The Shadow

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The Shadow

Postby LordShadow » Tue Aug 27, 2013 11:47 am

The King was angry. Mia, his level five Chief Warlord, was standing stiffly to attention, face twitching ever so slightly as she was buried in the verbal avalanche. "How could you lose such an important strategic position?! Of all the idiotic things I've seen, this comes top of the list. You were dug in, a Level Five city, all the units you could possibly want at your disposal, and you come limping back to me with four survivors. Be grateful we're so strapped for warlords, or I'd disband you right now! Jeffrey!" The last word was directed at the Chief Caster, a level six Lookamancer.

"Yes, your Highness?"

"Have you figured out what happened to production yet? We lost half our treasury, and the unit is set to complete at least ten turns from now. I don't even know how I ordered it - I thought I'd set production for a new warlord."

"No, your Highness, I haven't. I rather suspect that to find out what's going on would require me to Look into the workings of Fate itself, and that is beyond even the greatest Lookamancer on Erf."

The King sighed. "Very well. We make do with what we have. Mia, get back out into the field and try to salvage this. We can't afford to lose any more cities."

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Nine turns later, only the capital was left, along with two units of Stabbers, a Knight, Jeffrey, Mia and a level two warlord. The King sighed.

"That mystery unit is going to pop at the start of our next turn. We'll see what it is... and if it can't help - which is the most likely possibliity - I'll disband myself. I'd rather die on my own terms than be crushed by them."

The Chief Warlord stepped forward. "My lord, no! You can't do that. We -"

Their turn started, and the new unit popped.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The first impression was light. That quickly resolved into buildings - a city - and units. People, clustering around. The King. Mia, the Chief Warlord. Jeffrey, the Chief Caster. Knowledge of these things was innate, but so was... much more.

"What... is it? Why can't I see its stats?"

The King had spoken. He reached out tentatively and waved his hand through the coiling wisp of black mist that occupied the space where he'd expected to find a warlord. It was tiny, perhaps a foot long and two or three inches thick.

"I... am Shadow. You may refer to me in the male. As for my stats... I believe that is because I am not under your command. Your city merely served as the vessel for my birth. I suspect this is because it will shortly be wiped out, thus removing all knowledge of my existence. That is certainly what is intended, but I am indebted to you for paying so much to pop me. I will fight for you. Instruct your units to follow me."
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Re: The Shadow

Postby LordShadow » Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:39 am

Shadow led the way out of the city, Mia and the other Warlord following, each stacked with one of the units of Stabbers. The enemy were close now, within range to attack the city on their next turn. It didn't take much move to reach them.

"Take the archery stack on the right. I've got the Stabbers."

Frowning, but doing as instructed, Mia led the second Warlord and their two units in a charge against the full stack of Archers. Even with their poor combat ability, it wasn't a fight she thought she'd win, but things changed pretty quickly. A bolt of hissing black power tore through the hex, croaking a good quarter of the archers. Shadow had condensed into a sphere only a few inches wide, but roiling with incredible force, evidently about to launch another attack as the violence of the sphere increased. A beam of blackness leaped from the sphere, alighting on the level six archery-capable warlord stacked with the Archers. Now not only weakened but bereft of their leadership bonus, they were easy prey.

Shadow extended once again into a coil, then, with a sound like a whip, blasted forward. He punched straight through the Stabbers, leaving many of then dead with gaping holes in them that hissed black smoke around the edges. As he exited the other side of the stack, he fragmented into a screaming tornado of wisps that carved a bloody swathe through the woefully inadequate units in his way, utterly consuming anything he touched. Within a matter of moments, the hex was empty save for him.

He returned for a second to his usual form, but suddenly expanded out again, only to condense again a second later, noticeably larger and denser than before. Now, the coil was about six feet long and a foot or two thick.

"Interesting. I seem to increase in size as I level. Given the malleability of my substance, I wonder if it would be possible..."

A leg suddenly formed, then dissipated. An arm did the same. Gradually, the black mist coalesced into a humanoid shape. Faceless, featureless, but humanoid.

"It seems the experiment worked. I have achieved permanent physicality."
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The King watched his battle map, disbelieving. If it wasn't for the assurances of Jeffrey, who had a Lookamancy spell running constantly to give him a personal view of events, he wouldn't have believed what was happening. A single unit had taken out a stack and a quarter, plus warlord. And it - he - was only newly popped!

Of course, the flipside was that this "Shadow" was not under his command, but somehow was autonomous. He could be dangerous, but also an asset. The King sighed. He knew he would have to weigh the gain with the risk very carefully. Shadow was their one hope, at least for now. If he turned against them, or even simply left... they would be no more.

"Bring the Knight up here. Tell him he is now my personal bodyguard. Then go to the Magic Kingdom and hire a Mathamancer, just for this turn. It will be expensive... but I need to run some calculations."
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Re: The Shadow

Postby LordShadow » Fri Aug 30, 2013 11:56 am

In only a few turns, Shadow annihilated the enemy forces, levelling five times more as he did so. All the other units, Mia included, levelled at least once. Now, he was a colossus, standing easily three times the height of the Chief Warlord, who was not short herself.

"My debt is fulfilled. I shall take leave of you now. May Fate favour you."

He lifted from the ground and flew away, leaving the side to a long and powerful existence.
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Turns pass.
My Erfworld fiction, The Shadow, and Comments for it.
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