While my area of expertise is mainly drawing, I can be a good writer at times. And there tends to be a lot of ideas that pop up in my head that I have developed over days of thinking only to struggle with putting it down on paper. With this I am most likely going to go the Steven King approach of just writing what comes to my head. Despite this however, I have some guidelines I am going by for this story:
1) It centers on a powerful warlock, who will be the villainous protagonist of this story
2) I plan to do multiple stories set in this world revolving around this character, and some others, though not as an epic but rather the MAD MAX approach of each story being a self-contained narrative. Though there is one goal the warlock has that connects all the stories and they will be in chronological order. I am doing this approach in order to allow for more world-building
3) That there will be some consequences carried over into future stories.
4) This story will involve the warlock being asked to intervene against a rebellion against the Empire he serves (for his own purposes that is)
Feel free to comment y’all’s thoughts on the story as well as any constructive criticism. I will also be including any concept art that I make for these characters.
Now, onto the story:
The Masked Warlock
In the dark dungeon, the masked warlock worked endlessly. He had been at his table, where ancient manuscripts, his own writings, and bottled ingredients lied, for days or maybe weeks. Whatever the masked warlock was working on was clearly of great importance to him. “It’s almost complete” – the words that had been echoing in the warlock’s mask-covered head.
After his latest mixture yielded unsatisfactory results, he stared intently through the eyes of his mask, the lenses glowing with blue magic, alternating between his written notes and the ancient manuscripts. His research was almost complete, he assured himself. He just needed to figure out one vital missing detail. “It has to be in here somewhere,” the warlock thought as he went through the old manuscripts.
He felt a sudden jolt of pain in his head which then travelled down to his chest. The warlock turned his gaze away from the manuscripts, placed his right hand on the metallic chest plate he wore over his dark blue hooded garb, and brought left hand to his face to remove the mouthpiece of the mask. Setting the mouthpiece aside, he grabbed the black bottle next to it and took a sip. The pain in his head subsided and he felt rejuvenated. The warlock put away the black bottle which he used for nourishment in place of food.
He looked back at his manuscripts, and noticed a peculiar detail he hadn’t noticed before. Upon careful reading, the warlock hurriedly scratched out numerous notes he had taken, and, in their stead, started to write down and calculate complex formulas that implied a high level of knowledge in the sciences and the arcane arts.
He had served as an apprentice of many great scholars during his youth, when he was a young boy thirsty for all the knowledge in the world. While his old teachers had been great and famous scholars in their fields, he now possessed far greater knowledge than they ever hoped. He was far greater and had always been destined to be so. Thus, he had been able to solve, within hours, what even the Empire’s greatest scholars would take a lifetime to learn, a reason for which the Empire had been in need of his services.
As he made the final calculations, the warlock stood up and gazed at his work, confident that he had finally found what he had been looking for. However, the warlock quickly realized that none of the ingredients in his collection, which was supposed to have every known ingredient, would do.
The warlock’s fists clenched and began to emit a blue energy that continuously built up. The warlock seemed ready to unleash all he had, but he restrained himself and the magical energy dissipated. He convinced himself that perhaps there were answers to these new question – answers that may lie in the Forbidden Library the Empire closed to all but him.
The warlock gathered his writings, manuscripts, and many bottled mixtures, including the black potion which had relieved his pain earlier, into his pouch hung from the leather belt that kept his chest piece in place. From his right hand, he forged a red portal with a strange black fog emanating from the red energy, though the warlock did not look one bit surprised. He simply made his way through the red, rectangular portal, which then disappeared along with the strange fog.
The warlock appeared right at the entrance of the Imperial Palace, a massive, geometric structure whose size would rival even the tallest mountains of the known world. The warlock turned his gaze to the sight behind him: The massive city that served as the capital of the Empire stood at the very center of the known world, the very epicenter of civilization and technological prowess. The sight before the warlock was composed of buildings whose appearances alternated between large geometric architecture and horrific mechanical shapes. The geometric structures housed the highest ranking Imperial officials, while the mechanical abominations either served as common infrastructure or as industrial factories and militaristic laboratories whose experiments were kept secret to all but the Emperor and his court. Looking at these structures, one couldn’t help but think that these alternating structures were at war with one another for dominance over the city.
The factories emitted red fumes which stained the sky blood red during the day. The crimson gas was so thick that the light of the sun was blocked out, though no civilian would be able to tell as the red gas was so high up in the sky that, to them, it was the sky. What provided light to the city in place of the sun were magic-infused mechanical pylons throughout the city, each energizing a massive orb of red energy held on top. The entire city was engulfed by various shades of red.
Though his face was concealed by the mask, one could read the warlock’s body language and see that the sight of the massive city instilled a certain feeling in the warlock, though it was not of awe or wonder.
The warlock turned his attention back to the Palace entrance, whose massive doors opened at warlock’s silent command, his hands emanating a blue aura that lit up with the eye lenses of his mask. What now met his gaze was a massive hallway, which boasted a much more pleasant architecture than what appeared on the outside. On the walls hung the red Imperial banners. Statues of long-deceased Emperors also lined the hall. Despite the impressive architecture, the warlock did not seem to be impressed or care the least.
