The Warriors of Chaos II: The End Times

by Reiuji Laevateinn


Chapter Four: Battle for Griffish Isle, Part I

Archaon’s Horde, currently located on the northern beach of the soon to be Celestial Sea

    Archaon watched with satisfaction as his warriors went about, building the boats that would allow him to find his next prize. One of his sorcerers had seen a vision three days ago, of an island out on the ocean that formed the border between two nations. There, in a temple buried under the island itself, lies armor shrouded in the protection of Chaos, once worn by an unholy being of destruction.

  Archaon, ever hungry for power, decided to take a detour to this island, intent on claiming this armor for himself. His sorcerers has warned him that a warrior species, the Griffons, had been living in the island, no doubt there to guard the armor. Archaon welcomed the challenge, feeling that the ponies weren't challenging enough as of yet. And so, three days later, the boats for his voyage were nearly complete.

   “My lord, preparations are nearly ready for the voyage. It will take several days to reach the island, so some of the soldiers have raided a nearby village for food.”

  “Good, Sorcerer.” Archaon growled, watching as the first of the boats were put on the water. “Soon, we shall make war against a new foe. Soon, they shall learn to fear the name Archaon!” He marched towards the boats, ready for the journey.


   


   Griffish Isle, one day later

   
  “My lord!” A griffon messenger burst into the throne room, startling the guards and the Governor of the island.

  “What is it? We are currently in the middle of important business.” The Governor, Slicer Dicer, groaned, the griffons he was speaking to growling in irritation.

   “Th-the Oracle! The Oracle is speaking!” The Messenger said quickly. Slicer Dicer’s face paled, turning to the griffon nobles he had been talking to.

   “Forgive me, sirs, but something of grave importance has just come up. I suggest you return to the mainland until the crisis is over.” He said, before standing up and following the messenger.

   “What has she said?” Slicer asked, the true seriousness of the situation visible on his face. The Oracle rarely spoke, and when she did, it meant something big was coming.

   “Something of a dark power. I cannot speak of it myself, for I left immediately to fetch you.” The messenger replied, sweat and fear rolling down his beak.

  “Return to your home, messenger bird. That is an order.” Slicer said, and the messenger nodded, before flying back towards the civilian district.

   Once Slicer arrived at the Oracle’s den, he walked in quickly, only to be confronted by the screeches of the elder Oracle.

    “He comes!” She screeched, her claws gouging cuts into her elderly face. “The Bringer of Destruction comes!”

   “Who, Oracle?” Slicer asked, and the elder griffon turned to him.

   “He will arrive on sails of black, corrupted winds! The Destroyer, born from the blackest womb, of the most treacherous of creatures, who wields a sword of evil flames, the cage of a vile daemon, with the blood of kings on it’s blade! He seeks the Armor! He brings the End Times upon his vile shoulders, the favor of the Dark Gods draped around him like a cloak!” She babbled, eyes rolling to the back of her head.

   “What?!” Slicer asked, trying to understand what she was saying.

   “The Annointed of the Dark Gods!” She screeched, “Fear the ground he treads, for he leaves the seeds of destruction speed in his wake! He comes from the East! He will slaughter all! None are safe!”

   “Oracle!” Slicer growled, before looking on in horror as her head burst, pieces of her brain and skull flying all over the room. Blood splattered on Slicer’s beak, and he recoiled in disgust.

   After a few moments of silence, he turned to a guard, meant to defend the
Oracle. “Raise the alarm. An attack is coming, and we must have every able body ready. Send word to the capital as well.” He ordered, and the guard nodded, before flying off towards the distant tower.

    Slicer looked back to the Oracle’s corpse, before turning around and heading towards his castle. He sighed, knowing what he had to do.


 Six days later


  The griffon guards of Griffish Isle sat in wait at the foggy shores, bows and other long range weapons at the ready. They had been quickly called into action, the potential threat coming striking fear in many of the citizens. In fact, a large portion of the griffons had sent their kids to relatives in the mainland, before they themselves left. Only half of the island’s population of fifty thousand remained, not including the guards, who were spread out across the island.

