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The Ancient Prophecy
Part V - Tragedy at Gideon
by Viper

This story was split into 7 parts. Jump to any of the segments from here:
Note: This story was originally submitted as one long story
and it was only broken into 7 parts for faster page loading.

It was another beautiful day in the Land of Lore. The sun shone brightly in the cloudless sky. The wind blew lightly, creating a soft song as it flew past the autumn leaves. The Gideon vast green carpet of tall grass blanketed the land. The weather was perfect to spend time outside.

However, the land around it was not as friendly as it seemed. South of Gideon were the same long chains of impassable volcanoes. The air was uncomfortably hot and thick with the strong scent of sulfur. The land seemed deserted. No single deer or cattle were found in the vast meadow. The sky was also scarce of birds. Only a few groups of birds were spotted flying to the South, seeking shelter from the harsh winter. From afar, the angry roar of the volcanoes could be heard, warning every traveler. Aside from that, the land was very silent, very lifeless.

This, of course, bothered Atrus. He walked uneasily, observing the surrounding. His hand rested on his sword; ready to draw it anytime threats came. His eyes were spying on the vast grassland around him. He even slowed his breathing, trying to get his hearing to full sense. Slowly he walked along the well-paved road toward the mountainous region.

Adriana Freesland walked next to him, sharing the same feeling. She kept on monitoring the terrain through her eagle eye spell. She had learned more spells on the way, and was very proud of her new firebolt spell. She was not ready to let her magic missile go for she was very skilled with that spell now. Being weaponless, she had learnt to cast spells faster. Her constant training with Atrus had gradually increased her speed. But right now Atrus needed her skill. She kept on trying to survey their surrounding.

Maya walked right behind her, protecting her six. She had her blade on her right hand and throwing knives between her left-hand fingers. She was also nervous with her surrounding. She had sworn that she would protect her master. This mission seemed to be dangerous, but she didn't care. She would follow him regardless of the danger.

Gideon was a prosperous border town in South Aragon. It was located in the mountainous region near the Forbidden Land. It was well known for its rich vault of copper and tin. The volcanic region kindly donated a large amount of these metals inside many natural caves in the mountain. Miners from across the land came to reap the wealth, making the town flourish. Although the land around the caves was infested by beasts from the Forbidden Land, many brave souls established trading posts and forts near the town. The lack of flat land for farming forced the citizens to live from trading with the neighboring farming villages.

And this was the real problem. The neighboring villages had lost contact with the town for nearly two weeks. According to the data from Tiras town hall, the citizens would have suffered from famine by now. Therefor the guild had asked them to go to Gideon and reestablish contact with the town and the citizens. The royal army would send a detachment in seven days and would rely on their report.

The journey to the town took two days, and they had not encountered a soul in their way. Anna had felt the trouble since they started their journey, but Atrus had taken her warning lightly. Now he knew better than ignoring her.

The sound of the wind was getting faint as if trying to whisper a silent warning to the party. It was slowly replaced by the angry roar of the volcanoes around them. In front of them the unbroken view of monstrous mountains welcomed them. The scent of sulfur was intoxicating. Anna produced three pieces of cloth to cover their nose and help breathing. The tall grass around them prevented clear view of their surrounding.

"Master, wait!" Maya broke the long silence among them.

She pointed at the vast green grass on their side.

"There was a patch on the grass... there's something over there..."

She was right. A small portion of the grass was gone. Something was indeed there, lying on the grass. Maya slowly made her way through the grass with dagger in her hand. When she reached the patch, she screamed in terror.

Atrus and Anna rushed to her position. Anna arrived first and stood in her place, stunned by the view. It was a corpse of a man lying on his stomach. The body was in a very bad shape. His left arm was cut off from his body. His clothes were torn, his back was full of welts and bruises. A stone club was sticking on his right shoulder. A large pool of dried blood was formed on the grass.

Anna stepped back from the body, still stunned from the view. Atrus slowly moved closer and pulled the club from his body. The sharp edge of the club was coated with dried blood. The club was pretty simple. It was a hard stone with sharp edge, tied into a wooden stick with strong rope. The dried blood produced unpleasant smell. Anna tried her best not to puke.

"What do you think?" Atrus turned to Maya, who was still unmoved.

"I... I think he had been dead for days..." she answered. Her voice was trembling.

"True... He died three days ago, I guess. Looking at his condition, I don't think he died in peace..."

