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Shadows within Heroes

Time to start. This story features custom cards, so I can't use character sheets. So instead, enjoy some spoiler tags.
Chapter 1: Aversion
Part 1

My name is Aliyah Crowley.

I’m an elven mercenary employed by nobles to eliminate any resistance against them… but it is naught but a fruitless task. After you kill someone and get your money… what then? What’s that money gonna do for you? All you’re gonna do is buy some food and sleep and that’s it!


Sigh. I haven’t done much, luckily. My superior officer doesn’t think I should be a mercenary, but what other job can I get? I’m useless as anything else.

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Mercenary Outpost, Arechearth Continent, 11:04

“This is aggravating…” There were two mercenaries outside of their cabins playing a good old fashioned game of chess. The loser; a female dwelf with blonde hair, was staring at her meager forces of a rook, pawn, and king.


The other one: A grey kobold wearing a cap, was thinking of his next move. He had eleven pieces, but he had to be cautious. “Checkmate.” He said as he moved his queen forward.


It was pretty obvious that the dwelf was frustrated, as she breathed heavily for a second. “Well, I think that was a-” She grabbed the chess table and flipped it forward, causing the board and all the pieces to scatter all over the earth, then walked away, grumbling.


“Soren, what the hell just happened?!” An elf with fancier clothing than other mercenaries asked, walking up to inspect the table.


“I was playing chess with Alex, sir.” Soren answered. “She didn’t take the loss well.”


The commander sighed. “Oh course she did that. Don’t play games with her again, rookie. She got aggravated when someone tried playing battleship with her.” He walked back to his command centre and decided to say: “And clean up that mess.”


As he was walking to the cabin serving as his command post, another elf passed by him, wearing less armor than the other mercenaries. “Rough day?”


“It’s morning, don’t jinx it.” The commander just simply walked past as the other elf walked over to Soren, who was picking up some chess pieces off the floor.

“Good morning Soren. Did you spill some chess pieces all over the ground or something?”


The kobold grabbed a rock out of his pockets and started munching on one of them before answering. “Kobold… I beat Alex in chess; she was pissed.”

When Soren finally rearranged all the chess pieces, the table got knocked over again by a sudden eaglebear riding in. “Got an attack coming in!” There was a kobold riding on the eaglebear wearing some very light armor.


“WHAT THE HELL, MAN?!” Soren yelled extremely angrily. “I just picked up all these pieces!”


The rider chuckled a little bit. “Heheh. Sorry, kid. You can put it back after we deal with the incoming enemies. Soren, go inform Jeff about this. Aliyah, put on some armor; you’re gonna need to command one of our teams.”


Aliyah scratched her head nervously. “Umm… are you sure? Can’t you do it?”


“Nope.” He turned his companion around and rode off to go get vision on the enemies again.


The elf sighed. Command a team? I’m not sure i’m ready for that.

She walked to a cabin near the command post and entered; her messy bed, a mirror, and a chest were all that were there besides two windows and a fireplace.

Aliyah started by checking herself out in the mirror. Lime green eyes and long brown hair with two streaks of blonde in the front. Fashionably dyed in the past… but not so special anymore. She took a few seconds to comb her hair and then opened the nearby chest to take out a protective vest, fashioned out of some sort of useful material and painted black for stealth capabilities. It also had some explosive flares on it, in case of emergency.

She wore it under her dark green parka and switched her shoes for the leather boots, then walked out into the sunlight.


Jeff, the elven commander was standing in front of Soren, Alex, and five other rookies who had lined up. Aliyah gingerly stood next to him. “Alright men, we’ve been informed of a new threat by our scout.” All the mercenaries were wearing a black vest over a camouflage shirt, with or without sleeves rolled up.


“Can you just cut to the chase already?” Soren asked annoyingly.


The commander made a frustrated snort, but kept his cool. “There’s some crazed Bonedancer advancing on the city with an army of ageless thralls in tow. We’re gonna need to kill all of them. Something catastrophic may happen if we leave any of them alive.”


One of the rookies started gripping his sword tightly. “A-ageless? I thought Bopen wasn’t able to come near the continent!”


“It’s not Bopen. Just some monsters.” Jeff cleared his throat before picking teams. “I’ll take you three.” He said, pointing to Alex and two rookies. “Aliyah, you take the rest. Our scout has taken most of our forces and is currency advancing towards the enemy. We’re gonna surround them and hit em with a pincer attack. I’ll go South, got it?”


