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Tales of A Planeswalker - Macium The Damned (Chapter Seven)

Azrael Thran (Joshua Bishop)
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Chrono froze in place as he saw the undead creature look up at him. The creatures burning eyes briefly shone through the eyes of its mask. It seemed to be happy to see him. It raced towards him and grasped his hand with abandon and began shaking it up and down excitedly.

" Chrono!" It yelled with glee.

Chrono tries wrenching his hand free but cannot.

The Lich wraps his cloaked arms around Chrono's neck and almost crushes him in a hug. What the hell was going on?

" I thought you were dead!"

The Lich steps back and looks Chrono up and down. " Why you haven't changed at all, and here I have been worrying about you for 40 years!"

Chrono raises an eyebrow as he looks at Jersi and Merhan who are a bit dumbfounded by this turn of events.

" What do you mean?" Chrono asks.

" What do I mean? What do I mean? Why you were in Dremras when the Devastation occurred!" The Lich says excitedly.

Chrono stares blankly at him, what did it all mean?

Macium, the lich, seeing his long-time friend's dismay, suddenly realizes Chrono had no idea what he was talking about. Could he have lost his memories? He looks to either side of Chrono at his companions, two elves.

" Well, where are my manners."

He bows and makes the sign of the elven court.

" I am Macium, Lich and one-time Elven noble."

Jersi, hearing the words Lich and Elven noble in the same sentence instantly begins gesturing and speaking arcane phrases under his breath. Chrono raises a hand and grabs one of Jersi's wildly gesturing hands, meets Jersi's eyes, then shakes his head. Chrono lets Jersi's hand drop.

Macium, not concerned in the least with the young mageling, conjures a necklace from the air and places it in Merhans hand. He smiles beneath his porcelain mask. Ahh to be alive again.

It had not been his idea to become this, this thing. He had been a young fool. A pompous noble brat, taught magic at an early age. He had attended the Ysyrian College of Magery at a young age and had set out to bestow magic's blessings on the world. A year of hardship had followed. Disheartened, he had fallen in with a clan of Necromancers. Soon he was able to perform even their most difficult spells. He was called the son of the dark one behind his back. Soon the entire clan firmly believed he was the prophesized son of the dark god. They felt it was their part to fulfill the rest of the prophecy by making him a lich. They had accosted him in his room late one night and dragged him to the deepest of the cellars to perform their dark rituals. When he awoke the next day he was no longer alive. He had used his lich might to escape and destroyed the keep of the Necromancers. He had then sunken into a deep stupor of hatred for all things living. He accumulated much knowledge and magic in the ensuing years. He quested ever for a way to reclaim his life. He had given up and begun to give into the urges of his undead nature, by destroying nearby villages, when Chrono had arrived one stormy eve.

Macium had wanted to kill Chrono at first, then he had looked into his deep green eyes and saw something there, a sadness not unlike his own. A hatred, of living, of life. Macium had asked him why a man should have such hatred in his heart. Chrono had told him the story that even now story tellers told in cities around the world told to groups of children around a fire. It was ironic that Chrono had changed his life with a story that he now no longer knew. Now it was Maciums turn to do the same.

Macium smiles beneath his mask once more then clears his throat. " Now, I sense you are lost my friend."

" Please make yourselves at home," He gestures to several chairs that seem to have materialized from thin air. Merhan and Jersi sit down slowly, glancing at one another. Chrono sinks slowly into his chair. Macium stares off into space.

" I sense you have many questions my friend."

" I can see that you are without memories and incredibly, you have returned from Dremras."

" It was said by Palus, 40 years ago on the night you stayed in Dremras to fight..the evil, that you would return, a man without memories."

" Palus's prophecy has come true, you have returned."

" But the questions is, are you really without memories?"

Chrono, taking this as a question, speaks.

" I know not who you are, just that I knew you once, it is all a jumble, and I see images and things from a time that I cannot remember."

" What do you see?" Macium asks.

" I see death, and battles, blood and tears."

Macium nods, yes, some of his memories had indeed returned, nothing of significance though. Macium looks to Jersi who is watching with grave interest, then to Merhan who is staring at Chrono with a strange expression on her face.

" Is there anything else?" the lich asks.

Chrono furrows his brow and responds, " Images, of a man with my face�.a dead man, and I am crying as a man on a black horse rides away."

Macium nods, he could start there.

" For 40 years I have heard rumors and stories about you."

" Your name is infamous."