   
   “Gods, this is boring me now.” One of the griffons groaned, slouching. “We've been on guard for the past six days, and nothing's happened. Maybe this whole thing was a prank something.”

  “Haven't you heard the rumors?” The guard next to him growled, “They say that the Oracle died giving us a warning of this threat.”

  “Yeah, but rumors aren't exactly the truth.” The first guard shrugged, before a glint caught his eye from the fog, and he turned to look at it. “Hey, do you see that?”

  “See what?” The other guard asked.

  “It looks almost like….” His voice trailed off as a massive fireball flew out of the fog, smashing into the guard tower to his right, blasting it to pieces as the burning remains impacted on nearby guards. He quickly raised his bow, an arrow notched and pulled back.
 
Blackened sails flowed through the fog, with the demonic prows of ships poking through the fog. At the prow of the first ship to appear stood a creature the griffon had never seen. Standing as tall as a bear, if a bear was armored head to toe in more plate armor that he had ever seen on a Minotaur, what was obviously the leader raised a flaming sword. Two massive horns rise far above the creature's head, and what looked like the coat of some great beast hung over it’s shoulders like a cape.


    “Hear me, Griffons!” a voice roared across the beach, I am Archaon, The Everchosen of Chaos! You think you're pathetic soldiers could intimidate me?! I, who brings ruin with my every step, sees not a defensive line, but a sand castle a small child built to keep away his monsters! So come, fools who try to fight the Herald of the End Times! Come, and show me what passes for fury among your misbegotten kind!”


   There was a momentary silence as the griffon guards took a moment to fully comprehend the insult he had just laid upon them. Then, in a cry of rage, a large majority of the guards took flight, abandoning their bows for their razor sharp claws as they raced towards the boats.


   Had they been close enough, they would have heard the heart-stopping chuckle that rose from the creature.

   Ponies suddenly rose from the boats, arrows notched and pointed towards the flying griffons that had just unknowingly sacrificed themselves to the Dark Powers.


   Hundreds of arrows flew through the air, striking the airborne griffons with unnatural accuracy. The guards who had fought of their rage watched in horror as the sky lit up in blue flames, Griffons crying out in horror and agony as the arrows that had hit them set them ablaze with the unnatural fire. Burning corpses splashed into the water, coloring the beach red.
   
  “Return fire!” The remaining captains roared, and the remaining guards, their forces now cut in half. But as the guards readied their arrows, unholy horrors rose from the sea, their twisted claws and pink, bubbly flesh striking fear into the hearts of the Griffons. Strange, spiked tentacles lashed out from the abominations, ripping guards apart as the horrors closed in.

  “W-we must fight these monstrosities! Use the claws you were given at birth!” The captain shouted, fear obvious in his voice. Many Griffons did the exact opposite of his words, and turned to flee back into the forest.
   
    “Run, little griffons!” Archaon roared, stepping onto the shore of Griffish Isle. The sand below him turned black, fusing into glass. One of the remaining griffon guards landed in front of him, hatred in his eyes.

   “Monster!” He roared, lunging at Archaon with claws outstretched. Archaon glared down at the guard, pulling up his shield to block. The Griffon’s eyes narrowed, and he flew up, landing behind Archaon and slashing at his undefended backside. The Griffon’s claws scraped through fur and across metal, digging deep into Archaon’s armor, but failing to penetrate. The Everchosen turned, smashing his shield into the griffon’s side as he brought his sword to bear.

  The griffon pulled back, noticing a ring forming around him. Growling in frustration, he took to the skies, dodging the horrific creatures that served in Archaon’s Horde and fleeing into the forest. The Everchosen snarled as he watched.

    “It seems the Griffons can show more intellect than ponies.” Archaon chuckled, turning to the Sorcerer that walked up to him.

   “Master, shall we give chase?” He asked, slightly more confident than most.

   ”No. I haven't had an actual challenge in months, besides the Chimeras. We will set up camp for now, and march in the morning.” Archaon ordered, and the Sorcerer nodded.

   “As you wish, my Lord.” He nodded, bowing before turning back to the hordes.


