Plot of "Echoes of Inferno"

12.05.2022 20:14 / comments: 0 / view: 427 /

1. How quiet these woods are. Too quiet, perhaps. This oppressive silence gives an uncomfortable feeling. No wonder the locals were starting to lose their minds. It would be great to kill some of the larger, more vicious predators in the area to cheer them up with some impressive trophies.

2. There's obviously something wrong with these beasts. The frantic stare, the foaming at the mouth. Either some sickness has overtaken them, or something even more frightening... What was that creepy shape lurking in the shadows of the foliage? A demon? He looks strange, but it must be an unholy trick. Better get rid of him soon!

3. Where did he go? He was just here! Or is this some kind of dark haze? The forest spirits? Or those little demonic deviants hiding in the bushes? Smoke them out of hiding and teach them a good lesson!

4. They seem to have retreated deep into the woods. The only question, is it for good? Or to prepare for a new, even more furious attack? Suddenly a woman's laughter sounded in the distance. At first it sounded like a girl's joy, but then it began to grow into something frighteningly otherworldly, penetrating to the very bones. Suddenly the body of the wounded bowman flew out of the bushes, followed by the image of his tormentor.
Demoness:
This toy is broken. But I see a lot of new ones. Let's play! Do you like pain?

5. At last the demon spawn was gone, and the remnants of the possessed beasts finally scattered in all directions. Surprisingly, her victim was still alive, though badly wounded. It seemed to be one of the local guards. They should get him to the nearest settlement as quickly as possible - there must be a healer there. And while all the attention of the imperials was entirely focused on saving the dying bowman, none of them even noticed the flickering eyes of the demonic spies in the bushes...

6. Another demon commander, this time quite real. But even though he looked like the local underworlders, there was still something strange about him. Maybe it was the influence of the infernal creatures that had mysteriously infiltrated his army. Where had they come from, anyway? Had a portal from the past opened somewhere nearby? Or are they the lost underdogs of the Inferno army? Good question, but it would have to be answered later. Right now they needed to find a healer... If there was anyone left alive in this cursed village, besides a horde of bloodthirsty demons feasting on the remains of their victims. And at the head of this bacchanalia stood the mighty horned reaper. He grinned wickedly as soon as he saw the strangers, and readied his weapons for battle. His harvest is not yet over...

7. The scythe found a stone, but it broke right away. All his many victims are now avenged. Or are they not? The one who gave the reaper his orders seems to have appeared ahead. This place will know no rest until every last demon that defiled it has been cast back into hell!

8. Those were the last ones! There didn't seem to be any more demons or survivors left in this place. After looking through the few houses that had survived, the imperials found the hut of an herbalist man, or rather, an herbalist woman. Inside, everything had been turned upside down, as if a hurricane had swept through the place. But the woman herself was no longer there, and the wet ground was strewn with footprints leading away from the village. Perhaps she was still alive. Hurry before it's too late, whatever danger lurks in these fields...

9. Demons again - too many of them in these parts. And where are all the local guards anyway? Surely this bowman could provide some answers, but first he'd have to be put on his feet. The herbalist's trail wound farther into the fields and it looked as if someone was after her. And how did she manage to slip past these two armies? Or had they come later? Looks like the Imperials won't be able to repeat that trick - and have to fight their way through!

10. The fields are completely sprinkled with the unholy blood of demons. It's frightening to imagine what a disgusting crop will soon grow on them. The best solution would be to burn it all on the way back! In the meantime... Suddenly a woman's scream came from ahead. The hideous beast, looking as if it had been skinned alive, was dragging the captured elfin in its enormous clawed grip. Few could have withstood the barrage of blows she unleashed on her captor, but it seemed to take a twisted pleasure in doing so. When it passed the rows of grinning and snickering demons, the monster threw her into the cage and was about to give her his sadistic grin, when suddenly it smelled the stench of approaching outsiders who had disrupted its twisted mind's plans.

11. Elvish healer:
I'm so glad that at least someone else in these parts is still sane. You were in the village, weren't you? Did you see what happened there? You know what the worst part is? They threw themselves into the arms of the demons. It was because of that disgusting cultist's preaching. Some of them went after him, and the rest of them obediently sacrificed themselves to the demons that came after. And what's worse, I don't know if there's a cure for this disease. Wait! Who's that?! Why don't you say something?! He's already got a fever. Get out of here! I need space!
A few hours of various healing manipulations, and the poor man finally felt a little better. The elf herself kindly agreed to look after the patient some more, but something told the Imperials that she wouldn't be in their company for long.

