“A couple of years ago,” sounded the voice of an old man, “I worked as a scientist for the King of Kenion. At that time we worked on many ambitious experiments in order to achieve a way to serve the common good, such as cures for diseases, trying to find efficient ways to get to desired locations and any other way we could help the land. One of our most ambitious projects…involved bringing the dead back to life.” the people in the room listening to him seemed appalled and furious at what they just heard.
“Yes…we understood how we would be breaking the natural law…but the King and I discussed this topic at length. After much talk, we decided that it would be important to be able to create a way to revive a fallen comrade, so we agreed to do some tests. We procured the remains of a Kenion soldier that had recently died, and performed many tests to see what we could do.
“After a week of experiments, we discontinued the project. It became obvious that we needed a great concentration of power in order to even attempt a try at revival. The soldier just kept getting weaker and kept decaying faster…it was not a sight to see. After that many of the scientists who worked with me did not want to use another dead body to test it.
“Anyways, I officially retired a few months after that, so I can’t prove the veracity of my beliefs, but…the Kenion soldiers…they all look haggard and different. Now, I took a look at some of the Kenion armor laid around a month ago, and it held some strange x-shaped cross in the middle on the inside part of the armor. It looked like something we used as a theory to try and bring back the dead. Anyways, after I told Tyrande this story, she got me up and took me here. She claims you know what to do. Shade is it, correct?”
Shade had a little kid like smile on his face.
“I thank you for disclosing this valuable information to me. I will gladly use it to my advantage. Now, now, all of you don’t look at me like that. I will tell you our advantage...once I test it out!”
It was nighttime in the town of Aria, in the land of Kenion. A few Kenion guards stood around the area, moving back and forth throughout the town. Shade eventually saw three guards converse with each other. That’s when he decided to test his theory.
The three guards were stunned.
“Int-Intruder!” screamed one of them. Before they could do anything else, Shade clenched his left hand together and chanted,
“Flash...of Haze…” immediately different colors of powders fell like rain on top of the guards. The guards started screaming intensely as their armor was being shredded. Two of the guards dissolved into dust while the other was practically naked, with only shorts as his undergarments. While that soldier ran away, and many of guards scrambled around to find out what happened, Shade ran away with a wide smile on his face. He knew that this war is as good as over.
Early in the morning, over 200 Syrian units walked towards Andrun Castle. Considering that Syria has failed to do anything against the Kenion forces the last three times, many of the soldiers were unsure if this was the right idea: to charge directly at Kenion with limited forces. Shade, however, assured them that they would win today.
“If you trust in my abilities, then Kenion will fall! Syria will advance and end this war!” Sounding more resolute and confident than any other time in the war, the soldiers were convinced that this would be their time.
The Kenion soldiers seemed to not expect them, as it took them a while to get their forces out. When they did, it seemed to rival the amount of Syrian soldiers out on the battlefield by a wide margin. Yet Shade ordered the charge of the Syrian soldiers anyways, which led to some doubt on the soldiers. But they charged anyways, hoping for the best.
Their belief led to their victory.
Shade chanted an advanced version of the Flash of Haze. This time, the sky changed from blue to dark grey, then from it different colors of powders fell towards the ground. All of the soldiers on the battlefield didn’t have a clue what was going on, but it didn’t take long for something to happen. The Kenion soldiers dissolved into either bones or spirits. For some of them, their armor just shredded, leaving them defenseless. It was ultimate panic for them as they were losing soldiers left and right.
But it was the ultimate salve for the Syrian forces as they easily killed off the Kenion forces outside. When they advanced inside Andrun Castle, there were hardly any forces inside as bones replaced soldiers. Syria finally exhibited the dominance it was supposed to exhibit when this war first started, and with Shade at the helm, Syria’s victory seemed to be inevitable.
Shade took a walk around the castle. He didn’t seem to be looking for anything in particular. When he opened the door, he could only sigh because it looked eerily familiar to him.
“I wish…I had figured you out earlier…now show yourself…”
“Interesting…” replied the voice of a telepathic like voice, “You looked for me on purpose! How odd!” Shade looked up to see the blue faced figure floating in the air above him.
“You…I see…you’re the one who killed Thomas, Eisen, and Rice.”
