Endymia – Chapter Two

•January 21, 2009 • 1 Comment

Chapter Two –

 

Fiore wiped his face as the dust from the fallen tower drifted into his eyes via the warm, soft breeze. Black and blue stones, metal plates and various large chunks of wall lay scattered around the fields and the crumbling ruins of his former prison. The portal, used by the armed humans who tried to prevent his escape, lay on the floor face up, covered by rubble, though quite strangely, it seemed undamaged; not that Fiore could think of any reason he would like to use it. Those men, who tried to kill him, went through it before the tower began to collapse. His attention then turned to Rhaet, the green, flickering spirit who levitated next to him. He thought for a moment. ‘What do I seek?’ It was an interesting question for a human who had just woken up from a two thousand year old slumber. He scoured his memory of the past hour or so and eventually turned to Rhaet and replied to the question;

“I seek answers. Why was I placed in the prison? Who put me there? Is there anyone alive now who I knew back then?”

 

Rhaet laughed and beckoned Fiore to follow him, “It is funny really; you’ve asked me three questions. If I could give you the three answers there’s no doubt you’ll ask another six! If I answered those, you’d ask another twelve. We’d go on in this cycle until you knew everything there is to know about the universe! You were a rather curious boy back in the day and I expect you’re no different now.” Rhaet paused and turned to face Fiore, who wore a very impatient expression on his face, “Alas, I know not the answers to all your questions, but I can explain where we are now.  The ground you stand on is not Earth. We’re not in Carthage. We’re on an artificial planet called Endymia, a planet built by what we expect were the immortal servants of God. These ruins are that of the first human city built here. The nine, the senate of Carthage when we lived there, discovered this Planet through an item created to serve as a gateway between the two planets of Earth and Endymia. We arrived and built this settlement to act as a getaway should our enemies on Earth prove too powerful. We built this settlement with the intent to keep our people safe from danger… We were sadly mistaken in our judgement.”

 

Fiore listened in silence, taking in everything Rhaet was saying and observing the white ruins around him. They were very much like the houses and buildings he knew of back home. Although the pillars lay fallen and the archways stood crumbled and broken. It appeared quite obvious to him that the Carthaginians had created this city. The Phoenician architecture was limited to naught but a few civilizations of his time and only the Carthaginians were ambitious enough to do this. But what happened to this city? Time, although cruel and unmerciful, could not do the damage that lay before him. This was more likely the outcome of a violent struggle.

 

“Unfortunately, Fiore, as a spirit I am only able to wander so far from the places I am bound to. With the tower practically destroyed, my presence here will no longer be ‘tolerated’ by the laws of Nature. Before I died, I cast a powerful spell on myself so that when I did, my memory would last forever in a single object. It’s an object that marked my arrival here on this planet. It is in fact merely a seed, imbued with my memory and powers of the Earthen Arcane. Should I have taken it to Earth and grown it, it would look a lot different now than it did back then. I was, of course, restricted in my movements between the two planets and so the Seed remains in my tomb. Obtaining this crystal will release all of my past power of Nature onto you, but in turn, will consume my spirit and I will no longer be able to wander in this realm. You will then remember everything that involved both you and me. You will remember the day you enrolled at our school, to the day we fought for our City.” The spirit of Rhaet flickered in and out of existence as it did within the tower, he sighed and continued, looking very out of breath, “You ask the questions you asked because he who put you in the prison did not want you to know the answers. I do not know who it was, I do not know why. Fortunately for you, however; the other members of the senate also cast spells to allow this information to be passed on should it need to be. Unin was always very good at predicting these kinds of things, it was no surprise he came up with this plan. Follow the path ahead of you; it will lead you to my old hut. My possessions should remain there. Take my old sack, my journal and anything else you see fit. From the hut, continue along the path until you reach my tomb. I will remain there in my spirit form, as well as in other places I am bound to, until you consume my memories. I will try to explain things in further detail when we meet again. But make haste, the Forests are dangerous at night, especially around this time of year, and you only have a few hours before the suns merge.”

 

As the spirit faded away, Fiore noticed the small orb he had picked up earlier had shrunk and dimmed. No longer was it a green glass orb, it had become no more than a black stone and it would have been indistinguishable from those that lay in the ruins of the tower should he have not known any better.

“The suns are going to merge?” Fiore thought to himself; “How is that going to cause nightfall?”

 

He wandered forwards towards the opening of the forest, stepping over small pieces of white marble and the occasional fallen statue to get to his destination. Rhaet was right though, although at least one of his questions had been answered, a whole flurry of new ones had taken its place. He remembered that as a small child, he grew worried that if he had too many unanswered questions in his mind, he’d not have enough room in it for anything else. He chuckled slightly, smiling as the memory came to him, and wondered what else he would remember on this journey. Fiore pushed through a large bundle of turquoise ferns and bushes and caught his foot on a strange, abstract looking purple plant. The flower released a cloud of pollen as Fiore freed himself, causing him to choke a little. The path that Rhaet had requested Fiore to follow was now accessible; grass and weeds had grown over it making it difficult to distinguish from the forest on either side but he was able to see where he was going. As he saw the two suns turning red, Fiore took on a faster pace and lost himself in his thoughts.

‘A lot has just happened. I’ve been released from my prison into a new world. I’ve spoken to my dead tutor and now I’m being sent to a tomb to claim the memory of Rhaet as my own. It’s all a bit crazy, but I need to know why I’m here. I need to remember.’ Fiore paused, stopped walking and looked around, ‘This new planet, it feels strange. There must be something in the air which makes me feel like my power is being drained from my body. It’s certainly not like Earth at all.’

 

*      *      *

 

Meanwhile, in the same blue-hued forest, two men were also making their way to a specific point within, though quite a distance from where Fiore was heading.

“Onox! I’m sick of this!” The shorter man, Draken, shouted loudly. His orange eyes ran back and forth over the horizon, as if looking for something interesting to happen, “It’s the same every goddamn year! You bring me out here into the depths of nowhere…-”

“Hold your tongue.” The older, taller man, Onox, snapped, purposefully heightening his voice to boom over Draken’s. “We have been requested by Endymion to do this. He is our King. You may be his heir, but for now you are simply a Doomseeker. This is our job, and you’ll do well to remember it. I wonder when you’ll finally learn your place.”

My place?” Draken sneered, “Obviously being cooked up in that tower of his has caused him to lose his mind. We’ve never seen anything out of the ordinary here. An idiot could see that nothing’s going to happen!”

“Oh..?” Onox’s voice quietened, but his sarcastic tone remained, “Then what, pray tell, all-knowing Draken, are those in the sky?”

 

Draken and Onox looked upwards, towards the two suns, several tiny, black-grey objects had just become visible and seemed to be becoming gradually bigger; as they did, they set alight with a faint green flame; they were falling, fast.

“Meteors..? What the hell are meteors doing in our sky?” Draken’s irate tone of voice softened slightly,

“The direction of the flames seems to suggest they’re falling in unison, and should land nearby.” Onox looked at the two suns, “They’ll be merging soon. Magical power will be enhanced, this can’t be a coincidence.”

“Nothing ever is, Onox. But relax; at least something interesting is going to happen.” Draken smirked, and pressed forward, “Let’s go, if you’re right, they should touchdown in just a few hours.”

Onox stared at the sky for a moment, with an anxious look on his face, and then proceeded down the path. “I wonder if he knows what’s happening.”

 

*      *      *

 

Fiore had been walking for half an hour before he reached a small clearing of short, cut grass. It had been made this way, he figured, as the grass was neatly cut and a white marble statue of a robed woman was placed in the centre of this circular area. She was tall for her size, and her eyes had been gemmed at some point, but some greedy traveller had obviously thought it a profitable idea to pluck them out and leave the woman blinded. The woman was holding a bowl of some sort which was engraved with a symbol unknown to him. The bowl held droplets of water, possibly rainwater, and was held out as if the statue were presenting it to him to drink. A plain black slab on the base of the statue read, “Hio, Goddess of the light.”

“Hio…” Fiore thought, “The name sounds vaguely familiar.”

