~Dysole, who feels like he might submit something if there's still some time
The round ends technically late today or sometime tomorrow, depending on when BoD gets back on to judge. You can always ask for a one week extension though. It looks like we might need it anyway.
~TGRF, glad to see you here.
Okay. Coming at a whopping 6.5 pages on word, and consisting of no more than 3,906 words, I give you my entry. I really like how this turned out, and may make it into a short side fiction one of these fine days. (You, OB, could play a very large part in when I do that, btw.) So, I give you... The Quest for the Talisman of Odin!
The kyrie sunk to the floor on one knee, his head bowed low. The torches on the wall flickered over him, throwing him into shadow, and making his red skin appear black.
“The rumors are true, my Lord Utgar,” he said, speaking to the floor.
A gigantic winged figure rose out of a throne in the shadows and stepped forward. “Do the other generals know?” asked the coolly sinister voice of Utgar.
“I – I do not know, my lord,” replied the kyrie. “The talisman appeared at night… and the glow of the explosion was only too visible. The others may very well know of its existence.”
Utgar turned from the kneeling kyrie and walked away, his dark cloak billowing behind him. If it was true that the talisman of Odin had finally arrived on Valhalla, a force would be needed to retrieve it before any of the other generals found it. It would have to be small, perhaps consisting of only one person, and it would have to leave immediately. Utgar turned to the still kneeling kyrie.
“Find Cyprien,” he said, “and tell him to have his fastest and most skilled vampire report to me at once. Go.”
“Yes, my lord,” said the kyrie,” and he backed out of the room.
Jandar paced his throne room, completely ignoring the knight before him. Speed. Speed was what he needed most right now. No land force would aid him, for the talisman had landed on an island in the middle of the water filled crater on Haukeland. No, he needed something, or someone that could swim, or better yet, fly, quickly. Only one option presented itself to him.
Einar sat, as though suddenly subjected to Sudema’s deadly stare, on his throne. His face was a complete mask to the kyrie before him, but his mind was working furiously. This was a chance; a chance to end the war and claim all of Valhalla for himself. If any of the other generals had heard, as they most likely had, of the talisman, they would be sending the fastest possible soldiers to retrieve it. Einar, strategist that he was, was not one to join in a mindless race and just give up if he lost. No, speed was certainly of essence, but the more important factor would be a warrior that could steal the talisman and fight to keep it if necessary…
Far away, Vydar sat, impassive as ever, going over nearly the same thoughts as Einar. Normally, a soulborg would be the obvious choice, but they were a bit too slow for this kind of work. Right now he needed someone slightly quicker, someone who would still be able to drive away anyone else who came to get the talisman. Vydar didn’t have many warriors like this, but one in particular fitted every need perfectly.
Off to the West, Ullar sat pondering the situation. Speed and stealth were what was needed, and almost any elf would fit that description. However, for the fastest and stealthiest, only one came to mind…
Three days later
A raging storm billowed over the Bitter Sea, whipping the waves into frothing towers of water, and sending dark clouds scuttling across the sky. Forks of lightning punctuated the night at random intervals, lending their bright flashes to the overall darkness. It was through this that a strange creature flew, struggling wildly to stay aloft.
The creature was Theracus, the gryphilin from Feylund, and on his back sat the one elf that Ullar had chosen for this mission: Alfimir. Alfimir was a trained elven mage, but at an early age he had decided that a quiet approach was far better than a powerful one. He had taught himself the tricks of an assassin, and had soon become incredibly powerful, even for an elf. His power had been his downfall though, and Ullar had summoned him to serve on Valhalla.
Only several towers of dark clouds away from Theracus and Alfimir, a vampire by the name of Helquin easily rode the storm. Vampires, as they were merely spirits inhabiting the dead, paid little attention to physical difficulties, and it was this fact that allowed Helquin, picked vampire assassin of Cyprien’s guard, to glide through the storm with ease. He had been given his instructions. None had been able to stop him yet, and none would now. He would return to Utgar with the talisman of Odin and claim his prize before any of the other generals reached it.
