“Casting spells directly at the Erdaz is ineffective, but casting a spell to affect the environment around an Erdaz or to drop a large object on an Erdaz works perfectly. As such we will be learning non-direct combat spells.” The Sorcerer began, her hat in hand. “Now, somebody try to transmute my hat into a shard of metal. You there, the woman in the back. Haru, I believe. I know you just found how to harness the magic of Nevre, but you cannot harm me.”
Haru stood where she was, opened the path to magic she had found within her, and focused on the hat. She didn’t say anything, move her hands, or read a scroll; she just focused her mind on the task at hand. The hat did indeed turn into metal, but her control was not absolute. She ended up transmuting some of The Sorcerer’s hand and wrist into metal as well.
The Sorcerer looked at her hand and wrist, murmured a few words and turned them back into flesh. “Well, maybe you don’t need rituals to use magic, Haru, but perhaps you should find a way to focus so you can control it better. Your talent is very useful but as yet it is raw and unskilled.”
– – –
The Warrior and The Commander stood at the base of a large mountain range. The Warrior turned to look at The Commander who was wearing the same full plate as him, but with a different rank. The both of them were wearing their helmets, obscuring their identities.
“Amir,” The Warrior began, “why are the clockwork soldiers that The Commander commands not here?”
“Well, Kemp, I imagine that they do not work against these Erdaz.” The Commander responded. “As you know they run off of the magic of Nevre as do the gods themselves. That’s why the gods do not tread close to an Erdaz, they may find they cannot be reborn in the shadow of these beasts.” That is why they had to keep their identities hidden, there would be needless bloodshed if the soldiers tried to protect them. There would be enough deaths as it was.
“Let’s just hope this Warlocke that came from the stars can help. Though, those things they call guns are perfect to fight the Erdaz. As we know, the closer you get to an Erdaz the more it sucks the life out of you. Not to mention the way the muscles act like skin, it makes me want to p-”
The Warrior was interrupted by the sound of a scout’s horn and the cries of: “Erdaz spotted! Prepare to attack!”
“Well, I must be off to the front lines. Take care you command well, Amir.”
“And you make sure not to die, warrior Kemp.”
– – –
Jorgan Mc Kazel almost threw up the first time he saw an Erdaz. The skinless, muscle-covered mass the size of a small mountain. Around the adult Erdaz he could see smaller, just as hideous, younglings. “What I wouldn’t give to be fighting a dragon of old instead of these strange and hideous creatures.” He turned to the dragon behind him. “I fear this will be more difficult than we had hoped.”
“Does your world have dragons?” The dull red dragon asked, as it cleaned its wings.
“No, but in the time called the dark ages sometimes portals to this realm would let dragons through. However, either the stories were exaggerated as to their size, or you are a very young dragon.” Jorgan stood next to the dragon, his shoulders as the same height as the dragon’s.
“Actually, I’m small for my age, but if that Erdaz is the size of the dragons you speak of the tales were exaggerated.”
Jorgan mounted the saddle situated between the base of the dragon’s neck and its wings. “Well, let’s hope we don’t need a dragon that size to take it down.” After he was situated he made sure none of his pre-mixed components were spilled. “Let’s go.”
– – –
A few months earlier:
The gods of Nevre sat at the old palace in the northern reaches of Ertval. For the first time since they were reborn here they were all in the same place. Even The Desecrator was present, which angered quite a few of the other gods but this meeting was to discuss the fate of the entire realm. All the gods had felt a summoning even they could not ignore.
“Today,” The King began, “we were summoned by the very magic of the realm. I felt the pull as well as you did. Now normally I impose my decisions upon you, but for the first time in a long time The Coward will speak to you as an informer if nothing else.” He arose from his throne, moved it behind the raised dais and motioned to the former ruler of Ertval, The Coward, to stand there as he stepped off.
“Th-thank you m’lord.” The Coward said as he took the dais.
“Drop the formalities Rajendra, we are all gods here.” The Commander said. “Besides, father, by blood right that is your throne, though you have abdicated.”
The Coward seemed to stand a little straighter at that. “Yes, I suppose I was raised to stand before people and rule, though today I will not be ruling or commanding but informing. As we all know in the south there are creatures that absorb the magic and life of Nevre. With these creatures present we are not at the full level of our powers.” The Coward motioned to The Wanderer who approached the dais. “We will hear of a vision that the magic of Nevre sent to Doran here. Take it with a grain of salt, but don’t discount it completely.”
