Insights - Tome of Chaos Story


Torn pieces of paper covered the floor of the Lotus Athenaeum. Its shelves, once full of books, were now stained with dried ink and blood. The tomes that did remain were missing numerous pages. Putting them back together was a puzzle Delya did not wish to solve. The Xenith archer dusted off her aqua and white outfit and tended to her wounds.

Her mentor, Yarden, assisted other members of the Xenith order inside the library. After checking on them, she approached Delya and sat at her side. Not a word was spoken.

After a few minutes, Yarden stood and made for the exit. “Remain here, Delya. I must speak with the monks about what has transpired here. In the meantime, do what you can to repair these books.”

Delya sat in silence. Even her thoughts were still. She could feel her heart pumping in her chest from the adrenaline of the fight. She had fired arrow after arrow at the spindly spider-like creatures that poured through a portal into the library. She stared at the spot where both it and a second portal appeared. One contained seemingly endless darkness while the other showed a person she could not make out. They uttered a broken and cryptic message before the portal closed. What little the figure did say mentioned they were a protector, but who exactly were they?

Delya stood and began picking up pieces of parchment.

Just what I wanted to do, she thought with a sigh.

Her fingers ached from the string of her bow, but she collected the pieces of paper all the same. She glanced at the words on the pages to pass the time. They mentioned trade routes, arena tactics and strategies, kainestones and the flow of Mana, seafood recipes. All of it was so jumbled she couldn’t make heads or tails where to begin.

The path of papers led her towards the outer doors, and her eyes caught another familiar word: kainestone. With her arms full of parchment, she bent down to pick up the sheet it was written on. On top of it was another page with the word Kainek, but as she reached to pick it up, a severed hand tore it from her grasp! Delya shouted in alarm and anger. The hand, animated on its own, tore the page in two. She dove for the rangy hand, dropping all the parchment she carried in her arms.

The fluttering pages made it difficult to see the hand so Delya stayed on her hands and knees and crawled. She spotted it and made a dive as it scuttled for the door. In one swift motion, Delya grabbed an arrow from her quiver and slammed it down into the back of the hand. It jolted and spasmed before it fell limp to the ground, unmoving. In its tightened grasp, Delya found the ripped page amongst a few others.

She made sure the hand was indeed dead before she grabbed the pages and began to piece them together. Matching the word Kainek with the correct page, Delya deduced what the shadow creatures had been after. The pages detailed a Kainek village where kainestone was mined. Kainestone was a powerful resource used to fertilize land due to its magical properties. She read on to discover that research was being conducted to find out how else the stone could be used.

Delya’s eyes opened wide as she took in the information. She scooped up the papers and ran towards the doors. They opened with a resounding thud, and she ran down the steps towards the Xenith Scale temple. She stopped halfway down the stairs and turned on her heels back to the library. Poking her head slowly into the door, she eyed the severed hand and scrunched her nose at it. She picked up the arrow with it still attached and held it in front of her as she made her way to the Xenith Scale temple.


Hushed murmurs echoed throughout the innermost chamber of the temple. The high curved stone walls were designed in such a way that they amplified the voices of those speaking on the center dias. Three figures sat on aqua cushions and each spoke in nearly a whisper, but the cleverly built temple allowed anyone in the chamber to hear every word.

The heavy double oak doors were thrown open, allowing in bright sunlight. The noise of them opening filled the room and cut off any faint whispers coming from the Xenith monks. Delya strode down the long corridor as dozens of eyes fell upon her small frame. She held herself proudly and walked quickly towards the raised platform where the monks sat and deliberated. Two members of the order made their way to halt her but were taken aback when she thrust the hand in their faces.

Her yellow eyes settled on the three figures sitting on the platform. She saw Yarden stand a bit taller as she walked right beneath the monks and tossed the severed hand at their feet.

“If you took much longer, that thing would have made off with your entire library,” Delya spoke firmly.

It was the first time Delya had been in this area of the temple usually reserved for those with seniority. She never thought she’d stand in the temple because of some torn pages. Least of all ones sought after by a bunch of strange creatures and a detached limb.

“Ah. What have we here?” responded one of the monks. The elderly woman squinted down at the hand, the wrinkles of her face tightened as she studied it.