"Whoever killed him... was a monster...!" Anna found herself saying.

Atrus slowly turned the body around. The front part of the corpse was no better than his back. Multiple bruises were found on his chest. His eyes were staring blankly to the sky. His mouth was open wide as if trying to scream a silent wail. The expression in his face was full of pain and agony, and seemed alive in his lifeless form.

Then he noticed something was sticking on his belt. It was a paper. He slowly took the blood-soaked paper and opened it. It was a short text that looked like a letter. Half of the letter was drenched with blood, but it was still in one piece. The handwriting was awfully ugly, showing that the author had written the letter in a hurry.

Atrus withdrew from the body and joined the girls. Anna had regained her strength and looked at the letter curiously.

"Is that his?"

He nodded. "I found it on his belt. The handwriting is horrible, but readable. Whoever that man is, he died when he defended this letter."

"Why don't you read it for us, master?"

He nodded again, took a deep breath and then began reading.

They just appeared from nowhere. We don't know where they came from. We don't know who they are, but they're certainly no elves. They are powerful warriors. We haven't seen such evil threat for ages.

We are losing. Northern and western forts were destroyed. One by one our man vanished. We lost contact with the main cave. That might be the source of our trouble.

By the time anybody read this letter, our town might have been ruined. Please avenge our death.

If you receive this letter by accident, please pass it to the palace.


                Mayor of Gideon

The party went silent for a while. Atrus silently said a prayer for the poor soul who had carried the letter to warn the palace. Now it had cost him his life.

"He must be one of the villagers." Maya broke the silence.

"And he tried to escape from whatever had attacked the town." Atrus stated. "If not elves, then who else?"

"Or what else?" Anna spoke up. "They're monsters! Look at the dead body! Only monsters can do that!"

They looked at the dead man again. Judging at his wounds, the killer couldn't be human. Even the strongest knight couldn't swing a stone club so that it pierced so deep inside the shoulder. The terror in his lifeless face showed that he had been in horrible pain in the brink of his death.

Atrus approached the man, closed his eyes and mouth. "May you rest in peace, brother, your death will not be in vain." When he withdrew his hand, it was drenched with blood.

Anna looked at his hand in disgust. "If I were you, I would have puked..."

Atrus stared at her. "Aw, come on! The journey just started! You'll see many things like this later!"

"Well, I'm not like you! You have the blood of a killer! That's why you're not scared!"

"And what do you have? A blood of a coward?!"

"I'M NOT A COWARD!!!" She snapped.


Again, Maya managed to stop the quarrel, but she was not looking at them. She was looking elsewhere.

"Look! A smoke, coming from that way!" she pointed at the western sky...

...At the direction of where Gideon was located...

"We're not too late! The town is under attack!" Atrus yelled. "Let's go!"

The town of Gideon was losing the battle. One by one the town defenders were slaughtered. Arrows with flame on their tips pierced the wooden roofs and engulfed them in fire. Corpses were collected in the town center and burned into ashes. Cries of men and women and children filled the sky. The small town of Gideon was turned into a sea of fire as the raider pillaged the town.

A group of goblins raided and searched every house for valuables and survivors as the orcs shot flame arrows with their crossbows. Their monstrous roar joined the cry of agony of the town people. With their blood-thirst nature they savagely tortured the surviving villagers. As the last defender fell to the ground, the town was utterly destroyed.

The goblins started to gather all females and maidens outside the burning town. Their pleas were ignored as manacles were fastened on their wrists, ankles, and necks. Slowly they were marched out of town and toward the volcanoes. Sometimes goblins would take maidens away from the group and raped them in the open.

Jenna was one of the maidens in the last group. She barely escaped the assault, but was discovered by one of the raiders when she tried to cross the river. The intense heat of the fire made the water extremely hot, and her painful cry led to her capture. She was dragged to the center of the remaining group of maidens surrounded by dozens of foul folks.

She couldn't stand straight as her legs were burning with pain. One of the goblins stepped forward and grabbed her long hair with his massive hand. She cried in pain as he pulled her hair, forcing her to stand on her toes. He wore a full body armor and seemed to be the leader of the raiding bands.

"So you tried to escape...?" His voice was hardly audible.

Send all comments about this story to Viper.

This story was split into 7 parts. Jump to any of the segments from here:
Note: This story was originally submitted as one long story
and it was only broken into 7 parts for faster page loading.

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