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PostPosted: Tuesday, March 29th, 2016 - 17:59:29 
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Joined: Tuesday, August 16th, 2011 - 19:08:45
Posts: 345
Location: Beavercreek, Ohio, USA, Planet Earth
Favorite Character(s): Fifi La Fume, Minerva Mink
I wrote my first non-fanfiction work back in 2014. It's mainly on FurAffinity, but I also shared it on Gaia Online, and thought it'd be appropriate to share it here. Oh, and thought I'd mention that one of my friends is helping me create a fanbase of this story. :lol:

Before we go into the main story, I thought I'd post some important stuff.

I thought first off, I'd post the profiles and map of the land the story takes place in.

Here is the map of the Empire of Olympalantis--where Greek mythology and sci-fi high technology combine. Where past meets future.

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Name: Valerius Magnitis
Sex: Male
Race: Human
Age: 23
Birthday: January 7th
Height: 6 ft 3in
Weight: 160lbs
Class: Warrior
Hair: Brown
Eyes: Green
Blood Type: A-
Hails from: Paxotassia Town, in the Ionized Ionians.

Description: His skin is blanched almond color (FFEBCD), his brown hair (specifically, coffee brown (6F4E37)) is almost wavy, but shoulder length. His eyes are traditional forest green (014421).

Clothing: Often wears a skobeloff teal (007474) short sleeved shirt with a bright white (FFFFFF) Greek Capital Gamma symbol on it. He also wears Dark Powder Blue (003399) slacks and stormcloud gray (4F666A) boots. During winter time or in otherwise colder climates, he would wear winter coat, pants, hat, and gloves that are Dark Powder Blue, and the same stormcloud gray boots.

Weapon: A special plasma sword (kind of like a lightsaber). The handle is slate gray (708090), with some buttons of other colors). The blade is sky blue (87CEEB).


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Name: Delphinia Triantafyllou
Sex: Female
Race: Human
Age: 22
Birthday: April 8th
Height: 5 ft 11in
Weight: 120lbs
Class: Healer
Hair: Red
Eyes: Blue
Blood Type: O-
Hails from: Olympalantis

Description: Her skin is Papaya Whip (FFEFD5). Her hair is a ruby red (E0115F) with an almost rose pink (FF66CC) luster, the hair is straight and the length goes down to just above knee level behind her. And her eyes are royal azure (0038A8).

Clothing: During the warmer times of year, she often wears a headband consisting of a sea green (2E8B57) vine and a flower in the center (which has plum (8E4585) petals and saffron (F4C430) center dot). She would either wear a satin sheen gold (CBA135) dress with a knee-length skirt with various embroidered designs on the skirt and short sleeves; or would wear a flame orange (E25822) tank top and sinopia brown (CB410B) shorts. And also in warmer weather she d either wear mahogany (C04000) sandals or go barefoot.

During colder times (not seen in the story, but is mentioned), she would wear an amber (FFBF00) parka, with jasmine (F8DE7E) mittens and belt, and saffron colored boots.

Weapon: While it is not successfully used within the story, she does have a small dagger for self-defense. The blade is made of a meteorite glass, colored vanilla (F3E5AB). The handle is taupe (483C32), with a goldenrod (DAA520) gem near the base of the blade.


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Name: Erebus Tonadi
Sex: Male
Race: Human
Age: 25
Birthday: June 6th
Height: 7ft
Weight: 170lbs
Class: Warlock
Hair: Silver
Eyes: Glowing red
Blood Type: A+
Hails from: Olympalantis

Description: His skin is ghost white (F8F8FF) even though he is still of the living. His hair is a deep silver gray (C0C0C0) and messy, and his eyes are crayon scarlet (FD0E35) and glowing.

Clothes: Erebus wears a long robe that is black (000000) with some evil looking designs in crimson (DC143C) and midnight blue (191970). He also wears boots that are ultramarine (120A8F), but they are not always shown because of his long robe.

Weapons: Most of the time he uses his staff, which is has a urobilin (E1AD21) main shaft and four claws which hold the orb, which is colored Venetian red (C80815)


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Name: Nauplius Sideras
Sex: Male
Race: Dwarf
Age: 36
Birthday: November 18th
Height: 2 ft
Weight: 130lbs
Class: Metalsmith
Hair: Dark brown
Eyes: Gray-hazel
Blood Type: AB
Hails from: Gray Corfu

Description: Nauplius, like the rest of his Dwarven race, is about half the height of an average human in Olympalantis. He has wheat colored (F5DEB3) skin, his hair and beard are both seal brown (321414). The head hair is thick and hard, almost brush like, and his beard is almost wiry. He also has gray-hazel eyes, which are, from outermost edge of the iris to near the pupil, cadet gray (91A3B0), regular gray (7F7F7F), and slate gray (708090).

Clothing: He has a helmet that is pigment green (00A550) with timberwolf gray (DBD7D2) horns. His main coat is pine green (01796F), with some celeste (B2FFFF) fur around the neck, sleeve cuffs, and waist area. His pants are Phthalo green (123524), and he wears an eggplant purple (614051) belt with a copper (B87333) buckle. His boots are field drab (6C541E) with camel (C19A6B) fur around the leg holes.

Weapon: When forced to do battle, he has a large battle hammer, with a rust (B7410E) colored shaft and a large cobalt blue (0047AB) double-faced head. The sides of the head bear some Dwarven designs.


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Name: Rouvin Koukounari
Sex: Male
Race: Elf
Age: 23
Height: 5 ft 11in
Weight: 140lbs
Birthday: September 4th
Class: Marksman
Hair: Brown
Eyes: Gray
Blood Type: A-
Hails from: Emerald Kavala

Description: His skin is Navajo white (FFDEAD), with his pointy ears straight near the back of the head, and curved facing the front of the face. His hair is chocolate brown (7B3F00) and the length is just covering his shoulders. His eyes are purple taupe (50404D).

Clothing: Rouvin wears a green Robin-Hood-style hat specifically Hunter green(355E3B) with a Tiffany blue (0ABAB5) feather in it. His top shirt is mainly Hunter green with Palatinate blue (273BE2) sleeves, and he wears Robin egg blue (00CCCC) fingerless gloves. His pants are Persian green (00A693) with Eton blue (96C8A2) designs near the hems. And his shoes are navy blue (000080).

Weapons: Rouvin’s weapon is a compound bow, which is mainly dark olive green (556B2F) with some markings that are rose quartz (AA98A9) and sunglow (FFCC33). The bowstring is fallow (C19A6B). The arrows he usually shoots have a chestnut shaft (CD5C5C) with maroon (800000) feather ends and amber (FFBF00) arrowheads.


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Name: Zanthe Sfendami
Sex: Female
Race: Elf
Age: 21
Birthday: May 2nd
Height: 5ft
Weight: 124lbs
Class: Nature Priestess
Hair: Blonde
Eyes: Violet
Blood Type: O-
Hails from: Emerald Kavala

Description: Her skin is vanilla (F3E5AB), her hair is maize (FBEC5D) blonde and straight (not curly), and her eyes are amethyst (9966CC). Her particular elf ears are almond teardrop shaped.

Clothing: Her bikini top and skirt are mint colored (3EB489), and look like they were sewn together by leaves that never rot away. And she also wears dark goldenrod (B8860B) sandals.

Weapons: She has a curved magical staff that is burnt umber (8A3324) with some runes on it. She also has a special dagger for close combat. The handle of the dagger is colored sepia (704214), and the obsidian blade is colored taupe (483C32).


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Name: Galina Thyella
Sex: Female
Race: Elf
Age: 22
Birthday: July: 9th
Height: 5 ft 6in
Weight: 117lbs
Class: Air Wizard
Hair: Black
Eyes: Blue
Blood Type: B+
Hails from: New Nimbaxos (in Cyclonades)

Description: Because of her knowledge and use of air magic, her skin is powder blue (B0E0E6). Her hair is black (000000), but has a slight glaucous (6082B6) shine. Her eyes are electric indigo (6F00FF).

Clothing: She wears a navy blue (000080) corset, a sapphire (0F52BA) skirt, and an Egyptian blue (1034A6) belt. She also wears a lavender blush (FFF0F5) pair of sandals and a heliotrope (DF73FF) headband.

Weapon: She wields a staff with a steel blue (4682B4) shaft and sky blue (87CEEB) sphere at the tip. In close combat, this sphere glows and transfers its magic into damage to her enemy.

_________________
"Advice is free, Alexander. Making use of it costs much more!" --Ali the bookshop owner, from King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow

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All Hail Shadow! Heroes rise again! Obliterating everything that's not your friend!

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PostPosted: Tuesday, March 29th, 2016 - 18:00:49 
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Joined: Tuesday, August 16th, 2011 - 19:08:45
Posts: 345
Location: Beavercreek, Ohio, USA, Planet Earth
Favorite Character(s): Fifi La Fume, Minerva Mink
And now... onto the story itself!

The Tower of Silver Artemis Mountain
By Danny Wheeler

Chapter 1: Arrival in Olympalantis

A beautiful sunrise began the day in the megalopolis that was Olympalantis, the capitol of the empire that bears the same name.
Businesses and shops soon opened their doors.
The place looked like something from ancient Greece, and it would be were it not for the satellite dishes and high-technology electronics within the land.
Yes, this world was a world where the old met the new. It was where ancient Greco-Roman mythology met the science-fiction world of futuristic dreams.
For example, some of the temples had, instead of statues, holograms of the deities that dwelt within—or at least visited when they were not in the heavenly realms they came from.
A few stadiums were about, and instead of horse chariot races and old Olympic games, they had jet ship races and futuristic technological variants of said games. For example, some people would get into giant robotic armors for wrestling, as there were safety features to prevent grievous injuries.
The people within the city were mostly humans, though occasionally an elf or a dwarf, or a Halfling, or some other sentient being would enter the city to do trade in the marketplace.

It was on this day that one person had arrived in the harbor, a young man from Paxotassia Town, which was in the Ionized Ionian Islands.
This young man had skin the color of blanched almonds, his brown shoulder length hair waved gracefully in the wind, and his eyes green as a lush summer forest. He wore a skobeloff teal short sleeved shirt with a capital Greek letter Gamma on the front, dark powder blue slacks, and boots the color of storm clouds. This man’s name was Valerius Magnitis.
As he disembarked from the ship, Valerius smiled as he looked about the city. He had been here in the past, but this time, it was a special day—it was the 700th anniversary of the empire’s founding.
“This is indeed a glorious time to be here,” said Valerius. “And it will be even better when I find my darling.”
His beloved happened to be one of the best healers in the land, a woman named Delphinia Triantafyllou. And Valerius knew exactly where to find her.
Riding on a rented motorized bicycle, Valerius went to Delphinia’s small yet beautiful healer’s house. The house was like a classical healing apothecary, but also with fancy gadgets to help the user find anything that was required. Otherwise it was as what one would expect from the Greco-Roman healer’s house, with all sorts of herbs, fruits, spices, and minerals for making homemade medicines—the empire always treasured Delphinia’s knowledge of natural medicines.
“Delphinia, are you here?” asked Valerius. His question was answered in just a few seconds.
“Yes, Valerius,” said a cheerful female voice. “I’ll be right up.”
The sounds of soft footsteps soon were followed by a lovely sight. Delphinia soon approached her love. Her papaya whip skin was smooth, most likely because she had been using some of her homemade ointments to prepare for a visitor. Her hair was ruby red, with an almost rose pink shine, and the length went down to just above knee-level behind her. Her royal azure eyes looked lovingly at Valerius. Her headband looked like it was woven from a sea green vine, and the flower in the center of the headband looked almost like a real flower with plum purple petals and a saffron center. She was wearing her flame orange tank top and sinopia brown shorts. Since the floor was swept clean and any sharp or otherwise dangerous objects were swept away, Delphinia had no worries in walking barefoot as she approached the man in her shop.
“Ah, Delphinia,” said Valerius. The two embraced and, since there were no other people in there at the time, shared a sweet kiss.
“I see you came to join in celebrating the 700th anniversary of the empire,” Delphinia replied softly.
“Yes,” said Valerius with a nod. “I wouldn’t want to miss it. And with you, it makes the celebration even more beautiful.”
Delphinia just giggled.
“Well,” said Delphinia, “business has been slow but good. Most people were just getting some items to up stamina for dates, as well as some sunblock to prevent sunburn. Only once or twice did I need to provide medicine for some heat-related illness.”
“It is well, love,” replied Valerius. “When evening comes, I’ll come by again. It has been a while since I explored Olympalantis proper. I have your number in my cellphone, so I can call you this evening when you’re ready.”
“All right, dear,” said Delphinia. “Heavens smile on you always.”
The two then waved as they parted ways for the time being.

Valerius then visited the local arcade, to pass the time before his evening date with Delphinia. The arcade looked like a family friendly tavern, similar to a Greco-Roman tavern, but with various televisions to show various sports games and local news. Many games were there, from platformers and 3-D games, to racing games, dance games, bumper cars, miniature golf, and even a miniature roller-coaster ride.
“Maybe another time I should take Delphinia here,” said Valerius. “After all, she does love the dance games.”
Soon, he met another human male and an elf male, in their biker outfits, but he knew these people were safe to be around, as he remembered seeing these people in a previous arcade tournament. He didn’t get their names, but he did watch their interactions from a distance and knew their tough biker garb was just a façade… unless, of course, criminals threatened the innocent—he one time saw that as well, and they quickly came to the people’s rescue.
“Hey, can I join you for a good classic space shooter?” asked Valerius.
The elf wisecracked, “I don’t know, can you? Joking aside, sure—come on over!”
The other human male added, “The game can take a total of four players simultaneous, and we can use extra help in fighting evil aliens!”
Valerius then joined them. He took the Player 4 slot. The Player 3 was soon taken by a Dwarf also in biker garb. Due to his small stature, he had a step-stool to help him.
After a few rounds and getting to the high score, Valerius checked the time. It was an hour before sunset.
“I gotta split, guys,” Valerius explained. “I need to meet with Delphinia.”
“It’s cool,” said the Dwarf. “Always important to keep promises.”
Valerius waved farewell as he left the arcade, preparing to reunite with Delphinia.

