These two Greatest of Mages, stared at each other across the colossal Chessboard for 99 years. Not Like 99 years. Not “as if”. They each waited for the other to make the first move for 99 years. Miles of six cubits by six cubits, black and white, stretching to the flat, artificial horizon. The Chessboard had been here from before recorded time, a place where ‘differences’ could be resolved. The White and Black Mages, though both were truly black of soul, just standing a half mile apart, planning and waiting.
For lesser mages, this would have been a colossal waste of time. But these were not lesser mages. In this end of times, brought about by the Elder Gods, these two were the ultimate pinnacle of wizardry. They stood equal with the later. Across the only great plane left, Vivvar (or Life Plane) and the hundreds of fragments of the remaining universe, these two were supreme in matters great and small. Even Time was at their beck and call. In preparation for their struggle/duel/or some fancy word for fight the two sent scores of avatars across reality on missions great and small, allowing their psyches to concentrate on the true matter at at hand.
If there had been anyone to document the fight, sages would have spoke of an epic disagreement of the two. A battle over arcane knowledge. Nothing could be further from the truth. Although the universe truly was big enough for both of them, neither could, in even the deepest recesses of their minds, tolerate an equal. You would have never gotten them to declare the other as equal, that is why they stood motionless for a final confrontation. But true equals they were. Equals that wanted the same woman, Llila.
Many were more beautiful but in all of reality none was more skilled at the art of love, being the only courtesan muse touched. In both Mages long lives, occasionally they looked for earthly pleasure. They both discovered Llila at the same time. She was the greatest courtesan of all recorded time. Despite the raw power at their disposal they were still men. In stasis she awaited the outcome. It could just as easily about whether a sun was yellow or amber. The straw that broke…….
Scores of avatars patrolled the nearby dimensions, engaging in endless battles to prevent prying eyes or spells. Gods and stars died, the avatars killed each other and millions suffered.
The combatants would have no interference of any kind. That is why they chose here and now for their confrontation. On this they could agree. They were that alike. It was that “alikeness” that brought them here, that and the skillful prize.
The Black Mage sees just a twitch of The White Mage’s eye, it was all the opening that both had been waiting for! Now that the White Mage is paying a little too much attention to one of his avatars, The Black Mage goes for a quick kill with a smile on his lips.
Black Mage summons black Knight.
Mount Munin, LLama Highlands, Mundania, Vivvar Plane, the present
The godlings serving Munin the Raven where known as Munin’s Chosen. They were 7 foot tall beings with four arms and the disposition of a grizzly bear. What they lacked in discipline, they more than made up for in pure ferocity and muscle. Armed with angelic avatar’s of the ascended two handed holysword Hope (“There is always Hope!’) and armored in blue crystal breastplates from the Hidden City, they were unmatched warriors short of the fabled Rune Elves.
The 37 godlings gayly pranced and cavorted, in the alabaster marble hall. Waited on by triple that many bards, serving wenches and dancing girls. Chief among the revellers was Aton the Mighty. Oh some were stronger wiser craftier, But all agreed, nobody partied like Aton. His two left arms held Two golden angelic greatswords with small functional wings, his two right held a huge mug and a dancing girl. The two five foot swords had their own idea of what a party was.
The baconalia was in full swing now, the godlings celebrating a great victory over the Elder gods, seeing horrors even their divinity could not shield them from. So here the small army brawled, drank, gambled and caroused. Mostly they drank. The divine mead of their god’s furthest journey. A treat for his loyal warriors to help them forget. As if they could.
The swords pulled Aton around the hall in an attempt to get into a fight with somebody. Anybody. Greater and lesser godlings scattered, laughing at the sword’s antic’s. The mighty godling warrior was too busy with the dancing girl and his mead to care as he flew about the place. Finally they were rewarded with some action.
Upsetting the table of one Keptle the Thick, rewarding the swords with the fight they were looking for. Keptle also wielded two of the gold swords and the three of them happily started to battle Aton. Other than holding on to the angelic swords, Aton was now firmly entranced by Kira?
Alla?’ “What is this dancer's name?” he thought dimly, through his drunken haze.
Looking for any advantage, Keptle took the fight into the sky. He was no match for Aton on the ground but he was far more skilled in aerial combat. As they soared miles above their godly home, Aton decided to take an interest in the fight. Tucking the dancing girl between his legs and discarding the mug, he began to fight in earnest. In a black puff of smoke the 4 golden swords disappeared, leaving the trio in quite a mess. Keptle screamed the loudest, then the dancing girl (Allr) and Aton made the most of the fatal fall and began to undress her.
