To the Victor…

Posted by Daniel On June 21, 2015 2 COMMENTS


Greetings from Caer Holineth, the grand arena of the Illurian Empire’s capital!  Welcome citizens and guests alike to the first battle of this year’s Tournament of Souls!  The seats are already beginning to fill up as we speak, so it won’t be long now before our first  combatants take the field.  And who are tonight’s creations?

Our first entry tonight is the Blight Stalker, created by a foreigner who goes by the name of Chuliror.  Not much is known about this particular Creator beyond his obvious favor of Necromancy, which places him in a field of well-respected mages amongst the empire’s elite.  Looking at the information we’ve gotten about the Blight Stalker itself though, I have to say, I’m impressed!  It looks to be a stealth based creature, whose speed might be matched only by one other competitor in this year’s tournament, and the Chord Caster isn’t it.  I imagine the stalker will favor hit and run attacks throughout the battle to ensure its victory.

The challenger in this round is the Chord Caster, created by Agane Volanthik, a gnomish commoner from the small town of Khul-nigh, not far from the edge of the wastelands.  She is a self-taught practitioner of magic, though her abilities must be more than average to achieve a creation such as this.  The Chord Caster’s abilities are based predominantly in sonic attacks and sound.  It should be very interesting to see how effective its attacks are in a battleground that is completely new this year.

And as if I planned the segue, the tournament mages are now entering the stadium, circling the arena floor as they prepare to craft this new terrain, the undersea reef!  A shimmering field of magical force appears bordering the combat area, starting from the ground and rising up to form a transparent wall.  As the wizards raise their arms the wall continues higher and higher, until it reaches the oculus of the arena!  If this is what I think it is, our combatants will have more than just the area on the ground to move about in.  They’ll have the entire central area of the arena, which stands almost one hundred feet high!

The gates, normally reserved for warriors and other combatants, open up wide and a rush of water flows in, instantly covering the ground as it begins to fill the enclosed field!  The sound of the water rushing in is almost deafening at first, but as the level quickly rises the arena quiets, allowing the audible amazement of the crowd to be heard, and the red and silver light from the moons above filter down through the crystal clear water, filling it with both light and shadow.  Yet it seems the wonder of this creation has only begun.

Growing from the dense, dirt and silt covered floor of the stadium, coral begins to rise, twisting like vines as they reach skyward in an elegant dance!  Never have I seen magic do something so gracefully beautiful!  Colors, the breadth of the rainbow interweave as the coral vines grow together to form walls of deep blue, fierce red, and soothing indigo twined with green.  A veritable maze of the wondrous, stone-like growth is forming itself across the arena, but even from this distance I can see that, like most beautiful things, there is danger in the razor sharp edges of the coral.  This may not mean much to the skeletal form of the Stalker, but the flesh-covered chord caster will need to take extra care while moving around.

Several of the mages are shifting their focus away from the coral, towards the few open spots of the arena.  All at once they rip six rifts into the ground, each radiating a fiery light, and bubbling with intense heat!  This must be the second danger of this battleground, the heat vents!  Woe be to any competitor that strays too close to them when they erupt.

As the battlegrounds creation comes to a close, several reefs of coral begin to grow once again, this time much faster.  They spiral together, forming a twisting column as they reach ever upward, their colors beginning to flash with power.  As the seconds pass the colors grow more intense, and the flashing ever faster… until, in an eruption of light and power, the Tournament Master soars out of the coral pillar and into the sky, to the sound of thunderous applause and cheering from every seat in the house!

“Welcome Illurians and guests, to the first battle of this, the 101st Tournament of Souls!”

The crowd’s excitement renews, taking the shouts of elation to a near deafening level, but as he speaks again, the onlookers quickly quiet themselves.  The wizards that created the astounding battleground turn from their creation as the Master speaks, and shift their focus to creating illusionary fields throughout the area.  It seems they have crafted magical viewpoints amidst the coral, allowing images to be shone on the fields, and seen by all in the stadium!  They did this last year in some of the battlegrounds as well, yet I still can’t help but be impressed!

