There was nothing here. Where had he gone too? He was in the palace throne room one moment, then here. It was as if he had willed it to be, and it happened. There was no logical reason for it. He hadn’t even cast a spell.
Ezra took a seat on a rock that faced the beach in front of him. There was no indication of life here at all. The entire place looked dead. It was mostly a hard caked earth with the exception of the beach in front of him. He had searched for hours he had to have covered at least a hundred mile radius in the area around him. He was sore. The walker had only just started walking on the ground again instead of swimming in the ocean. It was hard having your body support your full weight.
Ezra let out a yawn. He was also exhausted. He must have cast hundreds of spells today, and it still wasn’t over. He pinched his face to wake up then summoned a water skin. He drank deeply into it. He hadn’t realized how thirsty he was till he had begun drinking. Once empty he let it slip from his grasp. There was one last place he felt like searching. He stood back up supporting most of his weight on his cane and right side. His leg had been hurting very bad for some reason, and no matter how many times he tried to heal it, it wouldn’t. Another unexplained part of his past he supposed.
Ezra began to cast another spell. It was a little sluggish at first to materialize, but after a second a giant bird formed from the water he used. It than solidified enough for him to climb on. Once seated on top his mount immediately took off into the air. It soared high over a ridge. He scanned it and was disappointed to find that there was no life here either. Although he wasn’t really surprised given the level of success he had had so far. He was about ready to give up when he spotted it.
It was a cave. It wasn’t even obvious he must have missed it on the first few passes but as this angle it was easy to spot plain as day. With his bird he swooped down for a closer look. It was larger than expected. He could easily have fit three wagons side by side into it; if it weren’t for the rocks littered around the entrance.
After landing his bird Ezra hobbled into the cave entrance prepared for the worst. Inside the cave under the plateau the tunnels varied in size. Until he finally located a large central cavern, inside the ceiling of the cavern was several hundred feet high. The area was pitch-black until Ezra cast a light spell. It formed into several dozen floating orbs. They then flew high into the air revealing the rest of the cavern.
A slow drip could be heard softly echoing across the room. Ezra focused on the noise silently casting a spell that singled it out. He followed the noise afterword. It led him to a series of stalagmites and stalactites. Water was slowly dripping off of the stalactites into a pool of water. The water looked icy cold and clean.
Ezra sat down next to the water and cupped his hands to grab some of the water. He then splashed some one his face that had gotten dirty in his travels. When he felt a little cleaner he drank some of the water. I soothed his throat that was getting dry again. Finding the pond gave him a small amount of comfort that he hadn’t experienced as long as he could remember. Which honestly hadn’t been very long for him; considering most of his memories had been fabricated for some grand scheme.
Of course the reprieve was very short, another sound created tension. He wasn’t sure what it was at first. It sounded to him, like a taping noise. He didn’t move immediately. He instead let his senses stretch out using his previously cast spell. It quickly pinpointed the source of the noise. He turned around to face it. He didn’t know exactly what he was going to face, but what ever it was surprised him.
It was a strange creature vaguely human in appearance. It was completely white in color, and danced on bladed limbs towards him.
“What are you?” He asked it. It didn’t respond it danced forward from point to point flipping to its bladed hands then back to its feet. It was an extremely nimble creature. When it was a few mere feet away it attacked him with one of its blades. Ezra being on edge since discovering it blocked the blow with the head of his cane engulfing the appendage. He pushed it back, making it fall over. He began to run, but with his previous exertion it wasn’t very fast.
The dancing creature recovered quickly, and chased him down. Soon more showed up to surround him. They all looked exactly the same to him. Each silently dancing around him twirling and slashing away at the territory mage. He dodged many of them and parried almost as many again. To anyone that may have been an onlooker it simply appeared to be people dancing away at nothing.
Ezra growing weary finally made a move against them. He summoned up water from the pond and sent arcs of water gliding towards the group. With a combination of the water and air pressure in his territory each one was razor sharp; cutting away at the dancers like they were hardly there. He then ran away assuming that they were dealt with.
Unfortunately for him he was very mistaken. After Laquatus’ former apprentice had passed by the last of them, he only looked back once. At this point, Ezra had fought in countless forgotten battles. That’s why it was surprising for him to see that each of the creatures he had thought he had slain, simply created more creatures from the halves of the dancers that he had cut with his spell. Ezra undaunted cast another spell, that sealed the tunnel he had entered through behind him.
“What were those things?” Ezra asked himself. He didn’t suppose it mattered now. The tunnel had been sealed with 4 feet of solid rock. There was no way simple creatures like that could possibly break through it. Unfortunately he quickly learned that he was sorely mistaken, as a loud cracking noise echoed behind him. He wasn’t sure he wanted to know what could break through his wall.
Ezra ran out into the daylight. He was again surprised to see more living creatures waiting for him outside. These creatures were different from the ones inside the cave. They were almost sliver in appearance. In fact the only reason he knew that they weren’t true slivers was their distinctive beaked heads. Instead of the traditional ravens beak that they normally ended with. They instead were longer, straighter, and more slender. Their beaks also opened up into a jagged maw.
They let out a great screech that resonated with one another. Several of these green creatures combined creating larger headless humanoid shaped creatures with the beaks ending as their hands.
