The Planewalkers War

Keep up the good work, Manus. :slight_smile:

The three girls dashed through the skies. Arche’s broom was leaving a sparkling stardust trail, but Sakura and Angela were almost invisible. The three were very close to each other and none of them seemed to be gaining the lead.
The landscape behind them was nothing but a blur, all they were seeing was the path ahead.
Arche looked to her left and saw Sakura, moving like lightning.
“So… giving up?” she asked with a satisfied smile.
“Hehehe! Not yet!” Sakura replied.
They were going faster by the second, without showing any signs of exausthion. They were quickly approaching their destination.
Distracted by the excitement, they descended a bit and ran over a group of cutthroat marauders without even noticing them, before the large city gates appeared in the distance. Alerted by the noise, a group of Knights on patrol decided to move in and ended up arresting the whole group without ever knowing who or what had saved them a long fight.
The three were about to reach the gates when they decided to make an entrance and fly over the city walls.
“Where are they anyway?” Sakura asked.
“Let me see…” Arche replied, before taking a quick look at the holomap.
“Got it! They’re… right below!” she said triumphantly.
They tried to stop right away, but they were so excited by the race they ended up crashing on two people who were standing on a corner between an inn and a weapons shop.
A few seconds later, in a mess of capes, arms and legs, a mild voice was heard.
“Ouch… There goes my back…”
Arche managed to break free and found her face against the chest of a young man around seventeen years old, with dark brown hair and blue eyes, who was wearing a strange blue suit and a cape marked with the Templars’ cross.
Arche recognized him and jumped to her feet.
“Well well well… Exactly who we were looking for!” she said, giggling. The boy smiled, but then noticed something and started looking around desperately.
“Where are my glasses?” he asked in panic.
As Angela and Sakura helped him up, they noticed a tall girl of the same age right under him. She had long blond hair and green eyes and was wearing an odd green armor, with three leaf-shaped plates at the front and sides, down to her knees and two behind. The whole armor was covered with golden runes.
“Schisen! What was that?!” she said with an very slight German accent.
A few seconds later, she jumped to her feet and looked around. She then smiled and bent over to pick something up, before turning to the boy.
“Here are your glasses!”
He looked at them and felt a bit sad.
“Oh… they look as if they had been run over by a truck.” he said.
Sakura and Arche tried to cheer him up.
“Don’t worry.” Angela said in a sweet tone.
“Yeah, we’ll have them fixed in no time!” Arche added.
The blond girl picked up her long spear from the ground and looked at them with a slight concern.
“Erm… do you think it’s a good idea…? Don’t you remember that time when you tried to… enhance the Dawnbringer?” she said.
“Hey! That was an accident!” Arche shouted, rather embarassed.
Sakura interrupted them with a serious face and turned to the blond girl.
“So, Helga… How long have you been here anyway?” she asked.
Helga examined the boy’s broken glasses and started thinking for a few moments before answering.
“Well… a few days ago, we received word from our fellow Guardian. He mentioned the disturbances in the Mana streams and suspected the work of Planewalkers here. We warped into the norhtern mountains, looking for anything suspicious. Then, we ran into an old Mana Vault near this city, but when we were about to investigate it, that weirdo barged into this world and we came here in a hurry to wait for you.”
The boy looked at the glasses in Helga’s hands and then at a strange watch-like device on his wrist. He pushed a button and a blue beam hit the glasses, causing them to glow white. A few seconds later, they looked like new. Helga handed them to him and he was very pleased to feel them back on.
Arche whistled, impressed.
“Ah, Elysium Elsydeon, always the scientist! That gadget is cool! How many uses does it have anyway?” she asked in a curious tone.
Elysium smiled and answered in a tone between playful and serious.
“As many as I can give it, I guess.”
Arche looked at the device and noticed something.
“Whoa! It’s the same one you were wearinf before! But it looks brand new! I thought that thing had been smashed beyond recognition back on Sikharon.” she said, surprised.
Elysium looked at her.
“Ah, yes, Arche, you have a very keen eye. In the middle of that huge mess, I didn’t have the time to tell you that I have a matter converter of my own. All I had to do was to collect the fragments and use the device.” he said, calmly.
Arche smiled.
Angela looked at him and Helga and remembered the circumstances of their first meeting, back on the days of the Mana Tree’s revival. She had grown to admire the Templar’s resourcefulness. Always carrying the right gadget at the right time, he had helped her greatly.
She then turned to Helga.
“You look a bit different from last time, Helga… Hmmm… Have you been working out?” she asked.
Helga got some of her hair off her eyes and took a deep breath before answering in a warm tone.
“We made a lovely trip to the northern lands… Denmark, Sweden, Norway… The home of my ancestors. It was great. I missed that refreshing climate so much… We had plenty of chances do to some exercises.”
She then turned to Sakura and smiled.
“So, Sakura… Have you managed to snatch Albert and run off with him to Ega as you intended?” she winked at her and asked with an unmistakably naughty tone.
Sakura blushed a bit.
“Well… almost got him. Hehehehe! He was at the monastery, going over some books. But then Shoto and Alexander showed up and I didn’t want to spoil the surprise.” she answered with a sweet voice.
Arche looked at her and then laughed a bit.
“Hehehehehe! What, Sakura?!” she asked in a mocking tone “First you jump him at every turn and now you’re telling me you were afraid of spoiling the surprise? Why didn’t you just use that stunning powder you threw at Chester’s face the other time?”
Sakura smiled.
“Well, that would be too easy.” she replied, sweetly “I’m hoping he’ll blush a bit along the way… He looks so cute when he does that…”
The others smiled.
“Oh, I get it now!” Arche said.
Angela blinked for a few seconds.
“Do all the Ninja girls do that when they fall in love or something?” she asked.