   


   Griffith Isle Capitol, Everstone


   Slicer looked on in anger at the returning guards. Barely half of them remained, and they only brought horrific tales of trickery and slaughter. He now stood in front of them on top of a pedestal, gazing at each hollow or horrified face. He cleared his throat.

   “Warriors of the Griffish Isle,” he began, “You fought the monster that threatens our island, and you failed to stop him and his army from landing on our shores. Half of you gave yourselves up over something so simple as an insult! We griffons may have pride, but to jump so readily into so obvious a trap? They have shamed our people, and are better off dead.”

  Looks of sorrow met his eyes. “But while you fled in the face of the enemy, we now know a small bit of the enemy we face, though it is still very little. We may have to use our last resort if this is what the pride of Griffish Isle can do.” He barked. “You shall be retasked to fight for our Capitol, as well as fighting the enemy in the forests. Perhaps there you can at least die with honor. Dismissed.” The Guards filed away to the barracks, though a small group of them walked forward.

   “Sir, Private Quick Slash here says he fought the leader of the enemy in one on one combat.” One of the guards said, gesturing towards the one in the middle. He stepped forward.

   “Oh really?” Slicer raised an eyebrow. “Then by all means, give me your report.”

   “Yes sir.” The Private replied, saluting before speaking again, “The leader of this enemy, Archaon, is of an unknown species, though he looks similar to a Minotaur. While immensely strong, he is not agile, especially with the amount of armor he has on. Basic attacks with our claws won't damage his armor unless we hit a weak spot, and while he is indeed smart, he is prideful. Instead of having his minions finish me off, he fought me one on one, and even allowed me to escape when I realized how fruitless my fight would be. Also…”

  “Also?”

  “He emanates an aura of fear around him. As I fought him, I felt a great urge to flee. He is not to be taken lightly, though we can capture him in a trap.”

   “I see.” Slicer nodded, turning to his guards. “Promote this griffon to Officer for providing this valuable information, and get our strategists to create a plan with this info.” He ordered. The guards nodded, before turning away and flying off. He turned back to the Private. “On behalf of the Guard of the Griffish Isle, I thank you for your bravery.”

   “It was nothing, my Lord.” Quick Slash bowed, before getting back up. “What would you want me to do?”

   “For now, rest, and prepare for tomorrow. The enemy will probably begin marching through the forest by then.” Slicer said, before turning and flying back to the castle.


    When he finally arrived, a priest walked up to him. “It is ready, my lord. We only await you and the Chosen.” The priest said, bowing lightly.

   Slicer’s face hardened. “Of course, I shall bring her as soon as possible.” The priest nodded, her claws clacked against the cold marble as she turned and left. Slicer sighed, turning towards a door. Opening it, he was greeted by two guards and a female griffon inside a small, dark, and depressing stone prison cell, the girl chained to the wall, and her claws bound with an incredibly durable fabric. He nodded to the guards, who removed her restraints to the wall.

   “It is time. Bring her to the Chamber.” He ordered turning around and heading off to where the priest went, and the guards pulled her along, her still-bound limbs dragging across the floor.

   After a few minutes of walking through the seemingly gloomy halls, with portraits of previous rulers staring down at them, almost like they were judging them, Slicer opened a false wall, stepping inside as he gazed around the room he was in.

   Strange religious items decorated the walls, the most prominent being a star with eight points. Fire blazed from stone pillars, eight of them circling around a large stone slab in the center and casting shadows across the walls. Strange runes dotted the slab, which hurt Slicer’s eyes to look at. The entire sight was completed with a group of priests surrounding the slab, claws raised in prayer. The Priest from before walked up to Slicer.

    “Welcome, my Lord. Is the Chosen ready?” She asked, not meeting his look of disgust.

   “Yes, Priest, though I do not see what such a horrible ritual could do to aid us in this battle.” Slicer growled, looking around. He could barely hear whispers circling around the room, unnatural, and without source.

   “Do not worry, Lord Slicer, this ritual will save the Griffish Isle from destruction.” The Priest said, her beak split in a grin. “Chain her onto the altar.”

   Slicer nodded to the guards, who brought the girl towards the slab, affixing her restraints to the sides.

   “Get this done, Priest, and quickly.” Slicer growled, turning towards the door.

   “Oh, but my Lord, this girl isn't enough!” The Priest cackled, and before Slicer could turn to ask her what she meant, he felt something hit the back of his head, hard. He dropped to the floor, seeing the Priest standing over him with a club, while the other Priests knocked out the guards. It was the last sight he saw before slipping into unconsciousness.


  When Slicer regained consciousness, he found himself, along with the girl, bound to the altar, which seemed to have extended, though that was physically impossible. He tugged at his restraints as the priests- no, cultists, gathered around them.

   “Release me at once!” He ordered, only for the Priest to laugh.

   “Oh, but my lord, in order for the ritual to work, we need the blood of royalty!” She squawked, a black and crooked dagger in her claws. It almost looked like reality itself bent around the blade, its crooked and oddly bent edge seeming almost… hungry.

   She stepped back, revealing the two guards, bound and gagged. She quickly slid the dagger across their throats, held up by the other cultists, their blood spewing forth from their necks like a red waterfall, splattering across the floor. Unseen by Slicer, the blood began to form circles, with unholy glyphs forming inside each ring. The Priest stepped forward, careful not to disrupt the rapidly forming circle.


    “And now, for the main sacrifice.” She gently put the ritual dagger to the panicking girl’s throat, dragging it across her flesh, and cutting through it like a claw through water. The girl stopped, her face gasping for breath like a fish out of water, as what looked like black, oozing tentacles flew from the dagger and into the girl’s open neck. The Priest then brought the knife to Slicer, cutting away his last moments of life.

   Once he was dead, the Priest unchained his corpse, before lifting it up, and letting his blood pour into the girl’s neck wound, and into her waiting beak. The other cultists began praying, dark litanies spewing from their beaks even as their ears began to bleed. Dark energy circled around them, pooling into the girl’s corpse as it began to float above the altar, her chains snapping like twigs.

   The neck wound vanished as vines burst from her arms, green leaves forming around them in a protective circle. Two branches burst from her head, forming two horns as even more leaves dotted them. As even more transformations erupted across her body, one of the cultists collapsed, dead, his soul sucked away by the powers around them. Three more died before the transformation was completed, and she opened her tar-black eyes, yellow pupils piercing through the dark energies swirling around her.


   “Praise the Power of the Dark Gods, for they have delivered to us a champion to destroy the intruders!” The Priest cried, and the surviving four cultists joined her in her cheers. The daemon looked around at them.

   “I understand the situation, servants of the Lords of Chaos.” She said, her voice seeming like an echo, as if she wasn't really there. “In your tongue, I am Mazarish, Servant of Lord Tzeentch. I am the one who shall save you from the Everchosen!” Her silky voice purred around them, and they cheered again, even as she floated out of the room.


   “I have waited for the day,” She sang, floating past the halls, even as green flora grew across the walls, “To take this greedy scum away. Now the Gods are my protection! Gather close, for your salvation. We, will, stand for Everstone!” 

  She slid her new hands across a marble statue, watching with satisfaction as thorned vines sprouted across it. “Behold the beauty of nature, in all its glory! No need to fear the hounds at the door.” She flew out of the castle, observing the town below. “Right here you have me to fight for you, with my blades of thorns! For Everstone for evermore!”


   “They have come into our domain,” She continued, “Here to seal our land in pain! But we have held it for generations! This is just a complication!” She floated above the ground, hovering in front of the wall facing the forum. “We! Will! Stand for Everstone!” Griffons around the town looked up, seeing the unusual manifestation of nature.

  “Trust in me, this is for our own good,” the green plants began sprouting around the ground below her, forming a throne of wood that she hovered down to. “Nature is our friend. All of this beauty that surrounds us, every lovely bloom!” A fly buzzed around her, before getting crushed by a wooden slab that erupted from her throne. “Designed to defend!” 

   “Let them come, just let them try!” She roared, stepping off her throne, “I will be here to see him die! This town will be here throughout the ages! Written into the history pages. WE! WILL! Stand for Everstone!”