12. It took them a while to prepare for this attack, waiting like this in the thick bushes. The Imperials however were prepared for this treacherous act, and its appearance came as no surprise to them.
Elvish healer:
Even the creatures of the forest could not escape this unholy obsession. Its sad Unfortunately, I cannot go any further with you. This feeling of powerlessness is killing me. Distract the attention of these beasts, and I will call for help and try to find answers to my questions. Im sure Abu-Bakir can tell me something as well. My grandmother always remembered his lessons and lectures and used to say that he always finds the right solutions, even if he has to try everything else. I only wish I could see that poor soldier back on his feet. But Im sure that you can keep an eye on him. However, don't put a weapon in his hands under any circumstances. These wounds are too deep and it will only serve to bring him further harm. If not injuring him for life. Good luck in your mission, and may fortune be merciful to you!

13. It seemed to work! She could only hope that the elf did not encounter a worse fate. But she was free to choose her own path, while the imperial group owed its leader a debt of gratitude. Little by little, the forest began to thin out a little and soon there was the murmur of a crowd straight ahead. It seemed to be locals. Surely someone had survived this nightmare? The Imperials were about to greet them when they suddenly heard the voice of a guard who had come to his senses.
Bowman:
Wait! I... I've seen this before. They're not themselves. Don't let them fool you.
His words seemed to have been heard, and not just in the ranks. A number of obsessive glances were immediately directed at the positions of the visitors who had come out of the woods...

14. It's so crazy! How many of them are there... They're even worse than a horde of uncontrollable zombies. At the very least they're faster and more bloodthirsty. Are they all sick? Or just drugged? Another settlement loomed up ahead, reeking of freshly shed blood and the bitter aftertaste of unholy magic. And in the background of the nearby houses was the image of a grim cultist darting between buildings.
Cultist:
The time has come! The seed they planted has risen from the cursed depths to reveal its harvest to the world! The harvest has already begun! Make your humble contribution and the echoes will become an unstoppable call! And you will receive your gift of an everlasting eternity in voluptuous sin and shameful vice!

15. At last he was silent - and all that was left of his unholy speeches was a softly waning echo. The madman who sold his soul got what he deserved!
Bowman:
I knew these people. Many of them. Not all of them were exemplary subjects of the Empire, but most had never hurt a fly in their lives. They just wanted to be rid of all the troubles that had recently befallen them. We all did... But these troublemakers, they...
The guard's words were suddenly interrupted and his gaze was drawn to the depths of the village, where strange sounds, reminiscent of ritual chanting, were coming from. But they reeked of horror and death.

16. Vile infernal ritualists, performing their unholy rites over mountains of the tortured bodies of locals and guards. Thankfully they were so engrossed in their bloody ceremony that they didn't even have time to prepare for a surprise attack. At least some of them didn't. The rest hurriedly retreated to their towers. But even they would not save the wicked from a just punishment!

17. Sometimes it even feels good to kill the same enemy twice, or even more times. Perhaps this is something out of the realm of elaborate infernal torture. But these creatures, more than any other, deserved such a fate. All that remained was to finish off their treacherous leader, but he was in no hurry to die. Of all things, he knew more about death and the agonies of death than anyone else. He darted off in a haste, to hide behind the lines of the demon commander who had come to reinforce them.

18. Trapped in front of the village with nowhere else to go, the infernal reanimator himself was in no hurry. Two armies of demons answered his call at once. Though they were no match for the glorious armies of the Empire, they could not be complacent. This battle would not be easy!

19. Justice has been served! Though it was little consolation in the face of all that this villain and his unholy retinue had done. Perhaps it was time to ask the rescued guard what had happened here.
Bowman:
The night it all started, I was guarding the wall. Suddenly there was screaming in the fortress, and then the demons came pouring out. We didn't stand a chance. The commander ordered me to run for help, and he challenged their commander. Then... Barely had I reached the forest, and the underworld itself opened up behind me. It... just swallowed up the fortress and everything around it. I ran as fast as I could, I wanted to warn the others, but they were already waiting for me... We must go back and help! But we can't go through the forest - there are too many of them. I know a secret path through the mountains. It is not safe, but we have little choice. And I think you can handle a few robbers. If they didn't all run away when they saw the demon armies

20. It seems that most of the local robbers still had the brains to run into the woodwork at the first sign of danger. Although not everyone. Was he the one to command the demons around him? Or were they commanding him? Either way, the path up the mountain range was free. It would be nice to take a breath before the upcoming ascent. That circle of rocks over there would be perfect for a makeshift camp.

21. Crazy elemental mages! Were they also under the influence of demons? Or just gone mad over their research in stuffy laboratories? Infernal creatures are nowhere to be seen, hence the conclusion is quite obvious. It seems that this is the same infamous 'Elemental Revival Brotherhood', therefore, they are definitely up to no good. Perhaps their summoning ritual should be interrupted. However, as soon as the imperials approached the venue, they suddenly ran into an invisible barrier. Protective magic dome - someone clearly does not want to be interrupted. But these charms will not last long. Sooner or later these spellweavers will have to stand and fight. But for now the imperials can only observe and await. What kind of monster do those crazy mages want to summon?

