Trill, Love powers her

Trill, Love powers her

“She will live! I will not fail her again!”, growled Harkum. As the King’s wizard he was obligated to provide him with anything he desired. In this case, an army. One that doesn’t bleed, cry, or know the cold chill of fear. Warriors of wood, steel, and earth weaved together with all kind of magics. The darker the magic the more brutal the soldier, and the King wanted them as dark as they come. He didn’t just want to win this war, he wanted to humiliate his enemies with their armies slaughtered. Warforged entities.

Moving piles of rock and stone was enough to conquer the battlefield at first, bludgeoning heads with their fists. However, all elements of earth can be destroyed and who better to kill nature than man himself. Boulders to explosives, wood to fire, steel to heat. “You are failing our country! Our kingdom!”, screamed King Absil. “Please sire I am looking into diff,” stuttered Harkum, “I don’t want to hear your damn excuses! I asked for an army to be feared! Not twigs flailing about!”, King Absil continued. Collecting himself, he came close behind Harkum putting his hands on his shoulders gripping tightly, “If you cannot do what I ask I will easily find another. I will strap you to your so called soldiers and watch as the enemy burns, hacks, and tears you both apart. You have 2 days’ time to show me a force I can be proud to rule over,” and with that the King sped out of the room in rage. Harkum read book after book, spell after spell, with no success. As the sun just passed noon on the second day Harkum stopped to stare into the distance. Outside his window in one of the high rising spires of the castle he could see the destruction. Piles of ash and corpses littered the ground just past the gates. The war was getting closer and closer to home. He needed to find the answer! Not for the King, fuck him and his impossible demands, but for all those innocent and cowering in fear! “There must be an answer here somewhere”, he sighed under his breath. Harkum decided to take a visit to the local magic emporium. Maybe there was a book or scroll hidden there, but really, there was someone he wanted to see. Especially if this was to be his last day of life.

Walking through the door Harkum was instantly met with the fragrance of multiple burning incense. Heading toward the back room a bright light welcomes him from a huge window. “Harkum! It seems like forever since you have last came to see me!”. Turning to the warm voice that called out to him, Harkum sees a beautiful young girl smiling ear to ear. Her rich brown hair, emerald green eyes, and small soft features always reminded him of a pixie. Irene. She craved for knowledge just as much as he. Nose always in a book, reciting a new poem or incantation she found buried deep in a pile of papers. “Well! I find myself stumped and thought to turn to the only bookworm bigger than I,” Harkum tried to match the size of her smile. “Oh you!”, Irene chuckled, “You are far wiser than I! I can only dream of becoming a great wizard like yourself!”. He beckoned Irene to a nearby table and told her of his past few days’ work. Irene’s face was twisted with frustration, “I don’t know how he can ask this of you! Anything he has done has been thanks to you!”, slamming her fist on the table. “Unfortunately for me that means nothing in the eyes of our dear ruler,” Harkum scoffed. “As for the knowledge you requested I am not sure if there is anything like that in this library. I do know of some books that I received from some high elves a few weeks ago but haven’t had a chance to go through them much. They are versed in much magic, as I’m sure you know, that many have forgotten over the years. Just give me a moment,” said Irene as she motions for Harkum to stay seated. Looking up at the sky light he can tell that the sun is starting to descend. Not even half a day left now and he is no closer to finding an answer. Anxiety sets in and he yells back to Irene, “Hey I’m going to get some air!”, and heads for the front door. Imagining the fate that draws closer and closer starts causing his mind to race. How did he even get to this point? Why couldn’t he just of stayed a lowly magician entertaining the lords and ladies of the realms. “Doesn’t matter know”, he muttered. The only real regret he has was helping that damned king get this far, and not telling Irene how he really feels. It would be pointless now. To spill his guts just to die tonight and leave her to wonder what if the rest of her life would be cruel. Just then he heard a scream in the far distance. Curiosity more than fear led him to turn around and walk in that direction. Just as Harkum passed the emporiums store door Irene bursts out almost knocking them both to the ground. “Oh jeez! I am so sorry! I heard you say you were leaving and I didn’t want to miss you! It is impossible to get to you once you enter that castle”, Irene said gasping for breath. A small flash of hope raced in Harkum’s chest, “Did you find something?! Must have since you near knocke…”, he stopped. Looking in the direction he was headed, Harkum saw what caused the scream. Hobgoblins. The enemy had breached the gates! It was a small party, but ruthless none the less. The surprise made nearby guards easy targets, and local townsfolk never stood a chance. Jumping to his feet, Harkum grabbed Irene almost dragging her to safety. He wasn’t quick enough. A crimson hobgoblin about his height but much larger as far as muscle goes bashed Harkum in the side of the head sending him to the ground. Fuzzy but still conscious he tries to focus and find Irene. He lost his gripped when he hit the ground. Struggling to his knees, his gaze meets that of his attacker. In his hand, Irene, frantically trying to pry the monsters grip from her throat. Time seemed to slow. The once piercing screams in the background began to fade. Harkum could feel the blood running down his cheek, the sting of copper on his lips and the warm liquid reaches the corners of his mouth. As long as the moment seemed there wasn’t time for him to plead for her safety. With one swift swing, Irene’s blood gushed from her body. Coating the streets in red as dark as her aggressor. The Hobgoblin cried with excitement of the kill only to be struck down by kingdom archers. The news of the attack must have finally reached the castle. The raid party fell one by one, but Harkum ignored the volley of arrows around him trying frantically to reach Irene’s body. She was alive but fading fast. “What can I do? What can I do!”, he screamed. Then he noticed the book at her feet. She must have dropped it to fight off her assailant. Wiping off the blood, inscribed on the cover read “Lost Arcanum: Arcane Magics and Lore - By Archmage Dao LeClaire”. If she thought this could help before maybe it has something powerful enough inside to save her. Anything was worth a try. Harkum cradled her close and ran towards his chambers.

