Welcome back, dearest elven speaking audience! Last time our good prince Tarion decided to head for the Forest of Terror, in search for the back part of the Sacred Lance. Now it is time to depart and the three brothers approach their mounts: three powerful WarBeasts that will become their precious partners in the future adventures. As always we'd like to thank Kiley Johnson for her invaluable help! To thank her properly the Bard decided that her vote will count twice! Let's proceed with the story, then!
From the Bard's Stories:
The following morning the three brothers reach the southernmost edge of the elven city to find a whole delegation waiting for them in solemn expectation. The Royal Beastmaster approaches, showing them their mounts.
"I refuse to mount that thing" says Tarion, categorical.
"What's the problem with WAR BUTTERFLIES, prince Tarion?" asks the Beastmaster, not being able to understand the twisted mind of a dark elf " They are reliable and powerful in battle.
"They are pink and purple, for the Goddess' sake. Can you explain me why my brothers have manly and superb giant eagles while I'm expected to be content with that Barbie Princess accessory? I want an eagle, too."
"I'm afraid it's impossible, my prince."
"And why is that, if I may ask? Because shiny and glossy colors suits well on black skin? How am I supposed to infuse terror into the enemy's hearts riding that thing? If I'm expected to kill them with laughter, then all this foolish 'sacred weapon quest' becomes pointless."
"To be precise, my lord, this poor beast is the only one that accepted to be the War Beast of a Dark Elf, with all respect."
"Wh... what? Come on, what's the problem with you, guys? Even animals here are racists to dark elves?"
"The giant eagles are a choosy race, you know. If you are not the type who helps older women to cross the street they simply refuse to serve you."
"To hell with the eagles, then" groans the prince "I will take a common horse, instead."
"Don't be a fool, son" says King Caelidon, approaching, "riding a horse will take you an absurd amount of time to reach the Forest of Terror. We don't have so much time to rebuild the Sacred Lance. Well, technically we HAVE it, but the humans haven't, so ignore your pride and take that butterfly. If you head south and follow the river nobody will see you acting like a pink magic fairy."
"And then they ask me why dark elves are evil..." sighs Tarion.
"Don't be so sad, brother" laugh the other two " the butterfly is a symbol of kindness, if the decision was up to us you would now ride a giant snake, or a leech."
"Shut up, you worthless bastards. All right, father, I will use this... this...
"Nightstalker" repeat the Beastmaster "it's the name of the butterfly."
" You mean that colorful happy thing's name is Nightstalker? It has not le phisique du rôle, if you ask me, but... well... at least the name is quite suitable for a warrior like me." he approaches the beast and looks in its eyes "Listen well, my little pony. I will lead you to victory and to eternal glory. Nature was cruel with you, so you can't possibly look cool, doesn't matter how hard you try. At least you'll have to act that way, you understand? Otherwise if someone I know cross our road I will pretend not to know you at all. I still have a reputation, despite being a Dark Elf."
The butterfly stares back at him, blankly.
"Good. I sense a strong intelligence behind those empty eyes. You and I will make a good team, I'm sure of it. Just shut up, keep a low profile and everything will be fine." he grabs the reins and jumps lightly on Nightstalker's back.
"Ride with the winds, my sons" shouts the King, like kings always do in Power Metal ballads, "Make your father and your people proud.”
"Mmpf. You're proud enough just as you are, if you ask me." sighs Tarion "Oh well, to the Forest of Terror, then!
And so they take their leave. Tarion and Nightstalker take off towards the mysterious forest; Sardan and his eagle, Zai, leave for Mount Titan and Kahel depart to the desert on the mighty back of Tursa.
"I still think it wasn't a wise choice to send all your sons alone to a dangerous quest like that, my Lord" says Kentaurion "I don't mean to be disrespectful, but... what if they die?”
"They won't die, my friend. " says the king "The series has just started, making the heroes die in the beginning would be pointless, don't you think?
The General bows slightly. "As usual your wisdom surpasses my ability to comprehend, but I will trust you as always.”
"Thank you, Kentaurion. The future of all inferior races AND ours is at stake. We must prevent the dwarf bankers from transforming our world in a desert filled with non-existent money and greedy multinational corporations.
The General bows again and tries to dissimulate his worries. Elves and Dwarves have always been antithetical: sensitive and intellectual the first, ruthless and practical the second. Dwarves have just one thought in their minds: to use money to make more money and then use it to make even more money and so on. Of course Dwarven cities are comfortable, but around them everything lies in ruin. They start wars just to lift the quotations of ore mines, destroy forests to make the wood they have previously accumulated priceless. They don't think to the future because they are mortals, like the other races. Elves live forever, so they are forced to witness the destruction of mindless intervention on the environment. The illusion of easy money made the younger races contract debts and become weak. And the dwarves exploit that weakness to make the only one thing they are interested in: wealth.
Kentaurion raise his eyes to the sky and stares at the three little spots proceeding fast in different directions to meet their destiny. One of them moves in every direction, actually, slower than the other two.
