Evasion - Tome of Chaos Story

Harvey pulled his jacket tight around his frame, warding off the cold wind that tore down the dirt roads. A storm was coming. He could see the dark clouds gathering at the edges of the island and the waves of the Great Archipelago pounding against the docks.

Harvey didn’t much like Tide’s Tale. It was a small and grimy town as far as he was concerned. All the buildings seemed too close together, their paint peeling and stilts tilted. The roads were perpetually muddy, and the people were always in a foul mood. No one had time to bother with a scrawny ten-year-old boy begging for coins on the street corner.

He shoved his messy brown hair under his cap and walked into the dark alleyways of Tide’s Tale. He took a few turns before he came to a dead end filled with trash, grime and flies.

Two adolescent figures were waiting for him with small smiles across their faces.

“You’re late,” Eve said, pulling back the hood of her cloak, her thin face splattered with freckles, and her dark hair cut short. “The Baron doesn’t like lateness.”

“I had an old lady talk to me for a while,” Harvey protested. “I was afraid she was going to follow me back here.”

“Don’t go bringin’ any trouble,” Archie interjected. Only a few years older than Harvey and Eve, Archie’s lanky height and scruff on his chin made him seem much older, which meant he could no longer beg for coins. He didn’t look young and innocent enough. The Baron had started him pickpocketing only six months ago.

“I’m not!” Harvey snapped back.

“What’s your haul today?” Eve asked, leaning with crossed arms against the stone wall.

Harvey shook his head, sighing. “Not enough. You think I’m gonna get in trouble?”

Eve and Archie exchanged looks. Archie opened his mouth to let fly a sarcastic comment, but Eve put her hand on his arm.

“We won’t have to do this forever,” she said in a comforting tone. “I got a present for you today.”

She drew a rolled-up parchment from her worn pack and handed it to him proudly. Harvey unrolled it and saw it was an announcement for a festival in the city of Anenon. There was a lovely drawing of the golden city with its beautiful arched roofs and thin towers. His face lit up in excitement.

“I thought you could add it to your collection,” Eve said. “Maybe one day you’ll collect enough pictures of that city so you’ll know your way around when you actually go.”

“If I ever go . . .”

Archie patted underneath Harvey’s jaw. “Chin up! There’s more to Azmare than this miserable town, after all. One day, we’ll all get out of here and go to the big city together!”

The three laughed as they moved aside a few planks of wood to uncover a secret exit from the alley. Harvey rolled up the parchment and stuck it inside his jacket, close to his heart.

They made their way through narrow corridors that wound deep within the heart of the town, guided only by small shafts of remaining sunlight that came in through cracks in the walls. After five minutes of walking, they entered the warehouse that the Baron called home.

The warehouse was mostly empty at this time of day since evening hours were perfect for pickpockets, con artists, and other beggars that the Baron had under his watch. The space was littered with mismatched chairs, furniture, and jackets. The peeled paint and exposed stone of the walls were covered with a variety of parchments, such as announcements for events and festivals all long since passed. They had been perfect settings to pull jobs.

Harvey glanced at it all in passing as the three crossed the wide space towards the back office the Baron called his own. One older adolescent kept watch at the door. When he saw them, he quickly cracked the door, spoke to someone on the other side, and then nodded to them.

“You can go in,” he stated.

The Baron’s office was a sharp contrast to the rest of the warehouse. There was lavish furniture decorated with bronze, a fur rug, and a crystal chandelier hung heavily from the ceiling. Sitting behind the intimidating mahogany desk was a broad-shouldered orc. He wore a tunic made of fine purple velvet. His dark hair was combed back from a strong-jawed face. An ebony walking stick topped with a diamond leaned against his desk.

“Good evening,” the Baron greeted through a sharp-toothed smile. “Deposit your gainings.”

Eve and Archie both took turns dumping out their coin purses on the desk. Piles of coins glittered in the chandelier light, as well as a few bits of candy and a pair of socks from villagers attempting to be helpful.

