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The Ashenguard Saga Part 2: Doc Bones

ArchivedUserArchivedUser Guest
edited June 2017 in Fan Stories
The Ashenguard Saga
Part 2: Doc Bones

Chapter 1: Origins

The village of Tharindel was always a peaceful place, it was a small village of farmers and tradesfolk with a little market in the centre that was held every Thursday. It was a nice time to go, the farmers brought their various cheeses and sheep, produce from all over. The town was situated by the Imperial Mage Tower Ruinel so there was always an influx of people passing through the town. In the town there was a doctor the people loved, his name was James Barnes. He was often called as troops made their way to the tower to treat injuries too urgent to survive the trek to Ruinel. He lived on the outskirts of the town with his wife Elara, his daughter Niele and a son, called Dominic.

Dom was coming up to his tenth birthday today, Niele was two years younger than Dom, however he enjoyed playing with her while their dad was at work. Dom and Niele were out playing one day when they smelt something delicious coming from their house. Dom recognised this smell, it was venison!
"Are we having venison!?" Dom yelled as he burst through the door to the kitchen. His mum and dad looked up at this whirlwind of a child that had invaded the kitchen without so much as a 'Hello'.
"Yes, Dom, I picked you up something from the market today on my way home. We've got to have something special for your tenth birthday!" James smiled at him.
"Go wash your hands and faces!" Elara said "You're filthy from playing outside."
Dom and Niele both ran to wash, eager for supper. While washing Dom heard a commotion outside, he walked back into the kitchen to find an Imperial soldier speaking with James.
"Sorry kids, Dad has to go. There's been an attack and the Soldiers are hurt." Dom started to panic.
"Let me come with you Dad, I want to help too!" He pleaded.
"I cant let you, son, there's been tell that a few of the soldiers were re-animated. I cant trust any of them around you."
Dom started to really worry now. If the soldiers were dangerous then they could hurt his dad. He'd never had to deal with his patients potentially attacking him before. As Dom's emotions rose the candle on the table flickered to life. The soldier with his dad noticed.
"How old is that boy?" The soldier demanded.
"Ten today." James replied, his voice downcast.
"You know what this means then." The soldier said, his voice more sympathetic now. "He has to accompany us to Ruinel."
"What's going on?" Dom asked, his mother was in tears. James crouched down to the same level as his son.
"When people reach their tenth Birthday, if they possess magic, it starts to manifest itself." James explained. "Anyone who possesses magic must go and train at an academy or there's a chance they will become a danger to themselves or others."
"But I don't want to go" Dom protested. "I want to grow up to be a doctor like you and help people!"
The soldier interjected. "You don't have a choice lad. Now come on, there are people waiting for your Dad's help." The soldier grabbed Dom and James followed behind. Dom caught a glimpse of his mum hugging his sister before the door closed behind them.

They rode for the encampment of soldiers that were on their way to Ruinel on the back of a couple of horses the solider brought. James hardly said a word the whole way there. He seemed to have given up on trying to deny Dom's latent magic. Dom spotted the tents in the distance they were ruby red, the colours of the Imperial army. They arrived and James and the soldier dismounted. James was ushered off towards the medical tents and the soldier took Dom to where the mage that was travelling with the army was staying. When they arrived at the tent the soldier poked his head inside and muttered something. Dom couldn't quite make out what he was saying.
"Okay, in you go lad." The solder pushed him into the tent. Inside there was a man, dressed in robes, sat on a mat in the centre of the tent.
"So, I hear from our friend here that you are a newly awoken?" The mage's voice was deep and commanded a certain presence, as if he was used to power.
"I made a candle light and now I'm here." Dom said. "I really don't know what's going on." The mage gestured for Dom to sit in front of him, and Dom did so. The mage sighed and looked up.
"I guess I should start by asking your full name, child."
"Dominic Barnes." He muttered.
"Well Dominic, when you reach the tower you will be addressed as Acolyte Barnes."
"Acolyte?" Dom queried.
"It is a title granted to those who have magic power however are still in training." The mage explained. "The training is tough and takes a good Fifteen years to complete the basics. I won't lie to you, it is hard, but it is worth it." The mage held out his hand, fire burst from his palm and roared in the shape of a ball. Dom was transfixed. The mage clasped his hand and the fire died.
"And when you have finished your training you are granted the title of Magus." He outstretched his hand. "Magus Kalric, nice to meet you." Dom shook his hand. He had so many questions but he guessed things would have to wait until they arrived at Ruinel.

