The Cataclysm, Journals of Lord Draxus Ultimax

Part I

Excerpt from the journal of draxus-ultimax:

The sun shone brightly before it fell into shadow that afternoon. A darkness the likes I had never seen blocked it out from view completely. Soon thereafter a great quake was felt through the ground and the walls of my city Vongottstein shook as though they would tumble to the ground themselves.

I scrambled atop a tower to see if I could discern what the source of this rumbling was and to my horror a great host of demonic warriors adorned with evil armour weilding the darkest weapons and flying horrible standards were pouring out of the ground towards my city. "This was the day of judgement for all creatures of Thain," I thought to myself. The Demonic Knights were chanting something as they marched, "Gorrath…Gorrath.."

I donned my armour swiftly, for I was well versed in the art of combat and was considered the strongest warrior in Vongottstein.

Vongottstein's army poured as a river out of the doors of my city and I raced ahead of them to meet these Demonic Knights head on. To my terror I saw something in the distance driving them on. A Balor, something I have never seen, nor had anyone on the surface of this world, as they were thought only legend.

I carved a line through the demonic knights as their evil metal burned through my armour and seared my skin. All around me men were screaming in terror to their horrid deaths. I will never forget that sound or the bloodshed.

I met the Balor head on and clashed my sword against his flesh though my weapon was useless and could not pierce his tough hide. With a mighty blow I was felled in a ruinous heap on the battlefield. Gorrath, the Balor, which I later learned was his name, picked up my limp body as I was drifting in a semi-conscious state and laughed a gritty scraping laugh. With my last breaths of life I sang a hearty song to the Eternal Celestial Light to send me swiftly and surely to Valhalla as Gorrath tore my earthly body to pieces.

In my last fleeting moment of life I saw a massive series of lightning that struck the ground. Riding the lightning were Celestial Knights and they to the cheers of what men were left alive, joined the fight and electricity crackled all through the air.

I recall the laughter of succubi and then… Blackness…

D.

Part II

Excerpt from the journal of draxus-ultimax: The Resurrection

I stood separated from everything I once knew. Out of one eye I saw nothing except darkness and out of the other nothing but white light. Two voices as one spoke unto me, "Draxus Ultimax, you have been called to make a choice… Speak not but let your heart decide and it shall lead your spirit."

It was then with a flash of light and a crack of thunder I awoke naked upon the stone floor of a temple, I looked up, confused, wondering as to where and who I was. Sitting atop the throne of light stood a man with a brilliant blue cloak and a shining mask whose presence seemed to eminate light itself. His staff drew my mind within and I saw that within its swirling light it was a pure device of the light which eminated from him. It was then he beckoned his servants to fetch a robe for me.

I dressed and he began to speak in a booming voice within my mind, "Draxus Ultimax," he said, "We always knew you would make this choice" He paused, and went on, " I am andarus, a servant of the Celestial Light, the Eternal Light, for both are the same." He walked towards me then and put a hand on my shoulder. "We need you in this hour, Hell has opened upon Thain and the darkness threatens every living thing upon it. We need your strength, as does every living creature upon this earth."

I looked at the reflection of his mask and saw my own face, for it was then I realized something had changed within me, My eyes were glowing with a light from within and my body was one and felt lighter than air. I bowed low at that point for I realized I had been given a great and wonderous gift I could not yet comprehend.

"My Master Andarus", I said. I served the people of Vongottstein with my life to the end. Now I serve them again and ALL the good creatures of Thain with all that I am."

"You have pleased us", he replied into my mind. For this I have chosen you as a champion of the light and you in turn must champion others of the light for many years have passed since the day you fell upon the fields of Vongottstein and the city you knew has long since turned to dust."

Dismayed, I looked far towards where the city I once knew as Vongottstein and saw his words were true. I looked to the south to the great city of Greenvale and saw only the ruins and heard the sorrowful song of the elves in the wind.

Thain had fallen.

To the north with my new eyes I could see a remnant of light shining against the darkness there. It was to the north that the final battle would be fought that would decide the fate of the land for many years to come.

D.

