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The Living Stone: Prelude


K The world is destroyed. Cities are ruined, civilizations have fallen, and the landscape is shattered beyond recognition. Humans barely survive in this wasteland, handfuls of nomads scrape at the corpses of cities trying to find whatever they can to survive one more day. Normal animals are all but extinct, in their place horrible mutations, caricatures of the beasts they once were, roam the broken cities and nightmarish wilderness searching for prey. The savage races are about the only creatures whose lives have not truly changed, their adaptation to the harsher world was far easier than the other species on the planet, but they are just as endangered as anyone else.

The magical creatures of the world are not much better off. Elves have closed themselves off from the rest of the world, shying away from the devastation in their protected groves. However, the magic that fuels their sanctuaries is waning, and their time to face the world is coming. The unbreakable stone carved cities of the dwarves were broken early on, and the once proud clans are struggling to weather the test of the apocalypse.

The human survivors remember their old allies, and are welcomed by and welcome to them the dwarves, who fight alongside them in this dark new world. However, if the elves still held their allegiances, they have not shown as much to the other survivors. It is rumored that the elves believe the death of the world to be a passing thing, and foolishly endeavor to wait it out, or that they are researching some way to regain the world they once had. Whatever the reason, the elves have cut themselves off from the rest of the world, seemingly abandoning their former allies.

Among all of this, the dragons have suffered the most. Whatever species of dragons there were before the cataclysm, there is little that separates them now. With the soul of the world taken, all that made dragons special before is gone. The magic they once wielded, their great size, their elemental breath, all has been taken from them. They band together in clans now, instead of the solitary lives they once lived as they are no longer powerful enough to survive alone. There are only a few clans left now, so many have died to the hunting parties, starvation, and simple crushing despair. This used to be their world, and now it is a husk of its former self.

But now whispers of a strange power are surfacing. Gifted members of all races, thought to have disappeared, return with no memory of their recent past, wielding strange abilities; some seem to command the air around them, some can burn with a touch, others’ senses become vastly superior, and even others gain physical ability beyond anything ever known before. Some humans say these abilities are the next stage of evolution, the strength needed to endure this time of darkness. The dwarves think it might be the doing of the missing gods, trying to instill strength in a world lost to them. The elves are recognizing that these specimens are destined for something greater, and charge them with finding a place in the world beyond their groves, desperately trying to make the strange occurrences work for them.

But for the dragons, the Gifted are called the Twisted, and are given no love by their clans. The dragons are both fearful of the stronger dragons rising up to dominate the lesser dragons, and jealous of the power they no longer have resurfacing in seemingly random people. When a dragon is found to be Twisted, his parents disown him, and if the clan is generous they may still take care of him, for a time. But a Twisted is no longer worthy of their name, given names like Rosh (dirt), Mec (filth), but only the worst treated are given the name Kra, the dragon word for Nothing. These ones are branded with an oil that makes their scales grow cumbersome, making them bulky, dark, and stony. In doing this they hope that the dragons will simply become as stone, and be drawn back into the dark world that cursed them. They are destined to be forgotten. . . The Living Stone.

This story is the property of Tyler Clapp, Author (AKA "Cael") Copyright DarkFireGraphics.com