He peered into the bowl and looked at the water within. He was thirsty, but he didn’t know how clean this water was. Back home, he remembered, his mother used to boil the water over fire and letting it cool before allowing him to drink it. This was, of course, to attempt to prevent illness. It hadn’t worked perfectly, but he could only imagine how ill he could have gotten if that had not been done. He was however, extremely thirsty, removed the bowl from the statue and drank it down in a few gulps.

 

Not giving it a second thought, he carried on walking and continued down a small muddy path, littered with bushes and shrubs on either side. He brushed his forehead. It was warm, the air was humid and he was sweating a little, but he had to press on. He had no idea how long it would take to reach Rhaet’s hut. Suddenly, Fiore stopped. His eyes began to glow a deep green, his bone structure shifted, becoming smaller and cat-like. In a few moments, Fiore had completely turned into a green furred panther. Ones like he remembered back from home. He felt silly now, as he had only just remembered while reminiscing about his times playing in the rainforests of Carthage, but this would have made the last parts of the journey a lot faster and would certainly mean he’d find this hut sooner rather than later. Catapulting himself down the path, Fiore rushed past the various kinds of plant-life which, to him, now seemed to blend together as a long streak of green, blue and purple blur. It was no surprise that soon, Fiore could make out a shadow of a hut in the distance. As he continued running, he wondered, Rhaet had probably lived there at one point, or at least kept it as a personal getaway from the Senate and his duties. He wished he could ask Rhaet why he had a home on a different planet to Earth, though such answers may only come from within Rhaet’s tomb, so he would have to wait until later. Fiore was tired and looking forward to rest inside Rhaet’s hut. He took on a faster pace and made his way forward, not noticing the same circular symbol he saw earlier, in the tower, on a hidden signpost, covered by leaves and vines. Up ahead, he saw the wooden cabin which he assumed, due to the growth of vines and plant life on the walls, had been unused for some time. After shifting back into his human form, he approached the damp, wooden door and cut apart the tangled vines before entering.

 

He wiped his forehead, unleashing a dozen or two sweat droplets onto the browned, wooden floor.  He had been expecting some sort of magic to have concealed a large number of rooms in the tiny, worn down cabin. However he saw that whilst that sort of magic was possible it had not been used here. No, from left to right Fiore saw a small but comfy looking green bed, a limestone fireplace and then in the corner, a desk and chair surrounded by shelves and bookcases, all of which held a surprisingly large amount of books and objects for their size. He closed the door behind him, went straight towards the bed and sat down. He wondered how long it had actually been since he had sat down. He thought about earlier, those two men, who he had killed. They had said that Carthage was destroyed over two thousand years ago. But he did not feel that old, nor did he think living that long was even possible. There was a mirror in on the wall directly opposite him; he had not seen his reflection in a while. He felt somewhat uneasy; what if he had been imprisoned for two thousand years? Would he be an old man? He stood up, nervously made his way to the silver rimmed mirror and looked into his warm, green eyes. He was not an old man; he was exactly how he had remembered himself, though his hair had grown significantly.

“What the hell is going on here?” Fiore muttered to himself.

 

He made his way over to the desk and sat on the rickety chair in front of it. In front of him lay a mess; books, quills, stones and papers. A pot of ink lay on its side. The ink had long since disappeared however the black-blue stain seemed to suggest something had shocked the writer. One book lay open on the desk though, “Book of the Nazaratti”, was written in glowing ink on the first page. Fiore recognised this immediately as written in the same kind of ink as those in his old school. It was magically encrypted, unreadable to those without the necessary skills to break the enchantment. He turned the first page of the red and black leather-bound book, recited the only decryption spell he knew and waited. Quite coincidentally, the spell did work and the letters of the page shifted from incomprehensible icons and glyphs to real words and letters. Fiore assumed that this was not the only encryption spell on the book, but Rhaet may have left it so he could read it when he got here. He picked it up, opened to the first page and read;

 

“It was not long into the Era of Creation when our people decided to help the Conscience to create life. We could breed, as all living beings to come. However our children had an abnormally high death rate. Perhaps it was a cruel penalty to pay for our near immortality. Therefore, it was not surprising that we would try to find other ways of creating life. Using the powers bestowed upon us by the Conscience, we attempted to find a way to do this. For years our tribe, The Nazaratti, searched for a substance strong enough to withhold the essence of life. We had tried rock, wood, sand, even clouds and water during the more desperate times. Unfortunately, all attempts failed and only infuriated those in charge of the experiments. It was not until the Great Scholar, and my personal friend, Foxxera, experimented with gravity and through certain events, we managed to do it.

 

We named them the Shadowarl. We named them that so we could never forget the evil and danger they brought with them. They started as simple, mindless creatures; created through giving gravity mass while infusing it with the elements of light, darkness and mind. They were kept in a room, watched very closely. They stood still, silently, confused as to what they were supposed to do. We too were confused, we had created life but they had no intention of actually living. We soon realised though, that in order for life to truly exist, it needed a purpose. Much like we were destined to create life. There would be no point to living if living was all there was, especially if you were locked up in a room being observed by blue-skinned aliens with a hundred of your ‘friends’. The room was securely locked and guarded all day, everyday. Obviously that was not enough. We do not know how, but the room became contaminated. The Shadowarl became excited, playing with the unknown Nazaratti who had, maybe unwittingly, entered the room. They killed them. Sliced his veins and his arteries, but, what they did next was unpredictable. One of the Shadowarl entered into the dying Nazaratti’s bloodstream through the cuts in his body. The Nazaratti in question died in seconds; he was no longer one of us. The infected bloodstream soon became thick with darkness, the body absorbed and transformed into another Shadowarl, who looked up at his new peers and smirked. The Shadowarl… they had found a way to breed. They had found their purpose and simultaneously, we had found what would prove to be the greatest threat to our tribe and in the future, everything else.”

 

The door of the hut blew open. A large gust of wind froze the room. The air turned cold and everything went blue. A man, hooded and covered in dark blue robes, walked up to Fiore, who sat in his chair reading the book. The man’s various silver necklaces rattled against each other as step by step, he came closer. Fiore had no idea what was happening. He did not know that there was even a man behind him. The being whose hand was now on Fiore’s shoulder had stopped time. He spoke in a calm, yet cold voice.

 

“You’ve read enough, Fiore. This book has eluded me for a while now; it’s very interesting that Rhaet, of all people, was keeping it safe. But it’s really not surprising he intended you to read it.” He paused for a second, “How long has Rhaet held this book? I had a number of complex encryptions on this thing. Nevertheless, they shall be replaced now I have it back in my possession. There are some holes that I need to fill up.”

The man raised his left hand, wearing a ring on his aged, pale blue and seemingly rotting index finger, and took the book. “According to the promise I have made, I should really kill you now… but that wouldn’t work in my favour.”

 

He took the book from Fiore’s hands, turned and walked towards the door. Not before looking back at Fiore, he slammed the door shut and time, once again, flowed like it should do. Fiore sat motionless, holding his hands up as if to continue reading, but the book was no longer there. He was shocked; he didn’t quite know what to think, the book had simply disappeared. No warning, no explosion, no nothing.

“An illusion?” Fiore thought, as he looked around for some trace of the book still being in the same plane of existence, “It’s just gone?”

 

Fiore looked around the room for Rhaet’s journal and backpack. While he was rummaging through the odd trinkets and gemstones Rhaet had apparently enjoyed collecting, he thought about what he had read.

‘It’s probably fictitious.’ He thought, perhaps half-heartedly; ‘The Shadowarl, The Conscience, an Era of Creation?’

 

But something inside of him longed to read more. The word Nazaratti called out to him, as if to say, ‘Remember me?’