The almost 500 winged swords from across the cosmos bowed to the Black Mage ( leaving uncounted gods defenceless), then turned to fly at the White Mage. The Black mage had gone for a quick end to this. The angelic swords flew as one. In the seconds that it took for the swords to close the distance, The White Mage acted.
White Mage summons Defencive white pawn.
Rune Wood, South of AEgytia, Mundania, Vivvar Plane 4000 years ago
Aleea swung through the 90 and 45 degree branches of the Rune Wood with ease. The cute, to her boyfriend anyway, female elf was one with the forest today, enjoying the fine fall morning. The beauty of the metallic rune shaped leaves sending glistening light that never ceased to enthrall her. Fall only enhanced the tree’s beauty. Her mood further bettered by the news her mother had brought to her 5 days ago, still fresh in her mind.
In the matriarchal world of the Rune Elves, After the Great Plague, things had changed. The Men fought and the Women did EVERYTHING else. Her mother had given her the fantastic news that Aleea would be able to choose her own husband! Arranged marriages were still the norm and this was a break from tradition.
She swung down from the trees, stopping at a pond to quench her thirst and gazed at her own reflection. Looking back at her was a thin greenish face covered in scars and runes, the ravages of the plague, striking. It had taken a long time for her to be able to look at herself, the scars were not just on her body. It took the love of her childhood friend Cleesis, that had turned to a more deep and mature love. He never saw the scars. He saw a woman/child he loved, with all his heart. It took a long time for Aleea to understand that he saw past the ravages of the plague, he saw her as his soulmate.
Suddenly a warning came from the Rune Leaves! A call from her village. The Leaves flashed gold! The highest level of emergency! She ran home but she was very far away. She ran because lives might depended on it. She ran for her mother and Cleesis.
The majesty of the Rune Wood lost to her, she was in a fearful rage! Gold! The leaves never turned gold for the frequent raids and even all out war with the hauty AEgyptians or the Son’s of the Panther. The Rune Wood Elves were more than any foe she could imagine! In the deepest recesses of her mind was a fear. A fear of what had ended the Great Plague.
It was dark before she reached the village. And it was very quiet. “What happened” she wondered as she headed for her home through the deserted streets. No light shone from her home, front door wide open and soft sobs. She teared in fear.
At the dinner table sat her mother, head down and face covered by her one hand. Mother’s left arm was about to go around Aleea’s younger brother, who had just come to her.
“Daddys gone? queried the 4 year old boy.
“Mother……” is all Aleea could choke out.
“It was the summoning” is all her mother said.
The cure for the Great Plague had come at a high cost. A great mage had come to them and cured it, but he had called for a terrible price, their warriors. All of them. Forever.
White Pawn diverted to enhancement vats
( The Rune Elves, armed with magical ironwood spears and shields, were summoned for their legendary skill at war, but lacked the raw strength, endurance, durability and fealty for the battle ahead)
The vats of the Kuurl Alchemists, artificial moon of Khomex Zha, remnant of Ascolin Plane, The Present.
The Kuul’K (roughly translated as both officer of the day and Major) sat bored out of his skull in front of the ancient enhancement chambers. It had been over 500 years that Kuul”k like him has sat, staring and just waiting. The pungent aroma of burning Talka Rose bushes filled the air, he wished for nose blindness that never came. The Iridescent crimson glow of the vats, the only light.
It once had been an honor to sit before the vats, awaiting the call of the White Mage, but the lure of easy gold from the moon sized home they lived on, was too much of a temptation. The moon had been constructed as an immense mausoleum by the early Minoran empire. As the Kuurl Alchemists grew more powerful, the raiding of the greatly trapped tombs became easier.The mage had given a band of tomb raiders the money and knowledge to start the Kuurl, in exchange for their building and staffing this chamber, permanently. It had been a century since the alchemists had taken this duty seriously. Now it was punishment for a single wayward master where once thirty five had waited.
The 2000 vats bubbled and boiled, waiting. Few were full, fewer still had exactly the right mix of alchemical formula. Abruptly 1689 of them filled with the Rune Wood elves in full battle regalia!
The blue and white war painted bodies of the elves stood motionless and ready, the vats were not.
