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A tale of Shadow Era


The door slammed shut with a ferocity that revealed the sheer depth of his frustrations over what lay inside. He'd experienced failure before in his attempts to create weapons for the war, but in the end he'd been successful. They'd used the Shadow Crystals to amplify the powers of living things and to create mindless constructs; he'd even managed to create a weapon that could simplify the process for some of the greater heroes of the war. Yet this, creating a living weapon from almost scratch, seemed to only be beyond him. It seemed impossible.

"And there's no one left to ask for help," he muttered to himself.

"Except me," came an unexpected response.

The voice was feminine, graceful and intelligent, but just so slightly off. The accent was one he knew wasn't local- not even from the perspective of this world. As to how one of the invading Shadow had made it into his research facility was behind him, he had no clue. Yet they rarely came in peace, and even when they did it was usually only to betray you later.

Instinctively he reached for his wand, preparing to defend himself, only to realize he'd left everything even remotely magic in his in his office three floors above them to prevent any interference with his experiments. He was unarmed, and alone with the intruder. His only chance was his magic, which admittedly was more suited to theory-crafting than actual combat. Still, he summoned up what power he could, ready to strike with everything he had.

"No need for all that," the voice came again. "I'm not here to fight you."

Slowly, she emerged from the shadows of the corridor with both of her hands raised and palms facing towards him. Her greyish skin and elongated ears immediately identified her as one of the creatures from Orem. Her short but flowing dress confirmed his belief that she was indeed a female, leaving only enough to modesty to claim it was a dress at all. It was a force of effort for Izikus to maintain his control over the building spell.

"What do you want, elf?" Izikus spat harshly, masking his own fear with anger.

"Really? An insult, when I've offered no cause? Come, come, surely no Seril haven't been that cruel to you?" Her voice was calm, cold, and calculating. It possessed no menace, but likewise it was devoid of any promises of kinship. None of the tell-tale signs of magic were about her, and if she was hiding a weapon somewhere Izikus couldn't figure out how. Slowly he released his mental grip on the spell, hoping her intent was as honest as her words claimed it to be.

"That's not what I asked," he retorted, hoping he sounded half as confident as he was trying to.

"How much do you know about the Seril? Not enough, I'd imagine. Which, in and of itself, is a great irony because it is knowledge we prize above all else. Knowledge, understanding, these are the keys to everything. We need it as much as we need food and water. That's what I'm doing here, silly man. I'm here for knowledge."

As she spoke each word, she stepped closer and closer, her movements more seductive than threatening. At last she was an arm's distance from Izikus, a distance she closed by reaching towards him with a sealed envelope. Hesitant as he was, he had to know what was inside. If the denizens of Orem prized knowledge then he and they weren't so different, and if curiosity killed the cat at least it died happily. Carefully he took the envelope, opening it with the utmost caution.

"I'm not expecting something for nothing, after all" she continued. "I know exactly what you're doing here, and how close you are. I want to help."

He instantly tossed the would-be peace offering aside and gave the Seril a look that he wished could actually kill. He'd been told the research he was conducting here would be kept and absolute secret; General Gunther hadn't even afforded him assistants for his work from fear of it leaking out. Despite all of that, though, here stood one of the very enemies he'd been working to create a way to fight. Here she stood... offering him a way to fix the issues with his experiment.

Slowly he bent to pick up the discarded envelope, peeling it open once more and looking over the pages within intently. The symbols and images were certainly foreign to him, but he'd spent enough time working against the Shadow to recognize its handy work. From what he could gather these were modified versions of the rituals the Undead had used to create their undying forms.

"How do I know I can trust you?"

She stepped past him then, pushing open the door to his latest failed experiment. It lay on the floor, as if trapped in an eternal misshapen torment. Though it had never lived, not even for a moment, Izikus was heartbroken for it. The look on her face mirrored his own disappointment.

"Because not trusting me will simply result in more failures like this one, and neither of us wants to see that. If, however, you need more time I'll make this simple. Simply go to your window and call my name; I'll know when you do and return to help."

"Your name?"

"Lilyt. Don't make me wait too long; I may find something else to enlighten me if you fail to."

"Why?" he asked simply.

"Why what, exactly?" she replied, a coy tone in her voice.

"Why help me?"

"Because, dear Izikus, I want to know if it can be done."