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|The Timeless Guardian|
- 1 Lore
- 2 Tochu awaited the messenger in his royal chambers. Wearily, he smoothed the front of his ceremonial gowns, richly embroidered with golden thread. Outside, beyond his balcony, he could hear the hushing roar of the crowd awaiting his speech. The enemy horde was at last at the gates, he didn't need the general's official note to tell him so. The Imperial Potentate was not so old that he could not see the fires of the enemy army on the plain beyond the city wall, nor hear their jeers intermingled with the howls of their dogs rising late into the night.
- 3 Tips
- 4 Skins
Lore[edit | edit source]
Tochu awaited the messenger in his royal chambers. Wearily, he smoothed the front of his ceremonial gowns, richly embroidered with golden thread. Outside, beyond his balcony, he could hear the hushing roar of the crowd awaiting his speech. The enemy horde was at last at the gates, he didn't need the general's official note to tell him so. The Imperial Potentate was not so old that he could not see the fires of the enemy army on the plain beyond the city wall, nor hear their jeers intermingled with the howls of their dogs rising late into the night.[edit | edit source]
Under the long rule of the Coral Blossom line, the multitudes swelled, the many people farmed the lands until their cities sprawled boldly across the landscape. Mighty generals marshalled the ever-growing fighting forces and in turn stretched the boundaries of the Golden Kingdom from one coast to the other. But now, a rebel force, risen from the ashes of those conquered lands and led by a treacherous general with a heart of darkness threatened the golden gates of the Sovereign City itself.
Tochu had led a long life, and in the beginning, his empire had grown and profited, as it had in the hands of his father, and his grandfather before that. The Coral Blossom family had founded the Sovereign City, had raised the storied Golden Gates, and would rule until they fell. Even if that was to be tonight. But the Potentate was an old warrior, and long retired from war. And now there would be no one else to lead the fight. His sons had grown, gone to war in defense of the ever-reaching borders of their lands, and now the last had died upon the battlefield. The knock at the door would soon confirm that, the Potentate was sure. Even as he waited, hundreds of souls crowded outside on the grand terrace below his balcony awaiting his words, they knew already. A good ruler could read his populace, he needn't wait out the bureaucracy, but this was how it was done.
Tochu would play out the ritual, it would give his people hope. Even when he was sure that there wasn't any. When the messenger arrived at last to tell him of his youngest son's death, the Potentate would do what the myths told him was the only hope. As he had failed, he would give his people over to their ancient protector. He would give his people over to the dragon.
He looked up in apprehension at the coiling red-clay statue that dominated the curving wall of his tower room, and a roaring lion-headed dragon glared back, wide pottery eyes rolling in the flickering lamplight. The man lit another bundle of incense sticks and flung them quickly onto the dais, where the sweet smoke began to roll toward the ceiling. The Potentate shook off a superstitious chill and turned toward the door, he had heard the messenger in the hall; it was time.
The knock came, and the general's messenger at last came into the room. At his side were two of the Potentate's finest warriors, his personal guard. ""Alas, Lord!"" blurted the messenger, ""Your son, his Grace Pochu has been slain by the rebels!"" The Potentate nodded, he had expected this. ""The rebels wield black magic, Lord!"" the messenger continued wildly. ""They ride terrible beasts and they are led by warlords from the Thousand Hells! We have no chance, lord,"" the messenger fell to his knees on the stone floor as the tears came and he finished simply, ""We are lost!""
This time the Potentate was shocked. It was worse than even he had imagined. If indeed the spirits favored the rebels, then the Sovereign City was truly already forsaken. His warriors couldn't stand against the power of the Ancestors. He looked again at the long and twisting statue upon the altar, the looming wyrm of red clay grinned back. If it must be so. He thought to himself, and beckoned for his guards to follow him to the base of the great statue. Loyal as ever, they came without hesitation, and without instruction, each began to light candles that sat amongst the toes of the terra cotta beast.
As warm candlelight brightened the room, the Potentate strode purposefully to the head of the statue and pulled from a hidden scabbard beneath its blocky claw a two-foot curved blade. Even the firm discipline of the guard was broken by the sight of the ceremonial sword, the Potentate himself had never seen it. Still, he had always known it was there, for this grim purpose. Even as he drew the ceremonial weapon, though, the Potentate doubted. Was this the only course? Was there no way left to fight? And in his moment of doubt, one of the guards, Chensu, spoke. ""Take my life instead, Lord."" He said, bowing. ""No!"" the other, Hansu, then spoke out. ""Take my life, I am older, let me bear this sacrifice!"" and both men then knelt before the Potentate, heads upon the floor.
As Tochu contemplated this new circumstance, a subtle clink brought his attention to a scroll case, suddenly clutched in an upraised claw of the dragon. He was sure it hadn't been there before. It had worked jade end caps and a silvery scroll between. The Potentate, agape, slid the sword into his wide, silk sash, and took up the jade cylinder, hastily casting aside the end-caps to roll open the shimmering fabric and read the words within.
As the scroll rolled wide in the Potentate's hands, the room filled with a warmer light than even the candles could cast, and Tochu found himself reading aloud in the tongue of his elders. The men before him were washed in the golden light and as Tochu watched they began to shimmer and fade. A presence behind him caused the old leader to turn, and there he beheld the ancient protector of his people, the clay dragon Heartstone. The statue was alive and before him, stepping down from the altar where it had stood throughout the eons, until now. Suddenly, as the magic in the holy scroll subsided and the relic faded from his hand, Tochu understood what he would have to do to save his kingdom.
The dragon then stepped away from the dais. The Potentate, suffused in golden light, looked at himself in astonishment. He wore the armor of Lochu, his ancestor, shimmering as if forged of the sun itself, and where he had gripped the scroll he now held his ancestor's legendary spear. The Heartstone dragon looked again at its new rider and as Lord Tochu hefted his mighty weapon, they flew from the balcony to drive the rebels from the gates.
The people of the Sovereign City still speak of the day, centuries ago, when Tochu, Scion of the Coral Blossom line dashed the rebel forces. It is said that his spear was everywhere, and that the ghostly forms of his personal Guard were with him, even in the air. Before the dawn broke on the Golden Gates, the rebel forces were destroyed, never again to rise against the Coral Blossom dynasty. After the war, Tochu himself returned to the Sovereign City, but the great Heartstone Dragon was gone. The Potentate seemed rejuvenated by the golden magic of the scroll, and his rule continued for another seventy years. Until one afternoon, when he was ready, the Heartstone did return from the Lands Above, to carry the old warrior to his destiny.
Tips[edit | edit source]
Obey the Imperial Guard! - Your Ethereal Warriors are loyal to the end. Use them to draw fire, or to provide cover for your attacks!
Keep them at spear's length - The Imperial Spear attack has quite good range, use that to destroy unsuspecting enemies, or to catch fleeing foes!
Skins[edit | edit source]
Arcfury • Autodrake • Bilebite • Bladeforge • Blood Thief • Bogwraith • Briartove • Deepfiend • Direbone • Dragokin • Dreadnaught • Frostbane • Gemtalon • Goldenclaw • Gravelurker • Heartstone • Hellfire • Icemaul • Imperial • Lunaveil • Magmascale • Mistfallow • Netherdrake • Nightmare • Novastar • Noxwing • Quetzalcoatl • Rimrock • Ryujin • Seastark • Solreign • Spineback • Spinereaver • Stonepeak • Tanglewing • The dark One • Twinscale • Venomtail • Wardhammer • Wyrm-Mk1