The Kuul’K totally panicked, sitting as motionless as the elves. Only the scream of an elf in a flawed tank shook him out of his stunned state. He flew into the action he had trained (only half seriously) for a lifetime. Knobs turned, levers pulled as he ran from vat to vat, panel to panel.
More elves started to scream and die. almost instantly screams and explosions were heard outside, already the retribution for his people's lack of vigilance was here!
The Kuul”K prayed to gods he did not worship that he would see another sunrise
In two blinks of an eye the 980 some Rune Elves poofed in, surrounding the White Mage just as his defences against The winged angelic great swords began to crumble. The White Mage’s magic shell had protected him from the onslaught of the swords just long enough. The split seconds the elves spent in the vats had nearly caught him with his pants down.The Black Mage’s gamble had nearly won him the day. The melee surrounded the White Mage as elves and swords started to fall. With the White Mage on his heels the Black Mage takes another chance.
Black Mage requests independant Rook
The Dragon's cave, north pole, base of The Needle, Swamp moon of Mysantia, Vivvar Plane, One week ago.
The massive red dragon stretched his wings as he awoke. Virgin’s Bane was a little perturbed at the magical ward that had awakened him and promptly dismissed it. As was his habit he rolled around in his treasure, enjoying it down to the last copper penny. Diving deep into the hoard, the dragon tossed priceless gems and a mountain of gold into the air. The exhilaration of his treasure! Heedless of the whimpering of his captives, three young girls and the mangled unicorn.
Finally turning his attention to the youngest girl, he took her out of her cage and brought her near the shackled unicorn. Rewarded with a satisfactory silver glow from the unicorn’s horn, Virgin’s Bane was sure he had a genuine virgin for his breakfast. Three man sized chess rooks appeared before him. They were black, and signified that the Black Mage was requesting his aid, in what would amount to a tripling of his hoard!
The dragon picked up one of the giant chess pieces, running it around his talons, exiting his cave. He looked out at the vast swamp of twisted eight foot trees and up at the lone, nearly vertical, mountain. His greed rising. “He must be facing the White Mage finally!” he said out loud, sort of to the girl in his hand.
This brought his attention back to his succulent meal. He chose caution over greed. Another day perhaps, right now he was hungry, his smaller good eye on the prize female.
With the elf/sword slaughter in full swing, The White Wizard casts’ The All Seeing and Knowing’, Learning that the Black Mage was trying to summon the greatest of dragon's, but not revealing that Virgin’s Bane had said “No.” As he was contemplating his next move, the elves started to lose ground, although they had managed to clear the swords from about a twenty foot circle around the White Mage, at the cost of many lives. He was still losing the initiative.
White Mage summons Defencive Bishop
Crystal Vault, The Hidden City, unknown location, Five years in the future.
Tils listened to the twin master crystal smiths argue for the Nth time, “Thank the god’s this is the last of it” He spoke out loud, his frustration over coming his caution. The two score foot diameter crystal egg was all but done, and still Master Evk and Master Kve argued about who would take the last bit of stray crystal. Tils looked around at the huge Crystal Vault, taking a brief bit of enjoyment in the glinting splendor of the cavern. He fingered the heavy hammer in his hand and considered a wicked move.
For twenty seven years, the master crafters had worked on the great blue and yellow egg for
the White Mage’s physical protection. Now at the end, each wanted to have the honor of finishing it. “ I am the ELDER brother and the honor…….”
“WHO CARES” shouted Tils as he hammered the last bit of blue crystal. It’s shattering echoed about the cavern. The twins stood dumbfounded at their lesser’s daring action.
For a long, long moment the egg vibrated from the blow but finally stopped.
Tils wondered if he was too old for the military as he cast aside his hammer and headed toward the cavern city
The Black Mage casts ‘The long Moment’ to think a bit. Even as the egg over the White Mage had formed, the Rune Elves took up the broken angelic swords in a very strange bit of initiative and it was turning the tide( in death the swords retained a spark of divinity). The elves should not have been able to think that clearly! 90 Elves were destroying the last 30 flying swords.
Black Mage summons Black Rook
Deep Swamp, Swamp moon of Mysantia, Vivvar Plane 2 hours into the future
The mighty, 60 foot Mandrill, twisted the leg off the last remaining Demon ( man sized velociraptors). The Puja slowly plucked the feathers off his meal, enjoying every second of the Demon’s pain. Fresh scars on his blue and red face oozed black blood, evidence of the ferocity of the Demon’s. Always he took too long in hunting and killing a pack of his favorite delicacy.