Harkum kicked the door open to his quarters. He quickly cleared a nearby table of vials and tombs and laid Irene down. “I have to be quick. If she dies there won’t be anything I can do to save her.”, he said trying to stay calm and collected. Flipping through the pages, Harkum scrambled to find anything that can prolong her life just long enough until he could find a permanent solution. She was bleeding profusely and maybe had minutes. “Cure wounds isn’t strong enough. Maybe a raise the dead spell. Wait...”, he paused studying the text more carefully. “Life transference… Power of the soul to arcane energy... Is this even possible?”, questioning himself out loud. Time was running out. He grabbed a nearby stone, an amethyst, placed it on the same table as Irene and began to read the enchantment aloud. Attempting to pronounce every syllable correctly he spoke in a calm demeanor despite his skipping heart. When the last few words of the spell left his lips he held his breath. Would this work? Did he just waste his one and only chance to save the one he cares for on some fairy tale in a book he has never read? Harkum began to fill with rage. If he didn’t go and bother her at the shop, if he was stronger and fought off the hobgoblin instead of falling to the ground with one hit. Just then a string of light beamed to life connecting the stone to Irene. Just as soon as it came it disappeared. Harkum grasped her hand. She was cold before but now she was frozen as if kept on ice for days. It was certain with the stare in her eyes she was gone, but so was the blood. It was supposed to work! He began to scream, cry, lash out at whatever lay in front of him. After a few moments he returned to the book to see how he again failed his friend. “Arcane energy. Can be used to further enchant items, conjuring, power sources,” he continued on to read. Sitting back in his chair he stared at the walls around him. “So in theory this stone now houses some sort of power from one’s death.” He continued to stare at his surroundings. Books and papers thrown around in the chaos of the past few moments. Broken glass scattered on the floor, reflecting the setting sun back into his face. He paused at the figure in the corner. His first model of warforged. Just wood held together with flimsy steel. It looked pitiful there, slumped in a corner collecting dust as he moved on to give life to far stronger beings. “Stone of arcane power…. Perhaps it could... Yes!”

