Monday, 8 August 2011

A Start

It has been over one hundred years since he awoke. Stories told by the elders of the land speak of the horrors that were unleashed upon the coast after his awakening. Orr, a sunken peninsula, was raised from underneath the Sea of Sorrows by the horrifying Elder Dragon Zhaitan.
  Lion’s Arch was but a weak obstacle for the tidal waves that ensued. The entire coastline was battered and beaten by the Elder Dragon’s wrath. But what came after the quakes and the waves was worse – far worse.
  Somewhere out over the seas, somehow beyond magical comprehension and mental prowess, Zhaitan was able to harness his evil power and raise the dead to obey his call. Swarms of undead minions made from the wandering dead of Orr came to life and took control of lifeless corsair’s ships. Black sails atop sunken ships filled the horizon by the uprooted peninsula and the undead army blocked all passage to Cantha from Tyria.
  Since then, no one has been able to enter or leave Tyria; those attempting to do so never returning, assumed to have joined the ranks of the Elder Dragon, such plights forbidden by the Captain’s Council within Lion’s Arch. People have forcibly adjusted to the severe changes that Zhaitan created, yet a few questions remain in the calm and eventless wake of his stirring: Why has he, amongst other Elder Dragons, arisen? What are his plans? And will the land ever return to what it once was?

Alastair Fireheart stared out of the grimy window as he fingered a small dagger. The human had never really appreciated the true art of weapons or how they made a man feel, but as he felt the blunted edge along the blade he wondered how it would feel to be the one who landed the killing blow on Zhaitan. The thought alone was reckless, bordering on insane, but he had lost so much in the century following the awakening even though he hadn’t been alive all of that time.
  Sea spray marred the beautifully blue glass of the windows whilst the rusted copper divider bars between the glass panes told a different story of the salty air that filled the city. Lion’s Arch sprawled out before Alastair like a pick pocketed valley of farm fields, each building as unique and intriguing as the other, intertwined and built upon each other like piles of nautical bricks. High ships hung anchored like bridges between towering spires of buildings on rock while far below the canals and shipping lanes sparkled brilliantly in the midday sun. It was home to the magician despite his birthplace of Kryta, but one could never return to a place where he had been banished.
  “Fireheart,” a smooth female voice called from the doorway behind. “You are here.”
  She sounded surprised. Alastair had been anticipating that if she appeared. Sylvari were so easy.
  “Of course,” Alastair replied, turning slowly from the window to face the doorway, ornaments of fishing nets and overly large champion shells cluttered over crates nearby. “I am not asura you know.”
  He winked and tucked the small dagger into the thick sash that hung around his waist like a belt. The sylvari woman watched tentatively as he moved towards her, pulling his coat off a nearby chair and pulling it around his thick shoulders smoothly. She was tall, thin and lean; every bit as much of a tree person as Alastair had ever imagined. Her leafy hair was a dried out brown while her eyes were dark with wonder. He had never anticipated that she would actually come on his foolish little endeavour, but there she stood, ready and willing.
  “Why the dagger?” she asked, moving aside as Alastair stepped out of the small room and onto a boardwalk that seemed to disappear into endlessly twining streets and sections of the city. The alarm in her voice was noticeable but controlled.
Alastair stopped just outside the doorway and turned to look the beautiful tree girl in her deep, dark eyes. For a moment he was lost as he could have sworn he heard the tranquil and tropical sounds of the Grove. But soon enough, a loud crash from somewhere below brought him back.
  “Agrestal, sweetie, you know why.”
  Alastair grinned again before walking off. The innocent sylvari was left standing for a moment as she pondered the situation. In the last twenty-five years since her race’s birth, they had been forced to learn some harsh lessons – especially by the asura. She had taken these lessons with her as she had left the Grove and began her search for a wider world. But here, deep within Lion’s Reach, the pang of disappointment bit agonisingly. Was she really so gullible and trusting?
  “Wait,” she called out, turning to face Fireheart who had almost begun descending a nearby ramp.
  He paused and looked up at the sylvari with interest. “Yes?” he asked.
  “If we do this, we do it my way.”
  His grin stretched from ear to ear as the darkness in her eyes twinkled. Perhaps she wasn’t as futile as he had initially thought. Satisfied, he nodded, and waited for her at the top of the ramp. In moments she took the dagger from Fireheart’s sash and threw it into a side shop which clattered with the added artefact.
  The Trader’s Forum of the Agora was bustling with life as they reached the bottom of the ramp; charr, asura, norn, humans and even a small contingent of sylvari filled the marketplace. Even more surprisingly a quaggan emissary was waddling towards the Captain’s Council. Agrestal nodded towards the emissary and in moments they were trailing the damp creature who had obviously recently surfaced. To meet the Council was just a start, but a start they had.

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