 

He finally found Rhaet’s journal underneath some papyrus scrolls and an article on “Elemental Disruption” and a tatty old backpack; which he placed the browned book inside for reading later. He decided to make his way onwards. Just as he opened the door however, a shattering explosion threw Fiore and the majority of loose objects in the room to the floor. Glass smashed and Fiore hit his face on the wooden planks beneath him, cutting himself; another outburst caused some floorboards to rattle loose; then another. After a few moments and a few more explosions, the ordeal stopped, dust particles settled to the floor again and Fiore regained balance, stood up and looked around looking rather dazed. He could see a large cloud of green-black smoke in the near distance, coming from a singular point. The wind was pushing it eastwards, in front of the two suns, which, like Rhaet had said, were merging into one. The two stars, alight in blue, were slowly drifting into each other. The larger super-giant of the two was to engulf the somewhat smaller, whiter one, and as it did, strange purple waves of plasma erupted from where the two merged. These were pulled into the atmosphere of Endymia; causing the sky to turn a dense, foggy purple. His eyes erupted into green fire; his power was rapidly increasing; his hands followed suit;

“This…” Fiore gasped for air; the increase in power was causing him to be in pain, “This is normal here?”

 

It had only just occurred to Fiore, but this planet, Endymia, was not like Earth in the slightest. In a now blatantly obvious way; the true nature of this planet came to him. Its suns revolved around the planet; meaning either that he was in some kind of twisted alternate reality or the planet itself was much, much larger than the suns. Like Earth, though, it had an aura. Until the suns had started to merge, Endymia’s aura was comparably parasitic to Earth’s. On his home planet; the aura allowed him maximum use of his power whenever he needed it. Here, on the other hand, he was limited significantly; at least he was. Now the suns had started to become one, the sky had turned purple; the limitation on his power had been lifted entirely and because of this phenomenon, he phased out. Unable to control the sudden outburst in energy, he drifted into a dream state, conscious, but unaware of that which was happening around him in the dense, now very misty forest.

 

*      *      *

 

Draken and Onox were standing still. They had arrived at the point where the four, green, fleshy meteors had hit the ground, just moments after the explosions. Both of them were, much like Fiore was, under the effect of the merging suns. They were much more used to it though. Draken stood taller than usual; the extra energy his body was producing had bulked his muscles and caused him to look taller, but only very slightly. His eyes and hands were alight with orange flame, and the dust and smoke that were still in the air burned as it touched the fiery wisps, causing an odd rotting smell filled the area;

“I think it’s safe to say…” Draken coughed and waved his arm to disperse some of the smog, “That these are not normal meteors.”

“No, they’re not. You’re correct.” Onox stated bluntly, his eyes alight with cyan, reflecting on his polished, yellow armour, “They’re alive.”

 

Draken looked at Onox in disbelief; then stared at the objects. They had fallen the moment the sky changed colour. Before this; they had simply stopped mid-flight; floating motionless about a hundred metres above the ground. They were a dark, mossy green; oval-shaped; wrinkly and with what appeared to be masses of black capillary webs covering the rippled surface. It reminded Draken of a rotting human brain.

“Is there anything you’ve been keeping from me until now, Onox, which I need to know before these things do whatever it is they’re going to do?” Draken stared at Onox. This would not be the first time information had been kept from him if indeed Onox knew something.

Onox paused and looked at Draken before turning away, “These meteors are spacecrafts. They’re holding a life form called Shadowarl within those veins.”

“And you thought it apt, did you, to leave telling me until the last bloody moment?” Draken snapped and nodded towards the large, odd objects, “How do we kill ‘em?”

“They’re relatively fragile creatures, is what I’ve been told. A strong swipe with a sword should split up their body and release the dark energy back into the environment, essentially removing all trace of their existence.” Onox paused, again, and then carried on, “Endymion’s told me that the threat lies not only with the Shadowarl’s innate ability to transform other life forms into their own, but the release of Dark Matter after their death. It affects the surrounding area and an excess of dark elemental energy will cause imbalance.”

“That’s more like it,” Draken had not yet calmed down, “Don’t you think it would’ve been easier if I was told this when we were dispatched?”

“Orders are orders. It’s not my responsibility to inform you.” Onox pointed at one of the smaller meteors. “Put your facemask on and get ready.”

 

The egg-shaped blob’s surface was expanding, smoothing out into a round sphere. It was expanding and as it did; the two men saw what lay inside of it. The meteor appeared to have a skin, a skin that was becoming translucent, showing black blobs, wriggling and squirming inside what Draken assumed was some kind of alien fluid.

“Are they going to burst?” Draken took a step backwards in discomfort, “I don’t what that stuff all over me…”

“They’ll rip; gas is going to come out.” Onox seemed a lot less nervous than Draken, “Don’t worry; as long as you don’t breathe it in you’ll be fine.”

“I feel strange, Onox.”

“It their power, it’s already infecting the air.” Onox stated, then pointed towards the small opening in the trees, “The sky, during this time of year, is a deep purple. As you can see, here, it looks black.”

“There’s dark magic in the air?” Draken asked, sounding a little confused, and then looked at the biological, fleshy rocks in front of him. All of them, bar the largest, were expanding as the first. Holes began to show as the filmy skin had ruptured, and black spores were released as a jet of air came whizzing out. “They’re plants?”

“No… they’re not.” Onox now sounded just as confused as Draken, “This is unusual.”

“Funny, you tend to know everything, Onox.” Draken pondered for a second, “So what do we do?”

“All we can do is wait; be on your guard, they are incredibly vicious creatures.”

 

The clearing, created by the impact of the meteors, was no longer covered by dust. As the three meteors opened up, black smog had filled the area; it wasn’t as thick as to prevent Onox and Draken from witnessing that which was to follow, but thick enough to cause them discomfort.

“We need to retreat, Draken.” Onox sounded worried, “This is no normal occurrence for a Shadowarl attack. It’s too organised.”

“We are not leaving, Onox!” Draken shouted, masking his nervousness with eagerness to do battle, “I have waited months for something interesting to happen and I will not run away from a battle once it presents itself to me in this fashion!”

Hungry…” A dry voice caught the wind. Onox and Draken looked up, startled. .

 

Through the mist, several dozen black, humanoid figures stood upright and tall. Completely shadowed by the darkness, one of them walked forwards, raised it’s black, scaly arm and beckoned for Onox and Draken to come closer. It’s yellow, piercing eyes glinted as the mist began to disperse and sunlight pierced the forest once more. The Shadowarl revealed it’s grey, snake-like tongue and licked it’s teeth, black as it’s skin, which dripped with purple saliva.

 

It pounced towards them, arms outright, claws on the show and went to slash Onox whom, with lightning-fast reflexes, brought his sword upwards through the Shadowarl’s shadowy skin. The beast screeched in pain as the sword split it in two; within seconds, the attacking Shadowarl has, much like the mist, dispersed into the air after turning into smoke.

“We are to kill as little as possible!” Onox shouted at Draken, while keeping his eye on the Shadowarl, who still seemed to be emerging from the meteors. “Killing too many will result in catastrophe!”

 

            The pack of Shadowarl stood forwards, and walked slowly, cautiously, towards the two men. One of them stood forward and spoke for the group in a dry, harsh voice; “The death of our brother, temporary as it may be, will be avenged.”

            As the last word left the mouth of what was assumed by Draken and Onox to be the pack leader, the entire army leapt forward.

 

*      *      *

 

Fiore came to his senses; confused and flustered. He had no idea how long he had been on the floor for, but as he looked around he figured it was now long after nightfall. The sky was black, and an odd purple-black mist surrounded him. Tiny black orbs floated around trees and plants on either side of the road; he assumed them to be some kind of dark, light absorbing firefly and stood up. He looked at the remains of Rhaet’s cabin. The once small, quaint house was now a smouldering heap of wood and cloth; burning in a faint green flame and unleashing smoke into the atmosphere. Fiore felt remorseful, Rhaet was already dead but there was a lot within his room that must have meant something to him, if not just for the private memories of long-deceased relatives.

“Rhaet, if your spirit can hear me, I am truly sorry. I have yet to become fully adjusted to this new climate.”

 

Fiore picked Rhaet’s backpack off of the ground and put it on his back. He took a deep breath, shifted into the same green furred panther as earlier in the day and ran forwards. He had been warned that travelling during the night in the forest was dangerous ad had no intention of putting that to the test. ‘Hopefully,’ Fiore thought, ‘the tomb will not be far from here.’