" Your companions, being elves, probably do not recognize who you are."

" You were once at the head of an army without equal."

" You were once called a messiah."

" Your name is indeed Chrono, you are Chrono Thran."

Chrono nods slowly. His companions labor at translating his name into an elvish meaning.

" Yes, but who am I?" Chrono asks.

Macium whispers to himself then speaks up.

" You were born in a village called Jaalsure seventy years ago."

" Seventy years ago!?" Chrono exclaims.

" Yes, Seventy years ago."

" But I am as young as a man of 20, how can that be?" Chrono asks.

" I know not, you were always a man of surprises so I do not questions such things, you did great and terrible things."

" What do you mean?" Chrono says, memories stirring in the back of his mind.

" Well, let me start at the beginning."

" You were born Seventy years ago."

" You are a one quarter elven."

" You were born to a half-elven mother and a human father."

" You were not alone in the womb."

" You once had a twin named Kosare."

Chrono blinks, those images, his twin?

Jersi and Merhan make the connection as Chrono asks, " What happened to him?"

Macium looks at the floor as he continues, " You were both twenty years old when it happened."

" You, your brother, and a few other young elves went on a hunting expedition one morning."

" When you came home you found your village aflame and Orc soldiers picking through the spoils."

" You and your brother rallied the other hunters and fought the few soldiers left behind."

" The soldiers were well trained for they felled all but you and your twin before meeting their ends on your blades."

" You and your brother began burying the dead."

" Soon you became aware of a small company of soldiers coming up the road and you readied yourselves for what would inevitably be your deaths."

Chrono furrows his brow, seeing a road and a cloud of dust as orcish soldiers churned up the dust of the road.

" The Soldiers stopped outside the ruins of your village and a man, an elf, on a black horse came forward."

" His banner announced him as being important."

" He mocked you and your brother and then commenced to mock the dead as his soldiers stood ready to cut you down when he gave the signal."

" It was too much for Kosare."

" He sprang at the elven warlord with a dagger in hand and was struck down by a single word from the man."

" That man, that elf, was Sae'Run, Warlord of the armies of the dark god."

" He was a powerful mage and he had no trouble ripping your brothers soul from his body as a sacrifice to his dark god."

" You were enraged and flung yourself at him."

" He was surprised, otherwise you would be dead now."

" He managed to fling you off of himself and cast a simple enough spell that he thought would surely kill you."

" The spell was what we mages call a magic missile."

Jersi nods in recognition of the spell, he knew it well. He had used it on many occasions to punish his unruly familiar.

" It did not kill you, it grazed your cheek, but with enough force to knock you out cold."

" The orcs, thinking you dead did not bother to cut you to pieces, instead leaving you to the crows."

Macium looks up. Chrono has his head between his knees and his hands over his head. The Lich looks down at the floor beneath Chrono and sees a small puddle, tears. He was remembering little by little. Macium lays a hand on Chronos shoulder as Jersi ponders the implications of this with wide eyes. Jersi suddenly stands.

" I know where this is leading!" Jersi exclaims.

Jersi points at Chrono as Macium and Merhan look up. " He is the destroyer!"

" Some have called him that, yes," Macium responds.

" He is the one who caused all of this!" Jersi exclaims heatedly.

" The one who plunged us into this age of darkness."

Macium scoffs and gives the over-reacting mage a slap across the face.

" He did not do what he did out of choice, in fact I believe he had little to do with it."

" He did what he did to avert a greater age of darkness, be thankful he did what he did."

" We would be playthings for demons now if he hadn't been there."

Chrono looks up, his eyes watery. His brother, he is starting to remember now. He had set out and, and what? He clenches his fists as he closes his eyes tightly. Images of armies under a banner of blue assault him. He had gathered an army? Yes, he had gathered an army.

" You set out, a vengeful creature, and learned of what few in your land knew."

" Sae'Run was the herald of Memnoch, the dark god."

" He had been ordered by his liege to take the world."

" And he had set out to do so."

" You could think of only one thing, vengeance."

" You struck out on your own and amazingly enough, single handedly destroyed a large bunker of his troops using a gnomish device."

" Others heard of your bravery and sought you out, and soon hundreds of thousands of people of all races were flocking to your banner."

" Flocking to the one who had stood up to the armies of Sae'Run."

" Flocking to the messiah."

"Stop calling me that!" Chrono cries.

" I am no messiah and I never was!"

" I did it for one reason!"

" Vengeance!"

