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In the Shadow of the Dragon

FarsightX3FarsightX3 Traveler
edited June 6 in Show and Tell
Hey guys! Long time no share haha. I did this quick map as an area map for a fantasy prologue contest I am in. This is a part of my MMORPG game world. Added some photoshop magic! Below is the prologue to my game world and fantasy writing contest I am in!




In the Shadow of the Dragon

“There weren’t always Dragons in the Valley.” These were the last words Seridan heard from his father before he marched into his final battle. It’s an echo of a memory Seridan can’t bear to witness again and has been long forgotten… until now.

Ten riders rode with great haste along the dirt path, through a trickling stream in the Great Malderook. This forest stood tall; wind unable to rattle the leaves below the umbrage. Often stags would eat the feathered grass in tiny meadows while Midnight Wolves prowled in the bushes. A thousand bugs crooned in the depths of the dense trees – a familiar cadence that comforted Seridan. He had returned to his lands from the Timberland Cascades where he foiled many of the Empire’s encampments in search of his rival.

A man of black hair draping just below his shoulders with a long face and a beard long as a hilt; his eyes of nutmeg-like brown. It was his homeland, his forest by right. His House claimed the valleyed forest of Malderook when the tribes roamed free before the dawn of Kings. Now, however, an intruder lurked in the glens afar.

All of the Knights dressed in Throbossian crafted plate armor, the finest rare metal in all the land, durable, yet light and dyed in the essence of their Great Lord of House Wyk. The man holding their banner had their House colors but a different sigil. The sigil was a white cross made of four interlocking swords with the first letter of the founding Houses on top of each pommel and each side of the hilt, twelve in all. A white circle is nested in the center of the four interlocking swords symbolizing the unity of the Crusaders of the Divin’rah. The holy crusaders sought to break the arm of the Seseraxian Empire that maintained a stranglehold on the realm.

Seridan confidently pointed towards a meadow of white fawns, a rare flower with nine petals. The precision of Seridan’s scouts was unwavering. Kannis Dane, third in command and General to the elite Loradon Regiment, as well as the only man of the ten who grooms his hair with an axe, lifted his visor and met his leader with his grey eyes.

“Today my lord, Mathias will meet your blade and the final dragon will be slain,” Kannis told Seridan.

Seridan gently bowed his head in agreement while cantering along the dirt path.

“Careful, men. Ride slowly,” Seridan said in hush tones.

His Knights warily trotted through the meadow, with one spotting a blaze of smoke billowing from the east. “Look,” the Knight beckoned to his commander.

“You four, flank from the north. We will hit them head-on,” directed Seridan as he tightly grabbed the reins of his loyal steed.

His horse rushed towards the smoke, Seridan’s sword silent as it left its sheath, expertly drawn. He gripped his longsword high, ready to end his rival. The sweat of anticipation rained down his face of forty years behind his helm. Encroaching the blaze, Seridan’s eyes widened as he spotted two men with onyx-colored silk robes, their faces cowled. The men chanted incoherently in a foreign tongue, as if they were praising the flames.

The hooves of Seridan’s steed halted on the forest floor. “Hold! Hold!” He shouted towards his flank. His eyes dart back and forth, swiftly surveying his surroundings while his mind grew overcast with confusion.

The intelligence was wrong. No banner of Seserax whipped in the wind near the encampment. Instead, it was a pyre with nobody, just the burning blaze.

Attempting to regain composure, Seridan points his blade at the head of the closest hooded man. “Who gave you permission to burn this pyre in my forests?” He commanded.

Both men stood there as if the presence of ten Knights did not rattle them. Their silence is deafening. “Perhaps they cannot understand the common tongue,” Seridan thought.

Steadying his emotions so as to not allow slander to escape his lips, Seridan took a deep breath to allow the men to speak. The other Knights exchange uncomfortable glances as the tension mounted. It was a moment not common to them. Seridan’s adamance to find Mathias is desperately significant to ending the Empire.

The pyre behind them sparked and erupted into a giant flame, surprising the Knights. One of the hooded men sprints towards the thicket. The remaining hooded man began to cast a dark spell in the palm of his hands. Seridan thrusts his longsword into the spellcaster’s throat, killing him instantly.

“take him alive!” Shouted Seridan, who watched his General leap from his saddle to tackle the hooded man. Kannis put the man in irons and threw him on the back of his horse.

The group made their way down the creek to make camp just in sight of the pyre. Many thoughts ran amok in Seridan’s mind as he was the only one sitting on his horse while the others prepared camp for the evening.

Kannis approached him. “He eludes us again. His time will come. There weren’t always Dragons in the Valley, remember that my friend.”

As hard as that was to say, Seridan’s father was perpetually a man filled with hope. Kannis knew that. The cat and mouse game with Mathias took a toll on all of them. He was the last cog in the tyrannical reign. The end of the Seseraxian Empire was in sight.

Seridan slowly dismounted from his horse and told Kannis, “if my father were still here, Mathias would be in irons.”

His eyes hang low, looking down at the forest floor hearing hooves of horses pounding in the dirt path towards them. Five Knights ride through a billowing dirt cloud. Balwyn of House Exard, a stout man with twine-like brown hair and a crescent-shaped scar above his right, green eye, jumped off his horse and landed in front of Seridan.