 

He catapulted himself through the forest. Those which were blue and green plants before were a dark, sickly purple, black and withering. Blurs of dying plants passed his eyes as now, he was able to reach his maximum speed; but not for long. Perhaps ten minutes or so down the road, he heard a rustle in the nearby bushes, seconds later he was dragged to the ground with a crash. He felt a claw dig into his stomach and rip his flesh. He got up; infuriated, shifted into sand to repair his wound and turned back. He stared at what had attacked him. Yellow eyes; glowing in the mist, a shadowy, scaly body with fangs and claws to rival the Scorpix and a strange black glow hugged it’s skin; A Shadowarl.

“Your death is imminent, Mage.” The Shadowarl spoke, dry and cruel, but the monster in front of Fiore did not open it’s mouth.

“Telekinesis?” Fiore whispered, “Dark magic or Mind magic, it doesn’t matter to me. I’ll kill you either way.”

The monster shook it’s head, and opened it’s mouth, revealing it’s purple tongue and fangs, dripping with saliva. “Hungry…

 

Fiore raised his hand, much more confident than before with the Scorpix, and faced his dry cold palm at the beast’s face. A few seconds of silence passed, the Shadowarl stood still, confused. Fiore’s hand erupted into flame; he grabbed the Shadowarl’s face, picked it up and threw it towards the nearest tree.

Die!” The Shadowarl hissed as it came running back towards Fiore, phasing in and out of shadow.

“Not now; not ever.” Fiore stared eye to eye with the monster, lifted both of his arms with palms facing it’s face and shouted; “Vis Iuguolo!”

An explosion of green fire engulfed the Shadowarl – which screamed. Fiore had never smelt burning shadow before, but it was rather pungent, ‘a lot like burning flesh’, he thought, but somewhat spicier.

 

He watched as the Shadowarl became gas, smoke coming off of it’s body until it had completely diffused into the air. He felt uneasy, the Shadowarl he had just killed had definitely affected the environment; the plants had been dying anyway, but now at a seemingly faster rate. He walked for a little while, thinking about the book he had read in Rhaet’s cabin and how it described how the Shadowarl were created, or so the book led him to believe.

“Who wrote the book?” he thought out loud, “’Foxxera’ was involved in the creation of these things, but the author was too. Perhaps they took it back.”

 

As Fiore thought more deeply about the book and it’s possible hidden meanings, he found himself looking upwards at what he would consider to be the largest and oldest tree in the universe.

It stood in the middle of a large clearing, separated from the rest of the forest. Its diameter stretched longer than a temple; it stood tall at least three times as high as the others, and it was withering. Dying under the effects of the Shadow Mist; but a soft green radiance was emitted from each of its blue-green leaves, suggesting that there was something, or someone willing it to live. What appeared to be a doorway was

“Rhaet,” Fiore stated, bluntly. “Figures you’d be in a place like this.”

 

He proceeded to the entrance, which appeared to have been clumsily crafted by a teenage carpenter at the last minute. The tree’s growth had erased the majority of ornate carvings from the thick, mud-coloured bark, but he recognised one.

“The symbol of Nature. Rhaet’s mark.” He stated, once again.

 

He entered.

Lit only by one green, flickering flame every few paces, he travelled down a spiral tunnel and into the catacombs of Rhaet’s tomb. It was then that he saw that finding Rhaet, and his memories, was not going to be as easy as first thought. The first chamber of Rhaet’s tomb was home to a battle. Shadowarl had gotten into this tomb and were under attack by a green, fungus-like giant.

“Rhaet’s guardian! I remember..!” Fiore gasped, “Why has he needed to summon that?”

The fungus giant, in multiple mossy shades of green and yellow, attacked the Shadowarl hordes with sweeps of it’s long thorny vine-like arms. As the thorns pierced the Shadowarl’s scaly yet gaseous body, they were destroyed and evaporated into the air.

“That’s why the tree’s dying.” Fiore said. “I’ve got to find Rhaet.”

 

Fiore ran down towards the second chamber’s door, jumping over altars and artifacts that had been buried, or he supposed, grown around, with Rhaet. Avoiding the Shadowarl which, quite fortunately, were too worried about being crushed by the fungus monster to notice Fiore, he pushed the wooden doors open, entered and closed them behind him.

“At last.” A voice came from the end of the room. “It seems like you’ve taken years to get here.”

 

Rhaet, as a spirit, stood in front of an altar on which his decaying body rested upon. The green cloak still intact on it’s blackened, rotting skin reminded Fiore of an event at his school. Whilst not exactly the most pleasant of memories, a thief had been stealing from his Masters and they had taken their revenge upon him via an infliction of decay. He had probably only lived a few weeks before his heart stopped beating.

“Rhaet, I have come here as you asked.”

“I thank you, Fiore, for your obedience. You must be confused.” Rhaet beckoned Fiore to follow him as he drifted towards a small wooden table and chairs. “Before I depart, I have a feeling you want to ask me some questions. But, as you can see outside, we don’t particularly have time for idle chat.”

 

Fiore sat down; Rhaet, even as a ghost, sat as well. Upon the table were a number of intricately carved models. One, an elephant, carrying a man on it’s back; the second was of a panther, striking out as if it were hunting, the third was abstract, a bunch of spheres carved together to form a shape similar to a bunch of grapes; though less dignified in overall shape.

“What are these?” Fiore asked, inquisitively.

“Just a few ornaments I’d made while alive.” Rhaet smirked, “I mean not to be rude, Fiore, I’m sympathetic with your position. However there have been some events taking place which have caused a need for haste.”

“The Shadowarl?”

“Indeed; creatures created by the original inhabitants of this planet for the sake of experimentation. The process went wrong.”

“The Nazaratti did it, I know, I read the book.”

 

Rhaet paused; looked at Fiore in a strange way and spoke in bewilderment, “What book? Did you read my journal? I don’t believe I’ve written down the name of the tribe…”

“The Book of the Nazaratti. It was on your desk?”

“I think…” Rhaet paused again, “… Someone is up to their old tricks. Beware of Endymion’s mind games, Fiore. He’s an exceptionally clever being and his power of foresight gives him an advantage over most.”

“Endymion…”

“I’ll explain the Shadowarl first.” Rhaet cut him off, “The Shadowarl are here in my tomb for a reason. They’re not after my memory but something quite similar. It is one of many of this planet that helps to maintain balance between the elements. I call it the essence. Others have different names for it but that doesn’t matter; if the Shadowarl got control of it… well, they’d have complete power of Nature!”

“So the Shadowarl want to destroy the planet?”

“Not entirely, I suspect that they’ve been led here for a purpose other than simple destruction…” Rhaet trailed off once again.

“I saw changes happen outside.” Fiore was a little reluctant to speak any more, “They’re not planning on destroying anything, well, maybe people. They’re planning on taking over the planet as their own.”

 

Rhaet looked up. Although Fiore knew he was dead, he could see worry in the spectral eyes of his friend. “If such plans are true, Fiore, then it must be stopped. The Shadowarl are simply rabid animals without any sense of direction but, if they’re being led by a powerful, more intelligent brother or theirs… They won’t stop with Endymia. They’ll consume everything.”

“And what about Endymion?” Fiore asked, anxious to know.

“He was the Nazaratti responsible for imprisoning you.”

Fiore stood up and looked at Rhaet in the eyes. “I think it’s about time I got my memory back. Where can I find it?”

“The object on the table; the elephant.” Rhaet sounded distressed. “Forgive me Fiore for sounding upset but I will soon be departing from this existence. I’ve longed for it for almost as long as you’ve spent sleeping. The idea of it actually happening is quite scary though.”

“I can sympathise,” Fiore reached for the elephant, “But I need this; how does it work?”

“All you have to do is ask for it, Fiore. But, before you go, I have a message I would like you to deliver to Magmos for me.”

“Magmos?”

“You’ll know soon enough,” Rhaet said, “I want you to tell him that I forgive him. He will understand, and perhaps you will too, someday.”

“It shall be done, Rhaet. I wish you well in the afterlife.”

 

As Fiore chanted the spell to retrieve his memory, Rhaet began to fade. A small trickle of ghost tears dripped from his face and onto the table beneath him. Fiore looked at his friend as he faded away, and when he did, he spoke.