More updates will follow soon…
I also have a few sketches, but I need to get them hosted.
EDIT: Here we go! Yes, I know it’s big, but I usually make full-sheet sketches.

Here’s another one… I really have to start shrinking them ASAP…

Looks good :slight_smile: me like… makes me wish I had a scanner…

Elysium Elsydeon

someone been playing Phantasy Star :slight_smile:

either way, looks good… keep it up.

Helga started spinning her spear and smiled at the others.
“Well, we all have our little obsessions…” she said in an understanding tone.
Sakura smiled back.
“Yes… Hehe! Well, now that we’re here, what are we supposed to do? Do you have any idea on where that maniac went?” she asked.
“Well… according to our tracking devices, he headed to a mountain range far to the southeast. A volcano, I believe.” Helga replied, still spinning her spear.
“But that’s not all” Elysium added. “We have detected a large disturbance to the northeast, near one of the largest floating water orbs.”
Arche and the other two were worried.
“But then… that means… that means that maniac may be bringing pals to play…” Arche said, frustrated with her inability to stop the Planewalker at the Academy.
Sakura started thinking in silence for a while. A few moments later, she decided to speak.
“Well, that other disturbance may be important. But the question here is… Can we afford to leave that maniac on his own for a while, so we can investigate it?” she asked.
Elysium smiled.
“Don’t worry, if he tries anything, the mana readings will inform us. Besides, I think he’s probably busy in the mountains. He looked like an Embermage, correct? Some of them have a thing for volcanos, so I think he’s going to be there for a while.”

Sizes, Manus, sizes ^^;; Other than that, neat. And the story’s looking neat too.

Gah! This is it, I’m doing a backup of this thing!
Other than that, expect updates soon…

Sakura looked at the sky.
“To the northeast, then! To the water orbs! This is a fascinating world, and I want to see as much of it as I can.” she said.
Arche turned to Helga.
“How far are the water orbs from here?” she asked.
“It’s a moderate walk. Considering your broom, Sakura’s Wind Walking abilities and Elysium’s antigravity drives… We should get there in six hours.” she answered “We could go faster, but right now, we cannot afford to draw too much attention with teleport spells.”
Arche paused for a moment.
“Hmmm… Let’s just hope we don’t have another maniac on the loose. One is already too much.”

Looking good Manus. :slight_smile: Keep up with the hard work

Fortunately for them, nobody else seemed to have noticed the three girls’ awnkward landing and the convseration that followed. The people of this city were apparently too busy gathering and cleaning their weapons. Rumors of the attack on the Academy hadn’t reached them yet, but the cloud of smoke they had seen moments before had told them everything they needed to know.