“How dare you intrude during our conference, Delya, you troublesome…” The voice of the second elder was cut off by the third.

“Oh, quiet, Omari. It’s clear young Delya here has just come to lend a hand with our deliberations.” Delya expected harsh remarks from the monks, so she was taken aback by the joke. “Since you’re here, why not join us?” the monk continued, patting the side of the platform as if to suggest Delya take a seat.

Delya smiled and turned to face her mentor. Yarden calmly walked towards the monks and stood next to her student. Delya leapt up onto the platform and sat on the edge.

Up until this point, Delya thought the monks were all stuck up and set in their ways. She never expected sarcasm nor did she think she’d be invited to sit and deliberate with them. Maybe the Xenith Scale wasn’t all that bad. Perhaps they did more than just talk for hours on end. The monk's eyes darted between the limb, Delya, the pages, and Yarden.

The monks sifted through the torn pages as Delya remained silent. However, when she would open her mouth to offer a suggestion, they would shush her and continue reading. She grew impatient and began pacing back and forth.

The silence was eventually filled by the monk speaking again. “This information is intriguing, certainly. As it so happens we were in the middle of a discussion about the Chaos Legion attacks. Yarden also filled us in on the library incursion. We were deciding a course of action. Our reports say the Legion has moved swiftly throughout Praetoria and the Splinterlands. Now, we know what they are after, at least part of the puzzle, anyway.” The monks stared at Delya as she bounced back and forth on the balls of her feet.

“The Xenith Scale was formed to be a shield to those in need. We are a guiding light in the darkness. A helping hand to the weary. You, Delya, shall act on our behalf. You’ve demonstrated the qualities of our creed. Though, not always in the way we’d prefer. Nevertheless, you shall ensure the world remains in balance, as all things should be. Pack your things, you leave tonight.


The monks ushered Delya out of the temple as soon as the meeting had ended. She’d been given a map of the surrounding area, and it was suggested she follow the merchant road from a lakeside town called Utopia to the village of Kainek.

Time passed as she traveled across Praetoria. To make better time, she decided to cut across the wilderness. That ended poorly, though, when she ran into a large jungle cat within the Elder Wood. The creature chased her out of the woods, and Delya went back to following the road.

About halfway through her journey, Delya’s food supply ran low, even though Yarden had ensured Delya had plenty of dried fruits and nuts to eat during her journey. It wasn’t the archer’s fault that she’d eaten nearly all of it the second day. Traveling was difficult work and, besides, she had needed the extra energy.

The sound of whistling caught her attention. Delya stepped off of the road into thick brush to avoid being noticed. She stuck to the shadows to see who the whistling was coming from. She saw an older man dressed in traveling clothes. He pushed a small wagon ahead of him and was dancing to the very tune he whistled. The smell of fresh baked goods wafted from the cart, and Delya all but drooled at the thought of fresh, warm food.

Stepping from the overgrowth, Delya calmly approached the merchant. “Greetings, old codger. What might you be selling?”

The man smiled widely and, removing his large brimmed hat from his head. “Fine day, milady, and a member of the Xenith Scale no less. Fine day indeed! I’m a baker from New Balfair traveling the roads to sell my goods. Care to whet your appetite?”

With a flourish he unhinged two clasps on the side of his cart. A door opened revealing many drawers and shelves stocked full of baked goods. The escaping smell hit Delya’s nose as she took in the sight.

“You know, it’s dangerous to wander alone nowadays,” spoke the man as Delya eyed the treats. “Talk of strange folk about. Hooded figures and creatures with long appendages. Fungus move in the woods they say. Oh, silly me. There’s no need to frighten you with my senseless talk. I mean to say that I wouldn’t mind an escort, especially one of the Xenith Scale.”

Delya filled her arms with what she could carry and reached in her pouch for payment. “I’m not afraid of adventuring on my own,” she said, gesturing to her bow and arrows. “Besides, the only danger I’ve run into was a great cat in the forest. You’re the only other living thing I’ve met since I started my journey.” Delya felt around for any gold to pay the man but felt none in her satchel. “It seems, I’m a bit short on payment.” She laughed as she sadly handed back the food.