“Thank-you, very much Rhaet.”

 

Fiore sat down again, fresh with the memories in his mind, with a scowl on his face. He didn’t remember everything, but he knew enough. He knew now, what he should do. He knew now who had imprisoned him, and he knew now that he wanted revenge.

           

*     *     *

 

“Draken!” Onox shouted, “We need to leave, now!”

The two were surrounded by hordes of Shadowarl, each discharging blobs of purple glow into the air; exploding at a certain altitude and causing a rain of black spores. The Largest of the four meteors had not yet ‘hatched’, but Onox could sense it coming. It was not like the others; it had begun radiating Dark magic a while ago now, but remained frozen in place.

“This is infuriating…” Draken gasped for air, as yet another Shadowarl evaporated after a collision with his sword. “They’re never-ending; easy to kill, but never-ending.”

“We cannot under any circumstance allow many more to be killed.” Onox commanded, “Destroy only those who you need to for escape. These things won’t go away by simply dying.”

 

“Wait…” A bellowing voice echoed and dragged it’s words, “I haven’t had chance to introduce myself yet.”

The largest of meteors was hatching. It’s skin ruptured like those before it but, unlike the others, only one figure came from within; a Shadowarl, like the rest, but taller; in fact it seemed at least twice as tall as the rest. It was bulkier, muscular and armoured from neck to toe. It’s crimson red and black plated armour glinted in the purple light. It climbed out of it’s egg, and threw itself 6 feet forwards to stand in front of Draken. The ground shook as the heavy armour hit the ground.

“Ah, it’s you, Draken, the traitor.” He grinned, smirked at his own private joke and Draken’s bewildered face; and then turned to face Onox, “Perhaps it is best if you decide…”

“Decide what?” Onox sounded grim. “Who are you?”

The monster grabbed Draken with one hand and threw him into Onox, knocking them both to the floor. He took on a more intimidating tone, speaking faster than before,

“My name is Mek.” He paused, grabbed Onox by the throat and held him to the nearest tree, “One of you, I’m going to let ‘escape’ to warn my friend Endymion about my presence here. The other gets to stay and become lunch. I am starving. Now, make your decision!”

“Draken…” Onox struggled to speak with the cold metal gauntlets around his neck, “Draken should warn Endymion…”

“Yes…” Mek whispered slyly, “Yes… Go tell Endymion, Draken. Tell him that I declare war!”

Soon.

•December 3, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Screams echoed down the titanium plated hallway, reflections of the terrified crowd blurred as the walls began to heat up, sweating under the temperature of a now broken generator, or three. It had started no more than twenty minutes ago, it was started by that which was behind them. It stood there, the monster, smirking wickedly, glancing at the man in white standing at the end of the hallway, pointing a small firearm at his face.

“We should never have brought you here, monster.” The man said, with a grimace on his face, “You have killed too many, it’s time to leave.”

The chrome-coloured beast cracked its long tail and took a step forward;

You will do well, Fryloko, to watch your words. Monsters kill without reason…” He began walking towards Fryloko, “I am a superior being, and besides…I have many a reason to dispose of this race.

 

Fryloko closed his pink, discoloured eyes and pulled the trigger on his gun; eight times, one after another, straight towards the beast. As the smell of the gunpowder hit his nose; Fryloko opened his eyes; he saw the last bullet ricochet off the monster’s torso with a clang and landing on the floor besides the other seven.

You should know better by now, General. You cannot kill me with such frivolous toys. I was created from a stronger metal. You, on the other hand…

The being raised its tail, revealing the sharp, cold blade at its end. It ran towards Fryloko, swung its tail and ravaged the man before him. Within a minute; all that was left was a seemingly familiar, puddle of human soup.”

 

Anubis.

Jack.

•October 7, 2008 • 1 Comment

It’s not Endymia (that’s on it’s way) but it’s a short story I’ve had to write for Psychology Class. Based on the Psychosexual Development theory by Freud, this story’s about a child whose upbringing resulted in… well, you’ll have to read to find out. This is a new style for me, I attempted to jump about in time and write in the character of Jack, so any constructive feedback is appreciated. This story was written over a time period of 6 hours with no drafts or synopsis. I hope it doesn’t show.

If, after the story, you’re interested in what I based my storyline around on, please direct yourself here. It’s rather interesting but I won’t be offended if you don’t take the theory in as fact. xD

This story is for mature audiences only and is only intended to be used for entertainment purposes.

All characters in this story are entirely fictional and any resemblence to real-life people is entirely coincedental.

-enjoy-

Jack

Jack was born in 1995 to a family of three in South Yorkshire, England. His Mother, Father and older Sister surrounded him for the first stages of his life, when he needed them, and they were there to see the changes he went through. He was christened under a catholic church, brought up in a religious family and led to believe that his way of life would lead him into heaven. Brown haired, brown-eyed, lively and enthusiastic to live, Jack experienced a lot as a child, good and bad, and religious or not, it were those bad experiences that led to his eventual demise…

* * *

He sat there, looking around the cold, grey kitchen, impatiently gurgling as he watched his Mother bring his food. That green stuff, he named it so because he had no idea what he was eating. All he knew was that is tasted good and that he couldn’t get enough. Fortunately for him though, after the loud sound of the nearby blender came to a halt, his Mother brought him a more than average sized portion. Presented in his favourite red, plastic bowl with his spoon beside it, he dug in. Bliss! He laughed and gurgled as the green gloop washed down his throat, exciting his taste buds in ways only the Devil could have understood. He finished swiftly and looked up at his Mother with a proud smile on his face, caked, of course, in the very dinner in which he had indulged.

“Jack, why do you always have to make such a mess?” He Mother said in an unsympathetic tone, as she picked up the white tablecloth and wiped away the cold food, “Honestly, every meal is the same thing.”

He looked at her with a confused look as she walked over to the chromed sink in front of his highchair, gurgled and pointed to the bottle of milk on the sideboard. He was thirsty. He thought to himself, he had just eaten an entire bowl of that salty, green gloop, didn’t his mum know how thirsty it made him?

His Sister, Rachel, seven years old, skipped into the kitchen and grabbed the bottle of milk off of the sideboard as his Mother spoke to her. He did not hear what was said, but he did see Rachel bring his milk to him. He thanked her kindly with an appreciative grin, took the drink and took a swig. It was nice and warm, the way he liked it; bubbly and enriched with flavour. He let out a loud belch and laughed in pleasure whilst his Father glanced up at him from his newspaper with a smile.

The first twenty-four months of his life passed with ease; eating, drinking, burping, it was a good life. But he was bored; he wanted something new to happen. And so it did. A few days after his second birthday, he walked into the brown living room and called for his Father. His Father was sitting down on the largest chair in the room with a red object in front of him. His Father picked up the object and walked towards Jack,

“Do you want to know what this is, son?” His Father spoke in a soft manner, “I’m going to be teaching you how to use this, we can’t have you in those nappies forever can we?”

Jack looked up at his Father with curious eyes, recognised the smile his Father wore as safe and allowed himself to be led upstairs into the bathroom.

* * *

The bathroom was bright, white and lit up like a newly born flame on a candle. The bath was to the right of the room, a sink next to it and a toilet facing the door leaving a white pathway from the door towards it. Jack’s Father walked halfway down the bathroom and placed the red object on the floor.

“From now on Jack, I want you to use this potty instead of your nappy. Whenever you need to, or are going to wee or poo, I want you to tell me and I’ll take you to this so you can use it.”


Jack’s Father walked towards him, he felt a little intimidated and nervous. His Father removed his nappy from him, and sat him down on the red potty.

“Every time you use this, Jack, I’ll give you a red star for this chart,” His Father pointed to the wall besides him where a blank chart with two rows had been placed, “When you get 5 red stars, I’ll treat you to a chocolate sweet okay? But, if you don’t use the potty and you use your nappy instead, I’ll put a black star on there instead. If you get any black stars I’ll have to remove one of your red ones. Do you understand Jack?”