The healer woman had just closed up shop as she turned to meet Valerius.
“You made it!” cheered Delphinia.
“Yes, love,” replied Valerius.
The two then walked arm in arm to a hill close to the Imperial Palace. The Imperial Palace looked like a Roman fortress appeared in Europe prior to Rome’s collapse that heralded the dark ages, aside from the high technology elsewhere in the empire, of course. They then sat down, with Delphinia in Valerius’ lap, and they relaxed near an olive tree as the sun soon set, and others found some places.
When the sun finally went down and the night came in, a bang was heard, and the fireworks soon shot up. The crowd oohed and ahhed as the various displays of light and sound echoed.
“It is so wonderful,” said Delphinia.
“And amazing,” replied Valerius, “that 700 years ago this empire became what it is now.”
“Yes,” said Delphinia. “Both war and peace formed the Olympalantis Empire. Right now, I am just thankful to the gods we have this moment of peace.”
“I am too, darling,” replied Valerius.
During a break in the fireworks, the two embraced and kissed.

_________________
"Advice is free, Alexander. Making use of it costs much more!" --Ali the bookshop owner, from King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow

Maverick Hunter D-Boy at your service!

All Hail Shadow! Heroes rise again! Obliterating everything that's not your friend!

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PostPosted: Tuesday, March 29th, 2016 - 18:01:34 
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Location: Beavercreek, Ohio, USA, Planet Earth
Favorite Character(s): Fifi La Fume, Minerva Mink
Chapter 2: The Warlock’s Theft

But while there was celebration outside the palace, within it, all was not well.
Within the dimly lit halls, an unwelcome presence materialized through magic. The security systems didn’t detect magical entry, because no one believed anyone would consider that option. And this false sense of safety would prove disastrous.
The fireworks explosions masked the faint “poof” of a teleport spell near the kingdom’s treasure vault.
The individual had ghost white skin, though he was of the living. His hair was a deep silver gray and almost messy. And his eyes were scarlet, and glowing menacingly.
His long robe was completely black, with sinister designs in crimson and midnight blue. Underneath the robe were ultramarine boots, though very few would see them because of the long robe.
In this intruder’s hand was a staff that was urobilin tan, and in its four “claws” held a Venetian red orb.
“There it is!” the intruder softly whispered. “Within this vault is the stone tablet I seek! That tablet has written on it the Forbidden Ritual, which I, Erebus Tonadi, shall use to become the supreme god of this world!”
Erebus soon raised his staff toward the vault doors, and the Venetian red orb glowed a gentle glow. It was a slightly brighter hue of red, but still dim. The vault’s combination lock valves moved by themselves until the door slowly opened.

The vile fiend stepped in the vault. Piles and bags of gold were about. Gemstones of every color and cut also graced the room. But none of these treasures mattered to Erebus—he was after the stone tablet. In the middle of the vault was what the madman sought. A medium sized tablet, about a cubit in height and three-fourths of a cubit wide, lay atop a pedestal.
“At last!” chuckled Erebus. “It is mine!”
But soon, a passing human guard saw the vault open when it should not have been.
“Who’s in there?!” shouted the guard. He was dressed in a mix of Greek soldier garb and an outfit one might expect in a science fiction action movie. He was then aghast to see Erebus holding the stone tablet, and reached for his stunner.
“You are not authorized to have that stone tablet!” the guard shouted more. But no sooner did he sound the alarm than did Erebus use his teleportation spell to warp out!
The emperor, a human, soon arrived. His skin was a pink-peach, with auburn hair and teal eyes, and his suit was like a modern day royalty with a wreath-like crown made of gold.
“What has happened?!” said the emperor.
“Emperor Constantinus,” replied the guard, “someone with magical means has stolen the stone tablet with the Forbidden Ritual!”
As soon as those words left the guard’s lips and touched his ears, Emperor Constantinus’ face became pale.
“Only one fiend would want that ritual badly,” Emperor Constantinus said. “And that would be the evil warlock, Erebus Tonadi!”
“Erebus Tonadi?!” the guard said.
“Yes,” replied the emperor. “This fiend desires more than anything to make himself into a god, and the Forbidden Ritual is perhaps the one thing that would give such an evil man anything close to that power!”
“We must search for him!” said the guard.
“But where?” asked the emperor. “With his magic, he can appear at any place of his choosing!”

While the Emperor and his guard were conversing, the celebration outside had reached its end.
The people were getting up and preparing to leave for their homes to rest.
Delphinia and Valerius soon got up. The two walked arm in arm and proceeded to Delphinia’s home and healing place.
As the two were about to part for the night, Delphinia said, “Good night, Valerius. I hope we meet again soon.”
Valerius answered, “Sleep well, Delphinia.”
The two kissed one more time before parting ways for the night.
But after the two parted, a figured watched in the shadows.
“That maiden,” he said. “I will need her for the ritual. I’ll take her with me, but I must wait till the time is right for what I need from her.”

Delphinia was again barefoot as she sat near her mirror, preparing to rest for the night, when she heard the door swing wide open.
“Who’s there?!” Delphinia said with a gasp as she got up.
She gasped again in fright when she saw Erebus Tonadi in front of her. She didn’t know his name at the time, but she knew he was a threat. She quickly reached for her dagger, which had a blade of vanilla-colored meteorite glass, and a handle that was colored taupe, save for the goldenrod gem near the base of the blade.
But she would not get a chance to use her weapon, as an orb of magic fired from Erebus’ staff knocked the dagger out of her hand.
“Do not think you can resist me, maiden,” said Erebus. “You will now come with me, Erebus Tonadi. Your compliance is expected, as it is fruitless to resist!”

_________________
"Advice is free, Alexander. Making use of it costs much more!" --Ali the bookshop owner, from King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow

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PostPosted: Tuesday, March 29th, 2016 - 18:02:21 
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Joined: Tuesday, August 16th, 2011 - 19:08:45
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Location: Beavercreek, Ohio, USA, Planet Earth
Favorite Character(s): Fifi La Fume, Minerva Mink
Chapter 3: The Chase Is On!

The next day, Valerius went to visit Delphinia’s home, unaware of the kidnapping.
He would soon find out, however, as he saw some Imperial Guards and local police force—dressed in what one would expect in modern day police apparel—outside Delphinia’s home.
Valerius went up to one of the guards and asked, “Sir! What has happened?”
The guard turned to face Valerius—and this was the same guard who reported the theft of the stone tablet. He did not mince words. He answered Valerius, “Delphinia Triantafyllou has been kidnapped!”
The words sent a chill down Valerius’ spine.
“Who could have done this?!” he asked.

The guard spoke, “It cannot be a coincidence—it must have been the very perpetrator who stole the stone tablet last night during the 700th anniversary celebration… the warlock Erebus Tonadi!”
“Erebus Tonadi?!” Valerius repeated, and then asked, “The same warlock who wants to make himself a god?!”
“The same,” answered the guard. “I would not be surprised if the reason he kidnapped her was for part of the Forbidden Ritual.”
“Forbidden… Ritual?” asked Valerius, now more than ever fearing for Delphinia’s life.
“Yes,” said the guard. “Long ago, a mad spellbinder also wanted to make himself a god, so with the help of fallen gods banished from the heavens, he had written down the ritual on a tablet.
“But, Zeus countered the plot by sending his son Hercules, along with the Amazon Atlanta and the Argonaut Jason, to thwart this spellbinder. But even with all of Hercules’ might, the stone tablet could not be destroyed. Even Zeus could not bring himself to do so, fearing that the evil within the stone tablet would be unleashed unwittingly.
“So, the first Emperor—the ancestor of our beloved emperor, of course—agreed to seal it away in the Imperial Palace. And that’s where it lay… until last night, of course.”

Valerius knew he had to stop Erebus… not only to save his beloved Delphinia, but all of Olympalantis as well!
“SOMEONE! HELP!” a voice cried out. It was a voice Valerius recognized immediately.
“Delphinia!” he said. He turned and faced the direction the cry came from. His face filled with rage to see Erebus holding Delphinia near him, his arm around the maiden’s neck, and herself struggling in vain to get free.
Valerius shouted, “You must be Erebus Tonadi, the one responsible for this outrage!”
“The proof is in the pudding, is it not?” Erebus replied with a chuckle. “I’d love to stay and chat, but I need to find the other ingredients for the ritual. I will have your girlfriend by me as insurance that I would not be interrupted unnecessarily!”
The warlock laughed as light shone around him, and both were surrounded by a sphere.
“VALERIUS! HELP!” cried Delphinia as she was taken away.

“I WON’T LET YOU GET AWAY WITH THIS, EREBUS!” shouted Valerius as he began to chase the sphere.
However, being the capital of the same empire that bears its name, Olympalantis was a large city indeed. By the time he neared the city limits, Valerius soon found himself panting.
“Ho there, stranger,” said a gruff yet friendly voice. “You can’t take this journey alone—you’ll need all the help you can get.”
Valerius turned around. After looking back and forth, he looked down slightly to see a Dwarf. His skin was wheat colored, and his hair and beard were seal brown. Most of the hair atop his head was under a helmet that was pigment green and had timberwolf gray horns. But whatever hair he did show was quite brush like. Even his own beard was almost wiry in texture. His eyes were a gray-hazel. The outermost edge of the iris was cadet gray, the next “ring” of the iris was regular gray, and the ring of iris near the pupil was slate gray.
The Dwarf’s clothing, aside from the aforementioned helmet, was a pine green coat that had celeste colored fur around the neck, sleeve cuffs, and waist area. His pants were colored a Phthalo green, and were held in place by an eggplant purple belt with a copper buckle. And the small yet sturdy creature wore boots that were field drab with camel fur around the holes the legs went through.
Valerius also noticed the Dwarf had with him a large battle hammer, since the outer countryside was filled with dangers for the unwary. The hammer had a rust colored shaft, yet the human knew it was still fresh and strong. The head was cobalt blue, and had two faces for striking. The sides of the head had unmistakable Dwarven designs.
“Who are you, good stranger,” asked Valerius.
The Dwarf chuckled heartily and answered, “My name is Nauplius Sideras, of Gray Corfu. I was visiting here to take part in the 700th anniversary of the empire as you most likely were, as well as peddle some wares made from my people.”
“I am Valerius Magnitis of Paxotassia Town,” replied Valerius.
“The same Paxotassia Town in the Ionized Ionian Islands?” asked Nauplius.
“The same,” Valerius said with a nod.

“So,” said Nauplius, “the one that fiend kidnapped, Delphinia, is your beloved, eh? Well, since she’s also one of the empire’s top-notch healers, that’s another reason to save her.”
“Yes,” said Valerius in agreement. “And since he had stolen the stone tablet containing the Forbidden Ritual, defeating Erebus is also the only way to save all of the Olympalantian Empire!”
“The Forbidden Ritual?!” gasped Nauplius. “Let’s go and stop him! I have friends in the Emerald Kavala Forest! They can aid us as well!”
Nauplius shared with Valerius an energy drink he had with him at the time. After being rejuvenated, the two soon began their journey, by entering the Emerald Kavala Forest from the West Side of Olympalantis.

_________________
"Advice is free, Alexander. Making use of it costs much more!" --Ali the bookshop owner, from King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow

Maverick Hunter D-Boy at your service!

All Hail Shadow! Heroes rise again! Obliterating everything that's not your friend!

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PostPosted: Tuesday, March 29th, 2016 - 18:02:56 
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Location: Beavercreek, Ohio, USA, Planet Earth
Favorite Character(s): Fifi La Fume, Minerva Mink
Chapter 4: Emerald Kavala

A breeze blew through the trees of Emerald Kavala, a rich forest to the southwest. A lot of deciduous trees and the occasional evergreen blessed the views of all who would trek through these woodlands. Red squirrels, deer, and songbirds of all types were within the forests. Likewise, centaurs would walk about, some gathering safe wild fruits, others hunting for game.
But there were some hazards in the land as well. Some were just natural dangers, like some wild wolves and bears. Others were monsters, such as the Dark Forest Imps. Still more hazards were there most likely due to Erebus’ sorcery. And it was some of the third group that Valerius and Nauplius would eventually face.
The two soon arrived at a forest trail crossroads. The songbirds’ warbles calmed their nerves slightly as they tried to figure out where the next trail to take was.
“So, where to, friend?” asked Valerius.
“Emerald Kavala City is to the southwest, deep in the forest,” answered Nauplius. “Since the sun is generally south in this hemisphere, it should give us a general idea of where we are going, and I have a good compass and map of the empire.”
“You seem to have a good idea of where we are going,” said the human hero. “I shall trust you in this matter.”

The human and the dwarf continued southwest through the verdant woodland. Fallen leaves rustled and small twigs snapped shortly and not too loudly as they journeyed on.
But it was not long before they encountered their first battle. A pack of Dark Forest Imps appeared before them. They looked like short and scrawny humanoids, but had pointed ears similar to elves, horns that peeked through their hair—if any had hair, as some were bald—beak-like noses, and sharp teeth. Their yellow eyes were narrow and their toothy mouths showed sinister smiles that revealed their cruel intent. Their light tan skin quivered with anticipation to draw blood upon the two intruders. Some of them had loincloths of leaves or animal hides. Others had wooden armor with crude symbols on them. As for weapons, some had simple stone knives, others had spears, and others still had thick clubs. All of these Imps were prepared to gang up on the party.
“Blasted Dark Forest Imps,” grumbled Nauplius. He then turned to Valerius and said, “Be careful. Individually, they are weak, but the real threat is when they gang up on a target.”
“The classic ‘strength in numbers,’ I see,” sighed Valerius as he prepared his plasma sword. With a touch of one of the buttons on the slate-colored handle, a sky-blue blade of plasma emerged. Nauplius soon got out his Dwarven Battle Hammer.
The Imps then grunted in their own language to attack. At first, only three of them rushed up. Valerius then impaled one of the Imps with his energized blade—the very plasma practically cooked the monster from the inside, dispatching it almost instantaneously. Nauplius squashed one Imp flat with an overhead swing, being careful not to accidentally injure Valerius, and then with a sideways swat sent another Imp flying into a thick tree. That Imp died upon impact.
Two more waves of Imps went toward them. The first was five Imps, and the second wave had seven. All of these soon met similar fates as their comrades. Some of them Valerius decapitated, cut through the waist, sliced down the middle, or impaled. The plasma cauterized as it cut, so no blood flowed out of the fatal wounds. Others Nauplius dispatched by squashing, or sent them practically flying skywards.
After those fights, the Imps knew they were out of their league in fighting those two, so the leader grunted to them, and all the remaining Imps wisely retreated.