“Of course it does” says Kentaurion to himself, smiling “butterflies fly that way, after all...”
Tarion stops Nightstalker in the middle of a desert plain. He needs to vomit. Again. Third round in barely an hour.
"Dammit, you stupid butterfly" he groans "Can't you just fly straight, like eagles do? What's the point in moving up and down, left and right that way? Ugh, my stomach is completely upside down.”
Nightstalker stares back at him. Blankly.
"You don't understand anything I'm saying, do you?”
"Just say anything smart and I will gladly answer you, master." a deep, masculine voice resound all around. Tarion jumps on his feet and looks behind him.
Tarion draws his sword and looks around him, but in all directions there are just flat hills and green grass meadows, as far as the eyes can see.
"Who are you?" he shouts "Show yourself!”
"I'm not going anywhere, so take your time to get your useless synapses to work and figure out what exactly is going on." says the voice "Meanwhile, if you don't mind, I will spend my time ignoring you and looking at this beautiful landscape.”
Tarion spread his eyes wide and looks at the War Butterfly in awe, but the beast doesn't move and continue to stare blankly at him. When it comes to insects it's indeed quite difficult to understand if they are watching you or not. But if you could know them a little better you would know that they are ALWAYS looking at you. Waiting for you to lower your guard.
"Was that possibly... sarcasm?" murmurs the Dark Elf, shocked "An intelligent mind cruelly locked in that ridiculous body?”
"From my point of view the one locked into a ridiculous body is you. And I'm not even sure you have any intelligence at all, but... congratulations for understanding the situation. Can we go on, now?" asks Nightstalker, without moving.
Tarion can't believe that a common War Butterfly could talk like that. Eagles talk all the time (without thinking first, to be true) but they are the only animal race able to speak a complex language. To talk to any other animal a Beastmaster is always required, although all the War Beast are trained to understand simple commands in battle. Talking like a snotty aristocrat is absolutely nonsense for an insect. Even a giant one.
The Butterfly sighs. "Of course not. Please don't mind me, master. Take your time to be shocked and stare at me like an idiot. Your brothers will reach the other parts of the lance before us and you will be blamed by the entire Court for being the moron you actually are.
"Hey!" shout the elf "Mind your tongue... ehm... if you have one.”
"I have a tongue, actually. 35 metres long. But I don't think this scientific stuff could interest your underdeveloped brain, anyway.“
Tarion lowers his weapon and sighs. "Mpf. My usual luck. The only talking butterfly in the world and when it speaks it's just to insult me. Can you simply pretend you are a normal butterfly and shut up, please?”
"I AM a normal butterfly, sub"normal elf.”
"Normal butterflies don't talk and are smaller than a horse, for what I know.”
"Then you know very little of the world, master. I hope this quest will widen your narrow perspective. Now, if you don't mind to move your noble ass. I don't live for just a season like my smaller cousins, but still I hate being here losing time when I could be somewhere else looking for my...”
Tarion looks at it suspiciously. "looking for my...?”
"Ehm... looking for the Lance, of course. What else?”
"Mmm. Yeah. Good question. What else?" repeats the elf, scratching his chin.
Tarion grabs the reins and the two companions take off again towards the Forest of Terror. That's a remote place, inhabited by monsters and uncivilized creatures. Humans there are too rare even to end up in the local menus. Elves are surely present, but they are like cousins that nobody wants to meet during festivities. No High Elf has seen them in a couple of millennia, but they are still there for sure. Their Sigmatron is still active, so they must be there, somewhere, hiding. Nobody knows if they are still elves, though. Centuries of isolation rarely produce positive changes.
"By the Goddess, why in hell can't you fly straight?" shout Tarion, sticking to the saddle to avoid falling down.
"I told you I'm a butterfly, didn't I? Butterflies fly this way, so stop complaining and relax.”
"Relax? Relax! Like I could, stupid psycho!”
Suddenly Tarion's eyes catch a movement on the plains below, eastwards. It's difficult to focus when your stomach jumps up and down, but our hero is still an elf, after all. He clearly spots six horrid beastmen pursuing a beautiful white wolf. The wolf fur is stained in blood and the pursuers are quickly getting closer like a howling hurricane of claws and fangs.
"My name's Nightstalker, Tarry. Try not to forget it.”
"Yeah, yeah, whatever. Listen to me, now!”
What will our irritating prince do in this situation?
1. Do nothing at all. They can't endanger the mission just to save a wolf, although a beautiful one. If Tarion dies here those brothers of his will have the proof he was an unworthy elf. Towards the forest, then!
2. One against many? The story of Tarion's life! He asks Nightstalker to land. Better to confront them in a ground battle, without having to deal with that overgrown egomaniac Warbeast.
Oooow, come on! How can you abandon a a beautiful creature like this one to its brutal destiny?
If you are looking for the previous episode, just click HERE
If you are looking for the previous episode, just click HERE