Chapter 2: Training

After several days ride the convoy arrived at Ruinel. Kalric had not let Dom say goodbye to his family. He had said that family made a mage weak as they could lose control of magic with grief when a family member would eventually die. Dom had not said much the rest of the journey, he felt more alone and scared than he ever had.
"Dismount!" The soldier in the lead yelled. They had arrived at Ruinel. The tower reached far up above them. It was truly a marvel of magical architecture. It was carved from white stone and had intricate shapes decorating it. As Dom approached the tower he felt a strange sensation, like becoming short of breath, then it passed.
"What was that?" Dom asked Kalric, who had just joined him.
"It's the feeling of walking through the barrier that surrounds the tower." Kalric explained. "You'll get used to it."

Dom ascended the steps to the entrance hall and walked through the double doors. Kalric walked ahead, bowed then started talking to someone.
"That must be his superior." Dom thought, as the elder mage did not bow back as Dom expected him to. They both then walked through another set of doors.
"Stay here." Kalric commanded. Not wanting to be left out Dom walked up to peer through the gap in the door. The two mages walked up to a third and both bowed to him. He did not bow back. Dom was surprised there was someone who outranked Kalric and another mage more powerful than him. Dom had sensed such power coming from Kalric that he thought there must only be one rank above him that could exist.

Dom continued to watch as they spoke. Then Kalric turned towards the doors and started to walk back. Dom quickly returned to where he was stood. Kalric entered the room
"I see you are already curious about the others here." His eyes glinting, he had obviously spotted him watching.
"That was my master, and the one we went to speak to was the Archmage. He is the most powerful magus here."
Dom looked behind him at the closing doors, he could just barely see the Archmage and another figure with long white hair, clad in white robes. The Archmage was bowing to the figure, that didn't make sense to Dom. If you bow to your superior then who on earth was the Archmage bowing to? Dom didn't have much time to contemplate this as he was whisked away to another room.

Dom was sat down at a table, Kalric was pacing around the room, gathering items. He came and sat opposite Dom and presented him with a leaf.
"What do I do with that?" Dom asked.
"This is to test your affinity for magic." Kalric explained. "This is to test for nature magic. Focus on the leaf and touch it."
Dom outstretched his and and made contact with the leaf. It immedately died and shrivelled.
"What does that mean?" Dom asked.
"That you wont be a druid anytime soon!" Kalric laughed. "It means that the nature of your magic is more death aspected than life."
Kalric then placed a small bowl of water on the table.
"Do the same with this."
Dom concentrated once again and dipped his finger into the water. It froze over.
"Let me guess." Dom said. "Greater affinity for ice magic?"
"Yes." Kalric said leaning over. "However." He tapped the surface of the water, it broke immediately. "If your greatest affinity was for ice the whole bowl would have frozen, not just the surface." Kalric went on to explain. "If your affinity had been for fire, then the water would have evaporated."
Dom looked up. "So, what now?"
Kalric looked a little concerned. He started to look around the room, upon spotting a mouse that had scampered in he flicked a bolt of electricity at it. The mouse immediately died. Kalric wondered over, picked it up and placed in on the table. He walked round and sat in front of Dom once more.
"Same as before please." His tone more worried this time.
Dom stretched out his hand and touched the dead mouse. Nothing happened.
Kalric let out an audible sigh.
"Well that's intere..." Kalric was suddenly caught off guard by the mouse hopping to its feet and running off the table. He looked worried. He touched a finger to his temple, then turned to Dom.
"Excuse me one moment." He got up and exited the room. Like before Dom peered through the crack in this door, making sure this time not to be seen. Kalric was speaking to the Archmage in hushed tones. He could only make out a few words.
"...necromancy... forbidden..." Kalric was explaining something to the Archmage.
The Archmage thought for a second then replied to him.
"" Kalric nodded.
Kalric turned around and walked back to the room. Dom had already jumped back in the seat, this time before Kalric had chance to spot him.
"I've just had a chat with the others and we think you're best suited to Cryomancy."
"Cryomancy?" Dom asked.
"Ice magic." Kalric explained. "The other aspect of death magic."
"But what about what happened with the mouse?" Dom enquired. Kalric shushed him.
"You must not speak about the results of your tests to anyone, it is very private information." Dom had the sense Kalric was not telling him everything but agreed nonetheless.
"Good." Kalric said. "Come with me. Let us go meet your teacher."
Dom followed him down a winding hallway until they reached another set of double doors. Kalric walked through casually.
"Celene are you in h..." He stopped dead in the middle of his sentence and dropped to one knee. Inside Dom could see two women talking. One was the woman the Archmage had bowed to earlier. The other was a pale skinned lady dressed in blue.
"Forgive me my lady." Kalric stuttered out. "I did not know you were here."
The mysterious lady replied with a voice like silk.
"It is okay Kalric, rise, I was just about to leave anyway." She smiled at Dom then walked out the door. The lady in blue Dom assumed was Celene turned to him.
"Is this the one the Archmage told me about?" She enquired.
Kalric nodded. "Yes this is him." He turned to Dom. "Meet your new teacher for the next fifteen years." Dom looked up and bowed.
"Good. We're going to have fun." She smiled.