“We have an incredible treat for you all this evening!  Not only have we revealed the first of two completely original battlegrounds, but we have two phenomenal necromantic creations to battle within!  It is my pleasure to introduce to you, in the northwest, the Blighted Stalker!”

Out of one of the submerged gates strides a dark, skeletal creature surrounded by streams of green that dissipate into the water almost as fast as they emanate from it, its long claws slicing through the water as it walks.  It makes no sound as it drifts in, crouching down at the bottom of the created sea, waiting for the signal that battle has begun.

The gathered multitudes respond with a mixture of cheers and boos, shouting out in accordance to where they’ve placed their bets most likely.  My information says the Blighted Stalker is normally surrounded by a cloud of acid, but it seems like the water is dissipating the effect.  This doesn’t bode well for this undead creature.

“In the southeast, an undead creation hailing from beyond the wasteland, I give you… the Chord Caster!”

The peasantry is on its feet in an instant, cheering as much for the creator as the combatant itself.  It likely helps that its haunting song can’t be heard through the water and force wall that surround the arena.  A well-preserved corpse stride confidently out of the submerged gate, its harp in hand.  When it comes to the starting position it stops and arches its back as if unleashing a hellish scream!  A vortex forms in the water before it, spreading out and striking the force walls at the edge of the battleground, and even they, with all of the power maintaining them, shake at the powerful impact!  It seems that sonic abilities are amplified under water!  I can see several people rushing from their seats in order to place some last minute bets, and I’d imagine that the odds have shifted in favor of the Caster.

“It is my pleasure, on this remarkable occasion, to set the tournament in motion, and get this first battle underway.  Let the battle begin!”

The Battle

A bolt of force lances down towards the surface, its impact sending a shower of water across the arena, and causing all six of the steam vents to erupt!  He certainly hasn’t lost his style!

Both combatants are instantly in motion, though they take drastically different approaches.  The Chord Caster moves with deadly purpose, calculating its steps as it strides into the coral maze, making no effort to conceal its presence.  The Stalker virtually disappears in a rush of shadow, pushing off from ground and coral alike as it streaks around the north edge of the maze, seeking out its prey like a great tiger on the hunt!  The speed of the creature, even underwater, is incredible!

The bardic undead stops near the center of the battleground, surrounded by walls of razor sharp, crimson colored coral.  It pauses for a moment, glancing around in search of its opponent, then unleashes a blast of sonic magic!  The amplified burst of power forms into shards of ice and crystal, slamming into a coral wall with tremendous force, and shattering it into a thousand sharp pieces!  Shards drift down from higher up the wall, but you can be certain that the Stalker now knows where the Caster is!

Shifting our view to the Blighted undead, we can see it already rocketing towards the blast, having detected the sound.  It comes up short, stopping at another wall of sharp coral, and peers through it, seeing its prey on the other side.  Without a sound it begins to climb the wall, seeking a way through, and leaving only the small pieces it breaks off as it climbs drifting down in its wake.

As if calling to the Stalker, the Chord Caster unleashes another blast of crystallized sound, seemingly by sheer chance blasting the wall where its enemy had gazed upon it only moments before.  As luck would have it, the stealthy shadow was well above the blast area, and ready to pounce.

The moment the Caster’s back turns, the Blighted Stalker crawls through a hole in the coral wall above and launches itself forward, diving towards the sonic undead with incredible speed and impaling it brutally with both of its claws!  A shriek of pain reverberates through the water, breaking off bits of coral from nearby walls with the very sonic force of the scream!

In a surge of movement, the sonic creation pulls itself away from its assailant, pushing through the water and turning to square off.  Is that a smile I see on its face?  As the stalker surges forward once again a blast of powerful sonic energy is unleashed, sending it soaring through the water, and slamming it hard into one of the coral walls!  Bits of coral and shattered bone drift through the surrounding waters as the Blighted pulls itself from the wreckage with a fierce snarl on its face.

Choosing strategy over an upfront battle, the stealthy undead summons forth a globe of darkness around it, just as another blast of crystal utterly destroys the coral where the stalker landed, pulverizing it into sand!  But as the darkness clears moments later, we can see the stalker moving around the upper reaches of the walls once more, seeking another opportunity to catch its prey unawares.