“What’s with the assuming nature? You can’t prove that I did that--”
“Then why are you here? Considering one of your stature, I can’t think of anyone else.” The figure chuckled.
“Such insolence! And cockiness I add! I guess I will have to teach you a lesson in defying me…” Immediately from the ground a purple space engulfed Shade, putting him in a different world.
“Hmm…I wonder what you want to accomplish by putting me here.”
“Oh…nothing special…I just want to play a little game, that’s all!”
“A game?” Shade sounded puzzled. “I didn’t know evil bastards with an a psychotic and unstable mind played games…”
“My, my Shade…you certainly have some mouth of yours, don’t you! More than those mewling Four Wings! How about I change that?” three doors appeared in front of Shade. “One of these doors will lead you back to your world. One of these doors will lead you into a room of eternal darkness, where you will be incapable of even sniffing any light, much less see it. One of these doors will lead you into a prison where you are locked and chained for all eternity, and tortured in many different ways. I wonder which one you’ll be forced to choose?”
Shade laughed at this suggestion.
“THIS is the best thing you got?”
The figure seemed shaken at his words. He probed into his mind quickly, then said,
“I’m a bit appalled…you…have dealt with something worse than this!” He didn’t say it in a convincing manner like he usually does because there was something that he couldn’t read off Shade’s mind. But he still felt confident regardless. “But it doesn’t matter! A glorious death awaits you! Now,” A table, a chair, and a question sheet were put on the table, “Solve these 40 questions in two hours. This…my talkative friend… should be really easy—”
“No!” The figure was taken aback.
“This…this…this is a game?” said Shade wildly as he picked up the sheet. “You got to be kidding me! This is not a game. THIS. IS. TORTURE! I hate math!”
The voice stopped responding. “DAMN IT! This is your personal enjoyment? Games are supposed to fun!”
After complaining for a few more minutes, he walked over to the table and looked at the problems. He stared at them for a good hour. After looking at it, he proceeded to solve all 40 questions in ten minutes. After that, he put his head on the table to sleep.
“F-finished already?” spoke the voice five minutes before Shade was knocked out. “You know…you have 50 or so minutes left…plenty of time…are you sure you’re done?” Shade said he was done. “…Are you trying to die on purpose?”
“Not really. I feel like I did what I could.” The figure took the paper and looked like he wanted to rip it up.
“…I told you already. This is not a game. THIS. IS. TORTURE!”
“…Are you trying to die on purpose?!”
“I don’t think anyone wants to die.” The figure was totally agitated. He has never met anyone who could drive him this crazy once before.
“I-I’m just going to kill you right now.”
“Whoa! Whoa! No fair! I have about 45 minutes! You can’t kill me now!”
“I can kill you for being such an imbecile!”
“Hey, it’s not my fault that I hate math. I’m not the only one! Geez, you’re like my teacher, Outland! Always getting so uptight!”
“I AM NOT UPTIGHT!”
“Oh yeah, then why the hell are you pestering me to get these questions right? You were probably going to kill me anyways even if I did get them right! Man, I’ve never met someone as dumb as you. Well, other than Courage.” The figure couldn’t think of anything good to say to Shade as he started to disappear in fury. “Hey, wait, at least answer a few questions before you eventually kill me. At least I get to take them to my grave.” Begrudgingly, and childishly, the figure responded,
“…I think I’ll answer a…few questions…”
“…What is your purpose on Bethumet? There must be more to your story than killing three of the four Syrian Wings.” The figure seemed to want to talk about this.
“My purpose? My purpose…is to just destroy. I have to destroy in order to accomplish my goal. That’s what my mind registers: destroy. That’s why the chaos in this world will set up my plans!”
“…You mean you’re taking advantage of this war right now?”
“I’m taking advantage of everything that has happened…from me destroying Nagrun--”
“You did what!?”
“Oh…I shouldn’t have said that, huh?”
“…I felt it as soon as I met you! You caused all of this didn’t you?! Not just Nagrun, but this war, huh?”
“Oh! I’ve done more than that! I killed the King of Kenion. I created numerous plagues around the land. I’ve done a lot of things!”