“Well,” sighed Valerius as he patched his wounds with some medical ointment and gauze, “not bad for a first fight, eh?”
“Indeed,” chuckled Nauplius as he put some salve on his own wounds. “I haven’t had a good warm up since I fought some bandits on the way here last week.”
After resting a while, the two continued, as it was still in the afternoon.
A buck deer and his doe mate ran across the forest before Valerius and Nauplius arrived in a forest clearing. The Dwarf was about to check his map and compass again, when some humans emerged. These had tan cloaks and hoods, and wore biker outfits. Some had steel daggers, others had pistols. These were obviously bandits.
One bandit looked at Nauplius and said, “Hey! There’s the jerk who gave us the run-around last week!”
Valerius gasped and asked Nauplius, “Are these the bandits that gave you trouble?”
“Indeed so,” said Nauplius. “And it seems they want a little rematch!”
Valerius then got out his Plasma Sword again, and was lucky enough to stop some oncoming bullets.
“Who the heck are you, getting in our way?” asked the bandit who was trying to shoot at the two.
“I’m Valerius Magnitis,” Valerius answered. “And we’re on our way to Emerald Kavala to find aid in stopping Erebus Tonadi!”
“We may not be on Erebus’ side,” said another bandit, “but we still have a score to settle with the Dwarf for making fools outta us!”
That bandit got out two short swords and charged towards Nauplius. Valerius then swung his Plasma Sword and cut the blades, rendering the swords useless.
“We gotta split, gang!” said the bandit. At that, the gang ran.
“For the first time, they’ve played the wise folk!” laughed Nauplius.
“Yeah,” added Valerius. “I think we can continue on, now.”

The day was getting late.
“Night is approaching soon,” said Nauplius. “We need to set camp soon.”
“Come join us,” said a friendly female voice. “We have camp set up already.”
The two turned and saw a female elf with vanilla colored skin, maize blonde hair, and amethyst eyes. Her elf ears were almond-teardrop shaped. Her bikini top and skirt were mint colored and looked like they were woven out of leaves that would never decompose. She also wore sandals that were colored dark goldenrod.
Valerius and Nauplius followed the elf woman to her camp. Another elf was sitting at the campfire, this one a male. His skin tone is what one would call Navajo white, with ears that were curved on the side near the face, but straight on the side facing the back of his head. His shoulder-length hair was chocolate brown, and his eyes purple taupe colored. This male elf wore a Hunter-green hat with a Tiffany-blue feather on it—and the hat was similar in style to most Robin Hood caricatures. The cloth of his top shirt was mainly Hunter-green with Palatinate blue sleeves, and on his hands were robin egg blue fingerless gloves. His pants were Persian green, with some Eton blue designs near the hems. And his archer shoes were Navy blue.
The male elf said, “Ah, welcome, travelers. You seem to have come quite a long way. Please stay with us.”
“Thank you, good people,” said Valerius.
“Aye, much obliged,” added Nauplius. “We’re on our way to Emerald Kavala City.”
“That’s where we’re from,” said the female. “We’ve been looking for someone to help Emerald Kavala.”

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PostPosted: Tuesday, March 29th, 2016 - 18:03:31 
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Chapter 5: Rouvin and Zanthe

“Problems in Emerald Kavala, you say?” Valerius asked, curiously.
“Indeed,” sighed the male elf. “That warlock Erebus has desecrated our Temple of Demeter. Because of that, our farms and gardens are suffering, and the forests of Emerald Kavala are more dangerous than usual.”
“Erebus has caused us trouble as well,” Valerius replied. “He stole the stone tablet containing the Forbidden Ritual, and took my beloved Delphinia captive!”
“The Forbidden Ritual?!” the female elf gasped. “I thought that was just mere legend. Now I know it is all too real!”
“We have a common foe,” said Nauplius. “We should team up!”
“Indeed,” said the male elf.
The female elf added, “I don’t think we’ve been properly introduced. I am Zanthe Sfendami, a Nature Priestess. My father is the Chief Priest of Demeter in Emerald Kavala. And this man is my boyfriend, Rouvin Koukounari.”
“Rouvin!” Nauplius said in a cheerful tone. “I hadn’t seen you since you were a toddler! Don’t you remember me? I’m Nauplius Sideras of Gray Corfu!”
“Nauplius!” replied Rouvin as he hugged his long missed dwarf friend.
The Dwarf then asked, “How is your father, Duke Urbanis Koukounari, doing?”
Rouvin softly chuckled, “Aside from Erebus’ troublemaking, he’s in good spirits. He and mother are doing quite fine, trying to maintain order.”
“Likewise,” said Zanthe, “My father, Chief Priest Silvanos, and my mother, Odela, are doing what they can.”
The campfire slowly dwindled as the minutes went on. Valerius looked afar.
“Well, it’s time to get some shut-eye,” he said. “Tomorrow, we can continue on to Emerald Kavala City.”
The others then nodded as they went to their sleeping bags to rest.

During his sleep, Valerius had a pleasant dream of being reunited with his beloved Delphinia. The two playfully walked hand in hand through a garden of flowers of all tints and shades. Butterflies, honeybees, and hummingbirds flitted about, gathering the sweet nectar from within them. The two lovers then rolled down a hill of grass together, and Valerius stopped on his back, and Delphinia then rolled gently onto him. The two embraced and were about to kiss.
But then, the skies became dark, and a giant image of Erebus appeared. The right hand of Erebus held the stone tablet, and with his left hand, the vile warlock snatched the beautiful healer. The image of Erebus revealed a mountain with a tower atop it.
“Within the tower you see behind me,” said Erebus, “I will perform the ritual to claim my place as deity! You think you can stop me? I like to see you try! Ha, ha, ha…”
“Valerius! Help!” cried Delphinia.

Valerius soon woke in a cold sweat.
It was the next day, and Nauplius, Rouvin, and Zanthe had also gotten up.
“You all right, Valerius?” Rouvin asked.
“I… I think so,” said Valerius. “I had a dream last night.”
“A dream?” asked Zanthe curiously.
“Yes,” answered Valerius, “but, I can probably talk about it another time. Let’s just continue on to Emerald Kavala.”
The party then packed up their goods and set off to the city of Emerald Kavala.

The early morning sun shone through the canopy of the forest as Valerius and his friends made their way to Emerald Kavala City. A gentle breeze blew through the treetops and made a gentle rustle, which provided a calming accompaniment to the birds’ songs and chirps.
However, that calm would soon end, as an Elm Wood Golem emerged. And this was no friend to Zanthe. This wooden image brought to life soon ripped a large branch from a tree and started to swing at the party.
“Erebus must’ve created that monster!” said Valerius. “There’s no doubt about it!”
“I’ll prepare a counterspell to stop it!” cried Zanthe.
“I’ll cover you, Zanthe,” said Rouvin as he reached for his bow.
The bow’s main body was a dark olive green with markings on it that were rose quartz and sunglow and color. The bowstring had the color of fallow. Rouvin reached for a few arrows from his quiver, that had chestnut-colored shafts, maroon feathers, and amber arrowheads.
One of the arrows zinged through the air and made its mark into one of the golem’s eyes. The wooden titan roared in pain as it staggered back, dropping its makeshift club. This distraction was sufficient time for Zanthe to move in and perform the counterspell. In her hands was a curved staff colored burnt umber, with runes upon it.
With a calm voice, she said, “Demeter, Mother Nature, calm this creature!”
A glow of pale green and yellow light formed a sphere on the staff, which flew over and touched the golem. The golem glowed for a bit, but after the glow subsided, it was still. Whatever magic that Erebus put in it was now dispelled.
Zanthe then reached for her dagger. The handle of the dagger was sepia in color, with a taupe-colored obsidian blade. With this dagger, she carved in a few runes, and some vines and leaves soon gathered around the wooden body.
“Soon,” whispered Zanthe, “this wooden creature shall be restored to nature as part of the forest once again.”

Within two and a half hours, the four soon arrived at the gates of Emerald Kavala City. It was a large city built onto the trees, and had both futuristic and medieval features. There was indeed high technology involved, but the high technology was beneficial to nature, rather than harmful.
Near the gates, two elves stood. The elves had vanilla skin tone similar to Zanthe, but slightly dimmer shade. Their armor was that of science fiction armored guards, with a strong top vest of green-painted metal, soft but strong pantaloons colored greenish-black, light gray boots with thick treads on the soles, and some laser rifles to fend off all intruders who would love to threaten the city. Their helmets with a teal color, with visors that can transition from regular vision to night vision and even infrared.
Both guards recognized Rouvin and Zanthe, and saluted them.
“Welcome back, Koukounari and Sfendami,” said one of the guards.
“It is good that you have returned safely,” said the other.
“It is good indeed,” said Zanthe.
Rouvin added, “We have some allies to aid us.”
The two guards recognized Nauplius.
Nauplius said, “Hello again, guards.”
“Welcome, Sideras,” the first guard said.
“Who is the human friend with you?” the second guard asked.
Nauplius said, “This is Valerius Magnitis, of Paxotassia Town. He, like the rest of us, is in pursuit of that vile warlock, Erebus Tonadi.”
“The same one who has desecrated our temple?!” both guards asked.
“The same,” said Valerius. “He had kidnapped my sweetheart, the healer Delphinia Triantafyllou, and had stolen the stone tablet of the Forbidden Ritual!”
The guards gasped, and opened the gate.
“Please follow us to Duke Koukounari’s Citadel!” said the second guard.
“The Duke and Duchess must know of this immediately!” the first one added.

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PostPosted: Tuesday, March 29th, 2016 - 18:04:19 
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Chapter 6: The Purification of the Demeter Temple

The four travelers soon went to the second tallest tree of Emerald Kavala, where the Duke’s Palace was (the tallest tree was reserved for the Temple of Demeter). With a special, almost crystalline elevator built with both science and magic, the two ascended to the throne room.
There sat Duke Urbanis and Duchess Yalonda, the parents of Rouvin. Duke Urbanis was dressed in clothes colored pine green, dark teal, and sea blue, and a hat that was a lighter pine green than the rest of his clothes. Duchess Yalonda had a lovely gown and open-toed shoes that were all emerald green. Both had the same skin tone that their son inherited. Urbanis’ hair was a slightly lighter tone of brown than Rouvin’s, but was still brown, and had eyes that were pale teal. Yalonda had purple taupe eyes, and hair red as the sun at sunset.
Near the throne also were Zanthe’s parents, the chief priest Silvanos and his wife Odela. Silvanos had a special olive wreath with designs indicative of his status, as well as a pale white robe with greenish tints on it, as well as pale tan sandals. Odela also had a lovely wreath on her, and had a pale rose gown with a violet rope belt, and she was barefoot. Silvanos had pale-peach skin, dark black hair, and almost indigo purple eyes. Odela had vanilla tone skin, golden blonde hair, and lovely mint green eyes.
Very reverently, the four knelt before the rulers. When they were permitted to stand, Rouvin approached his parents.

“Father, Mother,” Rouvin began. “Zanthe and I have found allies to aid us in our plight.”
Urbanis immediately recognized Nauplius.
“Hello again, Nauplius old friend,” chuckled Urbanis softly and pleasantly.
“It has been a long time, Duke Koukounari,” replied Nauplius.
“This human hero,” continued Rouvin, “is Valerius Magnitis. He too is in pursuit of that villain, Erebus Tonadi.”
“The villain who is blaspheming our temple to Demeter?” Silvanos asked.
“The same, Father,” replied Zanthe. “And we have learned that there is more than just our land at stake. Valerius has revealed to us that Erebus has stolen the stone tablet of the Forbidden Ritual.”
The two pairs of parents both gasped in horror.
“Yes, noble Koukounaris and Sfendamis,” replied Valerius. “And he has taken captive my beloved and the healer of Olympalantis, Delphinia Triantafyllou.”
“So, things are worse than they appear,” said Yalonda.
“We agree to help you cleanse your temple,” said Valerius. “For perhaps doing so can bring me and my friends closer to saving Delphinia and stopping the Warlock’s plot.”
Odela then said, “I shall send word to the temple guards to escort you there. There are many traps in the temple to deter most intruders, but sadly, it seems they were not enough to stop Erebus from entering. May the gods be with you.”
She then clapped her hands to summon some of the temple guards. Eight such guards emerged. These too were elves, and they were dressed in a mix of science fiction and Greco-Roman armor, with special beam cannons to fend off any evildoers. On their breastplates were symbols of their patron goddess Demeter.
Silvanos said, “Escort these to the temple and help them brave the traps—they shall deal with the one committing the sacrelige.”
The temple guards saluted the priest, and then one nodded the party to the correct direction.

A strong sturdy bridge spanned the tree of the royal palace to the central giant tree, which served as the Temple of Demeter. The bridge was made of the strongest wood that was still pliable, with vines and spider webs mixed with nature magic to be the suspension cables, and other tree branches serving as the struts and supports.
After the party had crossed the bridge, they then rode up another magic elevator into the first area of the temple.
“Here we are,” said one of the temple guards.

The first area of the temple resembled the inside of the tree that housed it, with curves of wood that resembled a natural wooden cave-like tunnel. Yet various magic and science made it so it would allow tunnels without damaging the tree itself. Glowing resin blobs served as the lights of the area.
Unfortunately, because of Erebus’ evil, some of the spiders and beetles were now against the people who worshiped there. The magic of the Warlock made them enormous, and the spiders’ venom was now even more potent.
“I get the feeling they want to make us the blue-plate special,” said Nauplius as he got his hammer ready. “I’m ready to do some swatting of these big bugs!”
Valerius got his plasma sword out and added, “And I have my makeshift bug zapper here!”
Rouvin got out his bow and Zanthe her staff, and they too were prepared to clear out the monsters inside.
Zanthe said a few words in old koine Greek, and some of the resin shot out beams of light that incinerated some of the corrupted beetles.
Rouvin shot a few arrows at the spiders as their jaws were open before they could spit out some of their spider web silk, but one of them was able to wrap some around his leg.
“Rouvin!” cried Zanthe.
Valerius heard the scream and raced to help his elven friends. With a quick swipe of his plasma blade, the web was severed. Nauplius then leapt toward the giant arachnid and crushed its head with one strike of his hammer.
Eventually the remaining bugs skittered off.
“Nothing like a bit of bug extermination to start things out,” chuckled Valerius. The rest of the party laughed as well.
They soon delved deeper into the wooden tunnels and found a very big spider web in front of the door leading to the next part of the temple.
“That door leads to the second part,” explained Zanthe. “There, rain basins and rivers of sap are said to flow to provide nourishment to the tree and temple.”
“This web looks like it’d knock my hammer away and be a threat to us,” sighed Nauplius.
“But I don’t think it’ll be a threat with my blade,” said Valerius. And surely enough, with a swipe of the blazing hot plasma, the web easily burned down. Luckily it didn’t ignite the wood, as it was still too moist to ignite.
“Excellent,” said Rouvin. “We can now progress further.”

