(each section is sepperate from the
...So the Adunai trail to terrapin led them into the dark swamp.
The berzerker was the first one to enter and the first one to be
The swamp's wickedness did not come from it's size for it was a small
but from it's ability to turn all who enters strength's into
When the berzerk had first entered, the forest had felt him, and felt
ferociousness, and felt his strength. But it was not
It quickly began to grow vine after dark and twisted vine. Soon
began to creep and wither along the berzerks legs, and he slashed at
while he laughed and howled. The further he went into the darkness and
mugginess of the swamp, the vines got stronger, and more prickly, and
the berzerker was quite strong and brave indeed, his stamina quickly
thin, and as the vines slowly tightened around his ankles and legs, he
became less and less gruff with his attacks, and soon, his blade had
from his hand altogether, and the weeds had enveloped him fully.
He had been encased into the swamp like a thousand before him.
The Paladin saw this scene and lowered his head in sorrow. He
went next, knowing his fate was to be the same, yet, having the glimmer
of hope that he would succeed. His blade glimmered against the
sun as he raised it into the air, and began his trek into the darkened
forests. At first he had been sure that the path would be an easy
one, because though the berzerkers blade was quickly caught in the
fleshy vines, the Paladin's sword sliced through it as though it were
He quickly transversed the first half of the forest until he came upon
a mighty tree. The tree was no ordinary tree, for it was the
Tree" and it was one of the ancient race of trees, when all creatures
living beings of earth could communicate with one another. It
"Imbedded in me is a sword that was placed long ago by a true Crusader
of the Adunai. It was pierced into me when i was a sapling, for a
true adunai master to find, but that was thousands of years ago, and my
bark has long since covered the hilt. Should you be a true and
Knight, you may climb into my womb and retrieve the great sword."
And so entranced was the Paladin at finding a true adunai sword, that
he quickly believed the ancient tree's lies, and crawled into it's
where it quickly grew around him and trapped him.
The Ninja watched this happen, and laughed. Not because of the
Paladin's folly, but because of how easy it would be for him to save
true comrades and get through this dangerous swamp. He quickly
his blade and ran into the forest. He bobbed and weaved his way
the darkness, the slashing vines, and the warped weeds. His blade
flashed and easily whipped against the thorns and leaves, and he was
captured. Soon he had reached the place where the Paladin was
He drew his dagger, and slashed against the wood that had captured his
friend so tightly. However, the Paladin was too deeply
Each slash did nothing to lessen the strength of the trap the Paladin
was in. Next the Ninja went to the berzerker, surely when he
freed the berzerker, the Paladin would be easy to free. However
found that the berzerker was just as strongly entrenched into his
After hours at futily trying to free either of his compatriots, he gave
up his efforts and sunk into his own lonely trap, where he quickly was
enveloped by the swamp.
"what do you know of love? all you do is hurt and destroy!" she
"You think that i hate life because i love war? he replied, lifting
the visor of his helm. "you couldn't be more wrong."
"I love people, i love mankind. War is the ultimate
of the human experience, the true symphony of existance."
"In war, all bets are off, and the truth of a person's character is
revealed. Strength and courage is put to the test, humility is
aside. In our everyday lives, we hide our victories and personal
triumphs behind a visade of humbleness, but in war, they are celebrated
as they should be, there is no shame in being good at what you
The thrill of triumph, the pain and sorrow of loss, the vileness of
are all revealed in their most powerful, most realistic form. In
war, everything that is done is done with meaning, because there are no
second chances, and there is holding back. Battle is the ultimate
and absolute test of life and death! Do you deny the passion and
rage of warfare, the regret of losses on your side, and the weakness in
compassion that causes soldiers to cry at night for the people they
killed? War is not about hate, not with me, it is instead the
expression of love" the great soldier lowered his visor and left
the prisoner alone in her room with her thoughts.
"I am no paladin" he said, sheathing his blade and laying it on the
What had gone wrong?
His intentions were always good.
