The Record of Unusual Creatures 1223 The Festered
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Aside from those protected by holy powers or holy sanctuaries within the realm of Chaos (like the Ca.s.souin Temple Complex), most of the ruins on the wilderness is pretty much less than three centuries old. Anything older had already been reduced to dust by the chaotic onslaught.
The ruins before them were one of the 'younger' ruins, and according to Veronica, this town was built about three hundred years ago. It was an independent city, built by the great merchants of Taros and Torch. It was a century, the 'Time of Dawn' where the power of Order overwhelmed the power of Chaos. The Chaos that now dwelled in the Dark Mora.s.s, the Wilderness and the Darkshadow Thicket were once pushed all the way to the southern tip of the continent, and the traveling merchants of the two countries had built a great roadway. Their bazaars and markets ran all across the plains and hills like a string of pearls, and one-fifth of the continent's wealth moved through this place.
In the sagas of wandering minstrels, the description of the markets, wealthy merchants, beautiful dancers, adventurers, mercenaries and wandering centaurs seeking opportunities were prolific enough.
When the Chaos attacked, their powers had turned the plains and hills into a lair of monsters. The string of pearls thus sunk into darkness and what remained of the place was about a tenth of its original size, with motley ruins dotting half-sunk in the Dark Mora.s.s, or had been swallowed by the sinister woods of the Darkshadow Thicket. The ruins of the wilderness was pretty much the only intact ruins of the place, and could provide travellers some sort of shelter.
That's if any traveler was foolish, or brave enough to cross that forsaken place.
And today, a group of guests had entered the ruins, and they were Veronica's Royal Taros Knights.
Morian led the way, and the standard bearer carrying the 'holy relic' followed behind providing the party with the protection of the Light of Order. Hao Ren and Veronica looked around cautiously as they stepped into the ruined city. While the knights were lightly armored, they had a.s.sumed defensive positions with their weapons drawn. No one dared or could afford to let his guard down as they advanced.
Hao Ren was curious with the defensive and cautious posture everyone else had taken (he was actually already curious quite some time back, but he did not have the right opportunity to ask) "Don't we have the protection of my relic? Don't tell me there will still be monsters here?"
Veronica could not help but look at Hao Ren oddly. This was not a question a seasoned ancient should be asking, but she remembered that this ancient had been asleep for a thousand years and just suppressed her doubts. "Any place with the blessing of light is not necessarily safe. While the Servants of Chaos in the mists will be repelled by the power of Order, there are still partially corrupted Festered. The Festered are beings of Order that have been corrupted by Chaos. They're trapped between Order and Chaos, and they still have a physical body. So, they do have some resistance towards the Light of Order, and more so, their physical bodies still crave the light, and while the light will inflict untold pain upon them, these monsters will still converge on one like a moth to a flame."
"We had lit the city's brazier when we pa.s.sed through here earlier, and the remaining power could attract the wandering monsters here. But you don't have to worry. The Festered while somewhat resistant to the Light of Order, are still beings of Chaos. Their strength will be greatly diminished before the holy relic, and they rarely appear in numbers, so as long as we are careful, we will be fine." Morian added.
Hao Ren said a curt "Oh!" before he frowned slightly.
Without the protection of a holy item like the gold war banners, they would be consumed by the Servants of Chaos, on the other hand, having a holy relic would be attracting the Festered like bugs to a light source. In the realm of Chaos, this literally exposes anyone fighting here to both dangers. This G.o.dforsaken place is... really not a place for anyone to be in.
And at that moment, the party had entered the central area of the town.
The town ruins had been corroded quite badly, and there were no proper standing buildings, but between the cracked walls, one could still imagine how glorious the town was in better times. Most of the buildings had thick, sloping walls while the roof had roundish curvatures. Most of the houses too were made out of stone, and had the influence of a desert kingdom. And history says the main architect of the town came from the Kingdom of Torch, and Torch was the famous desert kingdom back then.
