Chapter 1: The World of Ruin

Paladin's Quest By Chris Walden

(Though most of my mapping ideas come from Everquest, all a majority of my terms and story originate from Secret of Mana - posting something you like in a category you enjoy even more is much more satisfying. Please R&R! Try not to scowl in disgust at my grammar, I'm trying. Later!)

Chapter 1: The World of Ruin

Once, there was, and still is a world much like ours – on the planes of ground and water, and where the gods had many attempts at creating a race that they proposed would be the ideal race. A wise and powerful god, whose true name is unknown, but for the sake of his creation, I'll call him Gender. He was the first to create a race on this plane, and it was of dragons. And so, the winged beasts of wisdom and the elements roamed the skies and grounds on the face of the world. The other gods could not match Gender's creations, and so made a humanoid race, much like their own. And so, co-existing, there were elves, dwarves, gnomes, trolls, orcs, giants, titans, drakes, and even sirens, which were not always infamously deadly or diabolical. And so the world existed with many races, until another god, Aventower, decided to make his first race for the pleasure of other races – a creation that could be universal and think in many ways, good and evil both.

That race was the humans, and they were not enormously strong or brutal like the orcs or giants, but were also not as blissful or thin as the elves, gnomes, or dwarves. The humans were created with an unusual habit and personality that was demanding, selfish, and even outgoing, which eventually spread into other races; as the many races inter-breeded, they exchanged personality, and soon suspicions and prejudices that exist there today, came to be thanks to the interference of man.

Man became so powerful and seducing, that they eventually found great pleasure and action in hunting the dragons, who were mystical and grand creatures of the time. The dragons too, did not like to fight as much as the humans, and avoided the humans deftly and hid in the mountains, where the few left exist, or are presumed to have died out due to the extreme cold there set by the earth-shaking actions that will explained later.

Man gave up their search for dragons once they were sure there were none left in their land. And in a solitary peace from other races who dared not oppose the humans; mankind learned of the art of magic. This quickly spread even though man's greed for power was great, those who found out the secret of stealing magic energy from the earth itself, and all races had soon come to know how to use and obtain magic for their own needs.

A dark age followed quickly after the civilized peace of the humans – the humans that opposed the government that kept things balanced in all the world, they used magic to overthrow the government, and started their stretch to power. The magical races like the elves and other honest humans fought them with their holy powers and a convergence of mass of magic focused on many battlefields, many craters scarred the earth. One such battle marked the end of the wars, when the most powerful evil necromancers and psionics summoned so much energy against the paladins, elves, and dragons defending the cultural center, that the combined and clashing energies drove straight down into the earth, and cut a bottomless chasm into the earth, several hundred miles long, and over twenty miles wide. The earth's cultural, political and magical knowledge was all destroyed in that explosion, and the rest of the world was left unharmed, but without protection, and the dragons receded into their hiding once again.

Most of the great beings like giants and orcs were killed in the wars, and no great warriors or armies were left to attack one another. The world developed into a writhing home of thieves and scholars searching for their lost past – mind you, this takes place a hundred years after the great war. Some searching for their past, magic, or simply who they are…

There are only four known continents, three of them inhabited, the fourth used to be, but when the magical wars began, the blows to the planet and its loss in magic and life had conjured a polar ice cap upon the northernmost continent, and no being ever comes back from visiting or exploring it. There is but a very symmetrical world, a continent on the far east, the far west, and the far south, making the seeming edges of a boxed world, but with nothing inside.

It was said that there used to be a great and magnificent city that covered all one continent, connecting the other four, and had been the capital of the old world. But no-one knows where it disappeared to, but the only scholars that believe such a place existed believe it exists on the bottom on the ocean where it sunk my its inhabitants in one last vain attempt to ward off the evil forces…apparently it took out the whole center of the continent, and the city laying on top of it all.

Anyway, our story starts off on the western and corrupted continent of Skenland, which is either uncharted and dangerous wilderness, or bustling port-cities thriving with thieves and wannabe necromancers. Out on the edge of the uncharted wilderness, is a ranger station inhabited by the last part of civilized mankind and its knights, about to face a new evil in the world…

Part One:


"I told you, we can't avoid doing this. We can't let the necromancers get a hold of our city, our heritage, or our people. We must do this for the good of the civilizations to come."

"But why submerge the city? It leaves the city preserved for the people who want to…"

"…Who want to rebuild our city. Don't worry, we're entrusting the most honest beings in the world to protect it from those who would use it improperly."

"If you say so, for the city."

"For the city."

"Gentlemen, have you made a decision?"

"Yes, Mox, we are to submerge the city and preserve it. You are to operate the controls, and we trust you fully while the rest of us move out to the surrounding highlands."