Jack looked up at his Father once again with wide eyes; he wasn’t very comfortable with this at all. He wanted to keep his nappy, it was easy. But the idea of chocolate sweets seemed rather good, all he had to do was stop using his nappy and he’d get some.

Days went by, then weeks. Jack managed to receive lots of red stars and although he got a few black stars near to the start, he was almost getting the hang of it. The chocolates he received appeared to be doing the trick, as he loved the incentive to do something so easy. But he wanted more.

His Father and a few of his Father’s friends were outside. He could hear yelling and commotions and so he wandered to the open front door where he could see what was going on. He saw a large van, in which two of his Fathers friends stood inside holding one end of a large three-seat sofa. His Father was on the other end holding it up with a third man. Jack’s Mother came up from behind him and picked him up,

“Look Jack! Your Father’s been working really hard at work and so his boss has given us a present!” She smiled brilliantly and looked onwards, “Maybe we’re getting somewhere after all, eh?”

* * *

Jack looked down at the red sofa beneath him, his Mother laid on top asleep. The stain that he had caused as a child was still there. Sixteen years on and the same memories came to mind.

“Jack! What’re you doing!?”

“Oh no…”

“Jack that’s absolutely disgusting, how could you?”

“Oh my god, clean it, clean it quick before it stains!”

The voices echoed in his head as if to constantly remind him, ‘that’s dirty, keep everything clean…’ Now though, he was older, he knew what had to be done. His Father had passed away years ago. Stress had caught up to him and he had had a heart failure; his Sister, a drug addict. It had all gone downhill after his Father had departed, and even though they tried their best, they were all dirty, sinners. The house stank of it, the foul odour of sins. Rubbish littered the floors, empty beer cans and spirit bottles, mud and grime on the walls, used contraception and syringes in areas along with the white powder on the kitchen sideboard. Hypocrites; they had scolded him so harshly for what he had done yet they ended up like this. They needed cleansing…

He had earlier wandered home from some girl’s house after staying over after the party. That was all he seemed to do nowadays, sex and alcohol. His fascination with the female body had escalated incredibly over the past six years and his urges never seemed to calm down. His views that the world was dirty were something he and his choice in mate seemed to agree on, though perhaps they just said so in order to proceed with the foreplay. It was a lot different now that is was in earlier life. Before he had entered puberty, girls meant nothing to him. They were alien; he had distanced himself from them in school. He couldn’t remember why now, but he just seemed to think they were different. They may have been tidier and cleaner than the boys he pretended to hang around with, but they were just like his Sister and Mother, sinners; dirty, uncouth sinners hiding behind a pretty face. His school “friends” were troublesome, they liked to fight in the mud, throw sticks and stones and bully smaller children. He never liked these games, but joining in was the only way to distract attention from his own weaknesses onto someone else. It made life easier for him if he just joined in once in a while but because of this, and his fear of getting dirty or infected, he lacked friends.

He recalled the stage in his life right before his Father died. He was, in effect, obsessed with his own penis. He was 4 years old, but he had finally gotten free access to his nether regions. He was told off a number of times by his Father for playing with himself in what was referred to as, “Inappropriate times”. He hated his Father, always telling him what he couldn’t and couldn’t do. It wasn’t fair, how could someone like that receive the love of his Mother? It was then that the games begun. He had competed for his Mother’s attention, made loud noises when they were together, pushed in-between them while they hugged and even woke them up in the morning. But when his Father died, he couldn’t get the attention at all. His Mother and his Sister both completely ignored him as they mourned the death of his dad. He didn’t know it at the time, but he missed his Father. He missed him dearly.

* * *

He returned to the present and looked down upon the stain on the sofa; it all started then. When he, as a young child, took off his pants and did what he thought would have ended up in a number of chocolate sweets, he was scolded, terribly. He was terrified. His Father shouted, his Mother cried, his Sister ran away. He understood now, of course, but he was older. He now knew how important nice things were to the family, but the damage had been done. Because of his traumatic experience he had become obsessed with cleanliness and neatness in his teens. What had made it escalate into his current condition though, he had no idea.

He was still standing above his Mother. She was sitting on red sofa, now awake, looking at him, confused and worried. Quickly, he grabbed her. Put his left hand on her mouth and withdrew the cold, steel knife from his back with the other. “Mother, your cleansing will be swift. Rachel is upstairs, face down in the bathroom. She too, required cleansing.” As his Mother squirmed and attempted to scream for help, he raised the knife and pushed it into her throat, whispering the words, “You will not be the last.”

End

New banner.

•July 12, 2008 • 4 Comments

Just a quick update to announce the new banner for the site. Whilst I really should have done something like this when I created the blog instead of using the default, I’ve only just gotten around to it. Featured is me; as seen in many rsbandb competition sigs.

Yeah, comments and criticism is appreciated I guess. It’s been a while since photoshop has been opened up over here.

New reviews and articles to come soon,
Anubis.

Review : Runescape HD BETA

•July 2, 2008 • 5 Comments

RuneScape has very recently experienced the first major graphical and game engine upgrade since the release of the RuneScape 2 beta and I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say, “Finally!” It does seem that, although the graphics are certainly not comparable to those on the main consoles, that there will be much less talk about RuneScape’s graphics being terrible and that being the reason why “No-one should play it”. There have been a few complaints that people can’t handle the new graphics at all, which used to be completely unheard of. After all, since the graphics require no more than a computer that has been bought in the year 2005, the majority of players should be able to handle it. If not, you shouldn’t really expect people to wait for you to catch up.

First off, I would like to mention that the main website has been updated into a more modern looking games website. It’s colourful, easier to navigate through and perhaps more importantly, that outdated horrible logo has been changed to a newer prettier one. It does appear Jagex is beginning to move along with the times and realises it can’t be the stubborn brick wall of a company we’re all used to.

The first game related update I recognised was the new title screen. Now while this had been regularly changed when a new skill was released, it suddenly reverted to it’s original design a few weeks after – meaning that the same title screen had been around since RuneScape 2 was released. Now though, we find ourselves with a brand new one. Whether or not this will stay through the update I don’t know, but I sincerely hope not; it’s beautiful. The title screen has a few new features this time around. Namely animation in the background, showing off some points of the RuneScape world and of course the large list of graphics options. For those interested, the graphics options will default to the highest possible detail with the exception of anti-aliasing (which is the smoothing of pixellated edges) so you’ll just need to turn that on if you can handle it. The graphics menu needs to be change so a player can see all options at once, rather than a large scroll bar. Unfortunately, the RuneScape theme tune has not changed and so I immediately turned it off and put my own music back on. This way, I felt I could write a rather nice review for a change rather than rip the bollocks off of the musical department for three paragraphs.

I logged in, and after a good few minutes of loading I arrived in the centre of the Grand Exchange where I had logged off (apparently). I instantly went onto the full screen setting and hit the Print Screen button, but, it doesn’t like full screen screenshots. I just got a large canvas of black void when pasting it into paint or your graphics program. The new full screen interface is quite difficult to work around at first. It may be just me, but I felt that the chat box was too insignificant when compared to the massive resolution I’d played at. It was out of the way and hard to keep an eye on both what was being said in clan chat as well as focussing on play time. The skill icons in the bottom right corner seemed mixed up and although they weren’t, I got lost a good number of times. Although, it’s evident that if you’re going to remain playing on the full screen mode you’ll get used to the new interface a lot quicker than someone who doesn’t, like me.

I played around for a bit in the full screen mode to see what the benefits of doing this were. I instantly noticed the mist in the background. Now, while I’d like to have the range of this extended or at least have the option to in the graphics options, this is by far one of the most un-criticisable updates I’ve come across. Normally, when it comes to RuneScape updates, I’d be able to pick and chew at the bugs and problems until nothing but the raw bone was left. However, this is just pure improvement. The last thing I want to point out about the full screen mode is that instead of actually being able to see more, you’ll be faced with an enlarged version of the default runescape applet. Now while this is not entirely a bad thing, it does make me want to go back to the normal size. Why? Because I have to move my mouse more to do the same things that I would do in regular mode. The full screen mode itself makes you want to press the up button on the keyboard and have your avatar travel forwards but instead you have to click around like a crazed infant to move anywhere. One of two things needs to happen with the full screen mode and that’s either the addition of keyboard shortcuts to move around or extending how much of RuneScape map can be seen depending on the screen’s resolution.