Valerius and his friends soon made it to the second area of the Temple of Demeter. As Zanthe had decribed earlier, there were many large basins to contain rain water for the temple. And there were many rivers of sap that nourished the tree. More glowing resin lit the inside. Also, crystal structures were inside the area to indicate they were closer to the main temple.
But other evidences of Erebus’ wickedness were also in the area. Miniature Water Elementals emerged from the pools to attack—some with scalding hot water blobs, others with ice shards. Blobs of corrupted sap also emerged from the sap rivers with the intent of suffocating the travelers in their large gooey masses.
“Some more of Erebus’ sorcery I take it,” said Valerius.
“I would dare say so,” replied Zanthe.
Valerius evaporated the small Water Elementals with his Plasma Blade, while Zanthe used her magics to change the sap blobs back to normal sap, which slowly—but not too slowly—flowed back into the rivers.
This sort of thing continued on until they found a large resin crystal blocking what should have been the doorway to the third part of the temple—which consisted of the main halls of the temple itself.
“I do not recall a large resin crystal here,” explained Zanthe. “This is supposed to be the door to the main temple proper.”
“Allow me, ma’am,” said Nauplius. After spitting on his own hands and rubbing them together, the dwarf swung his battle hammer at the resin, breaking it open.
“Thank you, Nauplius,” said Valerius as he led his friends through the doorway.

The main temple itself was quite different from the tree in which it was housed. It was made of crystal in various light tones of green and teal, yet even then, the crystal seemed almost organic. Very gentle pulses of light shone through the crystalline columns, walls, ceilings, and even tile floors, as though it were a heart coursing magic as blood through arteries and veins.
But, some more giant bugs—this time, centipedes and hornets—emerged, threatening the visiting heroes. The centipedes’ front claws oozed out venom, the kind it desired to inject into the intruders. Likewise the hornets flashed their stingers, preparing to take down the ones who would cleanse the evil magic from the very place.
“Time to do some more bug exterminating!” cheered Nauplius as he prepared his giant hammer once again.
One of the giant hornets buzzed toward the Dwarf, ready to sting him dead. But Rouvin shot one of his arrows at the giant wasp, and it fell and lay still.
Valerius then swing his plasma blade at a giant centipede that was skittering toward them, and his hot weapon seared through the monster, eliminating the venom as well.
“Good work, friends!” Zanthe said as she prepared spells to repair any damages to the temple done in the battle.
After about fifteen minutes of fighting, most of the giant bugs have been dispatched, but the party knew that more were waiting deeper within.
“The source of the problem must be in the sanctuary,” said Zanthe. “I am sure of it.”
“The sanctuary?!” gasped Rouvin in horror. “The very sanctuary of the goddess Demeter herself?!”
“It would only make sense that Erebus would sink that low,” growled Valerius with indignation.
“I’m ready to teach the forces of Erebus a lesson in piety!” Nauplius replied.
“Then let’s press on forward,” said Rouvin. He turned to Zanthe and added, “Lead the way!”
Zanthe nodded and pointed her staff down the hall, indicating where they needed to go.

The footsteps of the party made an almost fast pop beat of battle as they ran down the corridors. But instead of giant bugs, some crystalline golems emerged in another large room. One golem looked like a large troll, but made entirely of medium green crystal. The other golem looked like a Greek warrior made of dark teal crystal.
“Where did these come from?!” cried Zanthe. “These couldn’t have been fashioned from the crystal of the temple!”
“Erebus must’ve fashioned them from elsewhere and brought them here!” replied Valerius. “That’s the only explanation I can think of!”
“Whatever the reason,” said Nauplius, “it’s time to turn them into rubble!”
Valerius raced up to the teal golem, dodging its spear thrusts as he swung his plasma blade. But the shield proved to be a strong defense, as the plasma just barely digs into it.
“Erebus sure knows how to make a strong golem!” said Valerius.
Rouvin shot some arrows into the green troll-like golem, but his arrows seemed to do little to the monster’s thick body. The elf Ranger was barely able to dodge a club swing in time.
Then Zanthe soon raised her staff and started chanting in koine Greek. A few ring-like ripples of magic, in various green hues, shone out. The golems soon started to show signs of slowing down. What’s more, they crystal they seemed to be made of started to ripple like gelatin. Even the shield of the warrior-like golem started to get cloudy and have the appearance of marzipan on a birthday cake.
“Try attacking now, gang!” cheered Zanthe.
At that, Rouvin shot into the green golem, and it melted into a pool of slime.
Valerius then plunged his plasma blade into the warrior—its shield no longer an obstacle to the high-technology weapon. It too melted into a slime puddle.
The slime then evaporated into smoke, and the stench was that of moderate strength lye.
“Ugh!” grumbled Zanthe. “I need to bring some extra incense the next time Father and I bring an offering to Demeter!”
“I can’t blame you there,” said Valerius, also disgusted by the stench.
The path to the sanctuary was clear. The battle with the golems made Zanthe forget where they were at first, but after relaxing, the memory returned to her.
“We’re near the sanctuary,” said Zanthe. “It’s just beyond those two large doors.”
Zanthe and Rouvin reached for the door rings and pulled them open. Then everyone entered in.

The inner sanctuary of the temple was made of the same green and teal organic crystals, but the designs carved from them were far more elaborate and more resembling a beautiful garden in eternal daytime.
Under normal circumstances the very center of the chamber was a sentient holographic image of the goddess Demeter.
But instead, the once pleasant garden setting looked like a dead forest under an eternal night of the full moon. And an image of Erebus was in the center, mocking the party.
“So, Valerius,” said the hologram. “You think you can stop me from becoming the new god of this realm?! I’d like to see you try!”
“Mark my words, Erebus,” yelled Valerius, “I will ensure that Delphinia and ALL of Olympalantis will be free of your bane!”
“Just try and stop me!” mocked the image. “Assuming, that is, you can survive THIS!”
The holographic image of Erebus faded, and in its place, a portal opened. From it emerged a Lamia, a creature with blood thirst similar to a vampire, but was still of the living. The head and upper body was that of a voluptuous woman, but the lower half of her body was that of a large serpent. The human portion’s skin was pale yellow, with blood red hair and violet eyes. Her bikini top was made of wildcat hides and was medium tan. She had on her head a crown of ivy with pale white berries on it. Her serpent lower portion was that of a giant version of a pit viper. In the Lamia’s hand was a bow similar to Rouvin’s, but it was completely jet black. Whenever the Lamia plucked one of the berries from her ivy crown, it would transform, as though out of molding clay, into an arrow with a poisonous tip. She’d then load it into her bow to shoot at the heroes.
“There is no way you’re going to stop Master Erebus!” said the Lamia in a moderately high-pitched cackle.
The party then dodged the arrows shot at them.
“That’s right!” laughed the Lamia, “this ivy isn’t the poison ivy that causes you to itch, but the berries ARE poisonous enough to be the venom of my arrows! Once I take you down with them, I’ll have a nice drink of the life juices from you!”
“That’s a mental image I do not need!” said Nauplius.
“I’m not sure how long we’ll be lucky in dodging these arrows!” cried Valerius. “We need to take her down quickly!”
“I have an idea!” said Zanthe. “Friends! Shield your eyes!”
Her friends did so.
Again, she spoke in the ancient language, and a bright light shone from the sphere and blinded the Lamia!
“Augh, my eyes!” screamed the Lamia. “I can’t see a flipping thing!”
Luckily, the heroes were not blinded, since they heeded Zanthe’s warning.
“Get her now, Valerius!” shouted Zanthe.
“Right!” replied Valerius.
With a quick swipe of his plasma blade, he decapitated the vile monster. The plasma also cauterized the fatal wound, thus preventing a nasty mess of blood from ruining the sanctuary. After a few seconds, the head, body, and weapon of the Lamia vanished into smoke.

The sanctuary soon became like a sunny day garden again.
The image of Demeter soon returned to its proper place.
The party soon knelt before the goddess.
“You have done well, heroes,” said Demeter. “Erebus was using my temple as a sort of, how you say, test run of his powers, should he achieve his mad plot.”
“Goddess Demeter,” said Zanthe. “My friend Valerius is making it his mission to thwart this vile blasphemer.”
“My fellow deities and I are well aware of his plot to find the parts for the Forbidden Ritual,” said Demeter. “The majority of them are in the islands of the sea. Your father shall tell you more.”
“Thank you, great guardian of nature,” said Rouvin.
Before vanishing, Demeter said, “The gods of Olympalantis are with you, and will guide you and protect you on your quest.”

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PostPosted: Tuesday, March 29th, 2016 - 18:04:53 
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Chapter 7: Journey to Emerald Kavala Shipyard

The four heroes soon emerged from the Temple of Demeter to meet a cheering crowd.
“Thank you, everyone,” said Duke Urbanis. “You have restored our sacred temple. It means much to the people.”
“You know we had to do it, father,” said Rouvin.
“But now we need to head off to the islands,” said Valerius. “We have heard from Demeter herself that Erebus is going there to find the items needed for the Forbidden Ritual.”
The people hushed in fear when Valerius spoke of the Forbidden Ritual.
Silvanos then spoke, “I myself know of these items. And as you mentioned, most of them are out in the sea, though one of them is on the mainland.
“The items he needs for this foul rite are an Indigo Crystal, the Crown of the Tyrant, a Glowing Lodestone, a Blue Crystal Dragon Heart, a Black Steel Dagger, and the blood of a pure-hearted healing woman.”
The last part, “the blood of a pure-hearted healing woman”, filled Valerius with fear—this meant that Delphinia is in grave danger.
“We must now double our efforts more than ever!” Valerius said.
Nauplius understood his fear.
“I recall there is a port somewhere nearby,” said the Dwarf.
“Yes,” answered Rouvin. “Emerald Kavala Port is a fair distance from here.”
“I will let the people in charge of the harbor know you are coming,” said Urbanis. “The gods protect you always.”
The crowd then gave their well-wishes as the four left Emerald Kavala City.

Rouvin then led the party on the trails that provided the most direct route to Emerald Kavala Port. Even then, it was still a few hours. The travel took even longer due to the fact that some Dark Dryads—the results of Erebus’ magic—emerged to attack. These Dark Dryads were beautiful tree women like their light counterparts, but their corrupted nature made them dangerous enemies, as they threw at them leaves that were sharp as knives, acorns that exploded and gave off noxious clouds of smoke, or sometimes had sharpened branches with which they attempted to impale the heroes.
Fortunately, there were Dryads that were not polluted by the warlock’s evil. Some of them emerged to stop the Dark Dryads.
“We’ll take care of these troublemakers,” said one of the Dryads. “You just keep on going.”
“Thank you, friends,” said Zanthe. She then said to the boys, “You heard her—they’ll be fine.” She wanted to avoid saying “okay”, for fear it would be turned into a foolish pun involving the oak trees.
Halfway through the trek to the port, however, a new threat in the form of a Shale Golem emerged. Since shale was a stone made from hardened mud, this stone man would conjure up fists of earth to try to punch them from below. Other times, hands made of mud would grab their legs, so the golem could try to crush the captured with its own fists.
But when Valerius was grabbed by one mud hand, he used his plasma saber to destroy it—being careful not to injure himself. After dodging a punch, he then slashed the golem’s arm—its left arm in this case.
Rouvin soon began shooting arrows at the stone giant. Though doing so did little damage overall, it did disorient the beast—long enough for Nauplius to swing his battle hammer at its left leg, crippling it.
Zanthe then stepped forward and cast a rain spell. It was not a serious tempest, but was enough to make the monster wet. And the water had some extra magic to make the shale soften.
The rain soon stopped.
“Strike now, Nauplius!” said Zanthe.
“Right!” replied the Dwarf. And with a mighty swing of his hammer, he smashed the golem large pieces of shale.
“This would make great building materials for some furniture,” said Nauplius with a chuckle.
Everyone else seemed to laugh with him.
Soon, after a bit of a breather, the party continued on. Soon, Emerald Kavala Port came into view.

When they arrived at Emerald Kavala Port, the four were shocked to see all the ships there scuttled.
“What happened here?” Valerius said in shock.
The owner of the harbor emerged, saddened.
“That jerk,” the harbor owner began. “Erebus, that jerk, used a strong storm spell to scuttle our ships earlier!”
“I didn’t notice any storms,” said Nauplius.
“The storms might have happened while were cleaning up the Temple of Demeter,” replied Zanthe.
“Erebus probably knew we were after him, so he destroyed the ships to slow us down,” Rouvin suggested.
“Allow me to provide a way,” giggled Zanthe. She then pointed her staff out toward the sea, and said a chant in koine Greek.
The waters swirled strongly, and a ship, freshly repaired, emerged from the depths. Some mermaids were singing as they seemingly “escorted the ship to the heroes.”
One such mermaid said, “Here’s a ship for you to go on your journey.”
“Thank you,” said Zanthe. “Give Poseidon our thanks, please.”
“Sure thing!” the mermaid giggled as she and her other mermaid friends dove back into the depths.

The docking board soon lowered, and the party got on.
“I think it’s time to sail off!” said Valerius.
The sails soon lowered, and a good wind drifted them off towards the sea.
“Safe journey, friends,” said the harbor owner as he waved farewell.
Valerius stood at the bow of the ship, looking afar. The sun was starting to set that day.
“Hmm,” said Valerius. “We should have a safe sailing. I don’t think we’ll land till the morning, so we can let the ship sail the night—I doubt we’ll drift off course as we sleep.”
Soon, he heard Rouvin moaning. His normally Navajo white skin started to look slightly greenish.
“Rouvin,” said Zanthe, “I didn’t know you got seasick.”
“Yeah,” moaned Rouvin. “I… urp… hardly leave the land. Most of the time, I… ugh… go to the port to welcome coming ships and… urp… fish off the pier. But I seldom go sailing myself.”
“Here, let’s get you below deck,” said Zanthe. “I’ll prepare a seasick remedy for you.”
Rouvin and Zanthe soon went below deck, where some state-of-the-art equipment was kept. Zanthe prepared a special ginger tea with other ingredients.
“Thank you,” Rouvin whispered as he took the tea. After a few minutes, Rouvin got his sea legs, and then both returned to the ship.
A beautiful starry night welcomed the two elves as their two partners looked afar.
“How about we dance a jig a bit?” offered Nauplius. He got out a harmonica and started playing a Dwarven dancing song. Rouvin and Zanthe danced a bit, and Valerius clapped his hands to help them keep tempo.
The night soon wore on, and the party went to their hammocks to sleep. But Valerius’ sleep was a rather shaky one, as he feared for Delphinia’s life.