“I’ve already told you, Shade Rivenwald, married to the Queen of Kose, Karratha Rivenwald, and afflicted with a never ending curse! The only thing that registers in my mind is destruction. Now…is it time for me to kill you?”
“I have two more questions to ask you: What is your name?”
“I refuse to answer that question. There is only one person who calls me by my name. That person is dead.”
“I see…Last question: What do you and Fear plan to accomplish?”
“What do you and Fear plan to accomplish?”
“That’s…one terrible question. I don’t get it…do you mean Fear as a person?”
“…You don’t know who he is? No way! He’s been destroying lands and taking orbs!” This made the figure think about this one as he thought it over for a minute. He then left the space. After five minutes he returned back and said,
“Well, well, well…I think I might just cry. My dear friend Cizard is back!”
“Cizard? Who the hell is that?”
“Oh…that’s the name of my long lost friend, who just so happens to be named “Fear” by you humans. I…I’m very happy that I will get a chance to see him again. Anyways…you’ve learned a lot for a human. I think that it’s time you’d disappear!
“Maybe not just yet! Kalgorith!” as soon as Shade unsheathed the sword, a wave of negative energy overpowered the purple space he was trapped in. The space cut open like a bag as Shade found himself near the entrance of Andrun Castle.
A few soldiers standing there wondered where the hell he came from.
“Oh…hello. Sorry to drop in…unannounced.”
“…Bastard…” screamed the figure as he had blood flowing from his head as a sizeable cut opened there. “No wonder I couldn’t read the sword’s name…it happened to be THAT sword…who knew THAT was still around,” he started coughing out blood, “Either way…I took him too lightly. That’s…that’s unlike me…I should be more…no matter…”The figure got up, his cut was healing up, and he looked from far away in the air at Andrun Castle. “Next time we meet…you will die…Shade Rivenwald…don’t worry about that!”
Takneo Shrine is one of the most sacred and legendary locales in the history of Bethumet. It’s been said in legend that the founder of Takneo Shrine, Takneo himself, was one of the almighty gods. When he died, he sealed the remnants of his power inside the shrine. There have been many who have heard the stories and adventured to gain the shrine’s power, but the shrine has been next to impossible to find. There are only two people who not only found it but have been able to enter the sacred locale: Shade and Tyrande. Shade had undergone the trial many decades ago and passed successfully; Tyrande looked to accomplish the same thing.
It took her about seven days for her to get to Takneo Shrine. When she got there, she first stopped to look at it. She remembered how she loved training with Shade with the shrine waters moving about, and her enjoying the night breeze as she slept with the cool air on her back. She then remembered how she feared the trial of Takneo Shrine. She always had an uneasy and tense feeling every time she was near it. She felt like she would scream out unending thoughts about nothing.
“With the training with Shade,” Tyrande thought aloud, “I thought that I was strong enough to protect everyone. I was wrong…” She walked into Takneo Shrine. There were rock beds all over the spacious place. The air felt like one was in a hot spring. Speaking of which, the shrine waters were purified and clean, so comfortably was not a problem. There were numerous inscriptions and carvings on the rocks and walls.
Tyrande walked along a red bridge towards the cave of Takneo Shrine. After a five minute walk, she got to the trial door. It had numerous markings on the wall, and a seal placed in the middle. She sat a good distance from the door, and mediated. She began to concentrate her thoughts towards the spirits of the shrine. The only way one can attempt the trial, Shade once told her, is if you have a strong enough desire or reason to earn such great power. There was only one thing she desired: to have the power to protect Bethumet.
After 40 minutes of meditating, the seal was broken. The door opened slowly.
“So…I guess it’s come to this,” said Tyrande to the shrine. “I did not want to go through with you ten years ago…I did not have a reason to do so…that changed when I met Fear. I may be frightened at your powers…but I must save this world, at any cost. Now…will you deny me your powers? Or will you accept my cause...” she walked into the portal.