“Sure…” Aliyah said blankly. Without another word, they split into two groups and started marching out of the camp.


It didn’t take long before Soren started flapping his gums. “Ugh, the nerve of that guy, right? Recklessly running over the chessboard like that!”


“I’m sure it was only an accident.” Aliyah suggested. “Wonder what his name is? No one ever seems to mention it.”


“The hell it was an accident!” Soren glanced at the two rookies behind him. One of them seemed annoyed and the other didn’t give a hat rat’s ass. “He definitely did that on purpose to annoy me.”


One of the rookies; an elven spellslinger, tapped the kobold on the shoulder. “Tone it down, they might hear us.”


“Yeah.” Aliyah said, now whispering. “We should be near them any minute now.”


“I don’t know why you thought it was such a good idea to try to march up to our city and attack it, but it’s not gonna matter much if you keep walking!” They could see the eaglebear rider gloating to a bonedancer in front of nearly a hundred ageless.

The bonedancer wasn’t taking a hint. It was still marching. Luckily there were plenty of trees around the field they were in, so the flanking teams wouldn’t have much trouble sneaking around them. “You give me no choice. Defensive formation!” The 20-30 mercenaries behind the rider started attacking using various weapons. The mages and archers were all taking free shots, and the melee units were standing their ground in a phalanx, waiting for the ageless to draw closer.


Aliyah’s team was peeking over some bushes. “Keep waiting. We need the first squad to distract them.”


“Pretty sure they’re already distracted…” A rookie said.


“Alright, attack.” Aliyah didn’t have any ranged weapons, so she just waited where she was.

Soren pulled out a longbow and nocked an arrow, aiming at the bonedancer in front. “I got this…” He let the arrow loose, and it buried itself into the skull of one of the nearby ageless, knocking it off the thrall. “Damn!”


The rookies readied their weapons: A magical revolver and a floara wand of beauty. And they started unleashed whatever spells and abilities they could. Here comes the fun...

Comments

  • By the way, I would greatly appreciate it if you readers tell me what you currently think of my story. It encourages me to keep writing.
  • AN: I think the battle may be a bit... rushed, but i'm sure i'll make less mistakes in the future.
    Part 2

    The horde of ageless were still advancing over the bones of the recently double-deceased, still taking all of the ranged attacks.

    It was too easy. They weren’t even getting within melee range of the mercenaries.


    “Hey, where’d the boss go?” Soren asked, aiming his bow around the field.


    One of the rookies chuckled, because this was so easy. “Hmhmhm… must’ve killed it already.”


    “CR-R-R-R-R!” Suddenly, a single big claw slashed through the trees in front of the team, surprising them.

    “What the?!” There it was: A big scary spider. It surprised the team, allowing it to stab the spellslinger through the chest, killing him.


    Aliyah would’ve pulled out her rapier, but she lost her nerve. “Run!” The two remaining people complied and started running for their lives.


    “Throw your flare at it!” Soren suggested, glancing behind him.


    “No way!” The spider was catching up, no way she could throw a flare at it.

    It raised one of it’s legs and tried slashing Aliyah, but it was interrupted when something, or someone slashed it, cutting it’s leg off. The eaglebear rider; the scout, landed nearby with his sword dripping with spider blood. “Go on, get lost. I’ll take care of this one.”


    The squad ran off while the scout dodged a slash from the spider and reacted with an uppercut kick, dazing it for a short time.

    Aliyah grabbed a flare from her vest, and threw it into the horde of ageless, creating an electrical explosion that decimated some of the nearby ageless and rattled the bones of the others. The scout’s eaglebear was smashing through their ranks, shattering the enemies as it clawed and pecked them.


    The mercenaries were gaining the advantage. Despite the heavy losses of the ageless army, the bonedancer was still reanimating the bones to continue fighting.

    Come on… you have to run out of energy soon.

    “What’s taking so long? Every time we kill one, another appears!” Jeff yelled from somewhere.


    “I’ll get that bonedancer!” Aliyah drew her rapier and ran towards the bonedancer, who quickly saw her and tossed a scythe covered in green flames at her. It was a hit. The flames splashed all over her, burning her skin and poisoning her. “Uhhhnnn…” The fire was sapping her energy, and the ageless were closing in on her.


    “Cover your eyes, Crowley!” A flare giving off blue sparks had just been front in front of her, and it was about to explode. She put her arm in front of her face, bracing herself for the blast.


