Defenders - Tome of Chaos Story

Fiafia had never been inside such an official building before. She and her companions currently stood in a room with wooden walls and a large birch desk. The chairs were adorned with deep red blankets and tapestries depicting the surrounding hillside added a splash of color to the otherwise brown interior. Oil lanterns fought off the dark and turned the tall windows into mirrors.

“We are glad you have come to our aid,” said the tall human man with a blue cloak sweeping off one shoulder. “I fear there is not much time to talk, however. Obsidian intends to strike quickly.”

“How long has she been here?” Bera asked, all business with her arms crossed over her chest.

“Since dawn. We’ve scrambled to prepare.”

Fiafia took in the man standing before herself, Bera, River, and Delya. He had introduced himself as Burgomaster William, a middle-aged man with graying brown hair and an angular beard. His eyes were tired, but energy and purpose drove his steps and speech.

After the group had scaled the stone walls of Kainek under cover of darkness, the guards of the town immediately confronted them. After proving they came in peace and to help, they were taken to the town center and into the burgomaster’s office. With brief introductions out of the way, it was time to talk politics and war. Fiafia felt woefully out of place, but tried to emulate Delya’s confident stance.

“What demands has Obsidian made?” Bera inquired.

“Our complete and total surrender, our kainestone mine, and all research assets involving kainestone. I truly do not know what she wishes it for. It has amplification properties of earth and fire mana. We use it to enhance our farmlands.” Burgomaster Willian continued, “We defy the Chaos Legion every chance we get, but with Obsidian’s host outside our walls I fear this may be our final stand.”

“How many soldiers do you have?” Delya asked, speaking with as much confidence and authority as Bera despite being half the dwarven leader’s age.

William turned his gaze to the archer and replied, “Obsidian only has about one hundred soldiers with her. Our town numbers nearly one thousand, but if we exclude children and the elderly and those that have never lifted a blade, it brings us down dramatically. We are miners and farmers. Aside from a handful of hired mercenaries as town guards, none of us have seen battle. We may not be outnumbered, but I fear we are out-skilled.”

Bera’s boots thudded against the wood floor as she paced, rubbing the bridge of her nose. “I have seen battle before, and I believe this town is highly defensible. However, I saw the great spiked battering rams outside. Obsidian and her apprentice, Vassar, are unknown to me. I’m not sure what tricks they may have up their sleeves.”

“The Xenith Scale knows of them,” Delya stated. “Obsidian has the ability to amplify mana. She often does so to boost the power of Vassar’s attacks. In researching her history, it seems Obsidian used her apprentice to destroy the town she hails from and joined the Chaos Legion. Both are strong wielders of earth mana.”

Fiafia glanced at her own reflection in the windows that were spattered by the rainstorm. She was slight but strong, armed and well-traveled. She’d had plenty of swashbuckling adventures with her father on the seas and had never backed down from a challenge before. Trying to fit in with the rest of society after losing her father, however, had dampened her spirit. She wanted that fire back.

She took a step forward. “Kainek won’t fall to the Chaos Legion tonight. We will send a message that we cannot be bullied or intimidated into submission.”

Delya pumped one fist into her palm, a grin spreading across her face.

River nodded once, turning to the burgomaster. “Have all your civilians taken shelter?”

“They’ve been told to gather at a tavern in the center of town with a basement,” William responded. “It has all happened so suddenly that we are still waiting on the rest to arrive.”

“I will coordinate that effort on the streets,” River volunteered. “I am a healer and can respond to any wounded, as well.”

Bera said, “I will lead the battle efforts along the walls to ensure they don’t break to the Chaos Legion.” She turned to Fiafia and Delya. “Do I have your help in keeping the forces outside of Kainek?”

“I will not leave you,” Fiafia replied.

“I don’t need any excuse to kick Chaos Legion ass,” Delya chuckled.

Bera opened her mouth to speak again, when a thunderous boom sounded outside. It was not from the storm, however, as it sounded like a great pounding of stone.

Burgomaster William gasped. “They are attacking the walls! Let us go, quickly!”