Chapter 3: 10 years later

Dom woke with a start as he heard a commotion from outside. Through his window in his room he could see the barrier shimmer with energy. He spotted Kalric down outside the tower fighting off skeletons and zombies. There were some figures shrouded in black cloaks. About four of them as Dom could guess. As the last of the undead fell the figures eventually retreated, Kalric's blazing flames too much for them. Dom hurried down to try and catch Kalric. He caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror as he passed. He had grown into a smart young man in his years at the tower. Certainly not the boy who had arrived all these years prior.

As Dom got down to the lobby Kalric came through the front doors. Dom ran up to greet him.
"Were those necromancers?" He whispered.
"Yes, but keep your voice down." Kalric replied. "It's bad enough that cursed art exists then having to actually deal with it attacking us."
Necromancy was a sensitive topic amongst mages. Normal magic taught you to lessen your emotions and act with calm and reason. There was nothing calming about raising the corpses of fellow people to fight for you at all.
Celene walked up to greet Kalric too.
"Good fight Kalric." She remarked.
"And where the hell were you?" He snarked back.
"Come now Kalric, even you know ice magic isn't very good against undead. They dont really feel the cold like we do."
He sighed and slouched back inside. Celene turned to Dom.
"So, are you ready for today's lesson?"
Dom nodded and followed her into the grounds. The other mages at Ruinel were nervous, he could tell. The talk of necromancers got them riled up.

"Good!" Celene remarked as she finished her attack. Dom's ice wall had held out against several barrages from her.
"You're certainly better than the talentless whelp we brought in all those years ago" Celene teased. Dom had always not shown as much promise for ice magic as the other mages in Ruinel. He thought back to his affinity test. He had only frozen the surface of the water after all. Perhaps that was why he was slower in picking up ice magic than the rest.
"Take a break, I'm going to grab us some food." She walked inside.
Dom sat down on a bench and started watching the other mages going about their daily tasks. Dom had been wanting to get out for a bit soon. They only let mages go out accompanied by guards to towns and such. However mages in Ruinel were forbidden to see their families so that they didn't form ties. Dom had never stopped thinking about his however as his room in the tower had a perfect view of his home village.

Dom was jolted out of his daydream by two female acolytes running past gossiping.
"Did you hear of the attack?" One whispered.
The other nodded "Yeah, they're saying you can see the smoke from here."
Panic struck Dom. He rushed upstairs to his room, all the while praying that the girls had not been talking about the village he thought they had. Upon reaching his room he ran over to the window and his heart sank. The side closest to them of Tharindel was burning. Smoke rose up into the sky in a column. Dom ran down the stairs to the entrance hall. He burst out the main doors and incanted the spell for ice wall to slow down anyone trying to give chase.
Dom thought of his family. "I need to see them."
He jumped on the first horse he saw and rode it hard until he got near where he used to live. He pulled the horse to a stop with what he saw. The house was burnt down, the timber charred black. He jumped off and ran towards the house and froze at the scene before him. Hung up on a tree outside were three blackened skeletons.

Dom patted over the dirt of the graves he had dug. On his belt hung three bones. One from each of his family to remind him what his next mission would be. Revenge. He jumped back on the horse and rode it towards town. He saw the other families grieving for lost ones and their charcoaled homes. He kept going until he reached the part of the town that had remained intact. There were people looking at the devastation that had been caused.
"Who did this?!" Dom yelled at the assembled crowd.
"We don't know." Someone piped up. "They wore black cloaks and could raise the dead."
"Necromancers." Dom muttered to himself. "Which way did they go?"
A couple of the villagers pointed towards the church outside town. Of course they'd head for the nearest cemetery next. He took off on the horse as fast as he possibly could. He needed to stop them before they got there or they'd have a much larger army to command.

As he got about half way to the church he saw the figures had not yet reached their destination. He noticed the church up ahead and saw a flicker of light fly into the top of the spire. He sat up on his horse and began concentrating. He began to incant an ice wall to block their path. It shot up in front of the necromancers, smaller than usual. Dom knew high emotions tampered with magic. The figures brought their horses to a halt and turned around just in time to see one of their own impaled on an icicle Dom had thrown at them. Dom jumped off his horse and began to collect his magical might to slay those that had so brutally killed his family.
"...return...once more...undead!" Dom could only make out a few words as one of the hooded figures returned his friend to life and sent him towards Dom. He threw another icicle at the figure however it seemed to have no effect. He conjured as much magic power as he could to strike down the undead fast approaching him. He knew that his spell would complete at the same time it reached him. However he had not accounted for his raging emotions from the death of his family. The undead drew a dagger and pierced him through the chest. Dom's icy blast exploded and shattered the undead. The world faded to black as he collapsed.