Textures appear all over the place now. Before the update, we had the terrible tiled walls in various un-upgraded cities like West Ardougne and Lumbridge. After the update we have good textures on buildings, monsters, summoned pets, our own avatar and even the ground. Considering we had practically none of these before, there’s nothing much to say other than, “Well done.” However, not all is calm in the realm of textures. Oh no. While places like Lumbridge look absolutely beautiful, other, not-so-popular areas like The Grand Tree suffer from texture map distortion. The materials used to make objects look like what they are, instead of a coloured blob, stretch and just look terrible. The Grand Tree itself looked terrible to begin with but I was disappointed when I found more effort had not been taken to renew the area. Overall, the new textures give the game a cartoonier feel to it, appealing to younger players which are, and always have been both the Target Audience of the game and the major part of the game’s population. Quite ironically though, you do still have to be 13 years of age to legally play it.

Lighting is another brand new addition via the game’s extensive graphical update. Shadows and glow effects cause depth and improve the overall feel of the game. Places like the Slayer Tower and dungeons excel in this. Anti aliasing, yet another new feature causes characters to appear smoother and enhances the look immensely. In some areas though, it is noted that lighting can sometimes only apply itself to the tile in which it originates. The Dwarven mine for example has a few of these bugs which can be easily fixed after the final version is released.

Water has been completely revamped into, well, water. Before we had to put up with a hideous blue texture and die a little inside whenever we saw it. Now though, water looks like actual water except in a few places like Lumbridge’s fountains where it looks like diluted paint. In general though, water has been improved to a mediocre level. What appear to be algae is in some areas, the water in the desert as well as in Al Kharid sparkles in the intense sunlight but unfortunately reflections are missing. Reflections, when it comes to realistic looking water, are everything. Water may be blue to some people, but in fact the saturation of the colour is so miniscule it only comes to light in large quantities such as the sea. Reflections make smaller amounts of water look realistic but don’t seem to be included in the update which is a shame.

Cities all over the world map have been updated and given a fresh lick of paint. My favourite has to be Al Kharid which I don’t believe had an update ever since I started playing. Environment lighting appears in cities and the grounds around them, causing the colour of your character to change depending on where they are. Take the TzHaar for example, it’s a cave underneath a volcano, lava is seeping through cracks in the walls, the floor and quite possibly the ceiling. So, it’s no surprise that when you walk around the area you’re going to look fairly orange, like an anthropomorphic tangerine. Whilst the cities which have been recently updated before the graphical change were not redesigned, they get the additional benefit of textures and lighting like everywhere else.

The TzHaar below gave me a nice new Obsidian Cape by the way.

Avatars, or more commonly known as your player character, have been upgraded very slightly with a mesh smooth. Regular clothes as seen in some of my pictures have been given textures, as has armour and weapons. This could have been a much larger improvement but it seems increasing the polygons of what Jagex claims to be 130 million players might be a bit too much and could overload the servers. What’s really an improvement though, is that hats and hair can be worn simultaneously for the first time in years.

Finally, as you can see as soon as you log in, the chat heads have been given an extra batch of polygons to mess around with causing a more detailed look. Me, I look like some sort of burly emo kid; how’s that for an oxymoron?

Overall, this update can only be a good thing. It’s a path in the right direction. Jagex does have a lot of bugs and issues to work through but as it’s only the beta stage – I’ll let them off. Perhaps in the future, we’ll see an even higher detail version make it’s way into the public eye and look even better than some of the more popular MMOGs, but maybe that’s just wishful thinking. The game has been completely updated graphically, but it’s worth reminding ourselves that it is just the same game. It’s being run by the same company as before. So any issues you had with it or it’s developers are here to stay, indefinitely. That includes the music, it includes the quests, and although it might cause you to crumble down into tears, it includes pest control.

Enjoy,

Anubis.

Cooking and Skill Mastery

•June 9, 2008 • 6 Comments

As in the real world, I love food. I enjoy all kinds of different meals from all kinds of different countries; Sushi, Dim Sum, Pasta and Stir Fries. However, unlike in the real world, RuneScape lacks the variety and convenience to seduce my taste buds. I’m sure the majority of Players will be using fish while training, whether that is lobster, monkfish or shark. True, RuneScape has lots and lots of different kinds of food, but as they require more than one item to create, they’re deemed to inconvenient for cooking training and therefore are very hard to find in bulk. Needless to say, the healing effects some of the more complicated dishes give certainly do not help the issue. Who’s going to make food which will take 2 minutes to create which heals an average 14? Not very many Players will, that’s for sure, especially when they’re given alternatives like lobsters and monkfish which are very sellable and give an excellent amount of experience rate in comparison. It’s really quite puzzling, that in some sort of desperate attempt to not ‘de-value’ the fishing skill, most new, convenient kinds of foods are simply fish. Highly unimaginative and certainly uncreative; all the developers would have to do is find somewhere to put this new fishing spot. Now, while I’m very keen on the idea of new fish to be added into the game, just as the monkfish was, I’d like to see much more diverse foods which offer Players a viable alternative to sharks and the like.

Recipe For Disaster has been one of my favourite quests for a while now; it was challenging, it had lots of high level requirements, it had excellent rewards but above all – the quest’s story was unique and although a little childish, imaginative all the same. Players such as myself had to scour the RuneScape plane for rare cooking ingredients and make certain NPCs favourite dishes. As a regular critic of the RuneScape quests it’s very rare that one impresses me, and RFD is one of the few. But this is not about quests, oh no. I want new, rare foods. I want to train with Crème Brule and Baked Alaska.

A feature of World of Warcraft which separates foods which heal the same amount is the “Well Fed” buff. Some foods will increase stamina for 30 minutes, others intellect and some just won’t. Obviously those which increase more popular stats by more points will sell for more than those which don’t and in turn will be used more often as well. This gives an incentive to Players to fish or farm rarer meats. RuneScape has a similar thing; various pies increase skills like Farming, Slayer and Fishing. Some potions will do the same. It is this feature which should be added into rare foods to push the average Player into making them more often.

Now, something I’ve been thinking about recently is a concept I like to call ‘Skill Mastery’. In a nutshell, Players will have to complete a large series of tasks to unlock a whole new set of levels for a skill, a Player would only be able to master 5 different skills, but would be able to make higher levelled, unique items. Now I’m not going to touch on any other skills than cooking in this article, but you can expect me to at a later date.

Players won’t be able to ‘master’ their particular skill until they’ve boosted it all the way up to level 99. This is quite logical really, but it had to be said nonetheless. When a Player achieves this, they’ll be able to start a mini-quest of sorts through the NPC they got their cape from. This article is about the ‘Cooking Mastery’ Quest and it’s subsequent rewards.

Cooking Mastery

Start Point

  • Head Chef; Cooking Guild

Requirements

  • 99 Cooking
  • 35 Farming

Items Needed

  • Cooking Skillcape (No trim required)
  • Bowl
  • Knife
  • Flour
  • 2 Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Bread
  • Pestle and Mortar
  • Farming equipment and a free patch.

The Player in question will begin by talking to the Head Chef in the Cooking Guild proudly wearing his skill cape. This opens up some dialogue which will explain to the Player that he can perform a Mastery quest, but will be warned that they will only ever be able to choose five skills and these cannot be unlearned. The Player, still quite chuffed with his purple cape and his first 99 skill, accepts these conditions and asks for the quest briefing.

The Head Chef will begin by asking the Player to make an Admiral Pie, Wild Pie and Summer Pie. Players will only be allowed to use items they have collected themselves for these pies, which means no traded or bought items will be accepted.

The Head Chef will then ask the Player to find the ingredients for the first of the Master Foods, aubergine fritters.