Elysium looked around and sighed.
“Well, maybe we should get a bit away from the city before we start flying again. We don’t have the time to deal with angry mobs or misunderstandings.”

And so, they left through the main gate, after walking through a few stone-paved streets, filled with white wooden houses.
As they were about to leave, a group of knights appeared down the road, hauling a few restrained marauders. Their leader approached the gate guards, who were wearing white leather armors, marked with a golden sword.
“Someone seems to have saved us the trouble of hunting these scoundrels. Is the city jail in a decent condition to receive them?”

“Yes, sir.” One of the guards replied. “Come right this way.”

As a few of the knights hauled the prisoners and followed the guard, their leader noticed the odd group attempting to leave. He paid special attention to Sakura, Helga and Elysium, noticing their odd outfits.

“You don’t seem to be from this land, strangers… Where have you come from?” he asked.

Sakura turned to him.
“From the Academy.”

The knight looked at them suspiciously.
“The Academy, eh? Well, the place seems to have been torched, judging from the thick cloud of smoke we saw a while ago. Did you have anything to do with it?” he asked.

Sakura felt insulted, but answered as politely as possible.
“We are representatives of a higher authority. That matter cannot be discussed in public. We tried to stop the arsonist, but he got away. That’s all you need to know.”

The knight felt that something was amiss, and insisted.
“A higher authority? Well, I’m the Captain of this city’s guards. I have the right to know if my people are being threatened.”

Their conversation was interrupted by a loud voice.

“Halt! Murderer!” someone yelled, full of rage.
They all turned to the place where the voice was coming from and saw a middle-aged man lying on the ground. One of the guards was trying to see if he was alive, while two others were chasing a slim figure, covered by a black cloak.
The captain of the guards drew a longsword and joined the others in their pursuit.
Sakura and Helga knew exactly what to do. As Sakura drew her blade, Helga grabbed her spear and made a huge vertical leap.
Sakura dashed like lightning, jumping and bouncing off the walls of several buildings, before rolling in the air. Meanwhile, Helga held her spear tightly and performed an eagle-like dive towards the escaping criminal. With split-second precision, Helga struck his belly like a piledriver, holding her spear horizontally and slamming him with the handle, while Sakura appeared from behind and whacked him on the back of the head with the flat side of her blade. Everything happened so quickly, the guards only saw two flashes before the murderer fell on the ground, unconscious. Helga and Sakura quickly jumped back to their original positions, as the flabbergasted guards approached the criminal. The captain looked at him, amazed and slightly afraid, and then at the two girls.

“How… what…?”
Sakura smiled.

“Nothing to worry about. He’s merely unconscious. He should wake up in a few hours with a nasty headache.” she said with an innocent face.
The captain was still having a hard time believing his eyes. He turned to the other guards.

“Lock that one with the marauders. How is the old man?”

One of the guards replied, as two others carried the murderer away.
“Sir, he’s got a nasty cut on the side of the neck… He’s bleeding a lot…”

The captain closed his fist.
“Damn! Someone get a priest over here! We have no time to waste!”

Elysium stepped forward.
“Allow me, gentlemen…”

He approached the injured man and gave him a good look. He had pale blue eyes and a short white beard. He was rather thin, but his eyes had the glitter of a warrior spirit. He was wearing a purple tunic, marked with three silver stars.

Elysium looked at the wound.
“Hmmm… Well, I’ll see what I can do…”
He took a deep breath and his hands started glowing. As he lay them on the wound, it was instantly closed.
The old man was surprised to feel a renewed strength within. As for the captain, he just looked at Elysium and at the old man.

“A paladin…” He whispered.

Elysium helped the old man up and turned to the Captain.
“Indeed… I am in fact a paladin. I’m afraid we cannot discuss our current mission in public. For now, this will have to be the only explanation we can give.” he said, before reaching for a small pocket inside his jacket and retreiving a golden ring. He placed the ring on his right middle finger and showed it to the captain.
The ring had a strange seal, formed by a hand with a cross on its palm, with a sun symbol behind. The seal and the ring’s glitter were unmistakable. He recognized it immediately.
“A Guardian… Now I understand… Well, I understand if you cannot divulge the details of your mission here, but… do not hesitate to summon me if you require any kind of assistance.” he said in a respectful tone, before saluting him and leaving with the rest of the soldiers.