"Yes, High Council judges. I won't let you down. What about the mana silo?"

"Shut it down for good. We no longer have enemies worth using such a world-destroying weapon. See to it the mana city comes nowhere near completion."

"Yes, High Council judges. Out you go then. Good luck with the evacuation."

Chapter 2: The Wilderness

The ranger station looked pretty run-down and like it was through a lot of battle already, but the lot of men that lived and fought side-by-side in that fort were not run-down at all. They were much more like a family of their own, laughing and playing cards, telling friendly stories and making sure at least a few guards were keeping a look out to make sure nothing unchecked passed by their clearing that was so well defended.

On the ground floor of the fort, which was a kind of a wooden and fortified pit of some sort, below the walkways and windows of the lookout post on the elevated first floor, was a wooden tavern table, and a bunch of heavily armored and armed knights in full plate mails, greaves, and the whole shoot and match, not to mention their glimmering great swords which they polished after every battle.

On the same floor, a knock came on the heavy oak double-gated doors, and the guards there opened its massive guard to make way for a likeable figure. A man of measured 6' tall and with light garb leather armor on his torso, was also covered by a heavy and scarred metal plate on his front and backside. At his side, from a leather hilt hung a sword chrome and slightly green-tinted, but shone brightly in the afternoon sunlight, reflecting onto the wall opposite him. The sword was clearly elven-crafted, and the man wearing it at his side had a kind but evenly gruff face, short brown hair, and a bronze kite shield on his arm, also at his side. Everyone looked up to him like the pack to its leader, as he was.

The young man spoke with a cold but understandable command as he walked in, a silvery whisp of air trailing behind him from the cool country breeze – he had been through a fight and won.

"Men, I have returned from a long patrol, and something is wrong with the world, something that is much more eerie than the world we still know is corrupted; something has scared the animals and life in the forest into scared silence. Be on your highest guard tonight, I believe something is after us…"

Another knight, suited in full armor, concealing his face too, jumped up, "Sir, there IS something wrong here – our anxieties have surpassed our fears and we have seen nothing at all today. What could possible oppose us on Skenland?"

The commander shook his head, and spoke again, this time to all of the men listening, both on the ground and on the watch catwalk. "I have no idea, but nothing will oppose us in our gathering of the last bit of military that will defend our town!" And all the men did not cheer, but nodded solemnly as they returned to guard – they waited.

When it was pitch dark out with the night invading their fort, some of the soldiers lit torches around their fort and kept the best eye out they could for anything that could very well be just a few feet away from them, out of their sight, just waiting in the darkness…

The commander was standing by the side of two other knights, and he drew his sword, and his anxiety grew slowly into the smallest amount of fear he never imagined existed inside of him.

The largest soldier, wearing a steel armor much resembling him like a steel small dragon or lizard, possibly a dragoon, noted his commander's feelings and leapt up deftly from the bottom floor to the catwalk, "Doune, what is it? Even I cannot sense any excitement beyond our fort…what do you feel?"

Doune Tremaine, the strong hearted and brave tracer shook off his fear, but failed and continued to shiver, and his comrades were blown away by this, their morals decreasing, and their fears peaking. "I…feel something inhuman beyond our fort, a large and evil presence loathing for our…" He jerked his head out to the wilderness out of the catwalk window nearest to him, and he grabbed a torch from a nearby troop. "…I feel we are in for a bloody battle of our survival…toss flares and get your swords ready…it starts…"

Before the first flare emerged from the fort, the whole eastern half of the fort was overrun with fear, fear that emerged from an inhuman growl, one that sounded much larger than their broad swords and arrows…and at a level much higher than the fort, a pair of yellow eyes bore down at them, and Doune hesitated for only a moment – the growl emerged from an opening jaw void that revealed only what the torches could reveal, a row of bloody and sword-like teeth and the growl emerged from all around them.

Before the men's horrified eyes, many, many pairs of eyes emerged from the darkness, all of them taller than the fort itself. Doune could not take it any longer, "ATTACK!" He yelled in such a vulgar way that forced the men to slash at the beasts, who also saw the command as the end – the beasts charged in at the fort and slashed away at the wood and it fell like paper and the roof fell in on the troops, sealing their fate. The torches went out and Doune and his men were left being picked off by the creatures, and Doune slashed away when he heard no human voices, his elven sword dealing deadly blows in a hurricane of combination swings and tornado slices unto to the darkness that consumed his fort. The resulting cataclysm from the weapon shone bright light onto the battlefield – everything was still and dead. His men, covered in blood and wooden boards; the creatures stuck in the accident as well, but most cut in half. Doune did not care what they really looked like, he had enough.