Far above both the vampire and the elf flew a magnificent creature, shimmering in the sunlight. This ‘creature’ was Gelder, a recent recruit from Jandar’s own village. His armor was marvelously crafted, and shone in the brilliant sun above the dark clouds. His wings effortlessly bore him aloft in his native skies of Valhalla, and he sped on his way, heading straight for Haukeland, and the talisman of Odin, oblivious to the pursuers below him.
Below Gelder, Helquin, and Alfimir rode two ships. They were hidden from each other by the swirling mists cast up by the storm, but their prows were both pointed in the same direction. One held a small man, wrapped in a black cloak and carrying a sword on his back. Only his eyes could be seen, for the rest of his face was covered in a black cloth. He paid no heed to the roaring waves about him or the foam cascading down on him. Instead, Flenter, stared ever Eastward, looking toward the horizon that hid Haukeland, and the talisman of Odin that he had been sent to retrieve for his lord Einar.
The other ship held, compared to all the others, a fairly normal man. Every last bit of him was sheathed in armor, and he carried a wide assortment of guns, but he had no special powers to set him apart from anyone else. That was because his powers could not be seen, but were a part of him, like the ability to fly is a part of a kyrie. Vydar had watched him with great interest as he survived a massive plague on earth, his home world, and not only lived through it, but came to bring it to an end. His actions alone had been the cause of his being summoned. His name was Dave.
Four days later
Nothing. Hours upon hours of searching, and Alfimir had found nothing. There were only so many places on this insignificant speck of an island that the talisman could be. He had combed the entire place, and had found no more than some ancient pillars crumbling to dust.
The island sloped upwards from the middle of the lake in which it sat, forming a peak in the middle. It was covered with trees, mostly pine, oak, and ash, and seemed to be inhabited primarily by squirrels, birds, and a few snakes. A crumbling stone structure was located at the top of the island, a relic from some distant past civilization, and that was all. No talisman was to found. This bothered Alfimir because Ullar had told him exactly where to find the talisman. He, along with all the other generals, although they didn’t know it, had seen the exact location in their wellsprings. Alfimir had gone to center of the island and examined the ancient pillars there until he felt he knew them better than the winds and skies, but had found nothing.
Helquin was fairing little better. He had landed directly where the talisman was supposed to be, but not finding it, had moved outwards, making his way down to the coast.
Gelder, knowing that Jandar had wanted speed above all else, had flown several times over the island, and had thoroughly searched the center for the talisman, but like Alfimir, had found nothing.
Flenter and Dave, fortunately for the crews of their ships, had had to land on the mainland of Haukeland and travel to the crater, where they were rowed out to the middle island. Even with this handicap, they had made good time, and had somehow avoided seeing each other.
So, five warriors of Valhalla, the land of a thousand worlds, were now clustered together on one tiny island in the middle of nowhere, far away from the rest of Valhalla. They were all searching for one, seemingly unimportant thing, and none of them knew of the existence of the others. That, however, was about to change.
Finally deciding to have a closer look, Gelder descended through the wispy clouds and landed on the crumbling stone floor at the top of the island. Tumbled pillars were arranged in a circle about him, and giant blocks of stone littered the floor. Weeds and grass were growing in between the broken flagstones, and any trace of walls had long since tumbled away. Except for the occasional chirp of a bird nearby, and the faint roaring of the waves, everything was silent.
At the precise moment that Gelder was bending over a rock to look under it, Helquin appeared behind him. The vampire stopped dead at the sight of the kyrie. A quick glance at the kyrie’s armor announced him to be a subject of lord Jandar and an enemy. However, there was no need to kill him yet. Perhaps he had found the talisman.
Just as Helquin was preparing to pin the kyrie against the rock, Dave came up, his AK-47 assault rifle in hand. Like Helquin, he froze at the sight that met him. In this mission, both were technically his enemies, but one was his ally, and the other was not. Therefore, he brought his rifle up to his shoulder, and aimed carefully at Helquin’s back, so that the bullet would pass straight through his heart. Most unfortunately, he made small noise while planting his feet, and both Helquin and Gelder spun around to face him. At the sight of each other, they jumped backwards, Helquin landing on the edge of the floor with his sword drawn, and Gelder landing on top of the pillar with his spear raised.