But the beast as always had it's own agenda, with no care for right
and wrong, life and death, it was merely fueled by the moment, fueled
life, fueled by rage.
It was a powerful strength. It was a driving force for all
it created immense desire, immense passion for all things, but on the
side of the coin, it also created immense pain.
In life, there were two ways to be, two absolutes. Moderation
was of course the best, but some could not help their nature:
the turtle is a way of being that caused one to shell in to be
It caused one to block out all attackers, block out all pain with it's
carapace. Unfortunetly, to block yourself in is to doom yourself,
and while its not exactly cowardly to run and hide this way, it is self
defeating. the tiger on the other hand is attacking. It's
and claws are used to lash out at all around it, therefore making it a
frightening beast indeed. however, the tiger's flesh is soft, and
will feel the pain of arrows that are thrown at it. It howls and
frenzies, and bleeds to death.
which is better?
both end up dead.
So what had happened?
he had let the anger get the best of him, and he turned away all that
approached. His blade he held towards all warning them to stay
Meanwhile, he war'ed with himself over the way to handle his confusion.
But the beast, as i said, has it's own agenda. It turned what
was once a beautiful thing of creation into a powerful tool of self
that beckenoned the paladin to rage, the drove him to insanity, but
the once great warrior quiver with frusteration. For their was no
release of the pain he felt in his heart, no release for the rage he
inside, and it kept him back.
and held him down.
With nothing to believe in, his family gone, his trust in the path
of truth gone, his friends walking away, he had no choice but to turn
Slowly he accepted it, he accepted that in life, one must temper his
rage, or drive all away from him.
He also learned that loyalty, and honor were not true things.
they were of man, they were dreams.
He had tried to fight the good fight, but when all the things he had
had failed him, what exactle was the good fight?
how can you remain true to yourself if you have no self to remain true
how can you expect to find solace in life?
the paladin sheathed his sword, he felt dishonored, and unworthy of
he was no longer a pillar of truth, because he had learned, that even
truth would let you down
all he had believed in, all he had hope in, were gone.
Yet, he remained.
He tried to keep the beast at bay, and rebuild that which he had
but to no avail. His path of sorrow, anger and destruction was
long, and too dark to be mended, or even understood. All
he had, had forgotten what he once was, long ago, and knew only the
that had manifested itself in his time of need. He stood no
no chance of reconcilation with those he had once called
(or so he thinks?)
now a lone swordsman stands on the cliff, overlooking a land he once
fought for. leaving behind all he had loved. He keeps his
sheathed, and locked, knowing too well the deadliness and hatred he is
capable of wielding, he must now walk the path in a new light.
all was not lost.
not yet anyways.
A solitary man in a solitary castle atop a steep and dark hill stared
quietly at his own reflection. Besides the dancing of the torch
the only movement was the rustling of the leaves blown by the chill
wind of the area.
He spoke, and an echo emminated from the stony recesses of his
A shadow took form, and appeared to him in his reflection.
"Why do you go on?" the shadow asked him, merely echoing his
"I don't surrender because i cannot surrender" He replied.
"What drives you then? Why can't you merely lay your blade down
and join us in your dark sleep?" It echoed. "In your slumber you
shall find peace"
"That is a lie. There is no peace. Not for me." The
man shook his head. "I wish to be among the fools, i wish for love and
beauty and life. My own existance is a curse, my own mind is my
"Who are you then? the tyrant? the fool? or merely a pilgrim,
"Who am I?" the man replied to the voice. "I am none of those."
"Ah, so now I understand. Without knowing who you are, you cannot
surrender yourself, because you have not even discovered what you're
for, and what you'd be surrendering to." It said, "you must fight
The shadow flickered with the flame, and was extinguished by
the wind. The voice coyly slid back into the cracks of the castle
walls, leaving the solitary man, alone, once again.
the sorceress stepped forward to gaze upon the scene. The swamp, the
death of so many, seemed small from her standpoint, an hour walk, and
would be transversed. She had nothing to fear, though she trembled. Her
powers far exceeded the swamp's.