The Wanderer stood next to The Coward, looking a little sheepish. “I will tell you what I saw, and perhaps others have had the same visions. If we are to extend our civilization beyond this planet we must attempt the impossible.”
– – –
The Wanderer’s vision:
The vision begins with the visitors from the stars, Haru Johnson, Jorgan Mc Kazel, and Alaan Sagtov staring at an Erdaz.
“What interesting creatures.” Jorgan says, trying to keep his composure. “While they look disgusting they are a native lifeform of this world. We will leave them be.”
Haru and Alaan nod. They both agree with him as they board their ship to return with news of Nevre.
The vision shifts to a time in the future, first the vision shows the Erdaz still on the southern continent of Nevre, then it zooms out and then in on The Scholar and The Tinkerer boarding a spacecraft. They share a few words about discovering the knowledge of the civilizations beyond their realm as the ship begins to leave the atmosphere of the planet. Shortly after entering warp the two of them seem sick, but the other passengers tell them it’s just Warp Sickness. Happens the first few times in warp. Suddenly the two of them begin to age rapidly, in a few short moments they have become piles of dust. They have become their true age.
The vision returns to the point where the visitors from the stars were looking at the Erdaz. Jorgan turns to face Haru and Alaan.
“I believe the inhabitants of this planet about these creatures. Look at how they strip the very life from the land. These creatures must be destroyed both for the sake of the planet, and of all other planets. If somebody finds a way to transfer these off-world the galaxy will suffer death and destruction at their hands.” Haru and Alaan nod gravely, they know this must be done, but they wish they did not need to cause extinction to do it.
The vision moves to a time in the future, first the vision shows the southern continent of Nevre clear of the Erdaz, the Venerii’s society thriving with a few spaceports within sight. The vision zooms in on a spaceport with The Commaner and The Coward boarding it.
“Don’t worry, father. I’m sure that we’ll be fine. With my clockwork soldiers acting as security forces under the watchful eye of The Warrior we don’t need to worry about the safety of the realm. We can travel freely through the galaxy, or at least the mapped portion of it.”
The Coward nods, as they both board. The ship exits the atmosphere of the planet and enters into warp. The father and son reminisce about when they were king and prince. The ship exits warp at a strange planet. When they land Haru is waiting in the crowd to greet them. She is older, but she sees them immediately and welcomes them to the world where she was born. The two gods smile at her and ask her how these decades have treated her as they walk towards her home.
– – –
The Wanderer looked towards The Pathfinder. “Well, you’re the god of prophecy. Are my words those of two possible futures?”
The Pathfinder arose, tears filling his eyes. “I have been to this future in the moment you asked me. There are many possible futures now, and I have also gone back to see the creation of the Erdaz. While the Erdaz must be destroyed in order for the magic of Nevre to spread across the galaxy, they were once part of a balance of this world. The Venerii were their check until the great Yeodiax for which this continent is named were destroyed by an expansion of Erdaz. The Venerii were there to counter the attack, but many lives were lost that day. The Serventers, in their sorrow, left this realm to find another where they could make all pure for the Erdaz destroy all other life and cannot be made pure. We must destroy these Erdaz so we can be unshackled from this planet. Once that has been done I will journey to find the Serventers and bring them back to Nevre, their true home.”
There were many murmurs of assent from the gathered gods as The Coward and The Wanderer cleared the dais to allow The King to stand before the gathered gods and address them. “I believe this to be true. I know that you don’t like it when I decree things to you, especially since there’s no way for me to enforce those decrees upon you, but I do decree war on the Erdaz. We send an advance party in three month’s time, and a mixed army of all three kingdoms in four month’s time. I trust you all agree with this?”
The Kindness stood and addressed the meeting. “I shall set up a healing corps now. We will need all the healers we can get.” She teleported away.
“I will find and train as many battlemages as I can find.” The Sorcerer, too, teleported away.
The Commander looked at The Warrior, their past differences far from his mind. The Warrior looked at The Commander and nodded. “We will be in the advance party and will sow the seeds of the combined army that you speak of.” They too teleported away.
This continued for a while, people pledging their roles in the coming war of extermination and teleporting away until The King, The Desecrator, and The Jester were all that remained.
“What will you do, Mrto.” The Jester asked pointedly. “If you do not wish to be in this war I suggest you stay away from it.”
Mrto smiled at The Jester. “We will not be at odds this time, though you may not like my methods I believe the visitors from the stars have ways for them to be more effective. Have you heard of guns, Jester?”
The King smiled at the two of them. “Spoilers, Mrto, spoilers.”