Whatever had conjured those creatures upon them, or whatever the creatures were, they were not of this continent, or this world perhaps, Doune thought. He carried his sword as it glowed in the night like a golden torch and found his way back through the forest. When dawn approached, a heavy fog enveloped the forest, and Doune reluctantly put away his sword and its glow – for it disoriented him, and he shakily looked around and listened for anything alive.

Hour later, his feet clad in metal greaves could carry him no further; without reason or food, he could not continue his unknown quest. He fell onto his knees and hands and was about to cry out in anguish when he heard a conspicuous and diabolical laughing far ahead. Doune got up with the little strength he had and slowly crept towards the laughing and the fog majestically rose before him and he looked upon a mass graveyard covering every single inch of land within an entire deep canyon. Before the drop-off, two men dressed in black cloaks emerged from a grave with another thin figure – what was it…a skeleton? What evil was dealing with the dead here?

He crept closer and he hid behind a grave and listened in on their conversation, the first and shorter figure spoke a high-pitched voice, in vast eccentricity,

"YES! I have begun my first step into true necromancy! I have a skeleton warrior at my…at our side now! Would that not top your mind powers, Hal?" The one called Hal shook his head and spoke,

"You talk too much, Jeff, and no – it does not top my powers – it only shows that you can conjure up the skeleton of a local bartender; and besides – look what good it did to conjure up instead that dark elemental band – we ravaged the countryside and that puny ranger station!"

"What ranger station? Oh, you mean what used to be in that clearing? Bah, it's none of our concern now, the fools guarding that plot of land are long dead, shortened lives thanks to us, hehehe…"

Before the could continue, Doune let out a war cry only thought conceivable to those with no time on their hands, but a war full or pure rage and anguish against those that stood in his way. Doune charged the two bewildered wizards and drew his sword, and slashed right down at the shorter, thinner one. The one dodge it, but rolled into a nearby open grave. Making up for this loss, the other paralyzed Doune momentarily as Jeff, the washed up necromancer, yelled to his skeleton, "GO ON! KILL HIM, THAT TATTERED KNIGHT THERE!" and so the skeleton started at Doune, when he recovered and swung at its ribs, which only knocked it aside for a moment, and it sung back at him, wielding a blade the length of his legs.

The one psionic called Hal lost control, of his link to Doune and fell back as the skeleton swung again at the powerless Doune.

Doune held his hand into the air, his palm upright, and shone a medallion shining in the morning sun and a rumbling from above came down upon them and something from the air pounced on the evil trio. The skeleton was suddenly swiped out of sight by something from above and it was never seen again…for a few moments.

What looked like a dragon swooped down onto the battlefield beside Doune, but much smaller than you'd think, and tossed the crushed bones out of its talons.

"A drake…damn," Jeff mumbled and tried to hold back his fury.

"Damn you, whoever you are! I was about to get it right tonight, we'll be back!" And so Jeff and Hal got up into and upright position when Doune charged them and his drake back into thin air already. Something from behind the graves pounced on Jeff and was about to tear him to pieces – a lion. Tracers had connections elsewhere it appeared. "Aaaaaaaaaaaah! Destroy them, something, Hal!"

And the psionic clasped his hands together and was about release an unexpected mind blast when the lion disappeared too and Jeff charged Doune, who had lost his sword in the confusion.

When all seemed like it was turning for the worse for Doune, a great rumbling noise from above them all emerged from something, and the earth shook greatly, making the loose bones rattle fervently. Before they all could stop and look up at what opposed them, a great blast of multi-colored energy emerged and hit both Jeff and Hal straight in the face, and forces them back, cowering in fear and pain.

Before they could react, another beam of energy, this time much more destructive emerged from the mysterious aggressor and an atomic beam of fiery energy descended onto the two and they were engulfed in flames. Before Doune could hear them scream in pain, they were already gone – they teleported out, and no ashes were left in their places.

The beam stopped and flapping wings could be heard. Doune turned around shakily to look at the great thunderer that had helped him, for such reason, he could be next – but was held in utter fear.

A large 25 foot dragon, with blue scales and a thick silvery armor encasing him all but his wings, head, and tail emerged from flight and folded his wings on his back. He looked down at Doune almost hungrily, and spoke with a rumbling voice, that eventually seemed less booming over time,

"Terribly sorry, was a little late back there, eh? We got 'em all right; they'll be back when they've become men, or whatever the hell they are. Good evening Doune, pleasure is mine, heard of yeh, but never got to interfere…bah, how are yeh?"

Doune could not take all this in at once and fell back as he fainted in front of the blue dragon.

"Well, that isn't very customary, oh well. Have a nice rest!"