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PostPosted: Tuesday, March 29th, 2016 - 18:06:03 
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Chapter 8: Cold Welcome at Firastratus

The sun rose as the ship soon got close to Kea Cirrus Port.
Valerius, Nauplius, Rouvin, and Zanthe got off the boat and entered the town. The town was relatively small, similar to the fishing villages of old, but with some of the high technology—just enough to make life comfortable without it being TOO much a luxury.
The four went into a buffet-style restaurant for breakfast and to try to get their bearings on where to go next. It was like buffet restaurant one would see in most suburban places, but with a Roman theme to it.
As they had breakfast, Valerius murmured, “I wonder if anyone has seen where the warlock had gone. Surely someone might know where we can go next.”
An Elf Waitress approached, with the usual waitress attire one would expect at a modern-day restaurant. Her tan-gold hair and gray eyes looked upon the party.
“Warlock?” she asked as she was gently pouring more coffee for the four. “As in, Warlock Erebus?”
“You heard the news, I take it,” said Rouvin.
“He had been causing a ruckus here earlier,” said the waitress. She then added, “If anyone has a gist of where he’s at, it’s the baron.”
“Thank you, dear woman,” said Nauplius as he began to prepare the tip, since the party was almost done with breakfast.
Zanthe went to the cashier to pay for the meal, and then the four exited to the town streets.

The baron’s mansion was at the eastern side of town, made of wood, concrete, and plaster, designed to look as noble as possible.
The gatekeeper saw the four coming. He was a human who had a receding brown hairline and gray eyes. He wore a butler suit to indicate his position of service.
“Ah, welcome, travelers,” said the gatekeeper. “What brings you here?”
Valerius cleared his throat and explained, “We need to speak with the baron. We have heard rumors that the Warlock Erebus was here, and that he has clues to his current whereabouts.”
“Oh, dear,” the gatekeeper said. His tone sounded calm, but inwardly, he was nervous. He then regained his composure and continued, “I’ll alert the baron and ask if he may allow you in.”
The gatekeeper contacted the baron through a small radio receiver, saying “There are four travelers here wishing to speak with you. They say they are in pursuit of the warlock, and believe you know where he currently is.”
A somewhat cheerful voice at the other end said, “You may let them in.”
With a small smile, the gatekeeper then pressed a few buttons, and the gates gently slid open.

The four approached the mansion. It’s bright white walls and clear windows contrasted well with the red roofs—its architecture very similar to a mansion one would see in the Greek Islands in the real world.
The baron soon stepped forward. He was a light tan skinned human with brown hair that had blond tips, and was slightly spiky. His teal eyes showed a look of goodwill as he emerged from the mansion decked out in a dark green (almost black) tuxedo with white inner shirt, and greenish black shoes to match.
“Welcome, travelers!” the baron said with a voice that almost sounded like he was about to sing a number from a popular Broadway musical. “I am Baron Luke Cirrus! I heard from my gatekeeper you were after that maniacal warlock, Erebus!”
“Yes, Baron Cirrus!” replied Valerius. “He is after ingredients of the Forbidden Ritual, and has my beloved Delphinia captive!”
When Valerius mentioned the Forbidden Ritual, Baron Cirrus’ smile faded away, and he seemed to tremble.
“The Forbidden Ritual?!” Baron Cirrus said, almost as a gasp.
“Yes,” said Zanthe. “He had stolen the stone tablet containing the ritual from Olympalantis a few days ago.”
“This is indeed an ill turn of events,” replied the baron. “The last thing this empire needs is for Erebus Tonadi to usurp the gods’ power.”
“Do you know where he was last seen?” asked Valerius.
“I do indeed,” answered the baron. “He was last seen heading toward Straturini Volcano in the island of the same name.”
“If he’s not there hunting for the ingredients,” said Nauplius, “he may at the very least be there causing trouble. Perhaps might trigger an eruption in the near future.”
“We better go check the place out!” said Rouvin.
“I’ll get your ship ready to head to Straturini,” said the baron. “The gods protect you always!”

Some of the barons servants—some human, some Elf—prepare the heroes’ ship and stock some supplies that the baron made payment for. Soon, the people bade the four farewell.
The ship arrived at the island of Straturini in about an hour and fifteen minutes. A pier near the beach allowed the ship to dock well.
No sooner had they left the bark, however, than did some trouble emerged. Some small sand creatures, variants of an Earth Elemental in this case, emerged from the beach. The sand balls they through made impacts in the ground that showed that it could hit hard despite what they were made of.
Nauplius got out his battle hammer. The stone glistened in the island sun as it swung and smashed the sand creatures back into the substance it was made from.
The four soon went into the jungle, where more elemental creatures wandered about.
A few fairies made of Fire, serpents and maidens made of Water, cloud eagles to represent Air, and some more men made of Earth, were about the forest. The Fire Fairies would singe some of the trees, and the Water Elementals—maiden or serpent—would snuff out the flame enough to show the damage done.
“Has nature gone mad in this island?” asked Zanthe.
“More like Erebus has gone through here!” replied Rouvin as he loaded an arrow into his bow. The elf shot a few Fire Fairies to snuff them out into wisps of smoke.
Valerius got out his plasma blade to slice through some of the Earth Men, and they melted back into the mud. But more elemental beings emerged to replace them.
“I sense some of the magic controlling this,” explained Zanthe. “Perhaps I can perform a counterspell.”
Zanthe then raised her staff and chanted. The staff glowed, and she glowed as well. In about half a minute, the elementals soon vanished. The fiery fairies all vanished at once, and the rest of the elementals dissolved back into the substances they were derived from.
“There,” sighed the female elf. “I think things are back to normal here.”
“I see a city up ahead,” said Nauplius.
“That city is Firastratus,” replied Rouvin, “and that is our next stop.”
The four then resumed up the forest trail to the city of Firastratus.

The city of Firastratus looked like a mix between ancient Ephesus and a futuristic city from a science fiction movie, with many buildings decorated with glass made out of volcanic ash. Some of the buildings even had electronic bulletin boards colored in the various tones of the warm colors—red, orange, and yellow. In fact, since the island of Straturini is a volcanic island, the city of Firastratus incorporates fire as their theme, and their main temple is to Hephaestus in the heart of the city.
However, when the four first entered, most of the citizens ignored them and went about their business.
“Hey, can someone help us?” asked Valerius.
Most of them acted like the four weren’t even there.
“We don’t mean to intrude, but we need some directions!” called out Nauplius.
“Get lost, shorty!” said one person.
“And take those foreigners with you!” said a woman near him.
“Well, aren’t we grouchy today!” said Zanthe with an exasperated sigh.
“I know what’s going on,” said a soft child’s voice.
The four looked and saw a young man, who motioned to them to follow them into his house. They took up his offer.
Once all were inside, the young man gave them some warm non-alcoholic apple cider.
“My name is Miltiades,” the young man said. “I am sorry for my fellow citizens’ unfriendly attitude. They’ve been acting like this since that warlock Erebus came in and cast a spell on the town.”
“I should have known,” sighed Valerius. “That villain has been in the midst of everything lately.”
Miltiades continued, “The villain had broken into the governor’s mansion and placed his Black Mirror within. A purple beam of magic shot upward and put the spell on everyone within the city. Well, everyone except me—I was out of town fishing at the beach at the time.”
“Where is the governor’s mansion?” asked Nauplius.
“It is on the west side of town, just outside the city limits,” answered Miltiades. “But because of the magic, no humans can get close.”
“I can take the challenge to break the spell,” offered Rouvin. “Just leave it to me.”

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PostPosted: Tuesday, March 29th, 2016 - 18:06:40 
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Chapter 9: The Black Mirror

Miltiades opened the door again, and with Rouvin following, walked toward the governor’s mansion.
The mansion was of the modern Greek islander architecture, but with a large greenhouse in the southern part, since that was the perfect spot to get sunlight for the plants.
Miltiades whispered, “This is as close as I can get without the guards spotting me. But I have heard rumors of a secret path in the greenhouse.”
Rouvin replied with his own whisper, “Thank you for the information. I see the door left open—I guess no one there expected anyone to go in.”
The elf Ranger bade his friend farewell as he left. Then his attention returned to going into the greenhouse door.
He would soon learn to his shock, however, that he WAS expected in some way. Giant man-eating plants were within the greenhouse. One of them prepared to lunge at him, but the elf reached for a sharp pole and stabbed it through the mouth. Then he started shooting at a few heads with his arrows until he could get to a rather interesting statue of a Dryad. This Dryad statue had her left hand out, as if she wanted to shake hands. Rouvin did so and a panel near the wall opened.

Rouvin soon found himself in one of the halls of the mansion. He hid into a wardrobe closet when he heard guards coming. Once he knew the coast was clear, he continued down the hallway.
A faint pulsing sound was heard.
His suspicions piqued, Rouvin went into the master bedroom. It was there he found governor and his daughter—both elves themselves—turned into stone statues. And nearby was the Black Mirror. The mirror’s frame was of black crystal, the very crystal that gives the item its name, and the glass itself alternated between various hues of blue and violet.
“The only one getting more than seven years of bad luck is Erebus,” chuckled Rouvin as he prepared an arrow. With a single shot, the mirror’s glass soon shattered. The shards then dissolved into dust, and the black crystal frame faded into nothingness.
The stone statues soon reverted back to the governor and his daughter. The governor had pale peach skin, tan hair, and gray eyes, and was dressed in business casual clothes. The governor’s daughter had the same skin, green-yellow hair, and blue eyes, and was dressed in formal modern Grecian woman clothes, even with a cute headdress.
“Oh… oh my!” said the governor.
“Governor,” said Rouvin. “Are you all right?”
“I am now, thanks to you,” chuckled the governor. “My name is Governor Blastus Firastratus. And with me is my daughter Priscilla. My dear wife passed some years ago, may she rest peacefully in the Elysian Fields.”
“You are quite welcome, Governor Firastratus,” answered Rouvin.

The people cheered as the governor and his daughter emerged.
Rouvin then reunited with his three friends.
“You have freed us from the bane of Erebus,” said the governor.
“We’re not out of danger yet,” explained Valerius. “We have heard from the Baron of Kea Cirrus that Erebus was last seen in Straturini Volcano.”
“Why would he want to go there?” asked Priscilla.
“He is after the ingredients of the Forbidden Ritual,” explained Zanthe. “He had stolen the stone tablet, and has the healer Delphinia captive.”
“That is indeed an ill omen,” said Governor Firastratus.
“I can take you to the place,” said Priscilla. “I’ve visited the volcano many times prior to these events. Most of the time to give offerings to Hephaestus.”
“Lead the way!” said Valerius.
The people shouted their farewells and well-wishes as they left to head to the volcano.

The trail to the volcano was a bit more calm than the trip to the city.
“Straturini Volcano,” began Nauplius. “What is it like?”
“On average,” explained Priscilla as she guided them, “it erupts every ten years. Sometimes it erupts more often, other times not as much. Very rarely, if ever, does Hephaestus get angry enough that it is a super-violent eruption.”
“It may be just as well,” replied Nauplius, “since he is patron god to my fellow dwarves!”
“You are a follower of Hephaestus too?” Priscilla said in astonishment.
“Of course,” chuckled the Dwarf. “He is the instructor of my fellow metalsmiths.”
The group spoke more to help make the trip to the volcano seem shorter, as well as explain themselves to Priscilla more.
“So, your beloved Delphinia,” said Priscilla to Valerius, “she is the healer of Olympalantis, is she not?”
“Yes,” answered Valerius. “One of the ingredients of the Forbidden Ritual is the blood of a pure-hearted healing woman. I guess he wants to get the other ingredients first before wounding her—at least, I hope that’s all he plans to do. In any event, by the gods of Olympus, we WILL stop this foul ritual!”
No sooner had he said these words did the party find themselves at the foothills of the volcano itself.

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PostPosted: Tuesday, March 29th, 2016 - 18:07:28 
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Chapter 10: Straturini Volcano

Priscilla said, “Up this trail is the entrance to the caverns within the volcano. Inside the volcano itself, other than the magma, is some crystals that are said to be treasures of Hephaestus.”
Zanthe replied, “Well, Erebus is after an Indigo Crystal, so it’s possible one such crystal is inside.”
“The gods of Olympalantis protect you!” said Priscilla as she prepared to return to Firastratus.
After waving goodbye to her, the four prepared to ascend up the mountain trail.
Some monsters made of tufa soon came down the mountain a few minutes later. Erebus was not to be caught unawares, so he had created some monsters to stall his enemies while he hunted for what he was after. The tufa monsters were beings that had bodies like humans, but some had heads like saber-toothed cats, others had heads like bears, and others still had heads like boars.
“Tufa isn’t so tough-a!” wisecracked Rouvin as he shot a few arrows—the arrows pierced some glowing spots on the chests that Rouvin was able to see. The monsters that were struck soon collapsed into ground volcanic ash.
“Count me in as well!” said Valerius as he cut up some tufa enemies, holding his breath so that he would not inhale the dangerous volcanic debris.
“That was a good exercise,” laughed the elf Ranger as he saw the remaining tufa monsters retreat back into the mountain cave to regroup.
The entrance to the cavern came into view after a few minutes of hiking up the trail. Zanthe then got out some cloth that she soaked and enchanted.
“Put these over your faces,” she said. “That way, you won’t choke on the ash, soot, or debris. Nor inhale the poisonous gases within.”
“You’ve sure done your research on the hazards of being near volcanoes,” chuckled Nauplius as he placed the cloth over his nose and mouth.

The tunnels were made of moderately soft tufa. Many caverns were carved into it. But because the volcanic rock was soft, it could be carved into. It was sometimes difficult to tell which caverns were natural and which were artificial. And even in natural caves, sometimes graffiti was scrawled in. Some gave the party chuckles, but others were dangerously close to obscene, which definitely made the entire party blush in shock and embarrassment.
But the tufa monsters the party encountered outside were awaiting them within. And they included some tufa eagles and giant tufa spiders to aid their forces.
Rouvin shot at a few tufa eagles with his arrows. Since the birds were in tight quarters, it was almost impossible to dodge the elf’s arrows.
Nauplius again got out his hammer and started to smash the tufa spiders into tufa dust.
“That hammer makes a great bug smasher!” said Valerius.
“Aye,” replied Nauplius. “Too bad it smashes the walls too!”
The party laughed as they continued the fight. Valerius got out his plasma blade and started slicing through more of the semi-humanoid tufa enemies. Eventually, all returned from the soft volcanic ground from whence they came.
“That takes care of the welcoming committee,” said Zanthe. “Now let’s continue on down the tunnel and go deeper into the volcano.”
“I got ya there,” said Valerius as he continued with the rest of the party.