The group left the city through a road, leading to the northeast. A few minutes later, they reached what seemed to be the verge of a forest. The trees in that area were larger and much more numerous, and there were lots of bushes around. The chatter of squirrels could be heard from the high branches.
At a certain point, they spotted a small torrent of water, flowing from an underground spring. A particularly large oak was nearby.

Helga looked at it and at the bushes around its roots.
“Hmmm… I think that Mana Vault we spotted was around here. Should we take a look at it before we go?”

(Sorry for the short update, but I have math exercises to do. I’ll add some more later.)

yay! An update!:yipee: A good update at that. :slight_smile:

Sakura turned to Helga.
“Did you have the time to open it before you had to meet us?” she asked.

“No, we only had the time to examine it. We only spotted it by accident.” she replied.

Arche was excited at the idea of exploring such a mysterious place. An old book she had found at Klarth’s home (where he apparently hid his indecent magazines so Miranda wouldn’t find them) mentioned the Mana Vaults, ancient structures that stored powerful Mana charges and Wizards’ artifacts.
“Come on! Let’s take a look!” she said.

Sakura pondered things for a while.
“Well, we may find something useful there.” she concluded.

Elysium looked at the device on his wrist and the location of the Mana Vault was displayed on the screen.
“OK. Follow me. I’m glad I remembered to record its location.”

They headed to the left, leaving the road, and started walking in the middle of the trees. The place was quiet, and the silence was only broken by the sound of their steps. After going around a large bush and sliding under a few low branches, they found what appeared to be a gray pyramid. It looked old and abandoned, covered in vines and moss, but it still had several runes engraved on its surface, that had somehow remained untarnished by time.

Arche looked at the ancient structure, fascinated.
“It looks just like the images in Klarth’s book…” she said “Except there aren’t any girls doing indecent things here.” she added, grinning.

Angela laughed at that remark.
“Klarth’s habits will get him in trouble, sooner or later… I’d say he’s a hopeless case.” she said in an amused tone.

Elysium walked towards the Mana Vault, carefully scanning its surface.
“Hmmm… Let’s see… The entrance should be… here!”

He found a small golden rune and touched it.
“Nothing happened… Maybe this device can only be activated by wizards… or by those who can use the power of Mana.” he said, in thoughtful contemplation. A few moments later, he called upon the power of the land, extracting a small amount of green mana from it. Tiny green sparks flew from the ground, darting towards him. They gathered, until an orb of green light appeared on his hand.

Arche looked at him.
“Cool! Then you can have access to even more mana with a little help from the land…” she said, excited. “You’ve gotta teach me that one someday…”

With precise moves, Elysium placed the green mana orb in contact with the golden rune. The orb seemed to be sucked into it, and a humming sound was heard, slowly growing in intensity.
A few seconds later, the rune flashed and a doorway appeared in its place.

At first, the interior of the Mana Vault was dark as night, but then, as soon as Elysium stepped in, the inner walls flared. Four orbs of raw mana appeared on the four corners of the chamber, each of them with a color of its own… Blue, black, red and green, their glow filled the room. Then, at the center of the chamber, a golden orb hovered close to the ceiling, right above a small silver altar.

The others followed him in and were dazzled by the shining Mana, stored in the ancient edifice for untold ages.

Angela looked around.
“Blue, black, red, green and white…” she slowly said.

Elysium looked at her.
“Indeed… In other worlds, Mana is split in elements, but here, it has organized itself in five colors, each of them with a character of its own.” he said, before looking around the chamber. “White… Springing from the plains, serene and heavenly, pure and protective. It embodies pure light. Blue… Bound to the might of the ocean and the powers of the mind, the powers of distortion and manipulation… Black… creeping from swamps and fetid wastelands… The embodiment of evil… darkness, undeath, corruption and the worst traits of every creature’s nature. Red… Bursting from the mountains, it embodies rage, destruction and chaos… Green… Flowing from forests, strong and ancient, the embodiment of life and nature.” He described. “In a distant world called Dominaria, Mana is also split among these five colors. Could it be a mere coincidence…?” he added, while his mind flared, conceiving countless theories.