The man responded. “Well, if you can offer no payment, I can strike a deal. You travel with me to my destination as protection and provide light conversation, and you may take anything from the cart you desire. Deal?”

Delya pondered for a moment. She was meant to travel alone to prevent anyone from knowing the Scale’s movements. Then again, it was just one man, and she hadn’t even told him her name. As she contemplated further, a loud rumble erupted from her stomach. “ I think I’ll take you up on that deal.” He held out his hand to shake hers.

“The name’s Rook.”

“It’s nice to meet you. Now, about those sweets.”


Delya traveled light and made camp with a small campfire and tent. When she saw what Rook used to camp, she was shocked. The opposite side of the merchant's cart contained a door that folded out into a tent. A long awning connected to a group of trees provided shelter from the elements. A bedroll rolled out from the inside, as well. He built a campfire just outside of it and invited Delya to sit and chat

He mainly only wanted to discuss one thing: the Xenith Scale. It annoyed Delya to talk about it, but she provided any information she could. What it was like there, what the monks were like, how to join. He also asked about the Lotus Athenaeum, specifically what knowledge it contained.

“I mean no disrespect, but I’m merely interested in it from an outsider's point of view. As a traveling merchant, it does well to know all about the surrounding area. What books are contained within those secret doors? Perhaps they mention more of what’s nearby. I seek a village that isn’t too far from here but, alas, I’m a bit lost. It’s called Kainek.”

Delya tried to hide her surprise but wasn’t sure she pulled it off. “Kainek? Never heard of it.”

“Well, alright then. I was hopeful a scholar from the Xenith Scale would have information. My search continues. Nevertheless, I have a tradition I do every night before tucking myself into bed. A good cup of tea and a nice scone always do the trick to help me sleep. Now, it’s nice to share them with good company.”

Rook brought a teapot to boil and handed a fresh cup and scone to Delya. While they ate, they spoke of the next day’s journey. Rook asked where Delya was headed, and she responded with the Red Hills. She lied and said she was seeking an audience with an artist in the area. Rook seemed satisfied and turned in for the night. It wasn’t long before Delya, too, grew tired and thought about heading for bed.

She stood up and a sudden wave of dizziness hit her. The teacup she carried fell to the ground and shattered. She felt as if she’d been hit in the head by one of Yarden’s kicks. The world blurred around her, and she saw double of everything. A figure moved in front of her, and the words it spoke came out slow and garbled.

“Oh my, my, my. You don’t look too good. Trouble with the tea? It could be the poison I put into it. Did you really think we wouldn’t know? That after the attack within the Lotus Athenaeum we wouldn’t have members watching your little order? We are legion, after all.”

Delya tried to steady herself but fell to her hands and knees. Her bow and quiver were near her tent a few feet away. She knew it was hopeless to attempt to grab them. She spotted the shards of the broken tea cup on the ground.

“You’re with the Chaos Legion?” She moved slowly, stealthily grabbing a piece of porcelain with one hand.

“The Chaos Legion rules Praetoria, and it’s only a matter of time before everyone bows. Now, be a good dear and tell me where Kainek is. Or shall I just take a glance at your map?”

Rook turned away to rustle through Delya’s gear. It was just the opportunity she needed to strike. Rising to her feet, she lunged for the man and tried to slit his heel. But the dizziness from the poison caused her attack to fall short and she hit the ground.

He turned his head with a laugh. “You call yourself a warrior. You can barely stand.”

He began going through her belongings and pulled out her map. “Ah, Kainek, here it is. We’re closer than I thought. Sadly, you won’t be around to save it.” Rook pulled a small round brown and red colored stone from his pocket. He held it out in front of him. The inside burned with a small flame. “All this effort for more of these rocks.”

Delya rose to her shaking feet again. She angrily threw herself towards the man as he rifled through her pack. Seeing double, she made for the left figure and felt the shard of porcelain pierce flesh. Rook let out a scream and dropped the map to the ground.

“Look at that. I still got it. It may not be an arrow, but it’ll serve me well. Well enough to put you down,” Delya spat at the merchant.

Rook pulled a dagger from his belt and spun it in his hand. “Well, I was going to let you stumble around for a bit before slitting your throat, but I’ll have my fun now.”

