In Crimson, A Message

((OOC: No, this not Mary Sue-ing this character. He is the BBEG, this is his first instance of it. If anyone would like, they can tag and find out what happened. And yes, they can figure it out.)

The day had been long and tiring for the average man. One could claim rest but as one strode through the dirt streets of Klondal, he would find no rest. Gelt looked about the quiet village, the place almost a full town in name. Lanterns hung from doorways and lit the windows. Somewhere, a horse gave out a cry before falling silent.

It would go unto this place to be first to fall, to tip the scales so that decades of planning would fall into motion. The corruption of Dalen was unforgivable, the mages coveting their power with none but their own. Greed held them just as Verden, and that country would also burn. And from the ashes of all the kingdoms, a new empire to rival even the strength of Timber Crag would rise anew.

That was how it needed to be. No conglomerate of thieving nobles looking to take from the other, no oppressed people, just the fruit of sacrifice. If he could, he would have pitied the people who were about to fulfill their destiny. But he had none.

A dog barked at him as Gelt passed the yard the mutt rested in. He stopped and turned his head slowly towards the animal. When he stared at the dog, it ceased barking; whining and soiling itself, it belly-crawled away before taking off for the inside of its master's house. It had beheld his attention and knew a true master when presented. A shame the rest of those who tried to assassinate him or to ally themselves did not know it. They only saw power and lusted after it. Assuredly, he would give them that power.

The queen had certainly been against him but it would not be he that struck her down. No, it would fall to another. Still, it was a shame she wanted no part in the future he had set forth to complete.

He arrived at the center of the village square, the pillory for crimes empty. Gelt found that to be amusingly ironic. He ignored it as he raised his left hand from beneath his crimson robes. His breathing seemed to echo darkly through his golden mask as he summoned his will, power coursing through his body and to a point just shy of the raised dias. A shimmer appeared in the air before it split open to a spherical energy veil. The portal quietly hissed and snapped at reality until it fully manifested.

A moment passed before the dark and purple colors parted to reveal tall, almost entirely muscled creatures of human stature. They were clothed in enchanted chain shirts and carried wickedly sharp and cruel blades of black metal, seemingly accenting the deep crimson of their skin and their physical intimidation. Two dozen marched out of the portal to stand in ranks before him. The spell fizzled out as the last stood ready before their master.

They were Kragan, his finest creation bred purely for war. They stood tall at six foot, varying in inches. Their dark red skin would be mistaken for devil's skin, which Gelt admitted to himself that he did indeed use some in their creation, and was resilient to magic. Not enough to best a mage but more than enough to shrug off lesser spells. Their muscles were thickly corded in their arms and were indeed stronger than a human's or orc's.

They were perfect for the coming war.

Gelt beheld his "children" with silence. Then he finally spoke, his voice low but heard clearly in its double tones. "Kill them all. Leave none alive. Burn their homes and break their bodies."

It was with surprise the town suddenly beheld a collective roar from the two dozen Kragan warriors as they readied weapons and broke off to smash open doors and windows. Vials of liquid fire, not as hot as alchemist's fire, were tossed into abodes as the Kragan stomped into bedrooms. Men, women, children, all were put to the sword.

The first five minutes were also a test as much as it was a symphony of carnage and death. Gelt stood where he summoned his warriors, now turned to the largest building there. It could have been a longhouse or granary, being neither. It was the local "lord's" getaway cabin, a mage of the Second Circle. The first Kragan to reach that abode found their strength could not break the doors or walls and that vials thrown were bounced back mid-air.

Gelt could see the dome of tightly knotted Weave around the place. They were well placed and powerful. Not powerful enough against him. He raised his left hand again, this time speaking. The words echoed as they did but carried a weight to them that would make many a magic-user tremble.

"Elongus barrita ef'forcival," he empowered. It was not this new magic that he called forth but ancient, forgotten Aeran knowledge. A deadly powerful and forgotten Art, lost to all except those rare few.

The concentrated pulse of magic smashed aside the wards of the domicile. The spells laid into it flashed bright and with great energy, leaving a scorched ring around the place as the Kragan backed away to find another place to sunder. They knew their master would want this.

The lord came out now, mage robes covering him but not hiding the look of someone who rushed from naked to clothed. He immediately sent out a fireball towards a group of Kragan that hacked away mercilessly into the family of the mill, to which Gelt did not even move a muscle to stop. The explosion caught them neatly, bringing pained and angered roars, an almost lion-like sound that made the mage blink and take a step back. Without looking, Gelt knew they were burned heavily but were still combat-capable. They probably would not survive another fireball.

Finally, the mage noticed him. "You! What is the meaning of this attack? If these beasts are of yours, you cannot win! Surrender to the Circle-"

The mage suddenly flew backwards into the longhouse, Gelt having slowly tilted his staff forward towards him. When it sat at a forty-five degree angle, the silent spell of force struck the mage in mid-sentence. As wood splintered and he himself sprawled in the public room, Gelt walked forward. "Pathetic. You speak too many words that have no power. Come, Bartholomew Quincy. You know your end is here."

"Fulmen!" Cried the mage, raising suddenly up and brandishing an ebony wood wand. The lightning bolt erupted from its tip. Gelt raised his left hand again, catching the bolt. It twisted and crackled around his crimson glove as he regarded the spell first, then the mage. "Predictable."

He unleashed it back, slamming his enemy into the back wall. Quincy felt the wind leave him as he hit, dweomers laid into his robe to protect him from impact and the spell. As he fell, he suddenly felt himself being flung forward with great strength. The Crimson One had seized him up with power and flung him to the dirt below the pillory. He skidded, grunting as he did in firelight.

He began to roll over when he saw the carnage of the attack. Homes were ablaze with screams of some people still inside while the bodies lay viciously hacked apart upon the road. It made the mage stare in horror and despair at the sight, turning to look at the crimson mage as he stepped calmly towards him. The golden glint of the mask played on his face as he regarded the conductor of this terrible affair. "Why... What are you?" He breathed in terror as Gelt stood before him.

"I am the future of this land and others. I am the one who will do what he must. I am The One Who Has Changed," answered Balthazar.

Bartholomew Quincy stared at him, the nightmare fully realized in the story-book horror that now loomed over him. "You will not escape justice from the queen. Nor from the Circle," he spat, regaining defiance. "They will hear of this."

Balthazar actually laughed at that as he finished, his dark voice echoing in tones before he finally answered, bending down to seize the mage by the throat. He stood up slowly, now willing power into his arm for strength and one more spell.

"I am counting on it."

Now the spell poured out of him as he intoned, "Caro est Stone." He watched as the mage tried to, unsuccessfully, break free. He watched as flesh transmuted into stone in a creeping fashion that only served to heighten fear and pain. When the last color of skin was replaced with grey stone, he released the mage. He now stood there as a statue, hands clutching at something no longer there with a terrified face in great detail. Gelt looked his work approvingly before turning towards the rest.

Onwards the battle went as he surveyed it. The village guard was a quick to rally a milita but by then it was too late. The Kragan, even in such small numbers, proved more than enough in martial prowess their superiority. A few lay dead from defense, to which he disregarded as part of his message. Let the mages and nobles find them and ponder his creations. He had a plan to see through.

Two hours after the attack began, Klondal was a burning wound upon the land. The smoke trailed high into the sky as Gelt and his aggressors left magically once more. Gelt himself stepped through, content with the pieces of his message delivered. It would take some time for them to know, possibly even less if the mages used their divination magics on the one named Quincy. Regardless, it was now in motion and he waited for the next piece to fall into place.

((OOC: have fun!!))

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