For several moments the Chord Caster blasts away at the reef, creating a field of coral floating in the water around it, seemingly frustrated by the disappearance of its opponent.  All the while, the stalker lives up to its name, moving silently through the water above, creeping ever closer as the fleshed undead moves into one of the many holes its created, further into the field of floating coral.  Silence reigns, as all in the arena wait to see what will happen next!

Seeing its opportunity, the stalker once again launches itself from up on high, slicing its claws deep into the flesh of its victim, laughing with malice as its claws rend, but the creature it faces has not yet been defeated.  In a fit of rage the caster spins around, smacking its assailant in the face with the back of one fist and then stepping away.  A shout, filled with rage and pain launches the hundreds of floating pieces directly at the Blighted Stalker!  There’s no way it can dodge such a brutal attack!  The coral slices through bone, shattering ribs and a portion of its skull, and leaving more than a score of the pieces embedded in its skeletal form, yet miraculously it still stands!

The magic holding it together is beginning to wane as the wounded creature charges through the water, making one final rush to slay the target its Creator has given it.  It kicks with all it’s might, leaping off one coral wall to another, and then another as each is destroyed by the obscenely powerful sonic blasts of the Chord Caster!  Closer and closer it comes, leaving bits of bone in its wake as  glancing hits from magic and sharp coral alike unravel the magic that created it further.

In one final move, the Blighted Stalker pushes off of a wall with all of its substantial might, slamming hard into the chord caster and knocking it to the ground!  A soundless shriek of power sends an enormous shard of crystal slamming through its head, shattering its skull into dozens of pieces, yet even headless the stalker fights on!

Unable to avoid the final blows the sharpened claws of the creature plunge deep into the flesh of the fallen, rending skin and bone in twain and fully tearing the powerful sonic creature in half!  The crowd erupts in cheers at the battle’s final moments as the seemingly victorious Blighted Stalker stands over its prey, the water around them filled with floating bits of bone, coral shards, and the putrid blood of the undead.  A moment later the magic holding it together unravels fully, and the bones of the stalker fall apart, slowly drifting to the ground.

The arena falls to silence, wondering what has happened, and who will be declared the victor of this tremendous battle.  In an explosion of magical power Vass Zoland appears once again above the arena!

“What an incredible battle we have just witnessed!  Two worthy foes, using every means at their disposal to annihilate each other, and succeeding in the end on both counts!  Both competitors have fallen!”

Mumbling rumbles across the stadium as all those gathered wonder what’s going to happen, and who will be declared the victor.

The Victor

“I’ve just gotten word that the judges have made a decision!”  He calls out, silencing everyone in an instant.  “The Chord Caster, crafted by the powerful Agane Volanthik, fell first, thus proving the Blighted Stalker and its creator Chuliror to be the victors!  Congratulations to both Agane and the foreigner Chuliror on a battle well fought!”

Tournament Brackets - 1st match

The crowd erupts in cheers once again, though it’s obvious that a great many people will have bets to pay off later this evening.  The exhilaration of this year’s first battle has been incredible!  I can’t wait for next week’s battle between the Arachast and twin Razor Fiends in the other new battleground this year, the frigid arctic!

“Now, as is tradition during the tournament, the celebration, in honor of Lord Steelight and his fellow deities, and our glorious Emperor, must commence!  I hope you all enjoyed tonight’s incredible battle.  Up next, we have constructs against the powers of undeath, battling in a land of ice and snow.  I bid you, Illurians and guests alike, to return to our grand arena for games throughout the week, as well as our next battle!  For now, I wish you all a pleasant eve, and a great celebration!”

Another blinding burst of magic and color leaves the sky empty, with the Tournament Master having disappeared once again.


2 Responses so far.

  1. preston purnell says:

    Great fight. Congratulations to the blighted stalker. And great narration on this fight. I especially liked the detail you gave to the arena and the description of each creature. It makes it feel as if i was in the arena witj the spectators. Two thumbs up from Alchemy.

Leave a Reply