Several Imperial soldiers, clothed in dark red leather armor, began to surround the warlock. Their metallic spears contained crystals on the ends that lit up with a threatening red energy. The soldiers seemed ready to arrest the supposed intruder until their superior officer dismissed the soldiers after informing them who was in their presence. The officer was an old man who was no longer in his prime but not quite on the brink of death, clothed in a black leather set with some red metallic components like the chest and pauldrons. The General of Imperial Expansion, Everen the Conqueror. “I apologize for the inconvenience. These initiates still have much to learn. Unfortunately, during these times, we have been more dependent on new recruits. What brings the great Fu’rok to the Imperial capital?”
The warlock, however, did not answer, though he did retrieve a red, stone medallion out of his pouch. The medallion in the warlock’s hand appeared to be thousands of years old, however more importantly carved onto the medallion was the shape of a particular creature that only the Empire’s highest officials knew of: the mysterious “dragon” as the Imperial scientists coined it. The carving of the dragon did not show its arms or legs, however the wings were depicted being spread out with the dragon seeming to be gazing upward.
Everen the Conqueror immediately recognized this as an ancient relic of the old world. Aside from expanding the influence of the Empire across the world, the most important task of the General of Imperial Expansion was to find and secure any ancient relics of the old world, as it is believed that certain secrets of the old world would be of great value to the Empire’s rule. He also knew that there would only be one reason the warlock would show him such an ancient relic.
“The Emperor will be notified of your presence and hear you shortly.” He continued, “Though I should add that, due to certain circumstances, the Emperor will likely have a few demands of his own in return”. The warlock remained indifferent to Everen the Conqueror’s words, though his mask always showed an expressionless face, even when the warlock felt a slight bit of annoyance.
The warlock, known to the Empire as Fu’rok, followed Everen the Conqueror, whose arms were crossed behind his back, down to the end of the hallway, where the entrance to a clear glass elevator with metallic railing stood. As Fu’rok entered the elevator, the Conqueror pressed his hand against a black screen on the metallic railing of the glass elevator, authorizing use of the elevator which began to rise up. The Conqueror and the warlock stood quietly.
During his prime, the old Conqueror had been a ruthless warrior whose rise to prominence came from having won the Empire many wars and lands. Some say it was Everen who made the Empire a force to be reckoned with, especially when he proved himself to also be a brilliant strategist when he was promoted to General over the Empire’s elite forces, bringing many kingdoms and nations to their knees. Not once did he ever lose a war or territory for the Empire, making him almost unquestioned by anyone, even the Emperor. The only thing that was ever questioned of him was how he had lived for so long, for Everen has had an abnormally prolonged lifespan of over 2 centuries. He had been out of his prime for the better part of half a century, but he was still of great use to the Empire as a strategist overseeing the continuing Imperial Expansion. The title of Conqueror was awarded to Everen for all these accomplishments. However, despite all these accomplishments, the old Conqueror didn’t at all show any satisfaction in his face.
The warlock, who was standing beside the old Conqueror, however, had never made any mention of his own past. He barely ever even spoke at all to anyone; it seemed as though any interaction the warlock engaged in was purely business and nothing else. However no high ranking official, not even the Emperor himself, had any interest in what kind of person the enigmatic Fu’rok was or any other sentimental details concerning him. As long as he gave them what they wanted, all they needed to know was that he was part of a secret arcane order who engaged in the dark arts and forbidden knowledge, and in return he was free to do as he pleased. However the old Conqueror would at times wonder what kind of person had been under that cold expressionless mask. What were the warlock’s intentions? What had the warlock to gain from providing the Empire these ‘special services’?
Everen the Conqueror and Fu’rok did not look at one another in the elevator, instead their gaze was focused on the scene of the city that was now in view through the enormous windows of the long elevator shaft as red light entered the clear glass elevator. Ironically, the warlock himself was to first to utter a word, “Anything not going to the Emperor’s liking?” the warlock asked the old Conqueror.
At last, Everen turned his gaze to the warlock, puzzled at why the warlock would be interested in such matters, but responded, “There has been some annoyance with certain citizens, protests and all that. Nothing we can’t handle,” as he turned his gaze back to the view of the city.
“And yet you seem to have a shortage of higher-ranking soldiers, instead having to rely on ‘new recruits’ to guard something as important as the Imperial Palace,” the warlock retorted, the Conqueror looking back at the warlock.
“Well there have been a few rebellions going on in some of our territories, but nothing we can’t handle,” Everen said.
The warlock responded, “And yet the palace is being guarded by new recruits?” The warlock continued, “Normally only those specially trained are given the task of guarding the Palace, not mere soldiers who likely have never killed a single soul. And yet you are telling me there is nothing going on that the Empire ‘can’t handle’?” The Conqueror offered no answer. “Is there something you aren’t telling me?” the warlock added.
Everen then said, “Since when is the great Fu’rok concerned with political matters?”
“If it is something that could potentially interfere with my research, then yes, these political matters do in fact concern me,” the warlock coldly responded.
The old Conqueror turned his head away from the warlock, looking once again at the clear view of the city. “If I am to be completely honest, we have had a bit of a political uprising within the Empire.” He added, “As a matter of fact, this is also related to the ‘few demands’ I said the Emperor will have.” The two remained silent afterward as the elevator finally passed the long vertical window of the shaft.
Moments later, the elevator stopped, having arrived at its destination. The Throne room. Everen the Conqueror stepped aside as Fu’rok proceeded out the elevator. Neither of them looked back at one another before the doors of the elevator closed.
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