Angela was carefully listening to his every word, once again surprised by this odd Templar’s vast knowledge. How could someone as young as her and the others have such wisdom that only the most ancient sages should possess? She gripped the Ganvathein, as if looking for answers, and the magical staff somehow reacted. Without warning, it started pulling her towards the center of the room, straight to the silver pedestal.
“What’s going on?” she asked, startled.

Elysium looked at the scene and an answer flared in his mind.
“The Ganvathein must be reacting to the presence of something within the pedestal… Who knows what the ancient Wizards left here besides these five mana orbs?”

He dashed to the pedestal and noticed a small round hole, where a staff could probably fit. He then turned to Angela.
“May I borrow the Ganvathein for a second?” he asked.

“S-sure… Just see if you find out what’s going on.” Angela replied, handing him the twisted staff.
Without hesitation, Elysium rose the mighty artifact, formed from a branch of the Mana Tree itself, and plunged it into the hole in the pedestal. As soon as he did that, the four orbs in the corners of the chamber started spinning wildly around it, before converging at the staff. Then the white Mana orb slowly descended, merging itself with the others. The Ganvathein throbbed with energy and started glowing like a rainbow. Then, a beam of light darted from its top, hitting the ceiling. The beam persisted, until a blurred shape appeared in it. After a few instants, it took the form of a transparent prism. The beam faded and the prism hovered in place. Then out of thin air, many runes appeared and a deep voice from ancient times echoed within the walls of the chamber.

“After thousands of years, you have come at last, to retreive this artifact. Although you may not remember me, Elysium Elsydeon, know that this is a Mana Prism. Any light or energy that flows through it will be split into its components or modified according to its bearer’s wish. In ancient times, this artifact served Archons and Runemasters, who perfected its use so that one day, when it would be needed the most, all of its powers could be unlocked. Use it wisely. And beware… Beware of the Split Avatars.”
The voice then faded and the light subsided. Only the Prism lighted the chamber now.

Very nice Manus. :slight_smile: Keep it up.

Elysium grebbed the Prism while Angela carefully removed the Ganvathein. The artifact seemed neutral to the touch, and a quick scan didn’t reveal anything suspicious or dangerous, so he stored it in a pocket of his odd suit.
Arche looked around.
“Now this was cool! I wonder what we could do with that thing… Fun stuff, I hope.” she said , with an enthusiastic smile.
Angela examined the Ganvathein. It was undamaged, and in fact, she could have sworn she was feeling its energy throbbing even more intensely than before.

Short, but quite nice :slight_smile:

Elysium and Helga looked at each other with a triumphant smile. The Templar’s craving for knowledge was only matched by his resourcefulness, and he always managed to get everyone else excited by his discoveries.
Angela and Sakura walked outside, followed by the others.

Arche turned to Elysium.
“I don’t think we should leave this thing open. It could be dangerous. After all, we don’t know if it’ll start gathering Mana or something.”

He finished logging a few things into his portable device’s database and then turned to Arche.
“You’re right. According to these readings, this place can be charged up again. It could be a useful Mana container, but it would be too dangerous to leave it open.”

He once again gathered a small amount of mana from the forest and used it on the doorway where the golden rune once was. The rune reappeared and the Mana Vault’s doorway vanished once again.

“This place is strange…” Angela said. “And the Ganvathein feels weird.”

Elysium looked at the staff for a few moments.
“I’d say… it has powers that only now are beginning to reveal themselves. Keep it close.”

Sakura looked around a bit.
“Well, now that we’ve investigated this Mana Vault, we can procceed to the water orbs. Let’s just hope we don’t have a second maniac on the loose.”

Helga smiled.
“Well, you crashed on us the last time, so, I think it would be fair if we could join a new race…” she said, in a teasing and slightly defiant tone.

“Sorry, Helga, but the time for joyrides is over until we find out what’s up.” Arche said, apparently more focused on the task than usual.

“Don’t worry, we’ll have plenty of time for another race soon.” Angela said, in a reassuring tone.

NOTE: Expect more character sketches soon… Very soon.
The next update should come around tomorrow, but I’m not 100% sure.

Take the time you need, Manus :slight_smile: