Welcome back to another weekly blog post featuring writing samples I have been wanting to share for some time. This week I am sharing some early writings I created as part of Ilona’s back story for D&D play. This was well before I started the Legends Of Lys comic, so certain character aspects and roles have been altered. In any case I felt it would be fun to share an early look at the character and the world of Lys while we were actively playing D&D. Enjoy! -Brandon
The Tempests’ Daughter.
That was before…
Her name day finally come. Ilona stood at the far end of the Barnacle Bridge. Intense wind ripped through the hollowed out formations and waves crashed against shore. Ilona’s gaze was fixed; her stern green eyes were fixed upon an older woman standing at the opposite end of the bridge.
Ilona shifted her weight in her gleaming chainmail and began to step forward, her white hair moving wildly.
“Daughter,” Mera smiled at her child as they met in the center. “On your name day, I am so very proud of all you have worked for. You embody all that our house stands for and I pass onto you our sacred sigil.”
Mera attached the amulet to the front of Ilona’s robes, joining them and forming a cape trailing behind her. The amulet was circular and contained three lightning bolts on a dark blue sky, all coinciding at the same point.
“Today you are a woman.” Mera smiled and took her daughters hands. They both lowered their heads as if in prayer, the wind picking up once more. A distant scream broke their prayer.
That was before…
The two women made their way back into town from the Barnacle Bridge. Many houses were on fire as they approached, flames streaming up at the sky with heavy smoke. A crowd of villagers burst out of the tavern door scrambling to get away. From behind them a burst of flame emitted from inside the building, exploding into the crowd.
Fire, ash, and bone collapsed in a heap at Ilona’s feet. Mera jumped backward in horror shielding herself from the heat. From the smoke emerged the evil one. His body was surrounded by a glowing aura making his features harder to distinguish. Half dozen swords circled his body protecting him from oncoming attacks, a spell he was surely controlling. The man extended a hand and a cold shudder filled the air. Slowly all of the skeletons had begun to reform and stood back on their feet, ready to fight Ilona to the death.
Ilona’s battle-axe tore through the first two; she sliced holes through the firsts rib cage and took off the seconds head. Her rage filled her actions as she dismantled the remainder of the group without haste. She stood over the last pile of bones and searched for the man in the area.
That was before…
Mera was gone. Ilona screamed for her mother, she ran through the center of the town pushing aside rubble and climbing over what remained of the Sky Keep. In the near distance she heard her mother scream.
The Evil one stood tall with Mother in the air, hanging by her throat.
That was before…
That is no more…
He turned his gaze toward Ilona and a smile spread across his face. Mera screamed as her body was engulfed in flame and turned to ash and bone.
Ilona screamed as she ran up the side of the Sky Keep and launched herself at the Evil one. She swung her axe and collided with the man. They slashed, beat and thrashed in what remained of the town of Rimnun. Bloody and beaten, Ilona struggled to get to her feet to face her foe. He did not seem to be in the pain that she was.
“You name…” Ilona spat, blood trickled down her lip.
The man smiled. “I am Kan-Ra” and with that, Kan-Ra summoned a great sword and drove it through Ilona’s chest.
That was before…
That is no more…
Only bits and pieces of something, the world is shattered. She can recall bits of Kan-Ra walking away.
Another explosion in the distance and the Sky Keep sinks further into nothing.
That is no more…
Ilona woke with a start, breathing heavily. The voice continued echoing in her head, as did Kan-Ra’s voice and the screaming. Her Mother…
She tried to stand but felt her legs buckle and she sat back down. It was then that she noticed she was not in her armor, but a light fitted tunic. She was very clean, not a scratch or mark on her. Her chest was sore though; she glanced beyond the collar of the tunic and found a large scar in the middle of her chest.
Everything looked muted, it seemed like she was sitting on very foggy beach.
She woke suddenly with a start, gasping for air. Her eyes darted around expecting to still see the great sword lodged into her chest as the evil ones haunting smile. She found neither of these. She lay on a down feather cot, dressed in simple clean robes. Curtains of scarlet blew with the steady winds coming from the high arch window.
In the corner sat an older man.
His face was worn, eyes closed and mouth agape. He looked to be sleeping, his hand tucked under his chin as he let out a small snore. Ilona slid off the cot and onto her feet with surprising speed. The instant weight was put on her legs they buckled once more and she stumbled to the hard wood floor. The man woke with a start.
“Oh no no my dear, please rest.” The kindly man gestured toward the cot once more.
“Is this the heavens? Are you the all father?” She asked, terrified of the answer.
He smiled at this. “No my dear but I thank you for the compliment. You are here still on earth with us mere mortals. I’m the sage of house scarlet; you do remember me don’t you?”
She thought for a moment and memories of her past came flooding back. Years of training in these grass lands and woods under the sage’s watchful eye. She remembered the forest ranger that she admired so well. He taught her proper deflection from arrows with just a sword and shield; shuffling movements to gain high ground advantage. She also remembered the sage tending the wounds from her adventures. Reciting scripture and performing purity rituals to help instill peace in the world. How wrong they were about everything.
“I remember it now. I’m sorry I didn’t recognize you at first I… I thought I was dead. Kan-Ra arrived at my home on my name day! He slaughtered the villagers, leveled the sky keep, my mother…” She trailed off because tears filled and stung her eyes. She truly had failed and did not deserve to be back.
“Mera rests beside the scarlet chapel, just outside of Rimnun. We restored the chapel after Kan-Ra left and put the deceased to rest there. You can visit if you like.” The sage explained.
Ilona shuddered. “No. How long have I been dead?”
The sage stood at this question, absently lighting candles near the windows sill. The sweet scent of cinnamon drifted through the room as the wind blew again.
“Ilona it has been 7 months since the destruction of Rimnun. I sent for you when you did not return from your name day ceremony. I had terrible visions of what would end up coming true. Our mutual friend the ranger found your body and returned you to me for proper burial with the other Paladins of house scarlet.”
Ilona stiffened at this, she leaned forward, her green eyes glowing more golden. “But… what happened?”
“I had another vision several nights later that you would return. In my vision you were wielding an axe that shined brighter than most lights I have seen. You were strong and unstoppable. I couldn’t bear to bury you knowing how my first vision came true. I wanted to give you time to come back to us.”
She sighed deeply at this. She had been dead for almost a full year. She couldn’t remember her time between being murdered and now. Her hand traced the large scar on her chest where the great sword had killed her.
“The gods are not done with you yet.” The sage added, lighting an additional candle on the small table beside her bed.
Ilona studied the sea from her window for a moment and then looked back toward the sage. “What is Talos’ role in all of this?”
The sage stood and walked slowly over to a battered dresser in the corner. From the top drawer he removed an amulet from cloth wrapping. Ilona recognized her house emblem, the three lightning bolts meeting in a center point.
“You are and always will be the daughter of Mera… and Talos.”
She felt her pulse quicken at this. Talos was always spoke of in an untouchable way. How and why?
“Talos and my mother?” She gasped.
“You have known this if you look into your heart. You have been blessed with strength beyond measure, your skin very difficult to injure. Your recovery was always very quick, and you haven’t ever fallen ill.”
“Until now.” She grumbled.
He handed the amulet to her, the cloth still supporting it. She hesitated to touch it.
“He is all around us you know. Controlling the storms and the weather, his temperament is just as unpredictable as yours is at times. I suspect you owe a lot to him for your successes.” The sage smiled as she took the amulet from him.
Once she touched the amulet, all around Ilona became blinding white and the sage was gone.
Ilona’s eyes fluttered open, the shock of another transition taking her breath away. She was above the ocean, a terrible storm raging below her. Realizing there was only water below her, she began to panic and flail her arms.
“Calm yourself child.”
The gusts of wind began to pick up around her which steadied her in place in the air. The winds rushed away from her and conjoined in the air to form a solid man. His hair was long and black like hers, flailing wildly in the wind. He wore simple armor with the same crest placed in the center of the plate. His eyes, different than hers, echoed the deep purple of a storm cloud.
“I am Talos.”
She smiled involuntarily emotions flooding her head and heart.
They embraced in the air hugging tightly without speaking. Once they broke he smiled down at her, touching the amulet in her hand.
“This is yours as leader of the order of Talos. I will admit I had a hand in bringing you back to earth. Kan-Ra cannot be allowed to take over the realm; he will stop at nothing in his quest for power. I am locked into my role by the all father. But my child, well there lies the true power and path to defeating the evil one.”
With that a brilliant black and red cape formed around her shoulders, held in place by the amulet sigil. Her chain mail and plate had been returned to her.
“There were abilities that lay dormant inside of you. Your mother requested that I try my best to downplay your heritage so that you would become strong as a mortal. You have proven yourself to me child, so many times and over. I unlock now your potential, as an offspring of Talos. This ability to fly is the first of many gifts I hope to offer you.”
“This is all so much.” She sighed; tears stung her face once more. “What about mother?! Why didn’t you attempt to save her?!!”
Talos grimaced at this. “That I did my child. I used my control over the storms to delay Kan-Ra’s arrival at your village. I allotted you time to arrive for your name day, to say goodbye to Mera. As I said I am bound by the all father in my role, even manipulating the weather as I did was stepping out of bounds.”
“Then it’s up to me.” Ilona said, taking her father’s hands.
“You have always had the capacity for pure and righteous action in the world. Go now to the dungeon of darkness; retrieve the triangle piece that will lead to destroying Kan-Ra.”
With that Talos dissipated into the winds again, losing his solid form. The storm winds kicked up wildly, blowing Ilona’s cloak back. She shielded her eyes in defense and when she lifted this she stood outside the dungeon. She glanced down at her battle axe; it gleamed golden and bright as ever. With that she clambered into the entrance, a new found fire in her stomach.