The three of them stood there, neither daring to strike for fear of being struck down by the other. Dave had just hit upon the plan of pulling out one of his pistols to hold off the kyrie with when a smooth voice spoke from behind him, making them all jump.
“This is quite a gathering,” said Alfimir quietly as he stepped onto the overgrown floor, looking from one warrior to another. No one spoke. Alfimir could easily have killed each and everyone of them in quick succession with merely a snap of his fingers, but two of them were his allies, and he had no desire to start a war without the talisman.
After a rather tense silence, Gelder spoke. “We seem to be here for the same reason at the same time.” He lowered his spear, but still kept a tight grip on it. Alfimir looked up at Gelder and Dave took the opportunity to discretely move away from him, feeling the vampire’s eyes following him. “It appears that it will be the alliance that retrieves the talisman, and no one general,” Gelder continued. “Therefore, let us search for it in peace together.”
Alfimir raised one eyebrow ever so slightly. “Ah, but there is only one talisman,” he said, “and only one of us can return it to Valhalla.”
“We will return it to lord Jandar,” said Gelder, his voice hardening slightly, “as he is the leader of the alliance.”
“There is no leader of the alliance,” said Dave before Alfimir could reply. “But it seems obvious to me that the talisman should be sent to lord Vydar, as he will know what to do with it.”
“Any one of the generals would know what to do with it,” said Alfimir, turning to Dave. “But I believe it is general Ullar who should keep it.”
Another silence followed, as each warrior eyed each the other.
“You could just let me take it,” said Helquin. “Then you wouldn’t have to decide who gets it.”
“I think not, vampire,” said Alfimir. “You will be the first to be killed, not the first to return.”
“Do you mean to imply by ‘first’ that you will kill others?” said Gelder in a tone of superiority.
“Oh, certainly not,” said Alfimir, his voice laced with acid. “I was under the impression that you were dying to help us find the talisman.” Gelder said nothing in response to the sarcasm, and another silence ensued. After a moment, Alfimir took a step back and said, “It all seems fairly simple to me. I could kill each and every one of you in an instant. Therefore, anything you say has no relevance. You can choose to help me find this talisman, and return alive, or you can choose to resist me, and die now.
At that instant, a long knife was placed suddenly against his throat from behind, and a voice whispered in his ear, “Perhaps you can kill them, but you cannot kill me, for I would kill you first.” Flenter the ninja had slipped up silently behind Alfimir.
“Perhaps now you get my point,” said Gelder. “We search together or we don’t search at all.”
“I, for one, agree with the kyrie,” said Helquin, an evil smile twisting his face.
“I don’t believe he was including you,” said Dave, pointing his assault rifle at the vampire again. Helquin’s smile slid off of his face like molasses dripping to the floor.
“It’s quite simple,” said Flenter, his knife still at Alfimir’s throat. We will search together. Since we obviously cannot decide who will take possession of the talisman, we will all take it back together, and present it before the generals at a council meeting. “
At the exact same moment, a single thought crossed each warriors mind. They would kill all the others at the first convenient opportunity, and take the talisman to his own general. With this thought in mind, they all agreed.
“First though,” said Gelder, gliding down from the column, “we should dispose of this vampire.”
“Allow me,” said Alfimir as Flenter released the sword from his throat. He snapped his fingers in the direction of Helquin, and Helquin, without uttering so much as a sound, crumpled to the old flagstones below. Noting the stunned looks on the faces of the other warriors, Alfimir turned and said, “Now, let us look for this talisman while the daylight still remains.”
So, the tension between them still remaining, they searched. They spread out from the top of the island, but kept each other well within sight, lest any of them should find what they sought. However, as they moved away from the center of the island, Helquin, unseen by any of them, stood up. Alfimir’s spell would have killed any mere mortal, but it did nothing to the spirit that was Helquin, and smiling grimly, he slipped into the woods to find the elf.
After an hour of searching, the four warriors returned to the top of the island, empty handed. They had overturned every rock and stick, and searched beneath every bush and tree, but had found nothing. The sun was going down quickly, there were only a few minutes of daylight left.
