The tall figure moved through the city’s markets quickly, his lithe form easily moving through the crowds though with being taller then most of the other denizens he stood out from the crowd. Picking up a few essentials as he went at prices higher then he was sure the average person was sold he moved along. It never took long for people to start staring at him, he only shopped at the peek hours at the market.

Leaving the streets behind to find a nearby alley out of the sun and away from the watchful eyes he removes the cowl of his hood back and breathes in deeply, his hands running across the rough scales of his head. The market people forget him, as they always do. Sighing he looks out on the people in the street. The merchants shouting of their wares trying to bring business in, the grifters and scam artists trying to make a profit. The weekly rituals of the city at their peek.

A group of children ran through the market in their roughspun clothing, laughing and joking as they paraded through the crowd. These children he saw regularly when he went on the fourth day of the week. They always came just after him, six boys and two girls, they would run through and bump one another and two would steal from three of the six booths they passed. They were good at what they did.

Watching as the ritual drew near completion he couldn’t help but admire the well thought out plan these children had put together to cheat this system the market had established. They didn’t get greedy, they didn’t overextend, they knew their boundaries and stuck to it, admirable for such an impatient race at such an age.

The children were nearing the end of the market before what could be assumed was the leader, a young dusty haired boy of twelve or so decided to up the ante with a thief, making for his purse. The boy drew a small stone blade, carved, and went to slit the purse as the thief argued with a victim of his sales ploy. The blade wasn’t sharp enough. The blade in the thief’s hand moments later was. The screech from the child was drowned out by the shouting the market. The boy fell back and the thief ran, the man he was trading with crying for help.

Looking into the child’s eyes he put his cowl back on. The boy’s companions surrounded the boy’s failing body, blood slowly surrounding him as he reached out feebly for something they couldn’t see. He wondered if the children would learn their flaw in following him, if it was best this happened so they might move to a better life, would they learn or would they get worse. He hoped they would draw the same conclusion he once had.

Entering his home some short time later he set down his purchases on a small wooden table and closed his door behind him. Hanging up his cloak he walked to his window sill along with his journal and looked out as the sun crested the northern walls. “Do I stay here for no other reason then to perform this tiresome weekly ritual?” he asked to the wind as he sat, his tail curling under him as he unclasped the leather book in his hand.

“You hold everything now” he said quietly to the book as his long boney fingers loosely played through the pages. “I fear you hold what WAS me in these pages” His head rested against the frame of the window as he reflected on the events of the market. He had also been greedy once, very much like the youth from the market, a young man with a plan and rituals that kept him well off. Friends with whom he practiced with, and the power of magic growing inside him. So long ago.

The MageKeep was the school for Magisters. It was a building of stone and wood once, but magic had crafted it into something else. Its walls glowed to keep light in the halls and the building was forever changing to improve itself for the Magi inside. The vast libraries and its many rooms in extra dimensional spaces, the various habitats. The Magekeep was nestled in the Coldback mountains of the north, it had not always been there but the Magi decided it best to train their youth far from civilized areas so that they could practice their art freely in the open lands. Crystal and metal was worked into the structure like vines, hardening the exterior of the keep against the ailments and other things.

The Magekeep was where he grew up, sent after his innate ability was discovered by the traveling Magi who passed through his village. He was said to be extremely gifted and was brought to the Magekeep to learn. He was six at the time. He was discovered in his town when he had, in an angry fit caused the local well to close over. He had been told he couldn’t have a drink by a bully. The bully had gone into the well first. He had pleaded to stay but he was forced to go.

Twelve years passed quickly and his skills had grown exponentially with the show of great promise within the Magekeep. Men like him were going to be needed with ongoings of the battles in the Southlands. Word of the war spread through the young Magisters like wildfire, burning in them a desire to test their mettle against the unknown foes before them. He was no different. The Magisters stopped all of their students, forbidding such things, the power of the enemy said to be terrible and only suitable candidates of the senior Magi would be sent to aid.