The group rushed out of the office and out into the streets of Kainek. Rain fell from a heavily clouded sky, and lanterns hung underneath awnings struggled to ward off the darkness. Panicked shouts sounded from the soldiers along the high stone walls of the town, and people fled for cover in the winding streets. Fiafia saw parents cradling infants, elderly clutching precious belongings, and small animals being protected by people rushing for shelter in the town center.

“Go, River!” Bera shouted. “And stay safe.”

He offered one smile, a crack of fear showing through, as he turned to help the people. Burgomaster William was at his side, calling out orders and directions to the people of his town.

Fiafia followed Bera and Delya as they bounded up slick stone steps to the top of the walls. The guards of the town were lightly armored in leather and were quickly responding to the attack, but their efforts were disorganized.

Bera brought strategy to the battle as she began calling out orders. “Archers, move to the westward rooftop! Guards below, reinforce the wall that is being rammed! Watch for the ladders, they are trying to climb their way up!”

The warriors scrambled around, following her leadership without hesitation. Beyond the walls, light from the forces of the Chaos Legion glowed red, and they swarmed like a mass of beetles against the town.

“Fiafia and Delya,” Bera turned to them, her blue eyes narrowed and focused. “Go take down those ladders and let no one climb up.”

The two nodded and rushed off along the wall. It was cold and Fiafia blinked the rain from her eyelashes to see better. She weaved between the bodies of the guards as they took up positions, fired arrows, and stabbed weapons down at Chaos Legion soldiers that tried to climb up. Among their enemy Fiafia saw the mycelia spore brutes they had encountered in the Realm of Silence, the rodent-like venari armed with crossbows, and sword-wielding humans, elves, and dwarves.

“Here!” Delya pointed as she sprinted nimbly ahead.

A ladder had been propped up against the wall. Already a large mycelia was climbing off, followed by a line of more fungal creatures. Delya planted her feet and drew an arrow, immediately firing one shaft into the center of the first creature’s head. It reared back, a roar of pain sounding from it, and it collapsed onto the stone.

As Delya focused her fire on enemies climbing up the ladder, Fiafia turned her attention to the ones that made it onto the walls. Curved blade in hand, she spun into battle. Rain flung off her hair and clothes as she stabbed, slashed, and defended herself against the onslaught. Green goop from inside the mycelia coated her hands, hot and sticky.

She could hear Bera shouting, “Brace for another impact!”

The wall Fiafia was on shook. She stumbled but held her balance, glancing over the side. Obsidian’s forces had an enormous wooden battering ram in motion, pounding it against the front gates of the town. It was reinforced with metal bands that had ten-foot spikes protruding from the top, making it look vicious and deadly.

As Fiafia fought, she caught just the briefest glimpse of River on the streets below. He was using his magic to heal the wounded so they could keep fighting, as well as leading people to safety. His eyes were wide, but his voice remained calm and his hands steady.

When the last of the ladder had been cleared off, Fiafia stuck her boot against it and kicked it away from the wall.

Delya jogged up to her. “Good work. There’s another over there.”

Over the next hour the two ran along the wall, taking out ladder after ladder. They suffered a few injuries, but pushed past the pain to keep fighting. As the night dragged on, however, something became apparent.

“Where are Obsidian and Vassar?” Delya said between gritted teeth, looking out across the battlefield. “Why are they allowing their soldiers to be killed and not acting?”

Using the battlements for cover, Fiafia peered out into the night. “I don’t see them.” She looked over at the other young woman. “What do you think about going hunting?”

Delya threw back her head and laughed, a line of blood running down one side of her face. “I can’t think of a better way to spend the night.”

Staying low and out of sight, they darted from shadow to shadow along the town’s outer wall. Finding an area devoid of Chaos Legion soldiers, Delya used another one of her grappling hook arrows, and they slid down the rope onto the ground below.

It was muddy, and each step felt laborious as Fiafia moved further from the town and behind a boulder for cover. She and Delya peered over from this new vantage point, watching the battle.

“I don’t see her. You would think she’d be directing her forces,” Delya stated.

Fiafia’s dark eyes narrowed and she began a wider scan of the area. That is when she spotted it. Nestled against a ridgeline and out of sight from the town walls, a great hole had been burrowed into the earth.

Fiafia pointed. “There! She’s gone underground!”

Neither needed to state what was obvious. Obsidian had burrowed through the earth herself and gone straight for the mine. The battle was only a diversion.

The two young women sprinted across the grass, rain splashing with each step. They hurled themselves into the hole in the earth, fresh mud coating their boots. As they went deeper they passed out of the moonlight, and for a moment it was pure darkness inside.

Then a red light blossomed ahead, and voices could be heard echoing in the tunnel. A male and female. Obsidian and her apprentice, Vassar.

“Are you sure this won’t kill me?” Vassar asked.

“You will be perfectly safe. You will be the most powerful warrior on this battlefield,” Obsidian answered with resolute certainty.

Fiafia and Delya raced forward, hurrying to stop whatever their enemy was about to enact. The tunnel around them changed from burrowed earth to a mine shaft. Thick wooden support beams ringed the area, and glowing veins of kainestone provided blood-colored light. They dodged around a few metal carts and crates as the sound of Vassar crying out in pain sounded ahead.

The two young women slid into an open cavern area that had two carts full of kainestone. Vassar hunched over, clutching the rocks to his sallow and slender form. Obsidian stood before him, her staff held high and hand out, channeling her powers into him.

Delya immediately fired off an arrow at Vassar. It struck his shoulder just as he began to shudder and bounced off harmlessly. The archer frowned in confusion, and then her eyes widened as Vassar grew larger and larger.

Obsidian braced herself, channeling her amplification powers into her apprentice. He screamed out as his flesh became rocks, absorbing his features, his clothes, and even all the kainestones within the mine directly into him. With a roar his transformation was complete. He nearly took up the entire cavernous space, his body thick and tall. Glowing red shone out from the cracks in his new rock form, emitting a heat that made Fiafia’s eyes water.

Obsidian laughed and pointed to the tunnel. “Now, go destroy that town and everyone in your way!”

“Run!” Fiafia shouted.

The two bolted back down the tunnel as the elemental Vassar charged after them. They heard the crushing of carts and the snapping of wooden beams as he plowed through everything in his path. Even though her legs ached, and she was gasping for breath, Fiafia didn’t slow her pace as they raced back out into the rain.

Vassar burst out from the tunnel and slowed to a stop. He uncurled up to his full height, towering twenty feet above the ground. He took in a long, deep breath, threw back his head, and let out a roar deep and loud enough to vibrate through Fiafia’s ribs.

Chaos Legion soldiers stopped and stared. A few raised weapons to attack until they saw Obsidian standing at his side, her black robes flying in the wind.

For a moment Fiafia stared in horror up at the giant creature, feeling so small in comparison. Then her gaze looked past Vassar to the town. All those people were counting on their help. She had to find her courage. She had to battle this beast.

“We have to take it down,” Fiafia breathed, backing up next to Delya. “It will destroy the town’s wall with ease.”

“Agreed, but my bow and your sword won’t be of much use,” Delya stated. “We need something bigger.”

Fiafia looked around desperately, hoping to spot a weapon strong enough to pierce the twisted, elemental form Vassar had become. In the torchlight she saw the gleam of long metal spires. Her eyebrows sprung up on her forehead as she saw the great battering ram lying still on the ground, a series of twelve-foot metal spikes protruding from the top.

“There!” she pointed. “We use that.”

Delya gasped and then broke into a grin. “I like your style. Let’s go!”

Vassar strode towards the town. The Chaos Legion forces cheered, pumping armored fists into the air. Panicked shouting could be heard from the town of Kainek. Fiafia and Delya raced in the giant’s footfalls, the ground shaking with each of his steps. The archer of the Xenith Scale pulled out a coil of rope from her pack and tossed one end to Fiafia.

The two kept pace with the mammoth creature as it drew nearer and nearer to the battering ram. If they attacked too early, this would all be for nothing. If they attacked too late, Vassar would be through the walls.

Obsidian exploded a pillar of earth underneath herself, propelling her through the air and atop the town’s wall. She raised her staff high and was immediately confronted by the dwarven form of Bera Dallin. A smile of hope sprang to Fiafia’s face as she watched the two battle, weapons swinging around their bodies.

Arrows rained against Vassar but none were able to pierce his rocky exterior. They spun off, and a few passed dangerously close to Fiafia’s head. Disregarding her own safety, she turned her focus to the battering ram.