Alfimir reached the crumbling flagstones and saw the other warriors standing at opposite ends, looking just as disappointed as he did.
“It makes no sense,” said Flenter. “Jandar saw precisely where the talisman was. It was sitting right in the middle of the island, on that stone.” He pointed to a large flat slab of rock.
Alfimir walked over to the slab and looked at it. No mark stood out upon its surface, and no trace of the talisman was to be seen. A quickly muttered spell showed him that the talisman was not hidden within it somehow. He turned from the slab. “My general, too, saw this as the location of the talisman. It is obvious therefore that it has been found, and hidden elsewhere.”
A very heavy silence followed these words. Alfimir looked at each warrior in turn, scrutinizing them for any bulge that could conceal the talisman, but he could see nothing.
“Right then,” said Glenter, stepping forward, “That means that one of us has already found the talisman, and is waiting for an opportunity to escape the island.” He looked about him meaningfully before going on. “It isn’t me, because I could just fly away, and leave you three on the ground.”
“You’d be dead before you got three feet up,” said Alfimir smoothly. “I, for one, doubt that it is the ninja, for he could slip away far easier than any of us. If it was I, I would have killed you all long ago. That leaves you, Glenter, and Dave. You were the first to speak, and the first to try to drive suspicion away from you. Therefore, I believe that you should be searched.”
“Nonsense,” said Glenter. “If I had the talisman, I would have been able to get away with it, don’t you think?”
Alfimir raised an eyebrow. “If the one with the talisman can get away so easily, than whoever had it would have done so already. That would seem to point to the fact that no one has the…”
His words, however, were cut short as an arrow shot out of the gathering darkness and plinked off of a column nearby. Complete silence followed. Flenter seemed to have evaporated into the shadows, Glenter had flown up to the top of the column again, and Dave had ducked behind a large rock. Alfimir, however, remained standing, peering into the dark from whence the arrow had come.
Another arrow whizzed by, heading directly for Alfimir’s head, but he easily deflected it with a wave of his hand. After a moment, he snapped his fingers, and a muffled thud was heard in the shadows. Instantly, Alfimir saw about a dozen figures sprinting away from the clearing.
As he approached whatever it was that he had killed, Flenter materialized before him, and crouched down over the figure. “Drow,” he said quietly.
Alfimir stopped over the figure and looked down. Its skin was a grayish tinge of green, and it carried a long elven bow, but its hair was not white like that of a drow. It armor was dark brown, and mottled with green to blend in with the forest. Alfimir sucked in his breath. “That’s no drow,” he said quietly as the others came up behind him. “That’s a dark elf.”
“A what?” said Flenter.
“A dark elf. Elves that were consumed by dark magic back on Feylund, but managed to…”
THWANG! Another arrow shot out of the darkness and buried itself in Glenter’s shoulder. He toppled to the ground with a cry of pain, and immediately three more arrows shot forward, each bound for one of the warriors. One bounced off of Dave’s armor, one was deflected by Flenter’s blade, and the other was caught in midair by Alfimir. A quick glance confirmed his suspicion. They were confronted by dark elves. He quickly turned to the others.
“Flenter, get Glenter behind some rocks. Dave, cover him. I’ll provide a distraction.”
Flenter unquestioningly obeyed Alfimir and began to haul Glenter away; Dave crouched behind a broken pillar and aimed his assault rifle into the shadows.
Alfimir could just see three dark shapes, as if preparing to fire, standing in the shadows before him. Choosing his magic carefully, he disposed of them by the means of three splinters of wood, each drilled suddenly into their heads. They toppled to the ground.
Alfimir took a step forward, saw two more, and soon had them on the ground too, their lives snuffed out like two small flames. A moment of silence followed, and then a figure, at least a head taller than Alfimir leapt from a tree limb above, landed in front of Alfimir, and withdrew a shimmering, green blade that looked fully capable of excruciating pain.
Alfimir leapt backwards just as the sword slashed downwards, and drew his own sword, a thin, long elven sword, made for quick and precise work.
