Chaos Legion: Defend


Bera Dallin sighed heavily, resting her elbows on the curved railing of the manor’s second-story balcony. This was not what she had in mind for the Praetorian anniversary celebration.

The clouds hung low over the town of New Everitt. She had a view of the twisting cobblestone streets and the homes and shops that lined it—all decorated for the festival, but with the current mood, it seemed more mockery than anything else. Colorful banners hung limp and lifeless from rooftops. The town square was quiet and empty, its stages and stalls unused.

“It’s a sad sight,” River Hellondale said as he joined her on the balcony. “Not exactly what I wanted to celebrate this year.”

Bera glanced at the tall Elf. His arms were crossed, and a deep frown creased the angles of his caramel-colored face. The wind tugged at his blonde hair and dark robes.

“How’s the investigation into the Creeping Plague?” Bera asked.

River shook his head. “Nothing solid. Louliver says he saw a man dressed in black wearing a bird mask, but you know Lou. Most days, he’s three sheets to the wind by noon. Then again, considering the rumors we’ve heard...” The implication lingered in the silence.

Bera’s broad shoulders slumped, and she sighed again. She came from a long line of leaders and warriors, and she was the spitting image of them: all ash-blonde hair, freckled skin, and a determined set to her jaw. She considered herself up for any challenge to ensure New Everitt continued to prosper. The strength of her ancestors flowed in her veins. She would not fail this town.

“Any news of Kai Jiang?” River asked.

Bera shook her head. Her messenger had never returned from his trip to the Jade Thicket. She sent two guards after him, but they had vanished as well. It was unsurprising that none of the invited guests from the neighboring towns had arrived to celebrate. At any rate, with nearly all the villagers sick, dead, or mad, there was hardly anything to celebrate.

A light drizzle began, pattering off the wooden balcony and chilling her clothes. She and River stood side by side, watching the town with dark, pensive expressions.

River was a member of the town council and helped govern many of the day-to-day affairs. She trusted him completely. Beloved by the people, he was kind and caring, and his handsome looks certainly helped. When the plague reached New Everitt, he oversaw the transportation of plague victims and visited families who had lost loved ones. Each day, his green eyes grew a bit sadder. His helpless sorrow nearly broke Bera’s heart.

“We’re losing Praetoria,” he said softly. “We came here with such hopes. But this plague, the disappearances... it does not bode well.”

The messenger, Kai Jiang, was not the first to disappear. Word reached New Everitt about similar occurrences happening all over Praetoria. People vanishing. Towns cutting off all communications. Ships never reaching port.

She wanted to comfort her friend. Instead, she could only murmur, “It’s like the world is ending.”

A rumble shook the manor. The banners lining the streets stirred. A stack of crates toppled over.

River gripped the balcony’s railing, eyes wide. “What was THAT? An earthquake?”

Another rumble, and all over town, curtains drew back as townsfolk peered outside.

The rain intensified. Past the village and the surrounding grasslands and near the horizon, lightning lit the sky. Thunder boomed. The clouds gathered and darkened, twisting and pulling into a spiral. Although she could not see it, Bera knew it centered on Mount Praetorous, the Mountain of Ash, in the middle of Praetoria.

“Summon the guards!” She had to shout to be heard over the downpour. Cold rain streamed down her face, and she swiped her hair back. “Get everyone to cover!”

River nodded. He raced across the balcony and through the doors leading into the manor.

Lightning flashed again, only this time it was a sickly green. The thunder was the roar of a feral beast. The clouds retreated, picking up speed as they were sucked toward the center of Praetoria. They darkened until they were nearly black, casting the land in a preternatural shadow.

Suddenly, a blinding beam of blue light burst from Mount Praetorous and shot into the sky. Bera raised a hand to shield her eyes as the light crackled through the clouds, radiating outward.

A concussive force slammed into New Everitt.

All the buildings shook at once. Bera was thrown into the balcony’s railing. It groaned but held. Dizzy and dazed, she blinked against the rain. That blue light still pulsed in the distance, vibrating with an intense arcane energy.

She heard the splintering of wood as the balcony beneath her began to collapse. A massive crack ran its length, expanding and spiderwebbing toward her. Bera sprinted for the door. The balcony shuddered and shook as it splintered around her feet, throwing her off balance as she ran.

She leaped across the threshold as the balcony gave way behind her. It crashed to the street below with a cacophonous crash.

“Are you alright?” River’s panicked voice called. He hurried across the formal great room toward her, a trail of blood running from a cut in his brow. High above them, a large crystal chandelier swung precariously from its chain.

“We need to get everyone to the Serpentine River,” Bera said. “Take the boats to the coast, and get out of here.”

He nodded. The two of them raced for the stairs and bounded down them. Even through the thick walls of the manor, they could hear the storm raging and the hum of that strange, blue light.

And now a new sound: screaming.

The manor seemed far too big as the Elf and Dwarf raced across a meeting room and down a long corridor lined with paintings of life in New Everitt—paintings of sunny days and happier times. Moments later, the two burst out the front door and into the cold lash of the storm, and what they saw rooted Bera to the spot.

From within the distant light spewing from Mount Praetorous rose the form of black, wriggling tentacles. The volcano itself was far away, which meant those tentacles were a size beyond measure. They writhed and thrashed, silhouetted by the blinding beam of blue light.

But that was not the only threat. Shadowy forms flitted across the sky. Some descended upon New Everitt. Strobe-like flashes of lightning lit strange, eldritch creatures that raked across rooftops, sending clay shingles crashing to the streets. Bera and River shielded their heads as the shingles shattered around them.

The creatures tore through the roofs and descended on the townsfolk within. More screams, followed by silence. The few healthy warriors who still remained in New Everitt joined Bera and River in the street, swords and shields held in white-knuckled grips.

Bera started toward the Serpentine River, still hoping they could make it to the coast. There would be others there. Reinforcements.

Before she could begin shouting orders, a demonic creature with large, leathery wings swooped from the sky and glided above the treetops, heading for the river. It screeched out a violet burst of unnatural fire that engulfed their boats in a roaring inferno.

Bera and River shared a look. She had the blood of warriors and leaders in her, as did he. With their only hope of escape gone, there was only one option left: defend the town and its people.

They drew their swords. “For New Everitt!” Bera roared.

The soldiers let out a cry and clanged swords on shields. The monstrous creatures descended from the buildings and landed in the street on either side of Bera and her small contingent, surrounding them.

River smiled at her grimly. They charged into battle.

Collect special Limited NFTs related to this story at


Splinterlands play to earn. Awesome gameplay, with challenging strategy.

Excellent story development. Coming from the 80s developers tried to make a template and then just use it for everything.

This normally meant weak stories, no character development, and things became boring pretty quickly. Until we discovered Gary Gygax's Dungeon and Dragons. All you needed to play was a couple of books, graph paper, and some funny-looking dice.

We could play anywhere, outdoors (weather permitting) indoors, at school, the library, it was awesome.

The story development of Splinterlands reminds me a lot of Dungeon and Dragons :-)


That's super reassuring to hear 😎🚀


Awesome you just picked up another follower!! 😀


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What a great story to be a defender <3