a terrible ferocity. The blade itself was but a small needle in his back, but the energy of Jhuntara's holy fury spread through his body like a deadly poison, and he continued to writhe in pain with each new surge of power.

Having suddenly gained the upper hand, the other Ancients unleashed a new barrage of attacks against him, and he was unable to retaliate against them. To his own horror, with each strike, he was quickly losing control of the dark energy that gave him strength. It began surging wildly out of control within him, and a moment later, the energy burst forth from his form, clashing with the energy of the Ancients' attacks. There was only an instant of horrible realization, followed by a blinding flash...

Hondell approached the portal, and activated it with the amulet. Just as he was about to enter, the ground began shaking, and a strange flash of light passed through the room. One, then another came, shaking the ground underfoot, and disrupting the energy of the portal.

Hondell desperately tried to stabilize the portal, his mind racing to control the magical energies within it. Something in the back of his mind made him turn his head back toward the entrance of the sanctum, and a shiver of terror passed through him. Outside, the area grew suddenly brighter, far too bright for any normal magic to produce. Almost instinctively, he turned back toward the portal, and jumped through just as the shockwave reached the temple. The shockwave ripped the temple apart with unprecidented ferocity and abandon, destroying the last trace of a once proud civilization...