Once the feathers were gone , The Puja savored his meal. With each bite, the Demon screamed. It was music to accompany breakfast, carefully causing a lingering death.
While eating, he felt a strange sensation under his left leg. The Puja paused to look under his foot. Their was a nest of Jotan’s Shrews. One inch long rodents that had the strength of the mightiest of human men ( a common component in Might potions). Enjoying the tickling feeling the mandrill places his foot back down on the same spot.
In the dimmest recesses of his mind the call of the White Mage echoed. Despite his great power, The giant did not have the intellect necessary to avoid being called. Even if he had been given a choice, he would never miss a good fight! Popping the last bit of velociraptor in his mouth, The Puja answered, proving that even gods served the White and Black.
Trapped in the egg with several swords and as many elves, all armed with dead swords of lingering power, the White Mage would not play it safe this time. The egg was the first mistake the White Mage had made, he should have trusted in the elves alone to protect him!. “I should have gone on offence” He says as the Puja appears. The PUJA!!!! His very name had become a synonym for evil and chaos, a divinity of the darkest kind. The tiniest drop of sweat falls from his brow.
White Mage requests Black, now White Independant Rook
The Dragon’s cave, the present……….
Virgin’s Bane stared in wonder at the 12 six foot white rooks. Never in his wildest greed…….(and dragon's have a lot of GREED) His treasure TWELVE FOLD!!!! He had spent the week in prepping for the fight but this! He answers the call.
The White Mage watched as the last Rune Elf dispatched the remaining angelic sword inside the egg. Between the mages The battle between The Puja and Virgin’s Bane raged. Armed only with his fangs, The Puja was more than a match for a dragon that had spent a week preparing spells, wards and supernaturally sharpening claws and teeth. It was obvious that the giant mandrill was gaining the upper hand. With the Black Mage controlling the Puja, the White Mage leaves the dragon on his own and sends the 60 elves outside the egg at his enemy.
White Mage summons last White Bishop
Village of Bitterwind, On the edge of the Corrosive Sea, The Plane of Chains, 200 years ago.
The Royal tax collector, Ellisa stared in anger as the village headmistress, Bella, continued to explain. The wind off the Corrosive Sea was brisk and pungent, as the pair pulled their cloaks
“You know damn well that we are OUT of salve!” Bella shouted over the growing wind. “ the price of Talka Roses went up and between that and the tripled taxes…”
“I represent the crown” interrupted Ellisa. “ And the crown needs the pearls…….Is it going to storm? She shouted.
“ Look!” the headmistress pointing to the sea, as the 1/4 million square miles of The Corrosive Sea disappears, leaving a huge untapped pearl bed.
They smiled and looked at each other with huge grins.
The White Mage channels the Corrosive Sea into a melon sized ball, striking The Puja, rendering the god unconscious. Virgin’s Bane crawls and wing assisted hops toward The Black Mage as the last of the elves outside the egg fall to his defences. The Dragon rears up for the kill, the Chessboard awash in the slowly expanding Corrosive Sea
The White mage smiles. His Foe will be stunned by the broken connection to The Puja, leaving him helpless before the dragon.
White Independant Rook takes Black Wizard, Checkmate
The White Mage starts to gloat when the sole elf glares at him , broken in half angelic sword in his hands. The White Mage’s eyes widen at the sight. He had not realized just how flawed the Kuurl Vats had been. The elf only has a bit of the tell tail crimson dust he should be covered in. The mage can not control this pawn any longer!
“not now” in the barest of whispers escapes The White Mage’s lips.
The egg is being melted by the remains of the Corrosive Sea, The toxic smell starts to choke The White Mage. His eyes are struck by the bitter vapor. He slowly backs away from the elf, but is trapped in his own egg. Having expended his physical defences on the angelic swords, he is helpless.
“ My name is Cleesis” the Rune Elf bitterly states.” “ Your vats have failed you, oh great mage”’ advancing closer. “” I am the last thing you will ever see”
White Defencive Pawn takes White Mage, Double Checkmate
Rune Wood….3879 years ago
Aleea squeezed Cleesis with all her might…………..
The Dragon’s Cave…...the present
Virgin’s Bane’s head erupts from 100 king’s treasures with a start! “Shit, I am such a target!”