King Absil arrived with a fellow guard the following morning. The events of yesterday seemed to delay Harkum’s impending doom. Ignoring the courtesy of a knock, the King walked right into the room were the wizard resided. He was instantly taken aback by the state of the room. Papers, books, glass, what looked to be metal body parts littered the room. “Perfect! Just in time!”, shouted Harkum a bit louder than he meant to. “For a man about to be led to his death you are quite chipper,” noted King Absil, “I apologize for the delay, now will you be coming quietly or will the guard need to escort you?”. Harkum leaned back to sit on the desktop behind him, “But don’t you want to see my discovery? You asked for a more formidable warrior and I have found the solution!”. Intrigued King Absil motioned for Harkum to continue. He began by mentioning his discovery of the book and what was found inside. Then moved onto the stone, what it contained, and how to go about using the enchantment to power it. Finally revealing his latest warforged model. It had a sleeker design composed of light but solid materials and built to mimic the human form. “Now in theory,” Harkum started,” by placing this stone filled with the power of a human souls force into the chest cavity, it should bring this machine to life! Instead of walking thoughtlessly into battle and traps by the enemy it should be able to access the situation and be a smarter, stronger fighter!”. He was almost in tears with excitement. If this worked not only would Irene come back from the dead, but he too would be saved from death! The King leaned in closer, “Show me”. With that Harkum carefully took hold of the stone. Again he was throwing it all to chance. If this didn’t work, he was sure King Absil would cut him down right where he stood. Gently, he placed the stone inside the opening the chest of his latest design. Before connecting the final pieces, he whispered to himself, “Please. If not for me for her.”, attached it, then stood back. Seconds felt like minutes. Everything rode on this. Again that familiar light began to emanate from the form on the table. For a brief moment it seemed brighter than the sun, causing all in the room to turn away and shield their eyes. As it dimmed and all eyes returned back to the table, the air left the room. The mechanical man that laid on the table before was gone and in its place a fair skinned naked woman. At first glimpse Harkum recognized her as Irene, but upon closer inspection noticed slight differences. Her once brown hair was now being a dark violet, once bright green eyes now a shade of lavender, and that warm welcoming look in her face was now missing. What was once steel now appeared as flesh. “What the hell is this?! A woman cannot fight wars! I asked for a fighting force not more house maids!” King Absil roared. Harkum was startled at the King’s rage. He had almost forgotten there were other people in the room. “Sire,” he uttered, “This was merely a test to see if it was even possible. Now that we know it can be done, I can study her further, perhaps make her my assistant, and proceed to make the army you so desire.”. That answer seemed to settle King Absil’s rage a bit, “Well, then what is it you need to make more of these… things?”. That question hung heavy with Harkum. Just then had he realized the weight of his most recent discovery, and that his greed to save Irene and himself just doomed hundreds probably thousands of men. “Well my lord,” in a low guilty tone, “What I will need is… the souls of men.”.

Time passed and as the war raged on, so did the King’s need for more and more men. At first prisoners were taken to the lower chambers of the castle where the rituals to make the stones took place. After explaining the process to the lower mages and wizards of the court the task no longer fell on Harkum. Good thing too. He couldn’t look into the eyes of the men that came in to have their souls sucked out of them knowing it was his fault this was their fate. Eventually, prisoners weren’t enough and instead of drafting men to war they were brought here to make the ultimate sacrifice for their country. These days Harkum mostly kept to himself in his room with his studies and his now assistant. This wasn’t Irene and that was made clear very early on. Not only did she have slight differences in appearance but lost all of what made her ‘her’ in the process. Harkum endlessly studied to find out how or why the warforged, built of steel or wood, come out with flesh like exteriors after the enchantment. It even healed over time like the skin of man. Perhaps it was beyond him. When he failed to solve that mystery he turned all of his attention to his assistant. Harkum tried to read her similar books that Irene loved, bathed her in Irene’s favorite aromas, even presented her with Irene’s favorite dishes and still nothing. No memories ever returned. There was one thing though. Irene was not only a scholar but a musician, playing the flute. Too shy to play in public she only played in private for him after Harkum accidentally overheard her playing one day and insisted she continue. It was as if she was singing a song of the heart when she played. During one of Harkum’s assistant’s rests, he went in and added a pipe, similar to a flute, inside what would be her esophagus. What he hoped this would do would allow her to make a flute like sound when whistling or humming. Harkum explained this new feature to his assistant and she was hesitant at first, confused by what purpose this function was. He didn’t push the subject just let her know of this new feature. Now every once in a while he can hear her whistling a tune that he is almost certain is a tune Irene used to play. “Maybe she is still in there,” he thought to himself. Just when a little light decided to break through the thick darkness the shrouded Harkum, the rebellion began.