In the next part of the volcano, the rocks were a harder, but still soft, felsic rock. This is odd, since very rarely would a volcano vary in lava consistencies. Some would be extinct volcanoes with tufa rock, some active volcanoes have felsic magma that would build up and make violent explosions, whereas others had mafic magma that weren’t as explosive, but the fiery rivers of lava flowed and were nevertheless a hazard. Perhaps it all depended on what mood Hephaestus was in.
But these caverns were inhabited by stronger foes. Humanoid shaped golems made from the felsic rocks of pumice and granite emerged from the walls and floors. The pumice golems used spheres of the light sponge-like rock to try to scratch them, while the granite golems used hammers, similar to Nauplius’ hammer, to try to crush the enemies.
“Leave the pumice foes to me!” cheered Nauplius as he again began to swing his hammer.
“I’ll take the harder granite ones,” said Valerius, plasma blade in hand. The party definitely studied enough to know which rock was which from their appearance.
“Methinks we should sit this one out,” said Rouvin. “I doubt my arrows will do much to them.”
Eventually, the golems were reduced to rubble. The party could then venture deeper into the cave.
But even as they were still in the second section of the cavern, they could tell it was getting warmer as they went deeper.

The third section of caverns within the volcano showed how fickle Hephaestus could be in picking magma within Straturini Volcano. The cavern was mainly basalt rock, with a few pools of magma, indicating to the party that they were nearing the heart of the volcano.
Some basalt golems, designed to look like Green and Roman soldiers, emerged from the floor, walls, and stalagmites of the caverns. In addition, fire creatures, made to look like birds, demon imps, and serpents, emerged from the magma pools.
“Erebus must’ve known we’d be coming this way!” said Zanthe.
“I’ll snuff out the fire creatures!” said Rouvin as he loaded an arrow into his bow.
Nauplius and Valerius got out their weapons to fight the basalt monsters.
As Rouvin shot each fire creature, the defeated monster vanished into a wisp of smoke.
Valerius cut one rock monster down the middle, sliced another through its waist and kicked the top over. And a third he decapitated with the energy weapon.
Nauplius did what anyone would do with a war hammer—swung it at the enemies. One of the basalt warriors even fell into a pool of magma and melted into it. Luckily the dwarf backed out of the way in time to not get scorched by the splash of molten rock.
“I don’t know which is hotter,” joked Zanthe. “The magma or this battle!”
“I get the feeling what’s to come is going to really spike the temperature!” replied Valerius.
His words were prophetic, as they went into the heart of the volcano.

The group of four soon made it to the heart of the volcano. Inside the caldera, one could barely see the sky through the mouth, but inside was a large belly of the volcano, with magma that made it look like a sea of liquid fire. Islands of cooled basalt filled it within, with arches as bridges, most likely made by Hephaestus himself should any brave soul dare to visit the inside. And there were various crystals of black, red, orange, and clear.
But crystals of other colors sometimes appeared within this inferno. So it would be no surprise to the adventurers that an Indigo Crystal could possibly be here. One that Erebus sought for the Forbidden Ritual.
“I know I shouldn’t have to tell you this,” said Rouvin, “but watch your step, everyone.”
Slowly and carefully, the party walked across the basalt islands in the magma sea, and crossed single-file across the stone arches.
“Strange,” said Valerius. “There are no monsters here. I have a bad feeling about this.”
“Maybe it’s a little too hot for Erebus’ monsters!” joked Nauplius.
“Not really,” said Zanthe as she pointed forward.
Approaching them as they arrived on the large center basalt island, a large humanoid made of dark blue basalt emerged, with a speckled gray granite “loincloth” covering his loins.
Behind the large monstrosity was Erebus, with Delphinia in his clutches. He laughed at their plight, as the captive healer watched on in horror.
“How do you like my Basalt Golem?!” mocked the warlock. “He wants to play with you! I warn you, he plays rough! Ha, ha, ha…”
“Please, be careful!” cried Delphinia. “I recall Erebus saying that the golem can only be destroyed by the fires of this volcano!”
The party heard this, amazed Delphinia would say this. And even more amazed that Erebus allowed her to speak without threatening her life.
“Can they lure him into the magma without falling in themselves?!” sneered Erebus. “Let’s see them try!”
Delphinia looked skyward and said, “Please, Zeus, help them!”

The giant stone hulk lurched toward them. The two ran about, and the golem had trouble turning to face them. But at times he would swing his stone arms. Though the party barely avoided the blows, it did cause a tremor that shook them a bit.
Zanthe then had a look on her face.
“I got an idea!” she said.
Then she ran toward one of the stone bridges.
“Hey, slowpoke!” the elf sorceress jeered. “Your mother was a shale quarry!”
The titan of basalt soon started to go after her. Zanthe then awaited the hulk to stand onto the archway. Weirdly enough, it was able to handle the weight of both, but just barely. Dodging the feet and just barely keeping her balance, she stood between too legs and started making faces at the brute. The titan then raised its two hands to do a hammering crush. As the monster swung its fists down, Zanthe then got over its other foot and ran back to the island just in time! The brute then destroyed the archway it was on, and plunged into the lava, melting down.
A brief wave of magma came, but it stopped just short of the party. Erebus and Delphinia were in no danger, because they were further “inland.”
“Very good idea!” said Valerius.

“Fools!” laughed Erebus. “I already got the Indigo Crystal while you were busy with the Basalt Golem! Now, I shall leave here. But first…”
Erebus put the crystal away to free up his hand, since the other one was holding onto Delphinia. With his free hand, he pointed toward a spot in the magma sea and shot an orb of magic into it. The volcanic caldera began to rumble.
“I hope you like lava baths!” said Erebus. With an evil laugh, he teleported away, Delphinia in tow!
“VALERIUS!” cried Delphinia before she was spirited away.
“The volcano is fixing to erupt!” said Nauplius.
“This way!” said a strange voice.
The party looked. Without bothering to ask, they followed the stranger out, and they safely made it outside minutes before the eruption.
The eruption brought forth a liquid mafic magma. Luckily, there were special channels that led the lava away from the city of Firastratus, should an eruption occur.
After the four caught their breath, it was then they found their aid. It was the very god Hephaestus himself!
The four knelt before the volcano god.
“I know why you are here,” explained Hephaestus. “Demeter had informed me that the villain Erebus is seeking components of the Forbidden Ritual, so he can become a deity without our consent, the blasphemer!”
“Great Hephaestus,” said Nauplius. “Where is he next?”
“Currently,” replied the fire god, “he is, how you say, taking a break from gathering the items. Unfortunately, it involves him causing trouble in Fog-Gandros, as if it hadn’t had its fair share of trouble already.”
“We shall definitely go there,” said Valerius. “For Delphinia, and for all of Olympalantis.”
“My fellow gods will watch over you,” said Hephaestus. He added, “And Nauplius, I look forward to the next meeting in your homeland.”
“See you soon, oh mighty Hephaestus,” replied Nauplius as his patron deity vanished into smoke.

The four heroes soon returned to the city of Firastratus. Governor Blastus welcomed them back.
“Thank the gods you have returned safely,” said the governor.
“Hephaestus guided us out of the volcano,” said Nauplius. “But that warlock got away with the Indigo Crystal.”
“Hephaestus said that Erebus is now on Fog-Gandros,” said Valerius.
“Fog-Gandros?” asked the governor’s daughter. “You will need to be careful there. I have heard disquieting tales of a crime wave there, especially in the city of Foggandropolis!”
“Well, it is getting late anyway,” said the governor. “Please, come to my mansion to stay the night, as our guests.”
“We are honored, Governor Firastratus,” replied Valerius.
“Much obliged, Governor,” said Nauplius.
Rouvin added, “After that hot battle in the volcano—in more ways than one—we could use a rest.”
“We could all use some time to refresh,” chimed in Zanthe.
The four heroes followed the governor and his daughter to the mansion, as the crowd cheered their victory.

In the mansion itself, the night was still young, so the governor and his daughter got to know the four a bit more.
Priscilla sympathized with Valerius as he told of his father’s passing when Valerius himself was young. Since Priscilla lost her mother at an early age, they had a lot in common.
Nauplius got to give the governor’s butler some of his Dwarven-made wares, which made his eyes glisten.
The butler was a human with pale peach skin, medium brown hair and mustache, and green eyes. He wore a tuxedo befitting a modern day butler.
“The kitchen staff is needing some new cutlery,” said the butler. “I’ve been told the Dwarves of Gray Corfu make even utensils that can last for generations.”
“Indeed we do,” chuckled Nauplius. “No brag, just facts.”
Rouvin showed his bow to the governor, and was impressed at how it looked pristine despite being used many times in battle.
“The magic of Emerald Kavala keeps this object looking brand new no matter how many times it is used!” said Governor Blastus.
“You have to look your best, even in battle!” laughed Rouvin. The governor could help but chortle at the comment.
Zanthe then showed off some Nature magic to all there, and some fairies emerged from the flowers to dance along magic trails that the elf wizardess herself used. After a few minutes of the show, the audience clapped.
“Thank you,” said Zanthe as she bowed. The fairies bowed with her.

Night soon set in, and after a good supper, the four went into their guest rooms for the night.
The next day, the party had a nice breakfast with various herbal teas included, and they were escorted to a ship the governor prepared.
The captain of the ship was a human with suntanned skin, dull blond hair, and gray eyes, and he wore an outfit of a great modern Greek sailor.
“All aboard for Fog-Gandros!” cheered the captain.
The people waved their farewells as the four and the crew set sail for their next destination.
However, Valerius was concerned, as Priscilla mentioned a crime wave on that island. That warning would soon prove true, and another new adventure would await them.

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PostPosted: Tuesday, March 29th, 2016 - 18:08:25 
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Chapter 11: The Godfather of Fog-Gandros

The sea was relatively calm this trek, unlike the trek from leaving Emerald Kavala, so Rouvin didn’t need the seasick remedy this time around.
“This crime wave Priscilla mentioned,” Valerius murmured aloud. “What could be causing it?”
The captain’s first mate heard Valerius. The first mate was a Dwarf with gray-peach skin, black hair and beard, and dark purple eyes. He wore an outfit similar to a buccaneer, only he was a lawful sailor.
“Well, friend,” said the first mate, “there is a very well-formed criminal syndicate within Foggandropolis. The godfather of this syndicate is said to be a very skilled strategist. While he himself is no disciple of Erebus, I’m sure he would make a deal with that villain first chance he got! He will make a quick drachma any way he is able—legal or otherwise!”
“Who is this godfather?” asked Valerius.
“Very few have seen him,” answered the first mate. “And fewer still survive to tell what he looks like, so it’s hard to tell for sure. He has the appearance of an elf, but he certainly is no friend of the elves of Emerald Kavala, mark my words on that.”
“Right,” sighed the human hero, “I’ll be on my guard.”
“Fog-Gandros Island is near!” cheered the captain.
“We’re closing in on the port,” said Nauplius.
The ship soon arrived at the port on the southwest corner of the island. The four heroes soon disembarked from the boat.
“Don’t worry,” said the captain. “Your voyage has been paid for by Governor Firastratus.”
“Give him our thanks,” said Valerius.
The four soon followed the trail to the city of Foggandropolis.

The city of Foggandropolis was similar to a high-technology city in South Korea or Japan, except it was in the Greek style, of course. Large skyscrapers, built with the latest technologies to withstand fierce storms and tremendous earthquakes, made up the city. The second-tallest tower was made to house the most important businesses and industries, and the penthouse was the main home of the governor there.
It was the second tallest, for the tallest belonged to the tower-temple of the wind gods. They were the four winds: Boreas, god of the North wind; Eurus, god of the East wind; Zephyrus, god of the West wind; and Notus, god of the South wind. From atop there, the four would send their daughters, the Aurae, who were the beautiful winged nymphs of the breezes, to send messages to special people—at times even give quests to those deemed worthy heroes. Other times the Aurae would go out on their own volition for play, as long as they did not cause any serious trouble which would thus discredit their fathers.
However, even the Four Winds and their daughters struggled to stop the criminal syndicate that was harming the city. From robbery to extortion to even the rare murder, the criminals had their sway on the city. The law enforcement were all but helpless to stop them, and the stronger leaders threatened the judges and their families, forcing them to let arrested syndicate members free.

Upon arrival, the four encountered a few of the syndicate’s members.
One of them, an male elf with a leather jacket, pants and boots—with a minotaur skull on the back of the jacket—said, “Hey, we got someone muscling in on our turf!”
The other, a female human in a black bikini top, spandex pants, and boots, said, “Let’s make sure they don’t cause the boss any trouble!”
They and other criminals got out their weapons. Some were the classical weapons of swords, axes, and maces. Others had modern weapons, like sub machine guns, shot guns, and machetes. Some of them even had make-shift weapons such as crowbars and pickaxes. All of them were prepared to attack the four travelers.
Valerius got out his plasma saber and said, “They’ve been expecting us! I’m sure of it!”
Nauplius got out his hammer and replied, “Then let’s give them a good scuffle they’ll remember!”
Rouvin and Zanthe also prepared for battle.
The female human had her bullwhip ready and whipped at Zanthe, but the Nature priestess caught the whip and pulled it out of her hand. Then, with a spell, she trapped her in place with some tree roots. With another spell, the elf summoned some bugs to scare her into surrendering—she wasn’t sure if the bugs were harmful to humans or not, but just having any insect or arachnid or similar crawling over her was enough to frighten her into submission.
Rouvin aimed an arrow down the barrel of a Dwarf criminal’s rifle, causing it to be knocked out of his hand. The dwarf decided to run.
During the scuffle, Nauplius was so focused on the male elf criminal, he didn’t notice the scofflaw’s comrades sneaking up behind him. Two enemy dwarves prepared their attack. One had a gun loaded with a tranquilizer dart, the other with a large enough leather sack to catch him with.
“Ready?” said one Dwarf.
“You betcha!” said the other.
After Nauplius knocked out the enemy elf with his hammer, he said, “That takes care of—”
A slight prick touched him, followed by a feeling of drowsiness.
“Thaaaaaaat…”
Nauplius stumbled over. The two rogue dwarves loaded him into the leather sack and ran off while the other three adventurers were distracted.
The remaining syndicate members ran off as well.
“That was easy!” laughed Zanthe.
“Yeah,” said Valerius. “Almost too easy…” He then looked about and asked, “Where’s Nauplius?”
“He was with us a moment ago,” said Rouvin.
One of the Aurae, this one of Notus, appeared before them. Like all nymphs, she was a humanoid-like being of immeasurable beauty. She had black hair with a light silvery sheen, tan-hazel eyes, and pale peach-yellow skin. Her outfit, similar to a somewhat modest one-piece swimsuit, looked almost like it was made of thick mists.
“Travelers!” said the Aura. “I saw one of those malefactors take one of your friends!”
“Nauplius?!” said Valerius. “He’s in mortal danger in the hands of those thugs!”
“Follow me!” said the nymph. “My father Notus sent me to guide you into the city! And I’m one of the few who know where the syndicate’s godfather is!”
At once, Valerius and his elf friends followed the Aura into Foggandropolis.