  • Aubergine – The Player will be able to buy seeds from the Chef and will have to grow their own. This will take 10 minutes while doing the quest, 25 when completed.
  • Flour
  • 2 Eggs
  • Breadcrumbs – Pestle and Mortar on Bread
  • Herbs – Can be bought from Chef.
  • Cheese

1. Chop the aubergine with a knife.

2. Use Flour on Aubergine Discs, or vice versa.

3. Use Eggs on Floured Discs, with a bowl in inventory.

4. Use Herbs, Breadcrumbs and Cheese on bowl with all in inventory.

5. Use Eggy Discs on the now full bowl.

6. Use Uncooked Fritters on a range to make Aubergine Fritters.

On completion, the Head Chef will congratulate the Player and “taste-test” the fritters. He will very much enjoy them and move onto the next part of the quest.

The third and final part of the quest will be a test on the Player to see how diverse his or her skills are in cooking. The Head Chef will assign a random 15 items from the following list and demand them for completion of the quest.

  • Chocolate Cake
  • Anchovy Pizza
  • Mud Pie
  • Garden Pie
  • Chilli Potato
  • Fish Pie
  • Baked Potato with Cheese
  • Oomlie Wrap
  • Egg and Tomato Potato
  • Ugthanki Kebab
  • Curry
  • Mushroom and Onion Potato
  • Pineapple Pizza
  • Tuna and Corn Potato
  • Wild Pie
  • Summer Pie
  • Drunk Dragon
  • Chocolate Saturday
  • Blurberry Special
  • Worm Crunchies
  • Chocolate Chip Crunchies
  • Vegetable Batta
  • Cheese and Tomato Batta
  • Tangled Toad’s Legs
  • Chocolate Bomb

When the Player successfully hands in all 20 pieces of food and/or drink (they must al be handed in at once) they will have completed the quest.

After completing the quest, the head chef will give the Player a Master Cookbook and the Player’s Cooking skill will have been enhanced. The upgrade will allow the Player to create higher levelled foods which heal more and give unique bonuses. A new set of 51 levels will be unlocked, allowing a Player to reach a level of 150. Experience for these next 51 levels will only be received through creating Master Foods, and therefore any experience gained through other methods will not count towards the Master Levels. Experience for the skill will be divided into “Exp.”, and “M.Exp.”, clearly separating the two.

Now, I couldn’t come up with 51 new kinds of food, which both delivered a unique bonus as well as healing more than regular food; but here’s a small amount of what I did think about.

  • Aubergine Fritters; Heals 22.

  • Buffalo Wings; Heals 22 and increases Ranged and Defence by 10%
    (Chicken, Hot Sauce, Butter, Salt and Pepper (from Head Chef), Herbs)

  • Veggie Burger; Heals 10 but makes you feel better about yourself.
    (Cabbage, Salt, Flour, Bread, Tomato, Onion and Herbs)

  • Thief’s Fajita; Heals 23 and increases Thieving by 10
    (Fajita Wrap (made with dough), Chicken, Spices, Onion, Garlic, Cheese)

  • Herbal Beer; Reduces Attack and Strength by 5, increases Herblore by 7
    (Nettles, Torstol and Dwarf Weed, crushed up in a bowl, used in the brewery)

  • Ghoul’s Delight; Heals 40% of your Prayer and 10 Health.
    (Bucket of Slime, Crushed Bones, Vampire Dust, Flour, Orange, Lemon, Pineapple)

  • Supreme Stew; Heals 22, increases Attack and Strength by 20%
    (Chicken, Beef, Pork, Bear Meat, Rat Meat, Potato, Herbs and a Bowl of Water.)

  • Ranger’s Game Soup; Heals 22, increases Ranged and Defence by 20%
    (Rabbit, Jubbly and Chompy meats, Herbs and a Bowl of water)

  • Fruit Cake; Heals 32 (two bites)
    (Flour, Egg, Milk, Raisins, Cherries (Bought from Head Chef) and Sugar)

All foods created through this skill would be tradable.

But that is all for now; Thanks for reading;

Anubis.

[Review] Smoking Kills

•June 5, 2008 • 5 Comments

As an avid fan of the slayer skill, when I read in the June BTS news update; “Smoking Kills demands the best of seasoned slayers, who will need to use their resources in innovative new ways to survive”, I’ll be honest, I was expecting a requirement of about level 65 or above, not 35. Nevertheless I should have realised that a high level in slayer is quite hard to achieve and it would be unlike that a quest would come out for people like me, who spend most of their runescape gametime farming Abyssal Demons and Dark Beasts for drops instead of doing the quests that are released bi-weekly. As with most slayer quests, it is my worry that I’ll end up with a low level slayer monster as a reward, which later is found to be incredibly bad for training. Because of that, I very rarely do the quest on the day of release, but with a reward which states ” Two new dungeons to explore” and ” A new Slayer Master and some new Slayer gear”, I couldn’t let this one slip by.

It should be noted that at this time of the article, I do not know the rewards for the quest or what the quest contains. However, this article will contain spoilers and so if you wish to do the quest on your own without having the reward(s) blurted out and spoiling the surprise, please do the quest first!

I predict the reward(s) for this quest are likely to be a number of low to mid-level slayer monsters which will appear in one or both of the dungeons, while the rest of the dungeon is filled up with existing monsters.
The slayer master, although I am very much anticipating to be of a higher level that Duradel, is more likely to be one of the same skill-level of Vannaka or Chaeldar.

-Smoking Kills-

The quest begins in Pollnivneach by talking to someone called Sumona. It was at this point I realised who the new slayer master was going to be, and I checked various skill menus to see if I could find anything else, but no, only Sumona appeared in the skill menus and I was greatly disappointed. Sumona required level 35 slayer to use her as a Slayer Master, and so I doubt she’d give very good tasks at all.

Moving on, the quest was outlined in the first few peices of script with Sumona, a red-eyed dopey looking woman. Apparently, her twin sister had been captured by “fiendish monsters and is held down the town well”. Seems easy enough, doesn’t it? Well, I went to jump down the well and a dusty coloured cat attacked me, screaming all sorts of meows and the such at me. Realising I hadn’t got my catspeak amulet with me, I swiftly took a carpet to Sophanem, picked it up and attempted it again. (For those who’re wondering, you speak to the Sphinx).

I was then sent to talk to a dead slayer master, who resides as a apirit in the Ruins of Ullek, east of the agility pyramid … by cat. So I flew on the carpets to Nardah and went to the pyramid. I then had to run around a rather giant plataeu and into a marsh, which looked really nice, graphically speaking. I climbed over a fallen pillar, climbed some stairs and entered the ruins after re-filling my waterskins from a spring of water.

The next half an hour consisted of running back and forth to the bank after forgetting my pickaxe, then my ghostspeak amulet. During this time, the quest rewards were spoiled to me so I was very aware of what I was getting. However, I still carried on and got back to the ruins and made my way through the few traps and monsters to speak to the spirit. I was sent down two corridors, one containing magical skeletons and the other ranged; I slayed these with ease and activated two levers on each side to de-activate the center path’s traps to give me access to the dead slayer master, who warned me of what was to come.

After talking to the spirit, I was allowed to create a hybrid of a facemask and earmuffs, using these, I entered the pollnivneach well and attempted to rescue the twin sister. I was confronted with a banshee mistress and 4 insectoid assassins. After a short but somewhat difficult battle, the twin sister was “rescued” and I returned to Sumona for my rewards.

-Rewards-

All in all, the quest was quite decent. I liked it, which is strange for me and it’s opened up a whole new aspect of training slayer. I do worry that now slayer will become just as easy to train as normal combat skills but I’m very happy with the addition of the new slayer mask and slayer ring. I’ll be looking to get those in due time.

For 400 points, you can buy 10,000 slayer experience.
For 400 points, you can learn how to make the new Slayer mask.
For 300 points, you can learn how to create the new Slayer rings.

I’m not entirely sure on how many points you’ll get per task, however I am hoping it’s not too much. Perhaps 15-20 will be sufficient for medium levelled tasks and up to 30 for higher levelled ones. That way, not only will people get more incentive to train slayer, it’ll prevent any abuse towards powertraining 99 slayer and devaluing the cape. Because before this quest, it was certainly one of if not the hardest one to obtain, and I’d hate for that to change.

That’s all for now,
Anubis.

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.