".....Where am I?" Tyrande questioned out loud. She looked around and found herself in a forest that she’s never seen or learned about before. She saw numerous trees that were not just green, but red, purple, blue, and other colors. Animals of all shapes and sizes roamed freely and in high spirits. The sky was a dark purple with white clouds with different shapes passing by. She eventually assumed hat this was part of the trial, so she got up off the soft patch of grass and began to walk along a long road. As minutes passed by, she felt that there was something wrong with the forest: All the trees were the same, the bushes were the same, and the road was the same. She thought she was going back to square one every few minutes or so. “How infuriating!” said Tyrande. Noticing that she seemed to be trapped in some way, she started to examine the trees carefully. There wasn’t much to notice, because they all looked the same. After searching for 5 or so minutes, she closed her eyes, then, instantaneously, reopened them with a sort of shock wave pulsating throughout the forest. Whatever she did worked because two roads appeared a mile and a few feet from her. She ran towards the roads, but she stopped because two figures were coming from each direction. When they stopped, she got up closer to see who the two were.
She ended up meeting a Monk and a Mage. Both claimed to be honorable men. The Monk, wearing a light brown hood with the look of a wise young lad, had the look of respectability and honor. The Mage was ragged and dirty, with a part of his robe torn off and his face rigid and seemed quite untrusting. The Monk insisted that the road to the second trial was to the left. The Mage said that it was the one to the right. Both argued over who was right and who was wrong, cussing and yelling at each other, which is rather unlike a normal monk and mage, Tyrande thought. She thought for a while which road it could it possibly be. After ten minutes, she made her decision, and just in time too: the Monk and Mage were getting ready to trade blows.
"You have???!" yelled the Mage. "Then you have figured out that this cheat was lying all over your face!!!"
"Sorry, you incompetent excuse of a spell caster," the Monk responded. "But she doesn't believe in raggedy old skeletons incapable of even doing a simple a magic trick! I mean seriously, are you even a mage?!?!"
“How dare you question my magical powers? What audacity! You’re asking for it, you ba—”
"Stop! I made my decision!” yelled Tyrande, “...And stop with the insults...they're not going to exactly help either one of you." So they looked at Tyrande intently. After she gathered herself after a few seconds, she said, "So I figured it out. It was pretty easy because I can sense the emotions of those who can’t hide their true feelings. So I could sense who was wrong: which is both of you!!!"
They both looked stunned and shocked.
"Damn, brother, she figured it out!" yelled the Monk in scorn.
"H-hey, don't look at me, who knew she could see right through us, literally???" the Mage responded. Tyrande laughed aloud, stunning the pair.
“I can’t believe you two fell for that! You can’t even deny what I say?
The brothers could only be angry at their mistake.
“NO! We…we’ve been duped, brother!!!” said the Monk.
“Damn it all! This is all your fault! You were entirely too convinced of her words!” said the Mage.
“What? Are you kidding me? You nearly fainted when she said that!”
“Say what? I wasn’t even close to fainting, unlike you!!!” they continued this argument for a good two minutes, until Tyrande let out a long yawn. Then they seemed resigned to fate.
"Good job, young girl....you've figured it out!" said the Monk.
"You took advantage of our carelessness. Unfortunately, you may now go to the second trial!" said the Mage. Tyrande thought this was too easy.
"AFTER YOU TRY AND FIGURE THIS OUT!!!" Not surprisingly, it was not going to be that easy. After a bright flash obstructed her view, she opened her eyes and saw some kind of reddish and slightly purple monster that looked out of sorts. Its arms were flailing in one direction. Its legs were on the top of its head. Its tail was used as a foot...it was very disturbing to see. After a loud scream the monster spewed fire out of its mouth all around the forest, burning them all into a crisp. Tyrande dodged a few initial blows of fire, but soon took a shot to her left shoulder, and hit a nearby tree hard. She got up quickly because the creature emerged from the ground and nearly ate her whole. It went in the ground again, and continued to do this for a while, with Tyrande continuing to dodge.
“Damn! Persistent son of a…” While running around and dodging she chanted a spell. A whole light wave engulfed the entire ground. Once it disappeared, the monster came out suddenly, and with a powerful energy shot from her right and left fist, she destroyed the creature in mere seconds as it dissolved away. Immediately after it disappeared, the door to the second trial was revealed.
“Man…that was…tough…” said Tyrande as she slowly walked toward the second trial gate. “That was pretty challenging, but it’s probably going to get a lot tougher from here on in....” she entered the second trial.