Just a little closer, she thought. Just a little closer . . .

It was time. She threw all of her energy into her sprint, taking the rope and weaving around Vassar’s legs. Delya did the same, moving with agility across the slick and uneven ground. With all the chaos of the battle around them, the colossal elemental form of Vassar didn’t notice their two small figures darting around him. Fiafia had never felt more afraid in her life. Any moment Vassar might see her, or accidentally stomp on her. The arrows and weapons flying through the air could strike her. But she found her courage outweighed her fear, and her resolve to stop this madness.

After a few quick, strategic passes, the two got the rope looped effectively around Vassar’s legs in a complex knot.

“Pull!” Delya shouted.

They both dug their feet into the mud and heaved back. The great form of Vassar was much heavier and stronger than them, but his own weight was his downfall. Entangled, his next step was pulled short. He stumbled back to catch himself, but the other leg could not move where he intended. He lost his balance and fell back directly atop the battering ram. A colossal crunching noise was followed by the metal spikes piercing directly through his body. He spasmed, and then went limp.

Fiafia had no energy left to give. She sunk to her knees, her hands bleeding from the rope’s pull. She glanced wearily up at the town wall in time to see Obsdiain gaping in shock at Vassar. The distraction was all the opportunity Bera needed to knock the woman unconscious.

As Delya crouched beside her, Fiafia was barely aware of Kainek’s warriors chasing away the last of the Chaos Legion forces. With their two leaders gone, they broke rank and fled into the hills.

Delya looked at the pirate’s daughter. “We won. The town is safe.”

Fiafia managed a breathless laugh. “Yes, we did.”

The two stayed in the mud as the rainstorm lightened to a drizzle and then to a clear sky. By the time Fiafia’s strength was back, Bera and River climbed down from the wall and embraced her.

“It is finished,” River smiled, his own face spattered with blood and his sleeve torn. “Come inside and out of the cold.”

The four of them entered Kainek. The impact of the battle was clear. Chaos Legion arrows stuck from the roofs of buildings and the streets. The dead of both sides were being counted, and blood stained the walls. They went back to Burgomaster William’s office, and Fiafia sank down on one of the wooden chairs.

“Where is Obsidian?” Delya asked, already beginning to bandage her wounds in a routine manner.

“The burgomaster is currently assuring she’s locked tightly in the town dungeon with hands and mouth bound so she cannot be a danger,” Bera answered. She looked across the two young women. “We saw that elemental creature. Do you know what it was?”

Fiafia and Delya told their tale of discovering Obsidian’s true intentions with the battle, getting chased out of the mine, and their solution to stop what Vassar had become.

Bera nodded, but her expression grew grave. She glanced towards the windows, quiet and pensive for a long moment.

“What’s wrong?” Fiafia asked. “We won, didn’t we?”

“Kainek is safe,” Bera acquiesced. “But we are not. Obsidian was a high-ranking member of the Chaos Legion, one that has spoken to Silus himself. Her defeat will not go unpunished. We not only drew attention to Kainek, but to ourselves as well.”

Fiafia nodded. “Chaos Legion agents will come for us.”

“Yes.” Bera’s sober look turned to a smirk, one eyebrow lifting. “It’s well past time we started our own offensive. We will reclaim our home from this invasion, and just like Obsidian each member of the Chaos Legion will fall.”



Collect special Limited NFTs related to this story at https://www.splintertalk.io/nfts/


Credits:

Story: Ashley Roepel & Scott Roepel

Editor: Sean Ryan

Narrative Lead: Joey Shimerdla

Character Art (cover): Candycal

Illustrations: Nick Rivello

Graphic Design: Tamer "Defolt" Oukour

Voice Acting: David Dahdah

Ending credits song: AfterSound

Audio Manager/Music Production: Isaria

Post Production: Ian Withey

Creative Director: Nate Aguila




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6 comments
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Finally they saved the village after a very intensive battle. Loved this story specially the part where Vassar is being roped. Wonderful.

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Fantastic narrative as always. Thoroughly enjoyed listening especially the defeat of Vassar, that was a brilliant plan👏😅🔥🔥

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Cool!!! I like the story!!! ^_^
great! great!

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Why don't change from audio story to anime?
This work will lead more people watching/

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