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The Story of ColdFire

Aaron "Tal" Nichols
Old Vault Category: 
Old Vault ID: 

Five human figures moved about in the darkness. The warrior leading them, the one called Lance, raised a hand, and then cocked his head, as if listening. He drew his sword, and the others followed his suit, each drawing their own weapon.

A host of demons poured out of the darkness. Goblins carrying rusted cutlasses were in the front, followed by snake-like creatures that stood as tall as a man. Behind these were sorcerers and sirens. The sirens let loose a volley of dark stars over the goblin's heads, toward the adventurers. Lance blocked one with his shield, and then drove his sword into the chest of a goblin. He pulled it free and raised it to block a cutlass coming toward his head. He kicked the attacking goblin in the face, then spun, bringing his sword around in an arc, beheading another demon, while bashing another with his shield.

Not ten feet from him, another warrior fought for his life and honor. The serpent creatures closed in around him, so he sheathed his sword in favor of the two-handed battleaxe on his back. The first monstrosity went down in two pieces. Keeping his momentum, Tal spun and caught another demon in the gut. He spun and chopped, cleaving and decapitating hellions left and right.

The monsters kept coming; slowly, Tal and Lance became farther from each other. It didn't take long for Tal to lose sight of Lance. But he noticed that the host they fought was shrinking in numbers, albeit slowly.

The three adventurers behind Tal and Lance fought hard, but not nearly as much as the two veteran warriors. They stuck close to each other; the Rogue taking out sirens while the warrior dealt with the goblins. The sorcerer stood behind them all, casting Fireballs, and thinking. Greed and envy shined in his eyes. When Tal became separated, Zyphus made his move.

He tapped the warrior next to him on the shoulder three times. The warrior nodded, then cut a path toward Lance. When he reached the veteran, he raised his sword and struck Lance on the helmet. The demons surrounding them cried out in glee. Lance fell to the ground, and two demons immediately struck him in the back as he tried to get up. He stopped moving. The demons shouted again, and then were slaughtered; the warrior reached down to loot Lance's body.

Lance's elbow came up and into the warrior's face. Lance turned over and kicked the bandit in the stomach, sending him onto his back. As soon as Lance was on his feet, he cried out in pain as a fireball struck him full on in the chest.

Tal swung his battleaxe upward, cleaving a siren from crotch to throat. He heard Lance's cry, and was momentarily distracted. A demon swung his blade upward, cutting Tal on the cheek. Tal stumbled backward, but recovered and crushed the demon with his axe. He spun holding the battleaxe with both hands, and released it in the direction he had last seen Lance. The axe spun through the air, decapitating some demons while others ran. Tal ran through the opening, drawing his sword as he went.

The first thing he saw boiled his blood. The sorcerer was firing fireballs at Lance, but there were so many demons that only a few came within arm's reach of their target. The rogue was beside the sorcerer, keeping the demons at bay. Both of them were facing away from Tal. He seized this opportunity, and moved towards them. The Rogue drew her bow, and loosed an arrow. Tal brought his blade down and cleaved her shoulder to hip. Lance cried out in pain the same time as the Rogue did; blood sprayed the sorcerer. An arrow stuck out of Lance's shoulder. The sorcerer turned. When he saw Tal, he immediately teleported to Lance's side.

"ZYPHUS!" Tal screamed. Zyphus raised his staff and struck Lance on the back of the head. The war veteran fell to the ground, and did not get up. Zyphus walked over to the other warrior, his comrade in evil, and helped him up.

Tal fought off the demons around him, but his attention was on the sorcerer. Zyphus turned and looked at Tal as he walked back to Lance. He raised his arms, and walls of fire rose up and spread outward. The sorcerer had summoned a flame wave spell.

The walls of fire rushed away from Zyphus. Demons caught fire and fell writhing to the ground. Tal ran. He cut down anything in his path, just to get away from that consuming blaze.

After a few minutes the flame died down and dwindled to nothing. Tal was already tired from running in full plate armor. He immediately turned and ran back to Lance at a full sprint. The walls of this evil place, made of bone, flesh, and dirt, sped by him.