Without pausing for breath, the dark elf sprung forward, and slashed at Alfimir’s head. Alfimir ducked, caught the sword with his own, and caused the dark elf to be flung backwards onto some jagged rocks. His body crumpled, but three more appeared out of the darkness, swords drawn as well. More arrows flew from the shadows as the dark elves charged, and Alfimir, preoccupied with the missiles, felt a sharp stab of pain as one of the dark elves reached him with his blade.
Dark elves poured in on the clearing from all sides, and they had soon formed a ring around each one of the warriors. Alfimir was dropping them fast by the use of both his sword and magic, and his speed was equaled only by that of Flenter, who seemed to twist about in midair over the wounded Glenter. Dave was, perhaps, the worse off. He had no sword, only guns. He had withdrawn one of his pistols and had already felled a large number of dark elves, but more kept coming, and two of their arrows had already struck him.
Alfimir, out of the corner of his eye, saw Dave go down under overwhelming numbers, and then Flenter, though he took a much longer time to subdue. Then, just as he felled every dark elf near him with one spell, a massive creature sprung into the clearing, a dark elf seated upon it. It had enormous fangs and extremely long claws, and its mouth was lined with files of sharp teeth. It let out a great roar, and reared on its hind legs, and then Alfimir saw it.
Hanging from a chain about the dark elf rider’s neck was a talisman, the talisman of Odin.
No sooner had Alfimir registered this than a dark shape sped out of the night, drove a dark red blade through the dark elf, and snatched the talisman from his neck. As the elf fell, Alfimir saw that the new owner of the talisman was none other than Helquin. Now that he thought back, he had not seen Helquin’s body on the flagstones where it should have been… how could he have missed it?
He had no time to wonder, however, as the tide of dark elves turned towards Helquin, and ran over Alfimir in their haste to get to him. Helquin lightly sprung from the back of the beast he stood upon, and holding the talisman in his hand, laughed at the dark elves struggling to get to him.
“It is mine, my friends,” he said. “I will return with it to lord Utgar, and the war will soon be over.”
Alfimir, thinking fast, muttered an elaborate spell, and then saw Helquin turn and fly off into the night, the talisman clutched triumphantly in his hand. Taking advantage of the inattentiveness of the dark elves, Alfimir rushed for the forest and ran through it, straight to the shore. Here, first making sure that he could not be seen, he opened his hand. In it sat the talisman of Odin, shining innocently in the moonlight. Alfimir knew that Helquin would break through the illusion that he still had the talisman soon, but by that time, he would be far away, hastening to lord Ullar.
If I were to make this into a side fiction, that would be the first few chapters.
I just realized something. In addition to use using the same ********, we both have the same structure of **** *********** set up. Damn.
"RUN!!!" Emirroon shouted and took off. The others needed little encouragement.
7 hours, 36 minutes, and 48 seconds earlier...
As the only scout in Jandar's army I have been assigned this mission. Retrieve the Brandar Talisman and return it to Jandar. Only he knows what to do with it. Possible difficulties will likely include rocky terrain, potential unknown enemies, potential known enemies if the other generals are made aware of the talisman, and a lack of opposable thumbs. Stealth and secrecy are tantamount so Jandar in all his wisdom sent the big metal thing with guns. I shall fulfill my duties to Jandar. Analyzing map and determing proper direction.
A short distance away Emirroon pulled out the small note kept within the folds of his robe.
I wish for you to retrieve the Talisman of Brandar. Since it will be far easier for a small force to acquire it I task you with getting near to the Talisman and bringing it back. Should you encounter difficulties you are to summon your fellow elves as fast as you can. Given the consistency of your staff this should hopefully not doom you as they are all ready at a moment's notice. Best of luck my friend. This is an important mission and I have the utmost confidence in you. The enclosed map should help you in your journey.
Another short distance away James Murphy recalled how he had been selected for this mission.
"General Vydar you wished to speak to me?"
"Yes Murphy. Now as you are aware there is a Talisman of Brandar..."
"I wasn't aware."
"Of course not. It's a secret Talisman."
"So why should I have been aware?"
"It's not important."
"The important thing is that you're going to retrieve it for me."
"Where is it?"
"That's an awfully detailed map for something so secret."