Part III

Excerpt from the journal of draxus-ultimax: The Dragons.

His wings cut through the wind with such power you could hear it separating as we flew. I had been granted Gzalmash as a steed by andarus to lend aid to the northlands. Gzalmash was not excited at this prospect though he knew well the dire consequences of inaction in these matters.

Gzalmash was an ancient silver dragon who hunted occasionally in the southern lands between periods of torpor. He had awakened to the call of his hunting grounds being decimated and enraged helped fight the demons that arose from the earth there but too late. Bitter, he met with andarus at the temple of the light and had a long conversation in dragon tongue of what was to be done.

Gzalmash was a proud dragon and had never lowered himself to fighting battles upon the ground, though he knew Andarus meant well in his suggestion to escort me to the north to seek out and protect the last northern remnants protecting the lands there.

I bowed low unto Gzalmash for his inturn lowering himself and recognized his humility in accepting the position of my steed. Together we lifted off, I on his back, and flew through the shadows. Together we had a long conversation about the lands and the ways of the world.

We arrived in the north at the edge of the great waste to see the army beaten and bruised waiting for their deaths in the darkness of night, now setting in upon them.

I met with their leader within the encampment, a battle hardened elf named Kynnonen Faldric who was head of the remnants of soldiers who were gathered in the small fort they had built.

Kynnonen Faldric's expression changed from defeat to hope the moment he saw the white dragon land within his camp, and I, now a celestial warrior, dismounting from him.

The hopeful expression was a brief facade though, his troops were malnourished and the dead out weighed the living and had not even had time to be buried rotting in a massive pile of bodies beyond the camp. There were no men that could be spared to do so.

He warned that he had heard ill sounds as the night fell and feared this would be the last stand of his army, for the demons were powerful and from intelligence from his scouts in the waste, had two ancient dragons within their ranks. A red and a black, the names of which he did not know…

The night drew on and the gathering of the survivors awaited its doom.

D.

Part IV

Excerpt from the journal of draxus-ultimax: Drums of War

I examined my blade, looking long at its perfect edge, and thought about how it would need to be used with such skill in the hours ahead. I listened well and even within the darkened landscape of the waste did I hear the voice of Gaia quietly warning me of the night we were about to face, of the vast army of Demonkind, walking across the shadowy sand.

Drums of war had begun to reach our ears from the cliffs of the Wastes, the Demon army had begun its march upon us. We fortified a stand, and bettered our own defensive position between the crumbling cliffs between the camp and the shadowdunes to give us some cover from the beasts that should attack us from the skies, black and clouded as they are.

I stroked the neck of Gzalmash, my steed reassuringly for he looked nervous a moment and knew that what my ears had heard, so had his keen dragon senses likewise made him aware.

He growled at the noise in the distance and spoke to me, "Draxus Ultimax, should I become wounded, or unable to fight, promise me one thing and one thing only," he continued on with eyes aflame, "You must keep on fighting no matter what happens, these men, halflings dwarves and elves need you and we must all fight to the last no matter what. Should I fall, fear not, for I will have died a mighty death, and my kin await me in Valhalla, for the only way to enter the hall, is through a gaping wound and I will have died well. May the light be with you, Sir Draxus Ultimax."

I replied back to him and bowed low, "I am honored to fight with you Gzalmash, May andarus guide you."

I mounted the saddle and sheathed my sword, I drew a long lance as the weapon of choice and grabbed the shield presented to me by Andarus, hoping that its magic would protect me against the heat and acid I was surely going to face against our foes.

The men upon the line looked nervous and began to ready their weapons, the ballistas were stocked and the catapaults were ready, a thousand fold arrows lined in front of the elven archers ready to be loosed upon the night sky. Every man, elf, dwarf and halfling drew out their blades at that moment and readied for battle.

Beside me, Kynonnen donned his helmet, drew his sword, a magnificent elven blade that lit the front lines of the battlefield with its light. Holding it aloft he began to shout at the remnant of the four races, "Be ready lads!! They come!!"

The spots of red advancing in the darkness were now visible. The drums shook the ground, as the trumpets of war rang across the valley, accompanied by a cacophony of clanking metal.