“Hunting without me?” smirked Balwyn. Both men smiled with glee before hugging each other, laughter bellowing from their throats.

“I’m in the presence of too many good men! Fetch this man some ale,” Seridan joyfully exclaimed while putting his arm around him. Balwyn, a dear friend who was like a brother he never had, could always dispel the rain for Seridan.

They walked towards their captive who was tied to a wooden post.

Seridan reached for the robed man’s hood to reveal his face. He looked towards his old friend and explained how they found this man praising a pyre at the scout’s false location. Balwyn suggested they drink and revel in their delights and deal with their prisoner later.

Many hours later, dusk had turned into a cloudless night. The star-like lanterns in the sky flickered and the orb of night fills the vast void as Seridan, and Balwyn made their preparations.

Kannis dragged the robed man into the tent. He heaved their captive onto the dirt floor, the man’s body meeting the curve of the root extruding from the ground, cracking his ribs. The captive begged his eyes upwards towards the dominant presence of Seridan. He saw his war-ridden, slate blue armor, with the sigil of his royal House branded in the center of the breastplate – an elongated black cross with spades. Moonlight from the hole on top of their tent beamed down on the face of his captive while Seridan’s hand confidently rested on the hilt of his longsword, Night’s Kiss.

Seridan and his Knights stood before the lame man ready for their interrogation. With his deep voice, Seridan boomed, “Stand on your feet!’

The man stumbled, attempting to stand, ripping the hood of his black robe on the root he fell on. Seridan took a moment to examine his captive to see what kind of man he would be. Would he be weak at his knees, or would he show courage?

While leaning in, Seridan anchored his eyes into the broken man and spoke, “Priests of Dreswyk, nor Sages of Kael’Tristin nor Wizards of Doldernast dress in black robes chanting at a fire.” He went on, “Necromancy is forbidden.”

Before the captive could speak, Balwyn blurted, “Necromancy does not use fire to raise the dead.”

The captive’s mouth seemed clenched together as if he did not want to speak. Kannis, a man of little patience, kicked the man in the belly.

With a couple of deep breaths, the captive finally stated, “an ancient ritual, our mentor died and wanted to give him a proper burial.”

His voice raised, “You take me for a fool? My men said there was nobody on top of the pyre.”

Seridan quickly rose to his feet and began to pace black and forth stroking his beard. He contemplated the inner war inside himself. Shall he pander to his mind to hide his intentions or pander to the vehemence surging through his body? Finding his rival, Mathias, was paramount to his mission of extinguishing the draconian flame of the Empire.

Seridan whipped his head towards the captive drawing his sword, slamming the point of his blade on the dirt floor of his tent while kneeling before him. “Where is Mathias?” Seridan sternly spoke. The captive man fell back in fear he did not feel before.

The captive coughed up blood before his scratchy voice spoke, “You will not find Mathias.”

A simple tilt of Seridan’s head expressed gratitude towards the captive as he sheathed his sword.

Seridan eyes rolled to his right, “Kannis, unbind this man!”

The sound of plate armor clanked and wrestled the Knights as they questioned their leader’s instruction.

“Commander! This man cannot be trusted!” One knight spoke.

Another Knight debated, “Sir, I am the eldest of all here. I have served under your father Hemnar. Our Crusade to take down the Empire is nye. We have them by the tail. Don’t risk him giving away your location. Kannis’ scouting regiment gave erroneous tracking information to the Black Wardens in the Timberlands. Commander, I urge you to take heed.” Seridan knew this decision would cause animosity between his ranks. He had an alternative motive he did not want to reveal.

Kannis stood in front of Seridan, “Today is not a day of mercy my friend.”

“As the Knight Commander of the Crusade of the Divin’rah, and as Great Lord of House Wyk, I command this man to walk out of my tent a free man!” Seridan barked.

“If he knows the whereabouts of Mathias, let me take this man to the under cells of Dreswyk. I will get him to speak!” said Balwyn bravely.

Seridan locked his eyes on his dear friend demanding respect in front of their captive. Balwyn graciously took a step back and bowed his head.

Kannis, while disagreeing, united the robed man. Seridan walked towards an old wooden table and sat down to chug the ale left in his horn mug. Then, he advised Kannis to send word to the Twin Kings of Kael’Tristin and Balwyn to House Fossoway in Gibbon to keep an eye on their lands as if Mathias were in that vicinity. He then escorted the robed man out from the Knight Commander’s tent, pushing through the flap.

As they breached the threshold of the tent, the morning light revealed something hidden and embedded on the back of the robe where the hood was ripped.

A chill scattered itself down Seridan’s spine as hairs on his arm spiked. His heart dropped and his blood turned to ice as he questioned what he saw. “Not this dragon, they don’t exist anymore,” he thought. “Why couldn’t it be the Dragon of Seserax?” The Banner’s sigil he wanted to see was a dragon of two pincers with a long flame-like tail torn in two. Grievously, it was a sigil of a snake slithering around a dagger pointing to an esoteric eye.

“There weren’t always dragons in the Valley,’ Seridan mumbled to himself. Suddenly, Mathias was no longer his prize.
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