Half way through, Hao Ren's senses tingled and he immediately hushed his voice. "Hold up, there's something ahead."
The ancient's words were of course taking seriously and even the conservative old knight Morian stopped and lowered his posture as he heard the warning. Veronica drew her longsword, and magic glimmered along the edge of the blade. She then ordered all standard bearers holding the holy relics to stop as she slowly crept forward.
The holy relics in the hands of the standard bearers were like a lighthouse in a sea of chaos, and if there was a horde of Festered ahead, the standard bearers would most likely draw their attention if they kept on advancing.
Hao Ren saw the princess went ahead herself with her sword in hand to the edge of the protection zone and was slightly worried. While her actions were brave, it does not seem to fit what a princess should do, and a commander taking the lead ahead of her troops at times were a weakness, but seeing the knights did not object, it seems like this was a usual action taken by the princess.
What he did not know was that Veronica was not being foolhardy, and it was because every scout or caster in the party had perished, and she was the only one in the party who knew something about spellcasting and scouting.
In a battlefield, practically takes precedence.
Hao Ren pondered for a bit before following closely behind and the two stopped behind a broke wall.
The wall was at the very edge of the protection zone, and the protection was a realm of order and anything beyond that was total chaos. The border between this two realms were clearly drawn and it was odd to Hao Ren.
Veronica pulled out a faint gold triangular amulet from her pouch and placed it on her forehead as she chanted a spell. The amulet's power immediately encompa.s.sed her body and a faint shroud of light appeared before being absorbed into her body.
Taking a deep breath, she then stepped into chaotic darkness outside of the sanctuary.
She had used an Amulet of Order, and it was a magical item that allowed an individual to operate within the realm of Chaos. The golden war banners or other holy items were too obvious in the chaos, and the amulets were used for individual movement. But this amulet has a pretty limited effective time, and if it ends, the user will immediately be swallowed by chaos. In Carrow, being a scout is the most dangerous occupation.
Hao Ren could immediately guess the use of the amulet, but he did not have any. Veronica had a.s.sumed Hao Ren as a seasoned ancient and had plenty of ancient holy relics on him, and never thought of giving him an amulet.
But Hao Ren had no use for such an item, and after making some gestures before his chest and muttering "Lunatic G.o.ddess, preserve me." under his breath, he stepped into the darkness with much bl.u.s.ter.
Veronica turned back and was baffled.
But she quickly shoved her confusion to that omnipotent excuse of a 'powerful ancient'.
The two went ahead carefully in the mist and darkness and soon they arrived before the town's central plaza.
"F*ck me...." Hao Ren muttered. "Are those the Festered that you were talking about."
There were a whole plethora of twisted monsters on the plaza!
The monsters were of various shapes and mutations, and most of them were corrupted beasts, there was a black wolf the size of a calf, or a rhinoceros with bone spikes and armor, and there were humanoids among the beasts. They wore broken armor, and some of them have broken weapons in hand. They were warriors and adventurers that had fallen when Chaos invaded and now their bodies were twisted and rotten while their eyes glowed with a sinister gray-white flame. They were now part of the chaotic monsters.
And amongst the monsters, Hao Ren saw 'something' that was totally different from the rest. These monsters had been twisted to the point that their original form can no longer be discerned. Black smoke came out of their bodies, and half of their bodies were blurry, almost ephemeral. This was a sign of being a.s.similated by the realm of Chaos and was the final stage of the Festered. Soon enough, they would be consumed by the mist around them and finally become a part of the power of Chaos.
"They are indeed the Festered, but why are there so many of them?" Veronica was stunned by the scene before here. "The brazier had already been snuffed out, it shouldn't be attracting this amount of monsters..."
Hao Ren squinted and by the looks of things, sh*t was about to hit the fan.
The Record of Unusual Creatures 1223 The Festered
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The Record of Unusual Creatures 1223 The Festered summary
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