The streets were very still and quiet, as most of the decent people were hiding in their homes, afraid of the criminals about.
The Aura soon led Valerius, Rouvin, and Zanthe to the second tallest tower of the city—the same tower that has the penthouse where the governor dwelt.
“Isn’t that the governor’s tower?” asked Rouvin.
“Yes,” said the Aura. “The godfather had taken up residence there, believing the other authorities wouldn’t dare go in after him.”
“He didn’t anticipate outsiders trying, I suppose,” said Valerius.
“Don’t be too overconfident,” said the Aura. “My sisters and friends will help you as best we can, but be extremely cautious.”
Valerius and his friends nodded, and soon went into the tower.
The first floor they were on was currently unoccupied. The floor, similar to the first floor of any big office building, was a large foyer with booths for visitors checking in, as well as tellers if they were there as well.
“I’ve a feeling we’re being watched,” said Zanthe with a slight shudder.
“Still,” said Rouvin, “we need to save Nauplius and this city. So let’s find the penthouse elevator.”
Valerius went into one of the teller’s booths and found the map. He looked at the various elevators and saw the one which led to the penthouse. But it was on the fifteenth floor.
“We’ll have to take TWO elevators to the top,” he said.
“Chances are we’ll also have an ‘unwelcome’ committee on that other floor,” sighed Rouvin.
“We can take them,” giggled Zanthe. “It will be just as we took on their colleagues!”
Valerius led the other two to the elevator which went to the fifteenth floor.
As Rouvin predicted, however, some more of the criminal syndicate were on there. Most of them were humans in bike gang outfits, both male and female versions. But there were some elves and a few dwarves who decided to join the syndicate for one reason or another.
The weapons were either close range or non-incendiary, to ensure against a building fire.
“Leave these to us,” said Rouvin. “The plasma saber might accidentally ignite a blaze!”
Zanthe used her staff as a fighting staff, whereas Rouvin cleared away any foes with his arrows.
In the close quarters of the halls, the party had very little to fear of a sneak attack. And after about a half an hour, they were able to reach the elevator to the penthouse.
Valerius shut the elevator doors before more of the villains could reach them.

While Valerius and the two elves rode up the elevator, Nauplius soon stirred as he soon found himself strapped to a spinning wheel.
The godfather looked upon him with a sadistic grin. The godfather was a Dark Elf, with pale purple-gray skin, dark gray hair with a thin mustache and imperial beard, and brown-red eyes. He wore a light gray tuxedo with a bright white inside shirt and blue-white shoes. On his tuxedo lapel was a blue-black rose.
“Did you sleep well, dwarf?” asked the godfather.
“You must be the godfather of this nasty outfit!” Nauplius said in shock.
“Indeed I am,” chuckled the godfather. “My name is Cecrops Mavralotos. I am the leader of this large company, that those goody-goodies call a ‘crime syndicate.’ And now, I am owner of all Foggandropolis!”
“What?!” Nauplius said in shock. “Where is the governor?!”
“Oh, the governor and his family are all right,” Mavralotos said with a chuckle. “I locked them in another portion of the penthouse. Don’t worry, I feed them, care for them, and other necessities. I just need them as a ‘bargaining chip’ to keep my power.”
“Ooh!” Nauplius growled. “When my friends get here, they—”
Mavralotos interrupted, “I believe I am well prepared for their arrival. See, that nice man Erebus Tonadi stopped by, after I gave him a nice percentage of the money I made. And he gave me a nice weapon for the encounter. But before then, I think I shall have some fun.”
The dark elf then reached for some knives. Nauplius began to break out in a cold sweat upon seeing them. Then the godfather motioned for some human women to start spinning the wheel, which they did with a sadistic giggle.

The elevator carrying Valerius, Rouvin, and Zanthe soon arrived at the penthouse.
The three soon got off it, only to hear a familiar scream of fright. A male scream of fright.
“That’s Nauplius!” said Valerius. “Come on!”
The trio soon raced down the hall and soon burst through the office to find Mavralotos chuckling at Nauplius, strapped to a spinning wheel, with knives just barely missing him!
And Valerius was most indignant at this mistreatment of a friend.
“Turn, villain! TURN!” growled the human as he got his plasma saber ready.
“Ah,” said Mavralotos as he turned around to face the intruders. “You must be the other heroes Erebus told me about. I’ve already introduced myself to the dwarf, but permit me to do so for you. I am Cecrops Mavralotos, the godfather of this large company.”
“Be careful, friends!” said Nauplius. “Mavralotos is not a man to be taken lightly!”
“Correct,” the dark elf godfather answered, going over to the large desk. “Because I have a little surprise for you… well, not so little, actually.”
The dark elf grunted as he picked up his “surprise”. It was a portable chaingun that was a medium-light weight, but the party knew there was more to the gun than met the eye.
“This chaingun,” said Mavralotos, “uses Thunder Magic as its ammunition! You’ll really ‘get a charge’ out of it! Too bad it’ll be the last thing you’ll have before you enter the Halls of Hades!”
The godfather laughed maniacally as he started shooting about. Even the henchmen in the room ducked and hid, concerned for their lives.
Valerius and the two elves dodged as best they could, with Zanthe providing some magical protection when nothing was available to hide behind.
“This guy is a lunatic!” Valerius said in horror.
“I have an idea,” replied Zanthe. Adjusting her shielding spell slightly, she allowed an electrical bullet to bounce away and hit a window.
The other two soon saw the wisdom of her action, as other Aurae girls flowed in, disorienting the villain.
Four of them danced about, mocking him, and a fifth kept sitting on the chaingun. Though she was very lightweight, being a nymph of the breeze, it was enough to cause him to struggle to aim properly.
“Get off my gun, you wench!” yelled Mavralotus.
“Watch your mouth, buster!” said the Aurae on the gun as she slapped him.
Three other Aurae flowed up and unstrapped Nauplius from the wheel.
“Much obliged, ladies,” whispered Nauplius.
All this distraction was enough for Valerius to approach the godfather. The five Aurae moved out of the way.
“That’s better,” grumbled the godfather, not noticing Valerius approaching. “Now for—what?!”
“Hello, Cecrops!” said Valerius. With three strikes of his Plasma Blade, the chaingun was dismantled.
But Mavralotus would not surrender so easily. Using some dark magic, he created a blade of his own, using the flower of his lapel. The flower soon morphed into a dark purplish energy blade.
“I don’t quit easily, human!” said Mavralotus. “Let me see what you are made of!”
“So shall it be, Mavralotus!” replied Valerius.
The two then clashed energy blades, and bursts of light emerged from the fight.
Some of the Aurae joined with Nauplius, Rouvin, and Zanthe.
One of them, the Aura that met them earlier, even approached with a tub of popcorn.
“This’ll be a fun fight!” giggled the Aura. “Want some popcorn?”
“Don’t mind if I do!” said Nauplius as he took a handful.
Rouvin and Zanthe took some as well.
The fight went on for about ten minutes, and when there was a break, Valerius thrusted his plasma blade into Cecrops’ abdomen, wounding him mortally.
The dark elf collapsed.
Gasping a few last breaths, Mavralotus said, “You may have… beaten me… but Erebus… will have… the last laugh…”
The dark elf godfather’s eyes closed, and he then lay still.
The rest of the syndicate, seeing their leader slain, fled. Some were soon rounded up by police officers, whereas others left the city to never return.

Nauplius got out his hammer and swung it at the sealed door.
The governor of Fog-Gandros soon emerged, as well as his wife and three children. All five were human with pale peach skin.
The governor had tan-blond hair and gray eyes, and he wore attire that looked like he loved hiking. This attire he wore because he had returned from a hike prior to being captured. His name was Urian Omichli.
His wife, Zeeba Omichli, had deep maroon hair and brown eyes, and wore a lovely stola with some boots, as though she tried to combine the classical with the modern in her attire.
Their oldest daughter, Fanette Omichli, had bright blonde hair and green eyes, and was wearing various tones of orange, since that was her favorite color.
The middle daughter, Iantha Omichli, had brown hair, and violet eyes—since the name Iantha referred to a violet flower. She also was wearing various tones of violet and purple to reflect her name.
The family’s youngest child, a son, was named Ibykos Omichli. He had reddish hair and gray eyes, and wore a shirt similar to Valerius, as well as shorts that were dark green and boots that were black.
“Thank you, heroes, for saving us and our city,” said Governor Urian Omichli. “Now that the syndicate is no more, our fair metropolis is safe!”
“You are quite welcome, governor,” replied Valerius. “We are in pursuit of the vile warlock Erebus Tonadi.”
“Any idea where he is?” asked Nauplius.
“While we were captive,” said Fanette, “we overheard Cecrops and Erebus talking. The warlock said he was heading for Cumumilos next.”
“Whatever he wants there,” said Ibykos, “it sounds like trouble.”
“He IS trouble,” explained Zanthe. “He’s after parts for the Forbidden Ritual.”
“The Forbidden Ritual?!” gasped Zeeba. “That is an ill omen indeed!”
“There are some boats about to head to Cumumilos soon!” said Iantha. “There should be still time to make it on to one of them.”
Another Aura, this one of Zephyrus’ family, floated in. She had pink, almost white skin. Her hair is midnight blue-black, and her eyes were bright blue as a summer day. She was in what real world people recognized as a sling bikini, which was colored light blue, and she was barefoot.
“I’ll get your boat to Cumumilos quickly,” said the Aura. “And the sailor of this boat is a good friend of mine. Follow me!”
The reunited party followed the Aura out of the building and to the shipyard.
The sailor, a human with light tan skin, black hair, and tan eyes, welcomed the Aura. He too was dressed in a Greek sailor’s outfit.
“Hello again, old friend,” chuckled the sailor.
“Sir,” said the Aura, “these four need to get to Cumumilos.”
“Say no more, darlin’!” chuckled the sailor as he motioned them to board his ship.
The sails soon opened, and the Aura did a lovely dance that got the winds to get the ship sailing.
The people waved and gave their well wishes as the ship soon sailed off to Cumumilos Island.

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PostPosted: Tuesday, March 29th, 2016 - 18:09:09 
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Chapter 12: Galina Thyella

The ship only took about two hours before it arrived on a dock on the southernmost tip of Cumumilos Island.
The four soon disembarked the craft.
“Give our thanks to your father, friend!” said Valerius.
“Sure will!” said the Aura as she flitted off back to Fog-Gandros.
The sailor soon started tending to maintenance on the boat.
He said, “The main town on this island is Kimolos Town. It’s a rather peaceful place. Some of my crew like to visit there for a more relaxing shore leave.”
“Thanks!” said Nauplius. “We’ll go there.”
The four gave their farewells as they went to the town.

Kimolos Town was a relatively small town. It had other high-technology that could be permitted in a small area, but at the same time, it looked like a calm town of cabins.
The heart of the town had a shrine to Hestia, goddess of the hearth and home.
One person was spending time in calm reflection there when the four heroes visited.
This individual was another female elf, as Zanthe. However, her skin color was powder blue, because of her affinity for Air Magic. Her hair was black with a glaucous shine in the light. Whenever her eyes were open, they were indigo—a tone of which that many call “electric indigo.” Her clothing consisted of a navy blue corset, a sapphire blue skirt, and an Egyptian blue belt to keep them together. She also had on her feet a pair of lavender blush sandals and a headband the color of heliotrope.
Within her hands was a staff with a steel blue shaft and a sky blue sphere at the top. In the event she were to have to face an enemy up close and personal—thus rendering distance spells impractical—her staff would glow and she could swing it at her enemy to damage them that way.
This elf, sensing some new presences behind her, stood up and turned around to face them.
“Ah, good day to you, strangers,” said the bluish elf. “Permit me to introduce myself. I am Galina Thyella of New Nimbaxos.”
“Good day to you too, Mistress Galina,” replied Valerius. “I am Valerius Magnitis, of Paxotassia Town.”
“From the Ionized Ionian Island of Paxotassia?” asked Galina.
“The same,” answered Valerius.
Nauplius said, “I am Nauplius Sideras of Gray Corfu.”
Rouvin then added, “I am Rouvin Koukounari, and with me is Zanthe Sfendami. We are from Emerald Kavala.”
“What brings you here to Kimolos Town?” asked Galina.
“Well,” explained Valerius, “we’ve stopped by here in pursuit of the warlock Erebus Tonadi. He had kidnapped my beloved, Delphinia Triantafyllou—”
“The healer from Olympalantis?” said Galina.
“The same,” continued Valerius. “He is also gathering components for the Forbidden Ritual.”
Galina’s face became ashen with terror.
“The Forbidden Ritual?!” she gasped. “Please, let me aid you in your mission to stop this villain!”
“We need all the help we can get!” said Valerius.
“Welcome to our team!” said Zanthe.

Galina explained, “Northwest of here are the Cumumilos Catacombs. The people of this island bury their dead—both good and evil—within those caverns. One of those interred is an infamous tyrant who wants held this island in an iron grip.”
Valerius said, “Silvanos of Emerald Kavala mentioned one of the components for the Forbidden Ritual is the Crown of a Tyrant. Suppose he might try to find it there?”
Nauplius said, “It would not surprise me if it were so.”
Galina then said, “Follow me. I’ve visited the catacombs in the past, so I know my way around. There are others who have explored it too, and I’m sure they may know something.”
At once, the five journeyed northwest.
Within a couple of minutes, they soon found the gates to the Cumumilos Catacombs. The entry in the forboding lone mountainside looked as though they were doors to a temple for worshipping Hades, the god of the dead. The doors were already open, and this had the party uneasy.
“Think Erebus might have opened them?” asked Rouvin.
“The people never believed anyone would use magic to open them, or need to do so,” answered Galina. “So it’s a very likely possibility.”
Taking a deep breath, the five entered.