"No more questions! Go there. Get it. Bring it back. Any questions?"
"I thought you said no more..."
"Excellent! See you back soon."
Murphy grumbled under his breath. "Stupid mission. Stupid map. Stupid Vydar sending me off without telling me why I was chosen."
A bit further away a lone ninja looked across the terrain. She was secrecy and the night and Einar knew that she could work well for a mission of stealth. She also was cheaper and more expendable than his other squad of ninjas so she was the logical choice. She examined her map and continued down.
It was only a few short minutes after they had all examined their maps that they all came upon...the temple. It was a majestic piece of ancient artwork each brick lovingly handcrafted upon the blood of a thousand slaves. Coming as a complete shock to none of our readers, they encountered each other.
"Emirroon. Shiori. Murphy." Zetacron observed, "You are not in your usual location. What is your reason for being here?"
"We could ask you the same thing." Emirroon retorted.
"I...I...like it here."
"Out in the middle of nowhere that was a good three days from any of our encampments and that none of us even knew existed?"
"You do realize how illogical that sounds?"
"I'm a soulborg not an AI. I don't run entirely on logic."
"You're also a terrible liar."
"Enough chit chat and let's get down to brass tacks." Murphy interrupted. "I ain't gonna lie. I'm here to find the Talisman of Brandar. Vydar assigned me to it. I'd be willing to let you chumps help me but I do need to get it back to him."
Shiori chuckled. "Oh that's cute."
"Excuse me Miss Ninja?"
"Do you assume that none of us have plans for that Talisman?" she retorted.
"The girl is surprisingly intuitive." Zetacron said, "I have orders from Jandar to return the Talisman to him."
"Funny. So do I." Emirroon said. Then hastily correcting himself, "I mean return it to Ullar. I don't have orders to return it to Jandar."
Murphy nodded. "Then we are at an impasse."
"I'm afraid so." Zetacron replied, "I can't compete with you physically and you're no match for my brain."
There was a pause as the narrative tried to avoid further references to another unnamed movie.
"Look it doesn't matter." Murphy said, "We're all here to get the Talisman and so we go in and get it and then we decide what to do after that."
They nodded. It was at this moment that a loud cry erupted from the bushes and a sword clanged against Zetacron. Before any of them could think a blade was placed behind what would essentially be Zetacron's neck and the dark red shade of Isamu was visible.
"Now you do as I say or my blade will cut into his flesh."
"That is incorrect. I do not have flesh. I have robotic circuitry."
"Well 'cutting into robotic circuitry' doesn't sound cool."
"That is a concern?"
"I'm a ninja. Everything about me needs to be cool."
Murphy raised his pistol and began to pull the trigger.
"Don't do that or I strike."
"I think I can hit you ya little bugger."
There was an explosion. Isamu lay on the floor cursing about ones his left arm bleeding heavily.
"I think it's time to finish you off."
"I know some things about this temple. Some secret stuff."
"How do I know this ain't a bluff?"
"You can't afford for it not to be."
The four "allies" looked at each other. Murphy grumbled and made a sling for his arm. His sword was taken away and given to Shiori. They brought him along. They made their way inside the temple and began exploring the room in silence. After a good while of this one of them finally spoke.
"So if this is supposed to be so secret," Emirroon wondered aloud, "how are all the generals aware of it?"
There was a pause.
"Since the rest of you are all a bunch of cowards," Murphy spat "I was given a map. I have no idea where Vydar got it from."
There were murmurs of agreement and maps were pulled out and compared. It was then that Zetacron noticed something.
"Tell me. Has anyone else noticed this strange writing up in this corner?"
"That's not strange..." Shiori started "Wait a minute. It's not strange because I can see it. You're looking at it upside down. It says 'Map 1 of 5.'"
There was a pause again. After further investigation the maps all appeared to be part of a series.
"So..." Emirroon said.
"So you need to travel deeper inside the stupid temple and each map has useful information that you need." Isamu grumbled at them.
"They appear to be identical..." Shiori started.
"They're not! They have subtle differences! I know! I'm a cooler ninja than you!" Isamu shouted.