Chapter 4: The bargain

Dom's consciousness was floating in the blackness of the void. Quiet and alone. He had failed to take revenge for his family and with the necromancers nearing the cemetery he suspected that the whole village would be next. But there was nothing he could do. He cursed his own powerlessness.
"If only I had power. Power greater than those I face." He prayed.
A bright light pierced the darkness. A soft silky voice he recognised filled his mind.
"Do you want power?" It asked. "I can give you the knowledge you seek. But on one condition. You must give me your soul."
Dom did not need time to think on this. If he did not agree he'd be dead soon. If he already wasn't. He would sacrifice anything necessary to avenge his family. Dom reached out towards the light.
"I accept." He stated.
The light filled the void and he awoke once more in the physical world. Above him stood the lady that had smiled at him when he'd first met Celene. She looked different this time. Her eyes were glowing, she had golden tattoos and she had wings of pure white protruding from her back.
"Are you an angel?" He enquired dumbfounded.
"I am Sylkana, the angel of magic." Her voice was soft yet commanding and held him enthralled. Dom stood up and felt the dagger slide out from his chest to the floor.
"I have brought you back from death." She continued. "And I shall give you the knowledge you seek. Serve me well and more will come. You will find I am a most pleasant angel to work for."
Dom nodded. The angel's tattoos and eyes started to glow brighter and she placed her hand on his head. Hundreds of words filled Dom's head. This was necromancy knowledge! It was too much to bear. The knowledge filled every single corner of his mind. When it finished Dom took a couple of steps back.
"Necromancy?" He asked puzzled.
She looked at him with something that resembled a cross between sympathy and anger.
"Do you remember the test you took when you arrived at Ruinel?"
"Yes, I remember I froze a bowl of water." She raised an eyebrow.
"You also reanimated a mouse." Dom looked pensive.
"Your true affinity has always been for necromancy, however the study of it is prohibited at Ruinel, so they took your second greatest affinity and taught you that."
It made sense now. Why he had never excelled at any test Celene had put forward for him. The angel looked him dead in the eyes.
"You can't go back to Ruinel now. You will not be welcomed back with necromancy in your veins. A change of name is needed Acolyte Bar.."
She had noticed the remains of his family hanging from his belt.
"Well you are certainly no acolyte anymore. Necromancer.. Bones."
He looked at his hip.
"Bones? I like that." The angel smiled at him.
"Go now, you have work to do. Go and avenge your family." She gestured to the graveyard the necromancers had just arrived at.
As soon as the words had left her mouth, he felt naturally compelled to. Was this the price of giving up your soul? He did not mind, she was only commanding him do do exactly what he wanted to anyway.

Dom jumped on his horse and the angel took off into the sky. He was sure he'd see her again soon. In the distance he could see the necromancers starting to raise the dead there. Hell were they in for a shock.
Dom rode fast until he had arrived at the ceremony the three necromancers were performing. As he walked up they spotted him and immediately started chanting.
"Hear my voice! Soul, lost in the abyss, return to your body once more, that you may do my bidding! Raise undead!" The necromancers finished in union.
Three undead leaped out of their graves and charged at Dom. It was different this time. He could feel the undead energy within them and with a wave of his hand he removed it from the corpses. They clattered to the ground much to the surprise of hooded figures. He felt powerful.
"My turn." He raised his hands and prepared his most powerful spell.
"Come to me, great powers of undeath! Oh shadows swirling in the dark abyss, I desire undead without equal, I call forth the apocalypse! Bring pestilence, war, famine and death to all! Summon Riders of the End!"
Columns of undead energy burst from the ground. Even behind hoods he could see the other necromancers were terrified. From within the columns four undead clasped in intricate plate riding fiery steeds rose from the dirt. They charged forward and sliced the necromancers apart. With their deed done they returned to the ground once more.
With their passing the compulsion he felt on his very being lifted. He was free to do what he wished, at least until he had a command once more.
"Where should I go now?" He pondered. He would have to go the city, blend in and find a way to make money.
He walked back to his horse and rode towards the capital.

The bell on the door to his house rang as it was pushed open. A month ago when he had arrived in the capital he had found that he could manipulate life force as a side effect of necromancy. He could then use this power to mend wounds. Being a doctor was a perfect way to blend in and it added a sense of irony to him. He had always wanted to grow up to be a doctor like his father.
"Morning Doctor..?" The patient asked.
"Bones." Dom replied.
"Doc Bones."

By @Sylkana


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