Along with friends he tried again and again to get into the listings only to be turned away. Your not strong enough, you need more training. The wait was unbearable. He would need two years of study before he could move into a strong enough position. He decided he would wait no longer. He spoke with his companions, told them of what awaited them outside the Magekeep’s walls, told them of the power he could help them achieve for he had taken a tome of the High Magister. A tome that acted as a journal with all the writings kept within that he had smuggled out of the Magister’s apartments, the High Magister’s Spellbook. Six of his ten companions agreed to follow him, the other four were magically bound for a short time so he could escape. He opened a gate from the Magekeep to the south, he and his companions left the Magekeep.

The southern war blazed across the lands and magic went about wildly during it. He and his six companions used the tome to learn of many magics they had never known of, becoming vastly more powerful in the process but with some complications. Three of his friends had come to their end in one way or another through use of the powerful magic, one had been shut out completely, his magic capabilities utterly destroyed. He threw himself from a small cliff days later. Another was destroyed by the creatures she had summoned, it took the power of the remaining group to slay the creatures. The last was frozen entirely in crystal, a peculiar manifestation of spell. The remaining two friends had a modest amount of control of the spells but only he could truly handle all of the schools of magic in the book. He had devoted himself wholly to it.

He and his two companions worked against enemy as they studied too, they were their own party, working on their own to crush the dark armies. Their magic became renown through the Southlands as a tide turning event when it was brought to the battlefield. The group was seen as the Hero Mages of the South, “The Arcane Storm” This changed shortly after.

As the war lead on a long string of defeats would show up throughout the campaign, utter defeats with colossal casualties. Stories of a wave of fire sweeping over cities and plains crushed entire armies spread throughout the lands. Words of the phenomenon spread until it became a focus of the Arcane Storm.

Though his two companions were more interested in how to best it, the leader of the Storm found himself utterly amazed by the scale of the magic at use. He began following the battles wherever they went. He tried everything to capture some glimpse of the event, but he always missed it. He became obsessed, cursing his allies, the Tome, throwing it aside in rage when he couldn’t find something to adequately explain such magical use. The Arcane Storm left him behind, he cursed his allies for leaving when he tried to explain that with such power he could stop the war entirely but they would not heed him seeing that his obsession was driving him beyond reason. They cleared the knowledge in the Tome when they tried to leave, he almost slew them both.

He fell into a life of solitude, searching through the lands in search of the source of the magic, falling in with either side of the war. He saw many things in his travels. He saw the atrocities on both sides of the war front. What he saw was the war changing sides. He saw the dark side winning. He saw a change in the magic being used, the way it was used, something was changing everything and the Magekeep couldn’t counter it. The Arcane Storm and him clashed many times throughout the years, always becoming the forefront of the battle. He became known as the Mad Magi. As soon as he returned to battle the force vanished.

The enemy army found him enthralling and would follow him as much as their commanders though he would not acknowledge them beyond his inquiries as to where the magical force had gone. He lead the forces all over before one day he found himself standing before a battlefield, the battlefield was ashen, the ground was littered with cinders and sulfur was in the air. Miles of black burned ground. He stood there, shocked, feeling the immense magical energy. The sky was red and the ground burned as he walked across the field alone. Ashes covered his cloaks slowly as it rained from the sky and through the shimmering horizon a figure slowly came into view. The figure was tall, in a fine cut red and black suit of shimmering silk. His eyes were golden globes set deep, his face was handsome and his hair was a dark crimson. Two ebon horns protruded from his skull and arched up.

The figure stopped before him, he almost appeared to be smoldering as the air before him wavered. " Terezen Drest, The Arcane Storm, The Mad Magi, all names I have heard you called human. All wrong names. You have but one name." Said the creature in a deep hissing rumble. Terezen knew of Truenames, of the power they granted, the power they allowed someone to hold over you. Terezen for the first time in years felt fear in the presence of this thing. The creature slowly circled Terezen, his footprints leaving deep prints in the ashen earth. " You have searched for years for me, you have searched for this" The creature extended his arm out to the smoldering landscape “What is it you seek from me human, what is it that you want from me after all this time?”