“Good work,” the Baron acknowledged in his deep baritone. “You may take the socks and candy, my treat.”

The two grabbed the items and stepped back, making sure to keep their heads bowed to show respect.

The Baron’s gaze flicked to Harvey. “And what have you brought for me, boy?”

Harvey shuffled over and dumped out his own coin purse. The pile was considerably smaller than the others. He bit his bottom lip as an extended pause held over the office.

The Baron sighed. “You disappoint me, boy.”

“There weren’t a lot of people out today, sir,” Harvey said softly. “The storm-”

“I don’t want excuses!” the orc growled. “You better make up the difference tomorrow. Do you understand?”

He nodded, eyes glued to the floor. “Yes--yes, I understand.”

Eve and Archie patted Harvey on the back after leaving the office. He didn’t want their pity or their comfort, though. He hated the Baron, but he had no other options. He was born an orphan, and it was either this or die in the streets.

Harvey bounded up the winding staircase that led to the second floor of the warehouse. A series of hammocks and cots crowded the area. Harvey went to the hammock in the far corner that he called his own. An old pair of torn shoes sat under it, as well as an extra shirt and jacket. Across the wall were nailed various parchments depicting the city of Anenon.

He sat on the hammock silently for a long time, frustration welling up inside him. When it threatened to roll out of his eyes as tears, he clenched his fist and turned to the wall. Pulling out the new parchment Eve had gotten him, he pushed it onto one of the nails.

“One day I’ll be there,” he whispered, his voice barely breaking the silence of the room. “Everything will be better.”

Harvey lied down on his hammock, not even bothering to remove his shoes. He stared at the pictures of Anenon until his eyelids grew too heavy, and he fell asleep.
The explosion startled Harvey awake. He gasped. His heart immediately leapt in his chest. His hazel eyes flew open, and he got only one brief glimpse of the pictures all over his small section of wall before the ceiling collapsed.

The thunderous sounds of crashes, breaking, and screaming filled the air. Harvey’s stomach turned as his hammock fell. He reached blindly out but could grasp nothing. He landed hard on the floor and rolled down an incline, tangled up in his hammock and unable to see through the chaos around him. He cried out as he impacted something hard and finally stopped sliding.

Harvey coughed and reached up to wipe dust and grime off of his face. Blinking blearily, he took in his surroundings. The warehouse had completely collapsed. Stones and beams encased him in a small alcove. It was almost completely dark, save for red light coming in from breaks in the rubble. He heard the sound of rain and saw a flash of lightning.

The storm . . . ? His mind struggled to make sense of the situation.

The next thing he heard was more screams, bestial roars, and more explosions.

The village is under attack!

Harvey attempted to sit up, but one of his legs was trapped under a beam. He gasped, trying to pull away.

“No!” he shouted. “Help! Help!”

He heard nothing above the din outside. Harvey thrashed back and forth, attempting to free himself. Tears welled in his eyes at the pain; his entire body throbbed with it.

Another explosion rocked the ground. He could see a flashing purple light above him. The rubble shifted. He covered his head as more debris flew through the air, hitting him. He felt cuts burn along his arms and exposed legs.

He attempted to pull his leg free once again. The new explosion had moved the rubble just enough for him to pull free! His shoe remained stuck, but he did not care. Harvey scrambled to his knees and found a small opening in the stones behind him. It wouldn’t have been large enough for an adult or someone as tall as Archie, but he had always been small. He wormed his way through as bits of stone and glass cut his hands.

A short laugh of relief escaped him as he pulled himself out of the debris pile. He took in the scene of the warehouse around him, and his relief was quickly dashed.

The warehouse was destroyed. Debris was everywhere, and the floor was stained with blood. He saw corpses scattered about. His eyes fell on the bodies of Eve and Archie and a sob escaped him. Turning to the office of the Baron, he saw it was completely caved in.