The fight had begun.

D.

Part V

Excerpt from the journal of draxus-ultimax: The Last Stand of the Four Races: Dragons and Demons

The beating of the wings, accompanied by the rising shouts and screams of the battle below were the only sounds I could hear from our position in the air.

Upon the dunes I could see the two opposing sides of the battle rushing eachother, though my eyes were upon the sky at the moment scanning for our predators.

Gzalmash took a quick dive and I struggled to hang on, noticing only at the last second why. We had just evaded the mighty black shadow of who I would later discover to be Grasheldrous the Black. The rider upon the back of the shadowy wyrm was a demon knight readying an arrow. Pulling hard on the reigns I veered us away from the green arc it left, as phosphorescent acid dripped across its trail creating a traced effect of its flight. Two, three more passed by us and the fouth landed in my shield eating into its enchanted metal, smouldering with evil as it burned into it, "What unholy magic is this?" I thought to myself as we flew on.

Readying my lance Gzalmash directed his line of flight directly into that of Grasheldrous the Black after a quick half circle, flying in an inverted dive we met our opponents head on as they flew up at us. My lance met its mark, burying itself deep into the chest of the Demonknight, for he had not the reach with his sword to effectively attack. He was removed from the saddle of Grasheldrous and hung suspended on my lance as we flew, I could not shake him off and so I relenquished the lance and let it fall, seeing his form dissapearing into the darkess below still gripping the lance, writhing and screaming with a terrible sound that could only come from a tortured thing of the nine.

Gzalmash had survived that pass and maneuver unscathed though now I could see that we were outnumbered. Far above us I a massive shape loomed about to dive upon our position, "Fhelkhorn!!!", I yelled to Gzalmash, looking up at the last second and taking a quick break to the right he saved me from the jaws of razorsharp teeth that snapped only inches away.

Below I could see that at this point the last stand was being beaten back and the numbers of fallen were growing. "andarus save us" I though to myself in haste.

Gzalmash dove from our position now and we were on the tail of Grasheldrous the Black with Fhelkhorn in chase, claws extended like an eagle about to grab a fish, Gzalmash reached Grasheldrous and dug well into the armored scales upon his back drawing a river of blood. Grasheldrous roared defiantly and rolled away from the attack and dug his teeth into the hind flank of Gzalmash's leg. Gzalmash let loose a blast of his breath into the face of the Black Dragon, beaking away from the pain and the ensuing gush of blood.

The black clouds in the sky had begun to rain upon the desert and I felt the droplets cool across my face as a blast of fire from behind nearly baked me inside my armor, sturdy as it was. I have never felt anything so hot in my entire life as the air from that blast of fire. Fhelkorn commenced his attack from behind and Gzalmash anticipating it broke left and evaded the mushroom of flame, Fhelkhorn broke away as Grasheldrous met us again from the side this time and as tooth and claw met in the most terrible roars I have ever heard we began to fall…

D.

Part VI

Excerpt from the journal of draxus-ultimax: The Last Stand of the Four Races: The clash and the fall.

Falling through the sky I laid my glowing hands upon the back of Gzalmash and healed his wounds as he fought Grasheldrous the Black with everything he had, I was fearful of our fall and could see us plummeting directly into the ranks of demons upon the field, from behind I could see Fhelkhorn readying another blast of firebreath, not caring about who he hit with it. I released the reigns and began to float up from my saddle towards the advancing red. Fhelkhorn readied his talons.

The pressure of the claws was unbearable, the pain of it nearly made me black out in mid air. Fhelkhorn had me in his grasp, but at least I had him distracted from his attack on Gzalmash. Screaming in agony from the crush of the mighty talons, I held fast my blade and looked at its reflection of the lightning that struck behind me through the clouds in the distance.

A few moments passed and the sky was full of lightning, splitting with thunder so violently you could no longer hear the roars of the dragons Gzalmash and Grasheldrous as they plummeted to the ground.