Terezen’s mouth was dry and the ash was matted on his scraggly beard but the words uttered out of peeling lips. " The power… The power of magic of this magnitude, where does it come from? I want… I need to know!" Spittle evaporated before him as he shouted and the figure gazed at him. " The power comes from elsewhere, the power comes from what I do, what I serve, will you serve to help us Terezen Drest? Will you join us?" Terezen slowly let his staff slide from his fingers and reached out to the creature “Yes…Anything” The creatures face was as hard as rock and it moved forward and took his hand in his own. Terezen heard whispers as all faded to black, remembering only the crushing, burning grip and the sky darkening above him.

Terezen joined the creature, a Dark Dragon named Arizok and turned the tide of the war along with Terezen’s new council of Magi, mostly formed of Mojh. Battle after battle was won by Terezen as he slaughtered through the ranks of his old allies to help claim the land for Arizok’s, no, his people. Arizok bestowed power upon Terezen too, with it he became stronger then he had imagined possible. Terezen was known in this time as the Dark Tower for he lead his forces from a large flying tower from which he rained destruction down on his enemies.

Terezen was sent to Barhelon near the end of the war to destroy the city and capture it as a main strategic stronghold. Terzen and his forces took the city by surprise and crushed the resistance. Inside Barhelon was an artifact of immense power that amplified magic. Terezen went to claim this, seeking to bolster his power immensely so he could supercede even Arizok and take his place for even though Arizok claimed to lead the dark army he knew that even Arizok answered to something greater, though he could never learn what.

Terezen entered the Artifact’s antechamber as it crumbled around him, the debris breaking on the shield around him as he ascended the steps to take the small translucent orb in his hands. How thin his fingers had become. How white his beard had become. Taking the orb into his hands he spasmed wildly, his head whipping about wildly and his back arching heavily before he fell to his knees. Arizok entered at Terezen feebly reached up onto the pedastal and helped himself up.

" You found it then Terezen. This will be beginning of the end for these cretins that stand before us, with this I shall burn this whole world." Terezen hunched over the pillar peered over his shoulder to look at the creature, the same creature he’d met years ago. The same wretched creature. Given power. Spoiled! Terezen’s bony hand squeezed the orb as he stood straight and turned to Arizok. “The only cretin I see here…is you Arizok.” Squeezing the orb he could feel the immense power, it was like his first time flying he was completely free. Arizok tried to say something, even his face made an expression akin to anger before he exploded in a red pulp. Terezen slowly exited the antechamber.

The walk to the surface was surreal, Terezen could see for miles, everything was within his grasp, nothing mattered. He could do whatever he wanted with the world with this power, with this the war didn’t matter, he could remake the world as he saw fit. A whisper crept into his mind. Terezen opened the door into the light and the world went white. When it cleared he saw Magi, hundreds of them. The Arcane Storm were in the front with a High Magister. The whisper grew louder.

" Terezen! You can’t do this! Put it back, you don’t know what power your playing with!" Frederick said, along side Lily, the Arcane Storm. " Oh, but I can… you see I can do anything now." Terezen proclaimed as his features grew youthful, times scars fleeing from his body. “Actualy Fred, Lily, I don’t even need to fight anymore… this is, this is all I ever wanted.” Looking down at his hand, at the orb as it melded into his palm he smiled sadly to himself. “If only the others could have been here for it” “Terezen! Your mad, we can’t let you keep that, your not the right-” Terezen pushed outward against time and everything stopped.

The whisper grew louder, a word, Terezen pushed to hear it but it was on the edge of his conciousness. Again it came, what was it… what was that word. Despite the power, despite everything a sense of dread filled Terezen as everything very very slowly began to begin and everything began to flicker. Frederick slowly finished his sentence as time catches up and the Magi began to shift again. Terezen hears the voice, its clear, its a word, its a name. The world fades to darkness as time returns to normal.

Terezen floated in darkness for some time before something beyond his comprehension reached out to his mind. Terezen heard a name over and over, it stole his will, he fought against it wildly only to see the flickers of the reality he left behind. The presence reached out again, touched Terezen’s mind, showed him what it intended. Terezen was driven mad.

Terezen drifted for what seemed like an eternity. Time was lost to him. The presence was gone. It had left him alone for so long, he wished it would come so he could simply feel. Where had Frederick and Lily gone? And Salor, Beola and Loboe? Where was the Magekeep? Where were his teachers? Where were his parents? Where was he? Terezen fought for the answers, Terezen slowly picked at it, shattered the wall before him. Terezen smashed at the wall of darkness. Terezen smashed until his hands bled to the bone and his body ached beyond anything he’d known. A crack formed in the wall as hit it one last time. The crack splintered again and again into a colossal spiderweb.