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PostPosted: Tuesday, March 29th, 2016 - 18:09:51 
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Chapter 13: The Crown of the Tyrant

The inside of the Cumumilos Catacombs were even more ominous than the outside gates.
Despite some small modernizations of having special crystal lamps to replace the torches—which in the past had to constantly be refilled with oil or wood and relit—the dimness alone indicated that it was a place of the dead.
The tan and gray stone blocks showed niches in the walls of the rooms, where the bones of the dead slowly crumble on the unyielding rock.
Footsteps echo in an improvised dirge, as the five walk through.
A sixth person was preparing to exit the catacombs.
“Oh!” said Galina. “Who might you be?”
The visitor, a Dwarf like Nauplius, was preparing to leave. Due to the dimness of the catacombs, it was difficult to see his appearance.
“I’m just leaving after visiting the grave of a friend’s grandfather,” said the Dwarf. “Eventually, I shall return to Gray Corfu.”
“Safe journey, fellow Dwarf,” said Nauplius.
“Nauplius? Is that you?” asked the Dwarf. “I look forward to seeing you again as well. To your friends, the traps have long since been removed, since the grave robbers seem to get past them no matter what, but spirits sometimes appear, so be on your guard. And the place is still maze like, so let me impart to any skilled with magic a map spell.”
Zanthe and Galina knelt before the Dwarf, and he touched each elf woman’s forehead. The knowledge of the catacombs’ layout soon entered into their minds.
“Farewell, until we meet again,” said the Dwarf as he exited the catacombs.

Galina said, “I can see in my mind the Chamber of the Kings.”
“So can I,” added Zanthe.
“The Chamber of the Kings?” asked Valerius.
“Yes,” said Galina. “It is where royalty—good and evil alike—are interred. We decide that all kings should be buried together, and Hades will decide the final destination of each soul.”
“Good point,” said Valerius with a shrug. “At any rate, let’s go. Chances are, Erebus is in that location as well, searching for that ‘Crown of the Tyrant’.”
Zanthe and Galina soon led the boys through the catacombs.
The party went at a pace that was similar to a jog. Their footsteps echoed in what one might turn into a rock and roll song if it were recorded and imitated well on drums.
Normally it would take a map or a skilled guide to get through the maze, and even then under those normal circumstances it would take an hour or so to find the chamber. But with the Map Spell in the two female elves’ minds, they were able to find it in just little over half an hour.

The Chamber of the Kings was far more elaborate than the other rooms of the catacombs. It was meant to be somewhat mausoleum-like, with very beautiful decorations to represent a palace in life, but at the same time somewhat dim to represent the darkness of the underworld.
A large fresco of flowers and fruit decorated the open floor, surrounded by a few sarcophagi within the chamber.
But on this fresco were Erebus and the captive Delphinia. Erebus had already opened one sarcophagus.
“Here it is!” whispered Erebus in sadistic glee. “The crown of Minos of Cumumilos, the infamous tyrant. One tale said he had impaled a slave just for being a minute late with his clothing!”
“Hold it, Erebus!” said Valerius as he entered the chamber. The other four soon arrived.
“So that is Erebus,” said Galina, meeting the warlock for the first time.
“So, Valerius,” sneered Erebus, “you brought another friend. But I already have what I need here. Just need a few more items, and a proper place to perform the ritual, and I can begin it.”
“Valerius!” cried Delphinia.
But before Valerius could approach to save his beloved, she and Erebus vanished in a bright flash. A few seconds later, the party heard a movement mixed with a rattle of bones.

From the safe sarcophagus Erebus raided, a skeletal visage wearing the regal robe he was buried in emerged and stepped out. It was the Tyrant’s Lich.
“Who dares disturb the rest of Minos of Cumumilos?!” the Lich said in a raspy voice.
“The one who took your crown was Erebus Tonadi,” said Valerius. “I, Valerius Magnitis, am after—”
His explanation was cut off by the Lich’s growl.
“YOU LIE!” the Lich of Minos roared. “YOU HAVE MY CROWN! NOW I SHALL HAVE YOUR HEAD!”
The Lich lunged forward, ready to slash him with his bony fingertip claws. Valerius and the rest barely got out of the way in time.
“For a dead thing, you move pretty quick!” said Rouvin.
“Flattery will get you nowhere!” replied the Lich of Minos.
The Lich had no magical knowledge as such, but there was something about the undead that made the five living travelers NOT want to be touched by him.
“Head’s up, friends,” said Nauplius as he threw his hammer at the Lich. Doing so cracked his legs.
But the Lich was able to crawl with his arms, and he wasn’t going to give up yet.
“Talk about persistent!” grumbled Valerius.
“I got your back!” said Rouvin as he loaded his bow.
“Or should I say… HIS!” he added as he shot. The arrow knocked the skull off the torso of the Lich.
The skull quickly rolled toward Valerius. Instinctively, he crushed it beneath his left heel.
“It’s best I not take a chance what his bite is like!” chuckled Valerius nervously.
The rest of the Lich’s remains went limp and still.
Zanthe and Galina carefully placed the remnants into the stone burial box. Galina then reached into her pack and got out her tinderbox to burn them, deciding it would be best to do so to prevent the Lich from ever rising again.
The stone of the sarcophagus prevented the fire from spreading. Soon, the body of the Tyrant was naught but ashes.
“For this tyrant, it’s over,” said Zanthe.
Galina added, “Indeed. Let’s get out of here. This place is starting to creep me out.”
The same Map Spell that guided the party to the Chamber of the Kings guided them back out to the surface. It was still early afternoon when they returned.
Galina reached into her pack again and got some antibacterial hand sanitizer and shared it with the rest. Being around the dead somewhat required them to use it.

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PostPosted: Tuesday, March 29th, 2016 - 18:10:31 
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Joined: Tuesday, August 16th, 2011 - 19:08:45
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Location: Beavercreek, Ohio, USA, Planet Earth
Favorite Character(s): Fifi La Fume, Minerva Mink
Chapter 14: The Ghosts of Old Nimbaxos

The five soon went to a bar and grill in Kimolos Town.
After a nice late lunch, the two decided to discuss where to go next.
“Nimbaxos Island is close,” said Valerius. “Perhaps we should go there next—surely someone knows where Erebus went.”
“I agree,” said Galina. “Aside from being my home island, it’s the eastern edge of the Cyclonades Islands, and practically the gateway to the Ionized Ionian Islands.”
“Right,” said Rouvin. “Someone must’ve seen where he went.”
Nauplius paid for the lunch, and Zanthe left the tip for the waiter. After leaving, they soon met up with the sailor who brought the party there earlier, before they met Galina.
“Ah, you have a new ally in your cause,” the sailor said with a chuckle.
“Yes,” Galina said with a return giggle. “I’m Galina Thyella.”
“The Air Wizard of Nimbaxos?” asked the sailor.
“Of course,” answered Galina.
“Where are you off to next?” asked the sailor. He had a suspicion where they were going, but he had to know for certain.
“To my home island of Nimbaxos,” Galina replied, thus confirming what the sailor thought earlier. “I’ll even provide the wind to take us there.”
The party soon embarked on the ship again. The sailor again raised the sails.
Galina said a chant that conjured up some winds to make the craft sail for Nimbaxos. It was not a fierce wind to cause seasickness or fear of the ship capsizing, but was a fast enough wind to get it to the destination quickly.
In half an hour, the ship arrived on Nimbaxos, and landed on the western shore.
“I’ll have to have you on my ship in the future,” said the sailor with a laugh. “You’d really help my ships deliver cargo in record time.”
“You flatter me,” Galina replied with a giggle. “Take care.”
The five soon got off the ship.

But no sooner had Nauplius gotten off—and he was the last to get off the boat—than did someone from Galina’s hometown of New Nimbaxos rush up to them.
The person, a young elf boy, panted to catch his breath. He had yellow-tan skin, brown-black hair, and wore clothing dyed in various tones of indigo, blue, and white that was in modern-day Mycenaean style. When he looked up to face the five, his green eyes showed fear for his neighbors and family.
“Galina!” the young boy said. “Thank the gods you’ve returned safely!”
Galina immediately recognized him as Macario Earinefos, who often worshipped with her at the temple of Aeolus, King of the Winds. This particular temple was just on the west edge of New Nimbaxos. It was at this temple that Galina learned her first Air element magic spells.
“Macario!” Galina replied, astonished he had come a long way. “What is the matter?!” She knew something was going on, or why else would Macario run such a long way?
Macario explained, “Something strange is going on in Old Nimbaxos. A darkness has covered the skies there, and there are nasty ghosts floating about!”
“Old Nimbaxos?” asked Rouvin. “You mean that old ghost town?”
“Sounds like it’s a ghost town in a different sense now!” replied Galina. Her attention returned to Macario and she said, “You did the right thing to tell us! This strange event has Erebus’ fingerprints on it, I am certain of it!”
Galina then told Macario, “Head back to town. My friends and I will take it from here.”
Macario nodded and obeyed, returning to New Nimbaxos.

The ghost town of Old Nimbaxos was already eerie by itself. The decrepit buildings and crumbling temple ruins already set a dark tone on the dry, sterile wasteland ground. But now a magically-induced darkness blocked out the light day or night, with a fake moon to indicate night time when night did fall.
When the five travelers entered within the town limits, they gasped to see what was before them. Malevolent spirits wandered about. Galina recognized them.
“These spirits,” whispered Galina. “These were the spirits of long dead evildoors. I remember them from woodcuts and other media in history textbooks. Some of them were slain in combat with law enforcers or heroes. Others remained on the run for the rest of their lives till Atropos severed their threads of life naturally. And of course, others were put to death by the authorities—the main means of the death penalty on Nimbaxos Island was through a nitrogen chamber, which makes them lightheaded as the oxygen supply is cut off, until they painlessly asphyxiate. But others who died here probably died from other capital punishment in the past.”
“Right,” said Valerius, his plasma blade ready. “But for now, let’s find out what awoke the dead so we can send them back to Tartarus!”
“Understood,” said Galina, getting her staff ready.
Zanthe got her staff ready as well.
Likewise, Nauplius got out his hammer, and Rouvin his bow.

One of the spooks looked and saw the intruders.
“Hey, we got some live ones here!” the ghost said.
Another ghost got out what appeared to be his hatchet, the main tool he used to commit his murders in life, and said, “Let’s make them join our eternal party!”
The ghosts soon floated toward them with a speed similar to a mild windstorm.
Valerius swung at them with his plasma blade, but they remained in a wisp form for a short time until they reconstituted.
Nauplius had a similar problem when he swung his hammer. When they were squished between the ground and the hammer head, they did an accordion impression each, even with the sound effect, until they stuck their thumbs into their mouths and re-inflated themselves.
“We need to find the source of this,” said Galina.
“I see a beam of magic shooting up from the center of town!” said Rouvin, pointing in that direction.
Surely enough, a beam of evil magic shot up and supplied the darkness and evil to wake the long dead malefactors. The beam was magenta, with a maroon spiral circling up it like a corkscrew.
The five travelers raced toward the center of town, swatting away any specters that might interfere.
In the center of the ghost town was a dark crystal ball on a pole, with the beam of foul magic shooting straight upward from it.
But some even stronger wraiths blocked their path to the crystal ball. Valerius tried to slash at them, but they would not vanish, unlike the other spirits they encountered. Not even for a brief moment would they turn into wisps of mist.
“I’ll take a chance with this!” said Galina. She pointed her staff’s orb toward the dark orb and chanted a Mycenaean chant, and a small tornado swirled around the orb, knocking it off the pole.
The crystal ball shattered, and the dark magic beam extinguished. The darkness soon scattered to reveal the mid-afternoon sky. The spirits then vanished. But even if it were night, without the dark magic to empower them, the spirits could not stay on the mortal plane for very long.
Old Nimbaxos was quiet again.
“Good work, Galina!” said Valerius.
“Thank you,” replied Galina. “Let’s head on to New Nimbaxos.”

It was an hour before sunset when the party made it to New Nimbaxos. New Nimbaxos had a few windmills near the town edge, aside from the Temple of Aeolus. Otherwise, it was a small suburban village with some high technology.
Macario Earinefos soon ran up, as did some of the people.
Among them was the Governor of Nimbaxos Island, who was a very good friend of Galina. The Governor, Iepatus Apalivrochi, was a human with peach skin, though just slightly tan, as well as brown hair and gray eyes. He wore a grayish suit and shoes, and also some spectacles.
“You did it, Galina!” said Macario. “We saw the darkness go away over the old town!”
“Governor Apalivrochi!” said Galina, politely curtsying before him.
“Well done, Galina Thyella,” said Governor Apalivrochi. “Thank you for removing the curse over us.”
“I did not do it alone, governor,” replied Galina. “My friends aided me. And I am aiding them, especially Valerius Magnitis.”
“What is your quest, Valerius?” asked the governor.
“I am pursuing the warlock Erebus Tonadi,” said Valerius.
“Aeolus has spoken of his evil,” explained Governor Apalivrochi. “While you were in Old Nimbaxos, Aeolus appeared to me in a vision at the temple. He said Erebus is planning to use the Forbidden Ritual! And that he has a maiden captive as well.”
“That maiden is my beloved Delphinia Triantafyllou,” replied Valerius.
“The healer of Olympalantis?” asked the governor.
“The same,” answered Valerius.

“Well,” said the governor, “it is not yet known where Erebus went, but I am sure he is in no hurry, whatever he is planning next. Please, stay a while and rest.”
“Thank you, governor,” said Valerius.
“Indeed, sir,” said Nauplius.
Rouvin and Zanthe also gave their thanks.
Macario and his family allowed Valerius to stay with them.
Other people gave lodging to each of the other travelers.
The party stayed for two days in the town of New Nimbaxos.
During that time, however, Galina was at the Temple of Aeolus trying to learn the location Erebus went.

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"Advice is free, Alexander. Making use of it costs much more!" --Ali the bookshop owner, from King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow

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All Hail Shadow! Heroes rise again! Obliterating everything that's not your friend!

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