He lunged at her and struck her in her torso. Delya grabbed at the pain and turned to drive the porcelain into his form. She felt it hit something but couldn’t be sure if it was flesh or cloth.

Her vision was fuzzy, but she fought through the uneasiness. Both visions of Rook swiveled about and brought the dagger down towards the top of Delya’s head. She rolled between them, squeezing the ceramic hard in her hand. She landed on top of more broken porcelain and picked up a second piece in her free hand. Turning on her target, both Rook’s charged her. Delya leapt into the air over the so-called baker and plunged the porcelain daggers into the figures. The right dagger passed through the image while the left pierced the back of his neck. Rook continued for a few feet before his body collapsed to the ground. Delya fell to her knees and saw her bloodied hands. She felt the wound at her side and hit the dirt hard. Her world blacked out.


Delya awoke in the dead of night. The campfire burned low and revealed the corpse of Rook nearby. Still feeling sick, she grabbed her gear and the strange stone held by Rook. She hurried back out onto the road. She didn’t know if other members of this Chaos Legion were close by so she made haste for Kainek.

Fueled by pure adrenaline, she covered mile after mile in the darkness. She lit a hooded lantern she’d taken from Rook’s gear and used it to traverse the road. She didn’t know how long she’d been out, and her thoughts dwelled on the Chaos Legion.

The first signs of daylight sprang into view ahead of her to the east. It confirmed she was headed in the right direction. She traveled forward, that queasy feeling hitting her head and stomach again. She rested against a tree, leaving behind a bloody handprint. Noticing her wounds were still uncovered she used a bit of her tent to create a makeshift bandage. It wasn’t sanitary by any means, but it would do.

As she continued she began to see farming settlements. Small huts and houses lined the surrounding area. This must be the outskirts of Kainek, Delya pondered. She searched for a spot to hide for the night within the hills. She used the light of the hooded lantern to search for a safe area when she noticed movement ahead of her.

The shadow of a figure darted over one of the hills. Delya lowered the hood on the lantern and gave chase. She wasn’t going to be backstabbed twice in two nights. She would get the jump on whoever this was. Even though she was hurt, she managed to keep up with the figure. At the crest of a hill, the figure stopped and knelt over to pick up something off of the ground.

Delya saw that the figure wore a tri-corner hat and stood about as tall as she did. If she had to guess, the person was in their adolescent years. Through the moonlight she could just make out dark skin, wavy brown hair, and a tattered white shirt. The figure brushed off the item they plucked from the ground and held it up. Delya saw it was a familiar looking stone. It was small and round and within its core sat a small flickering flame.

She knew her wounds would reduce her aim, but she had to take a chance. Delya crouched to one knee, pulled the hood over her head, and freed her bow from her shoulders. She notched an arrow to the bow and pulled back the string. Her bloodied hands trembled as the string tightened. It was hopeless, she couldn’t use her bow in this condition. The porcelain had ruined her grip strength. She lowered her bow but kept the arrow at the ready.

If it came to a fight, she’d rely on kicks and if she absolutely had to, punches. Whoever this person was, they wouldn’t get that stone. Delya would make sure of that. With a heavy sigh, Delya glanced at her injuries. She was tricked once, she would not be fooled again. Perhaps she could get the jump on them up close.

Her idea was worth a shot. If she couldn’t use her bow for real, she could at least use it as part of her bluff. She steadily approached the figure and lined up a shot. She then loudly announced, “Drop the kainestone and state your allegiance, or I’ll kill you on the spot.”

Collect special Limited NFTs related to this story at


Story: Ashley Roepel & Scott Roepel

Editor: Sean Ryan

Narrative Lead: Joey Shimerdla

Character Art (cover): Candycal

Illustrations: Paolo Chaz R. Gomez

Graphic Design: Tamer "Defolt" Oukour

Voice Acting: David Dahdah

Ending credits song: AfterSound

Music / Song and Post Production: Isaria

Creative Director: Nate Aguila


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Lovely story, cheers! so our heroes Fiafia and Delya finally meet. I guess Bera and River is also nearby. I’m excited about what will happen next!