Terezen with the last of his will shattered the spiderweb.

Light blinded him.

“Now, for Barhelon!” Screamed Frederick as the Magister’s raiser their staves and began casting. A colossal bombardment hit Terezen dead on but he pushed it aside. Terezen wasn’t in control. Terezen’s mind blazed in agony as the presence screeched at his presence. Terezen in a wave of his arm reduced hundred of the Magisters to dust, slowly floating upward. Terezen screamed and fought for control. The orb in his right hand was a swirl of utter darkness, slowly creeping up his arm. Terezen’s body fought the Magisters, crushing them utterly. Lily even came close to try and cast but the presence reached out with his mind and crushed hers utterly before causing her to implode in a shockwave knocking many of the magisters back.

Terezen with all his will fought for but a moment. Terezen’s one moment came when Frederick, in a rage over Lily’s death charged him screaming his name. Terezen for the one moment, in agony beyond belief seized control and looked into Frederick’s eyes and reached upward.

Frederick screamed wildly and with a summoned blade of energy cleaved into Terezen’s upraised hand.

Terezen looked at Frederick, frozen in his place, screaming in heartbroken rage. A flake of ash came off of Terezen’s hand, and then another before his whole forearm began to flake, moving towards the orb that slowly swirled into a the near translucent appearance it had originally had. Terezen gazed at the orb as he slowly moved his hand away from it, he watched his hand slowly return to the withered look it had had previously and felt his body wither. The whisper lingered in the back of his mind, but he pushed it out. Stepping back from the Frederick and the Orb Terezen looked at area around him. Even with the destruction, even with the death even with the clouded sky Terezen still saw beauty in the world.

A high pitch screech began as time began to return and the orb began to glow, growing brighter and brighter as Frederick’s blade cut deeper and deeper through it. Terezen didn’t wait for time to catch up. Terezen left to the only place he still knew.

Terezen returned to his tower, now crumbling under the massive mental strain he was under. The voice screeched at him, a feeling to return to get the orb, to stop his current train of though, the promise of power beyond anything imagined. The promise of a place in a new world. Terezen fought back and fourth with himself before he composed himself enough to set the spell sequence. Terezen laid back in the main ritual room of the Dark Tower. Azirok’s Mojh ran about wildly trying to salvage but Terezen closed them in with them, these creatures were an aspect of the presence. Terezen crumbled the tower in on himself as the magic worked around him. Terezen heard screams. Terezen felt his mind rip apart, sealing away all the magic he’d learned, sealing away the whisper, sealing away everything that threatened the world. Sealing himself away. Blackness followed.

Shaking his head he hadn’t realized he’d dozed off, the journal had fallen just inside the room. The moon was high in the sky. He looked up at it for a long while before slipping back inside and picking up the book. “And here I am…” He said running his fingers along the cover of the Journal, looking at the long scaly fingers he now had. “And what I am…” Setting the book down gently he went to lay in his bed.

The ritual had turned him to a Mojh where he awoke amongst the rubble some ways from the city. The sole survivor to his knowledge of the crash of the tower, and from the looks of the tower he was there for awhile. Terezen had made sure to keep some things ready for his reawakening though.

A journal was found amongst the ruins, small and leatherbound. The excerpts of a Rune Lord Mopisaj, a Mojh from the Dark Tower were added. Terezen had learned that Runes held great power of an Arcane nature but was not directly connected. Terezen had learned the basics before he had met his last days in the Tower but knew that with his magic sealed forever his runes would be his only chance to protect the world from the like of the dark presence. Terezen headed out for the nearest city and ended in Ptolus.

Terezen settled in Ptolus shortly after as a hermit to his own studies, though when asked nobody will tell you Terezen Drest resides in Ptolus. Terezen Drest died many years ago, the Mad Magi, the Dark Tower, the Arcane Storm. Now there only resides the quiet Mojh Serizan.


Dragons of the Seven Kingdoms Berringer