“GET OUT! GET OUT NOW!”, screamed Harkum at the top of his lungs. Large blue flames flew from the doorway of the enchanting chambers from below. Seared corpses and singed survivors covered the floor. The moans and screams filled every corridor. Once he heard that a mutiny started he ran down below to try and help the mages there. Tired of being sacrificed and thrown into battle to be slaughtered, the warforged turned on their King and all who damned them. I hate them for it but cannot blame them. Again Harkum couldn’t help but feel that all of this darkness and chaos was his fault. If he would have just accepted the fate laid out before him instead of altering it to his benefit. Most of the warforged were easy to spot and shut down, but the ones infused with the arcane crystals were much harder to spot. They still took on the appearance of their human sacrifice with only just barely visible differences. The person next to you could be helping you through the destruction one minute then slit your throat the next. Bodies fell left and right as Harkum raced to his chambers. Everyone was killing each other, casualties piling up on each side. He had to save his assistant. All of this was to save her and he wouldn’t let it be for nothing. He reached his chambers surprisingly unscathed and gasping for breath. His assistant stood paralyzed in fear as she could hear the howls of pain echoing from below. She was sheltered from the violence of this war until now and you could see the fear clearly on her face. Harkum ran over to her, “Listen we have to get you out of here. If they find out you are not of real flesh and blood they will tear you apart.”. Still in shock she sputtered,” Wh-Where will we go? I have never left these walls and our uncertain future is… hard to grasp.” Still trying to catch his breath he ran to his desk searching for maps and any other useful documents, “It doesn’t matter. Even if I should fall before we escape these walls you must press on.”. Just then a roar came from behind Harkum, “YOU!”. Turning around he saw King Absil battered and bloodied. A sizable gash on his left side was surrounded with blood suggesting that he had only moments remaining. “YOU AND YOUR DAMNED MACHINES! You planned this all along! You and that metal bitch! Well if I am to meet my end this day so will you!” and lunged toward Harkum’s assistant, rapier in hand, with surprising speed for one so near to death. Harkum dashed towards his assistant. He would not just stand by and watch her fall again, “Irene” he thought, “I won’t fail you again”. King Absil pulled his arm back and aimed for the machines heart while she was still frozen with confusion and uncertainty. “NO!”, Harkum shrieked as he stood in the way of the blow. The King’s aim was true and pierced right through Harkum and just slightly into the assistant. With the last of his life put into that final blow, King Absil collapsed on the ground, lifeless. Harkum growled in pain as he grabbed the sword in his chest. “It won’t be long now,” his whimpered as he turned to check on his assistant. She stood motionless, gaze empty, hands partially raised as to protect herself. “No,” he said feeling defeated,” I tried so hard to save you, protect you. And even with a second chance to save you from the same fate I failed again.”. The attack from King Absil penetrated her chest just enough to damage the crystal inside. A good sized chunk had been shattered severing the connection of power. Harkum flinched in pain, reminding him that he too will perish in short time. Thinking quickly, he staggered to a nearby desk fumbling to grab any sort of gem or stone that would be lying about. Wrapping his fingers around the most familiar feeling item, he brought it to his face hoping that it was what he was looking for, “Sapphire. Perfect.”. Setting the stone on the tabletop closest to his assistant, he took a paper weight and with all his might smashed it against the sapphire in an attempt to break it into a smaller piece. Blue dust and particles scattered as he brought down the weight on the gem, breaking it into thirds. Grabbing the piece most likely to fit, Harkum placed it into the hole where the previous part of amethyst was. “It’s not perfect, but all of the parts are linked and that should form a bond.” The once stinging, ripping sensation in his chest started to numb. He fumbled with the pages of his book to find the incantation as his fingers were getting colder and colder. He had one chance to get this right and he wasn’t going to let a mispronunciation fuck it up. His vision blurred as he tried to focus on the spell. His hand covered in his own blood, he placed it on the sapphire and rehearsed the spell in his mind. Just before he began he whispered, “I will not fail you again. You will live, Trill”. He recited the spell and with the final word, fell to the floor. Trill, as she was now named, stood motionless. That same glow began to fill her chest. It wasn’t as bright as before but it stayed much longer. She stayed immobile through the rest of the bloody revolt, as the castle and town below were destroyed to shambles of what it once was. Even through the rest of the war, Trill remained stationary. Years upon years passed and while the bodies at her feet disintegrated with time, she began to heal. What seemed to be lifetimes later, the glow finally subsided. All the gashes closed and the stone in her heart now melded together. Trill, stiff at first, began to move. Slowly making her way across the room, stepping over rock and bones, she found a mirror. Wiping the dust from the reflection she touched her face and hair of her image, and as if recalling a fading memory, she softly spoke, “Trill”.

Leave a comment