    ...sparks flew everywhere. When she came to, many of the ageless were stumbling around blindly. Even the bonedancer was dazed.

    “Crirrrrrrr!” There was a second spider, and it was about to stab Aliyah.

    No… this can’t be…

    But it was stopped. The scout was drilling his blade into the spider’s head, presumably after cutting off the limbs of the other. “Come on… stop that one!” He ordered, likely meaning that Aliyah should attack the bonedancer.


    She was still feeling quite weak from the poison, so she just threw her sword at the ageless leader.

    It worked like a charm, impaling it through the chest. The bonedancer winced and was reduced to it’s knees. “No… NO! This can’t be! Our plans…” It pulled the sword out of it’s chest, and started marching towards Aliyah, like nothing even happened. “Foolish mortal. Take your due end.” All the other mercenaries were unfortunately busy. Irving was having trouble run his blade across the spider’s face, Soren was finding cover so he wouldn’t get hit, and Jeff… not sure.

    Gotta move. Now!


    The bonedancer swung the rapier down, and Aliyah dodged it and sweep kicked it in it’s leg, knocking it down. “Hsh… body hurts. Can’t… think.” She would’ve picked up her sword, but her mind was starting to become clouded and she couldn’t think properly. So she just stomped on the bonedancer’s ribcage, shattering it.


    “You… you…” The bonedancer started glowing a malevolent dark purple, and quickly exploded, deleting all the ageless in the area.


    “Ahhhhn!” Aliyah took a significant amount of damage from the blast, and was now lying on the ground, critically wounded, though the poison had now dispersed.


    “Hey! Are you okay?”

    “She’s not breathing, get some help now!”

    “Commander! All of the ageless are gone.”

    “I’ve no time for that. We must tend to the wounded, quickly!”


    *cough, cough*

    Feels like i’m falling…


    “So, you haven’t come to yet, have you?” There was a woman’s voice, though it felt fuzzy.


    It was dark. Couldn’t see anything... “Who’s that? Who’s talking to me?”


    The stranger laughed. “Hehehe… you’ll find out soon enough, but for now… come in from the cold.”


    “Ah!” Aliyah woke up in a shock.

    ...she was in her bed, in her cabin. That… that was a dream, right? But that voice, it can’t be…

    Clumsily, she slipped out of her bed and put on her parka and shoes, which were nearby on a table. And stepped outside.


    “Those nobles pay us for our protection, and that’s as simple as it gets.” Several of the mercenaries were seated around a campfire to cheer up the morning. Jeff was standing up, talking to everyone.


    “Wonder where all those ageless came from?” A rookie said.


    Jeff yawned. “Auh… it’s nothing to worry about. We appear to have decimated all of their forces, so don’t expect them to be coming back.”


    The scout stood up and started bragging about his skills. “Of course, I took out most of the bones -and- the spiders.”


    “You didn’t kill the bonedancer, did you?” Aliyah asked, stepping forward.


    “Miss Crowley, so glad you could join us.” Jeff said. “Would you like any breakfast?” He then grabbed a skewer that was above the fire.


    The meat looked kind of sketchy, however. “What… is that?”


    “Hat rat.”


    “But I thought hat rats expl-”


    “Alright, alright.” Jeff said, taking a bite from the skewer. “It’s not a hat rat. It’s a…” he started whispering to a nearby mage, then got the answer of: “It’s a pig.”


    “Aren’t pigs also supposed to expl-”


    “Okay just shush it about our rations, please!” The scout said, clearly annoyed. “So, earlier, did you mean to tell me that you contributed more to the battle than I did?”


    Aliyah took one of the skewers and ate some of it before answering. “Well, I ended the battle, didn’t I? That’s gotta count for something, right?”


    A dwelf scoffed. “Sure, then you soaked up a dark energy blast.”


    “I’m still alive, right?”


    “Sure, but I don’t think attack exploding enemies is a good idea in general.” Soren said.


    Aliyah facepalmed. “I didn’t know it was gonna explode!”


    Jeff cleared his throat. “Ahem. That’s enough. All that matters is that we were the victors of the battle. All of you are dismissed for now.” He threw his skewering stick into the fire and walked away, prompting everyone else to walk away to do their own things.


    Sigh. I’m so tired of this life.

    Just as Aliyah was about to return to her cabin to comb her hair, something caught her eye: A small figure in the distance. “Huh?” It appeared that the figure was looking at her and her only, even from a far distance.

    Quickly, she left to pursue the stranger… alone.

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