She approached timid at first, the dark swamp looked forbidding to
her, and she began to have her doubts, but she soon overcame them and
on. The end goal of her quest gave her the courage to press on through
what looked like a minor obstacle. She had been warned, she knew better
then to underestimate it, but she had also the wisdom and strength to
where the paladin, ninja and berserker prevailed. As she walked, she
many corpses of fallen warriors, intertwined with the vines and foilage
of the swamp. To another, it'd be a horrifying vision, but this was her
playground. The further she pressed though, the more horrific the
she observed. The remains of humans twisted and deformed, no longer
mortals, but instead manifestations of some demon god insane with rage
and anger. Yet nothing moved. There was absolute silence.
As she neared the center, the darkness and ugliness of the swamp
slightly, then completely. It was, for her, like stepping through a
into another world, the difference between the part of the swamp she
in and the center she had arrived at were as different as day and
The green of the leaves no longer looked decayed and poisened, but
looked lush and lively, birds fluttered between branches, chirping
as if there was no danger, as if there was never danger for them to
consider. A small brook ran through, and was crystal clear, revealing
fish of numerous colors swimming around.
It seemed a bit like paradise.
a large stump sat across the stream, and the sorceress decided it
be a good place to rest. She did not fully trust this place, knowing
deception the place was capable of. It had defeated the berserker, so
was very strong, capable of overwelming brute force. It had defeated
paladin, who could only be defeated by temptation, so it was very
And it had defeated the ninja, which was no easy task. The more she
the more she became afraid that the place was indeed a trap.
gathering her robes around her, she summoned a lesser demon, by the
name of Israndi.
"reveal the truth of this place, i have summoned you and i command
she spoke to it, firmly.
"oh but mistress, what shall i be gifted upon for this task, my true
masters will be angry if i come back empty handed.." it replied.
she revealed a small ruby ring and handed it to the demon.
"now show me" she said, as if speaking to a child.
The demon pushed the ring into it's flesh until it was absorbed into
him. He raised his hand, nohting happened.
"i will need more then this, m'lady," he hissed, "the magic that
this place.. its different..i will need my master"
He disapeered, through a slip in reality. In an instand he returned
on a chain leash, a dark, scale covered skeletal beast dragging it
"You seek my assistance mistress, but i am not one of...minor rank
Israndi, i am the true demon, Jahalu. What have you to offer for my
Hurry, for you have interupted my feast."
"Jahalu" the sorceress spoke respectfully, but firmly, "you speak
but i see through you, you are not the powerful demon you proclaim
but because i need your assistance, i shall honor you."
She removed a pendant with a solid diamond in the center, in the
of the diamond was a human eye.
"ah, this shall work well as a fee" the demon nodded and took it
her, and placed it on his neck. He glanced around and lifted his hand.
"AHhhhhh" it hissed, "the magic binding this wicked place is more
then i suspected. I cannot aid you here, you need another."
"Bring him to me then" she commanded.
"I shall, but his price is high." the demon smiled, and dragged his
A shrill high pitched sound echoed through the forest. and a being
next to her. He was humanoid in form, but his skin was darker, and
His face was handsome, but his eyes glowed. He smiled.
"You seek to dispell the power of the swamp?" he asked
"indeed, i must get through.."
"so be it. the price, of course, is high."
"it doesn't matter" she said, resolutely.
the demon smiled. "Ah, then. So be it. i have been seeking a new
You will serve me well in your time."
she shuddered, but nodded. accepting the price for triumph.
"as you wish.." he said, flickering his tongue.
he raised a finger, and there was a bright flash.
When the sorceress' eyes cleared up, the demon was gone.
as was the stream, and birds and indeed, the whole swamp altogether.
the berserker lay near by her, sleeping, but alive. The ninja was
on the ground, scanning the area, and the paladin held in his hand a
weapon. The secret of the swamp, was that it was all an illusion. It
all in their minds.
But it had indeed defeated her as well.
her sacrifice had been great.