It was at that moment that there was a rumbling and a large stone fell down from one of the rafters. They all began running as the stone crushed everything in its path. The only exit took them further and deeper down into the temple. After it finally stopped they found themselves surrounded by darkness.
"So..." Emirroon began. "I can barely see in this darkness."
"My sensors can pick up a few things." Zetacron said.
"I think I can sense some things with my ninja senses." Isamu said. There was a loud thwack. "I sense there is a wall right here."
"I can't see a thing." Shiori said.
"Am I the only durned one who thought to bring a candle or a flashlight or something?"
There was a long awkward pause. Murphy grumbled and lit a torch. They all let out a gasp. Before them stood the Talisman beautifully enshrined upon two large stone hands. The hands were connected to a large handcrafted stone giant. The entire rest of the room was paved in gold.
"Wow." Shiori said.
"It is marvelous." Emirroon stated.
Murphy let out a low whistle.
"So much gold!" Isamu whispered.
"My sensors detect something off. Also the room is covered in a substance you humans find valuable."
Murphy walked up to the stone hands and picked up the Talisman. He took a step back. Nothing happened.
"Huh. I was expecting something a little more..."
"Climactic?" Isamu said a knife at Murphy's throat.
Murphy never got to finish that sentence as the temple had other plans for them. A fire lit up in the stone giant's eyes and it began to move. It rose up to its full height cracking several holes in the ceiling. Large chunks of rock fell down.
"RUN!!!" Emirroon shouted and took off. The others needed little encouragement. The stone giant plodded after them. Weaving quickly through what parts of the temple they could see through they made their way to a bridge. Emirroon tripped and found himself only a short distance from the stone giant. He stood up raised his staff and shouted "YOU. SHALL. NOT. PASS!" Bringing his staff down upon the cold hard ground cause a large split up the middle of it. Realizing he had severely hampered his ability to call in reinforcements he turned tail and booked it.
Isamu being the fastest had made his way across a small rope bridge to some rocks that were blocking up a possible exit and had began chipping his way out after of course cutting the bridge. He smiled at the small talisman in his hand. A voice shouted from across the chasm.
"You traitor! We should have never trusted you!"
"Yep. Sounds about right." He retorted back. There wasn't much of a response. He turned around to see the stone giant standing at the other end of the chasm. The others were nowhere to be seen. Isamu squinted and saw them all hiding behind a large rock. However he in his bright red ninja suit was a prime target. The giant backed up and took a running start and leaped across the chasm. Isamu braced himself for impact. However the giant had miscalculated and fell way way way way down. Murphy peered out.
"They should name this the Temple of Disappointing Ends."
"Ha! I still have the Talisman!" Isamu shouted from across the way. "And soon I will be out and can return it to Utgar!"
However his next chip into the wall released a spring mechanism that launched him across the chasm. Only because of his ninja reflexes did he survive. However he found himself quickly surrounded.
"Don't kill me. Take the talisman."
Murphy grabbed it. "Knowing my luck the durn thing won't work."
"What's it supposed to do?" Zetacron inquired.
"Heck if I know." Murphy replied.
"Look." Shiori pointed to something on the talisman.
"Talisman of Brandar. No actual power included. That is unsurprisingly unsatisfying."
"So all that work..." Emirroon started.
"For nothing!" Isamu shouted.
"I have a proposal." Zetacron announced. "As the Talisman is a dud and this explanation is not likely to go over well with our generals it is best to say that the item was lost and unrecoverable. As they do not wish others to know of their intentions they will likely not inform the other generals and so discrepancies should not arise."
"Seems like a sound plan." Murphy said, "Although lemme kill this treacherous ninja before he..."
But it was too late. The four parted ways outside of the temple and vowed to never speak of this again. As Emirroon was walking away. "I wonder who would set up such an elaborate system to guard nothing."
Quite a ways away...
Thormun peered into his wellspring.
"Well that could have gone better. None of them died and they're gonna keep it a secret. I knew I should have made it seem like something you'd want to send a whole army after. Now I have to come up with a new idea to keep those generals occupied so they can quit fighting over my dang wellsprings!"
Dysole is The Mandarin...in theFlagship Nu... and Xohar in The Tower