The demons were gone. Bodies lay everywhere; some smoldering, some not. Tal ran to Lance's side. He was still alive, but unconscious. All his equipment and weapons were gone, as were Zyphus and the warrior. The sound of footsteps caught Tal's attention. The goblins that ran had come back, and there were a lot of them. With them were several warlords. They paused for a moment, looking at Tal, and his sword, a rare two-handed demonslayer. Then they charged.

Tal had enough. He was already having a bad day, even before they were backstabbed. This time it was the last straw; and so, Tal snapped. He stood to his feet and let loose a war cry that made even the Warlords hesitate before continuing on.

Tal put to use what little skill in magic he had. He started to summon firebolts. Fueled by his reserves, the firebolts were numerous; he poured all his emotions into making them powerful. He sent them everywhere; demons fell before his fury.

Tal suddenly felt very strange; then his heart felt full of energy. He had Awakened. His firebolts turned into fireballs, and the very ground started to shake. All his life, Tal had heard of people Awakening to magic, becoming a powerful mage when before they could only light a candle. He had only heard stories; never before in his life could he imagine that it would happen to him. With training he could harness the power that was once out of reach.

The fireballs stopped. Tal had drained nearly all of his reserves, but he failed to kill the last warlord. This one had held back, as if waiting for Tal to drain himself. Now it was walking forward. Tal bent over and picked up his demonslayer.

This warlord was different; at first Tal thought that he had met the legendary Warlord of Blood, but he knew this was not true. His armor and weapon were the same as the others. Out of habit, he raised the flat side of the blade to his forehead, saluting the vile creature, before he realized what he had done. Tal felt ashamed of himself. But, to his surprise, the warlord returned the gesture. As they engaged, Tal noticed many familiar sword techniques. He suddenly remembered Lance's condition, and he fought on with renewed vigor.

The demon charged forward and slammed Tal with his shoulder, knocking him to the ground. Tal gasped in air and rolled away as the demon attempted to impale him, but speared his arm instead. Tal rolled away and got up, burning with pain and rage. He parried and slammed the pommel of his sword into the beast's face, stunning it momentarily. He spun and drove the blade into its chest, forcing the demon to the ground. As it died, it grasped Tal's arm. Before he could pull free, the demon looked into his eyes and said, "Bless you, for releasing me." Tal staggered backward, eyes wide from what he had just witnessed. He shook his head, and steadied himself. Perhaps he just imagined it.

Tal sheathed his sword and put Lance on his shoulders. Thankfully, he was still alive, but he would soon die without healing. Tal backtracked until he found a cave exit, which their group had passed earlier.

It was daytime outside, which was a nice change to the eternal darkness of Hell. Tal walked for what seemed hours. His mind wandered back to what the warlord had said, which made him think of a story his father once told him. Walking along, he could have sworn the town lay in this direction, but later he knew he had been wrong. He saw a building in the distance.

It was a church, of sorts. When he came to the front, a warrior stepped out, and looked at them both for a minute. He then came forward and said, "Greetings, and welcome to the Church of the One God. You and your friend are in need of care. Come inside." Tal followed the man in, and was led down a hallway to a room with two beds, a desk, and a chest. Tal laid Lance on one of the beds and stepped aside as the warrior attended him. Tal studied the warrior closely. He was different, from most warriors Tal had seen. He seemed educated.

Tal coughed, and wiped blood away from his mouth. Pain stabbed in his side every time he breathed. Cuts and scratches covered his arms and face. His left cheek was covered in blood; the gash had long closed up, but the wound was still new, and would leave a scar. Tal and Lance stayed at the church for several weeks. Lance left after his wounds had healed, giving his thanks and farewell to Tal. Tal stayed and trained to become a paladin, harnessing his newfound power. He changed his name to Vryce.

After two years, he set out, a Paladin of the One God Church. But when he left, he became Reverend Vryce. He vowed to be a guardian of Truth and Justice, so he created ColdFire, a guild of Bounty Hunters bound together by honor. Once the guild was strong, they set out for the East in search of Diablo.

The Story of ColdFire © Aaron "Tal" Nichols

Migrate Wizard: 
First Release: 
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