“I guess you don’t come in peace, right?” Ezra muttered half-sarcastically to himself. I gauged his opponents carefully, and quickly. There were approximately two dozen outside with him, and a few more in the cave likely about to break through the wall he had put in place. These creatures seemed to shift depending on the situation. And although they don’t seem very magically attuned, assuming they lived in this area, he sensed there is a rather large amount of magical energey almost chaotic in nature. It seemed completely different from anything he had felt before, as far as he knew anyway. All in all it seemed like a bad situation to be in. Although so was storming the capital of the Berbous Empire by yourself.
Ezra readied a spell. Guessing from the level of pain he was in tied with the exhaustion he was feeling he guessed he could maintain combat for a few minutes before he got overwhelmed, and run out of energy to cast spells.
What were Laquatus’ rules of combat? Ezra thought to himself. Right, first never fight openly unless absolutely necessary. Well that one is a bust. Second, if you must fight directly make sure you don’t have to fight against superior numbers. Crap. Finally, if the first two rules fail then pit your enemies against one another. It’s better to have many divided opponents than a few united. Lovely.
These shifting creatures didn’t move. Instead they stared at him with their nonexistent eyes waiting for his first move. No wanting to disappoint he began with a simple area spell he new to allow for a constant supply of water while in the open. As it went off rain began to fall. It was strangely comforting to feel the moisture again.
Then they struck. They attacked in packs all around him. One had even burst through a boulder trying to get him. Luckily, Ezra managed to dodge out of the way in time before the blow could connect. Another was waiting to smash him where he had dodged to, but Ezra had been prepared for that as well. A geyser erupted underneath him, sending him flying into the air.
Once airborne, spikes of ice rained down upon the monsters below him. Some were impaled; some dodged them, and some they simply bounced off of. It didn’t really make sense to him, but he didn’t have the luxury of contemplation. With the distraction the spell provided Ezra glided himself through the air farther back to the beach. There he hoped he would have a better chance of fighting them with the naturally forming water still there; that, or an escape.
He softly landed on the lose sand; already he could see not only the green behemoths, but those bladed dancers as well. Water from the ocean began to fill the space around him in the form of swirling pools of water. He was ready to make his stand, hopefully.
They then surprised him again with a change in tactics. Several of the greens threw the dancers into the air that then shifted into bladed birdlike things. They swooped down to attack him. In response four of the pools shot up as pillars then split up into hundreds of smaller serpents of water that attempted to slice the assailants.
Many that were cut to pieces landed all around him. Then they turned into miniature versions of the bladed dancers, and swarmed him at the first chance they got. Only partially caught off guard smaller tombs of ice encased the things, although a few avoided the attacks. Ezra received several cuts to his legs as a result. Not wanting to sit idly by while the law mage was distracted the rest to the group attacked. Water serpents slashed. The pillars rained down into pressurized blades. Ezra himself was carried away by a current of his own water.
The artificer healed himself as he traveled, and eventually stopped in a corner. Directly in front of him were the hordes of his assailants, which only seemed to grow in numbers. To his right was the ocean that he considered jumping into. And finally to his back and left side was a large cliff face that would be a sheer climb on slippery rock. He really didn’t like how it looked. He ran through his options one last time. He even riffled through his pockets to see what he could find. All that was in there were a set of strange keys, a rectangular device made of glass metal and some other substance he didn’t recognize but the device itself didn’t seem to work, and a small metal orb with a sliding lid. He didn’t know what any of them were for, but he knew the orb was at least magical.
Taking his chances he pointed the lid of the orb towards the amassed abominations, and slid it open with his thumb. He wasn’t disappointed to see a giant gout of intense flame erupt from the tiny opening. Many of the things were immolated in the process, but many more ran through it unhindered. In fact it was as if they were evolving at a rapid pace.
The battle wasn’t going well for the walker. He was cornered, and resorting to cheap tricks to kill his enemies as they swarm over him. He looks worn from each encounter. Finally he resorts to fighting in melee as he sculpts his etherium cane into a weapon again. His enemies are on all sides. The boy continues to fight on in an attempt to survive even though he knows it hopeless.
Suddenly, a massive amount of ice encased Ezra’s assailants around him, leaving him standing in the center completely encased in ice but not touched by it, and otherwise unharmed. Ezra returned his cane to normal looking around at the unmoving creatures.
“Come out assassin, and explain yourself!” The crimson robed figure appeared behind him. Ezra quickly turned to face him.
“Calm yourself boy it’s not your time to die. Not yet. You need to return to your time.”
“What?” Immediately a bubble formed around the mage. Time seemed to stand still for him as ice then began to creep up his legs.
“Do not worry. You’re going to rest. That’s what you need right now, and when you awaken you’ll be home at last.” The ice was halfway up Ezra’s body before he could respond.
“What are you doing to me?”
“Ensuring your survival, now sleep.” With a wave its hand the war weary mage fell into a deep sleep.
In all of his confrontations and battles he was never relaxed, never without his guard down. For the first time since his arrival on the plane with his companions the planeswalker Nick Huth found peace as he truly rested for the first time. The ice slowly encases the mage inside of the time bubble. With the time bubble he won’t age, with the sleep spell he won’t awaken, and with the ice tomb he won’t be disturbed. Nick will be preserved for the tasks he is still needed for.
“Be at peace.” As the spells concluded Ezra rested with his icy guardians, and the crimson figure faded away.