Two walls of the warehouse had fallen to rubble, allowing Harvey a view of Tide’s Tale outside. It was chaos. A thunderstorm raged overhead, dark clouds churned and rain slammed into the streets. In the flashes of lightning, he could see the people of the village running for their lives. Pursuing them were creatures and armored people Harvey had never seen before.

I need to run, he thought. I need to get out of here.

Limping with only one shoe on, Harvey raced out of the warehouse and ducked into the alley beyond. It offered him little cover from the strange attackers that were flying through the sky, racing down the streets, and climbing the walls.

If I can get to the jungles, I can hide in there.

Building his courage, the boy made a run for it. His feet splashed in cold rain puddles, adults bumped into him roughly as they ran for their own lives, and a few blasts of magic landed dangerously close.

He ran along the edge of the coastline, bounding over rocks and ruined stalls. The jungle was just ahead; a thick line of trees swaying in the violent wind.

I can make it! I’m going to make it!

A blast of magic slammed into the ground right near him. Sand flew into the air, stinging his skin. He was thrown off his feet and into the cold water of the archipelago.

Harvey limply sank down, stunned and grappling with consciousness. His jacket floated out away, and debris crashed all around him in the water.

Quick movement up ahead brought his focus back. There were dark, hulking shapes in the water. One darted quickly past him. Harvey only got a brief glimpse of it. It was shark-like but much more horrifying.

Harvey looked up to the water’s surface and desperately kicked. He swam past the stones and pieces of the dock in the falling through the water; his lungs burning. Dark movement to his side warned him of the attack a moment before it happened. The shark monstrosity shot by, slamming Harvey’s leg with its tail. Harvey was sent spinning, pain radiating up the limb.

He twisted around to see it coming at him again. It’s toothy and bloody maw open wide. Panic seized him as he braced for those jaws to lock around him.

Suddenly, a figure shot in between the two. It was a woman, tanned skin and dark hair. Silver clothes rippled off a heavily muscled form, shimmering just like the scales of a fish. In her hand, she wielded a shining trident.

She thrust the trident forward and speared the demonic shark. A burst of blood spread through the water as the creature thrashed and swam away. The woman then turned her focus back to Harvey and wrapped her arm around him. Together, they shot up to the surface. With a graceful leap, she landed on the rocky shore and deposited him on the ground.

“Are you hurt?” she asked, serenely and calm as if there was no battle raging in town behind them.

He stared up at her. He knew who she was. He had seen drawings of her before. She was Nerissa Tridawn, a great hero of the seas.

“I will be alright,” he said breathlessly.

“Get yourself to safety, little one,” she stated. Then she turned, with her shining trident in hand, and leaped into the battle.

Harvey slowly stood to his feet, watching her until she vanished into the madness. He turned towards the jungle, the wind scattering his hair, and his clothes dripping with cold water. He ran. The boy ran faster and harder than he ever had in his life, even with one shoe off, one leg hurting, and ears ringing. He did not know where the stamina came from, but his body did not give out. The sound of the battle drifted into silence as he burst into the jungle and away from the ruin that was now Tide’s Tale. He did not know what lay ahead of him, or who the attackers were. He only hoped that he could find a safe city on the other side of the jungle.

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


Story: Ashley & Scott Roepel

Editor: Sean Ryan

Narrative Lead: Joey Shimerdla

Character Art (cover): Candycal

Illustrations: Mateusz Majewski

Voice Acting: David Dahdah

Music / Post-Production: Isaria

Creative Director: Nate Aguila


1st comment! Great job Splinterlands team!


Cool, que imaginacion!! rumbo a los comics de Splinterlands =)


I'm sure the Jungle is safe. Nothing bad ever happens in the Jungles of Azmare.

Except for the horrors that shook the Order of the Silver Shield to it's core.

And The Axemasters...

Oh, and then there's Iza the Fanged.

He'll be fiiiiiiiiiiine.


I think this is my favorite piece of lore so far. The beginning of the story reminded me a lot of Arcane (animated series).


I wonder if there will be a movie of Splinterland one day? If it comes out, I won't miss it.