I took my blade and drove it as far as I could into the leg of Fhelkhorn. The last thing I remember hearing was a hideous roar as he released me from his grasp and I felt the peace of weightlessness as I drifted into the blackness of the sky, not knowing if I were dead or alive, in reality or the abyss, for it was too black to see and my lightness of being had left me, for the moment

Through the blackness I saw wings of white arking slowly up and down in sucession and the eyes of my white steed blazed with fear, and I was no longer falling, limp in the clutches of Gzalmash he glided us to a quiet spot upon the battlefield, and there we rested a moment surrounded by the corpses of the fallen.

Grasheldrous had been defeated and his still body lay where it fell upon the battlefield, crushing both ally and foe, though its chest still moved slightly, it was not dead.

From our position I could see the fiery battle ensuing and the lighting storming upon the Demons, man, elf, dwarf and halfling fighting to the end, being torn to pieces by the demon knights march.

I gathered my sword and asked Gzalmash, "Can you fight?" … He looked at me with tired eyes and I could see his wounds were causing him an immense amount of pain. "As long as I can breathe, I can fight". he replied with determination.

He lowered himself down again and I remounted my position in the saddle as we took flight once more.

"Gzalmash," I called out to him, "When we near the front, keep us low, I want you to drop me into the fray", I could hear doublt in his tone, "Alright Sir Draxus, though I do not know if that is wise." "It's not, though I have to help the men and women down there, they're being cut to pieces."

Evading the green tracers he flew us about and we lined up to face the battlefield from above our original stand on the line and started a dive so fast I began to hear the scream of the air being cut by his wings…

D.

Part VII

Excerpt from the journal of draxus-ultimax: The Last Stand of the Four Races: The Fall of Kynonnen Faldric.

I had landed. Gzalmash had dropped me into the thick of it and all around me was the sound of fighting and the clashing of weapons. Screams of agony that brought me back to the fields of Vongottstein when I had fallen fighting Gorrath, Destroyer of Worlds. His name was appropriate, for he in turn had destroyed my world and felled my city. He was out there…somewhere…

I saw Kynonnen Faldric on the field at that moment, a trail of fallen demons behind him. His eyes were aflame with red and his sword glowing bluish white as it cut through the Demon Knights armor with ease. He was encircled by Demon Knights, Mages and Hulks. A Demon Mage saw this and unleashed a spell and a mighty three headed creature grew out of the ground and wounded Kynonnen, and he fell to one knee screaming in pain.

"KYNONNEN!!!" I yelled rushing at his position cutting down demon after demon that tried to stop me, a Demon Hulk grabbed my shoulder at that moment and drove a fist into my face that made me see the stars that night, though they dissapeared a moment later.

After gathering my senses I swiped quickly across it's chest from the bottom up tearing a gash into its armour that severed the thing in two and continued my flight to save the agonized Kynonnen.

Kynonnen looked around and saw that the demon knights and mages had stopped their assault on him and wondered why. The three headed creature of the abyss that had attacked him had returned to it's planar home and Kynonnen, shaking from the encounter stood up once more, ready to attack the demons again. Extending his arm and levelling his glowing sword he drew a steady attack stance towards the nearest Demon Hulk and the hulk made no move to attack.

"Why!?", screamed his mind, he looked around frantically in hopes for an answer that when found made him wish he had never asked. Looming above him was a leader of the Baatezu, "Azuul the Soul Razer" as I found out from a later converation with andarus.

Kynonnen began to sing a song to the Eternal Light and to Gaia at that moment. I saw the light within him begin to glow and the Pit Fiend recoiled at the sound of the melodic tune.

They battled on and Kynonnen sang until the fiend Azuul ripped the last breath from his chest. The grip on his sword released and the blue light within it dimmed as the sands claimed the mighty blade for eternity. Kynonnen went limp and sank to the sand, looking at me as I ran to where he fell I saw peace in his eyes and he seemed to smile a moment, the blood staining the sands all around him as the last of the life within him stained the battlefield.

I saw Azuul's scream of triumph as he looked to the sky laughing with glee over the body of the fallen hero, the demons encirling the body regrouped and advanced once more…

D.

[Text by Vio]

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