" Yes, I know," Macium replies evenly.

Merhan removes her hand from Chrono's back.

" I remember something told to me when I was younger�.about you, Chrono Thran."

She looks at Chrono as she speaks, " The elders thought of you as some sort of messenger of the gods."

" It was said you were��Vengeance Incarnate."

" The son of Daeku, come to exact vengeance on the dark one for the torment of the world."

" It was said you had a fire in your eyes and a will like none seen since days long past."

Merhan falls silent as she rethinks what she just said, why had she said that? It was inconsequential. Maybe the old stories were so ingrained in her mind that she was believing them .She had always thought Chrono Thran was a story made up to cover the truth of the state of things. Now she knew.

Macium looks at her then nods. " As I said many called you the messiah, Cruel ruthless, justice."

" Some said you were no better than Sae'Run."

" I know not."

" We met 3 years after you began your campaign against Sae'Run"

" You were seeking an artifact I had in my keeping and came into my lair."

" I was taken aback by your utter fearlessness, you welcomed death."

" And I was drawn into your web."

" We campaigned together, you the ruthless warrior, and I your advisor."

" Some thought it an ill omen that you trusted a lich with your life."

" You ignored them, you are the truest friend I have ever had."

" In the ten years you campaigned you met certain individuals who had pledged themselves to your cause and soon they were in the command tent late at night helping us plan."

" They were Palus, a paladin of Lenk."

" Karia, a mercenary from the Koprious desert."

" And Gelfling a strategist unlike any ever seen, a halfling strategist."

Chrono begins to remember the things Macium speaks of. He sees what appears to be a young child, swinging his legs back and forth as he sits on a stool, perched over a map with a compass and a quill. He sees a smiling man, wearing plate armor, demonstrating proper fighting form to a group of lanky young soldiers. Then an image, a brief image, of a young woman with a serious face, flashes before him. She is leading a charge up a hillside to break the enemies' lines.

" I remember them," Chrono says, sounding far-off.

Jersi, remembers tales of the halfling strategist Gelfling. Rumor had it he had once dangled from an elven airship, recently developed at the time, in order to disarm a siege engine that would soon explode, wiping out a whole city. The name Palus was familiar also, wasn't he the head of the order of Lenk now? Karia is a name he does not recognize.

Macium stands and begins pacing back and forth. " You fought many battles, regaining most of what was lost."

" Eventually you came across information pertaining to the whereabouts of Sae'Run."

" You acted on it, stealing away on an airship."

" On the airship you met with your long time adversary once more and killed him."

" Sae'Runs armies scattered without their leader."

" All except for a small force of about 200,000 troops."

" The force landed on the shores of Averlei and awaited their true master."

" He came in the night."

" He came first as a monster frightening his troops."

" Then, learning of what had happened he retrieved a soul from the underworld."

" He reappeared as a tall man with black hair and green eyes."

" He appeared in the body of your brother, using his soul as a means to fuel his avatar."

" You heard that he marched on Dremras."

Chrono looks up, he remembered but his mind was still foggy. " Dremras?"

" The city of the god-children, the Divan."

"Oh," Chrono murmurs as he remembers.

" You became curious, using one of your mages you divined Memnoch, and found him in the body of your bother staring right back at you."

" You set off at once, I, Palus, Karia, and Gelfling, following in your wake."

Chrono looks up, remembering everything, everything. He stares off into space.

" And Chrono went into the ruins of paradise and fought the darkness that enveloped it."

" And in defeating the avatar of darkness he caused a devastation that forever changed the world."

" The gods were knocked from their thrones by the devastation and Arefal went up in flame."

Macium, Jersi, and Merhan look at one another. None of them had said it. Chrono had. He stood slowly. Something had been kindled in his eyes, they seemed to dance with a light all their own. He seems somehow stronger as he looks at Macium with a level gaze.

" I felt my body torn to pieces as the magical shockwave washed over me and in that instant I felt as though my heart caught flame and I saw things I can never explain."

" I know not how I am still alive, all I know is that I am no longer a man."

Macium nods. " Indeed you are no more a man than I am."

Jersi looks up, realizing it suddenly. He was a�a�.Nay, they were beings beyond mortal kin. They could never have been mortal, could they? Jersi looks up amazed.

" You're�a Planeswalker."

Macium nods resolutely. " Aye, lad, that he is."


Tales of a Planeswalker :Macium the Damned / Chapter 7 © Azrael Thran (Joshua Bishop)

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