22. So much magic wasted on such undignified actions. But there were so many glorious deeds that could have been done... In the meantime, while the imperials were completely engrossed in watching the mages - they did not even suspect that dozens of greedy glances were constantly fixated on them. And now, after such a tough battle, the perfect moment has come for those who watched to strike an insidious blow.

23. Bowman:
What is it?... Their weapons have the same stigma that shined on ours. They dared to rob off my fallen comrades? Although what else could be expected from such vile scoundrels? I would not even be surprised if they did it of their own accord, and not being under the influence of demons. But we'd better continue our journey before someone else appears here. Dragons old nesting lies ahead. Rumor has it, they left it many years ago, long before I was born. I hope it is true

24. It's incredible how long they've been successfully hiding from prying eyes, - a bowman said in amazement after a skirmish with a group of dragons that suddenly emerged, - Although I suspect that they simply devoured all the occasional guests to keep their secret , - he added, noticing the scattered around bones and skulls. Suddenly a dispute in an unfamiliar language could be heard. An authoritative female voice and an indignant male voice. After advancing a bit more, the imperials all of a sudden saw a majestic dragon priestess ahead and a strange golden-haired boy with a piercing gaze of the same golden tint. Sensing the approach of uninvited guests, the priestess immediately pointed to the interlocutor in the opposite direction from the strangers. Albeit with obvious reluctance, he nevertheless obeyed and disappeared behind massive boulders, and she stuck the shaft of the staff into the ground in preparation for battle.

25. After defeating the dragons that were protecting the priestess, the imperials had almost reached her, when out of the blue a huge golden dragon blocked their path, landing with a roar on the battlefield. Viciously roaring in the direction of the strangers, he suddenly turned around and let out another growl, but this time it was shorter and quieter. With a displeased snort in response, the priestess began to slowly back away, and after turning around she disappeared among the stones. Another difficult battle lied ahead for the imperials.

26. Defeated, but yet alive, the golden dragon tried to fly off, but immediately collapsed back onto the rocky ground and rolled down on the edge of a sheer cliff. A moment later, the disturbed rock began to move - and the wounded carcass, surrounded by falling stones, rushed down to the very bottom of the mountain gorge. It was not safe to stay here - and the squad hurried to take refuge in one of the nearest caves.

27. Bowman:
There are a lot of these cave creatures here. And their tactics almost never change: a swift raid of feathered witches, and then - everything there is en masse. I remember back in childhood, we made up stories about all sorts of monsters that we supposedly encountered in the dungeons. And as I grew up, I learned with horror that they all really do exist.

28. Bowman:
And for you, as I see, it is not the first encounter with such creatures. Noone even flinched. Well, almost noone My first meeting with them almost ended in a shameful fleeing. If not for the commander And then everything somehow happened by itself. Eh, if only I had a bow now, but I'm afraid that my ribs will not be delighted with such an idea

29. Bowman:
Do you know which is the creepiest story I've ever heard about these caves? Rumor has it that one day a curious little girl wandered here - and inadvertently fell into a hole with poisonous snakes. But they did not hurt her, yet only mercilessly killed anyone who tried to come to her rescue. And then I forgot how this story ended.
S-s-she grew up and made a lot of new friends-s-s, - suddenly came a long and hissing female voice from the depths of the darkness. No-no, - bowman objected thoughtfully, - It seems the some kind of eminent snake-catcher came and - his voice suddenly broke off, and his eyes widened from the penetrating icy fear, - You... Have you all heard this?..

30. Keeping calm, the imperials dealt with another enemy, forcing the serpentress to hide again in the shadows of the cave. They would have been surprised at this meeting, and they had heard so much about this mysterious enemy from stories about the adventures of Empires Lords and Ladies that it was as if they themselves had already met with her face to face more than once.
Bowman:
Just don't say that this tale was true No, no, better keep silence! It seems to me that this darkness is watching us and brings to life everything that we talk about

31. The evil-eyed monster perished - and the rest of the way the squad decided to complete in silence, no longer tempting their fate. Fortunately, the exit was nearby - and the cries of seagulls and the sound of the surf were heard. Expectations were met. As soon as the imperials left the cave, a wonderful view of the seashore bay stretched out before them. The only thing that spoiled the whole panorama was the infernal red sky in the distance, where, apparently, the main source of local troubles was located. But even this unpleasant detail could not disturb a little rest and joy of the beauty of the imperial lands, untouched by the contamination. Yet the coast itself had to be probed

32. Bowman:
These shores used to be a lot quieter. Before the Inferno invasion, it had been pretty quiet. Robbers from the wastelands came by a couple of times a year, but they always got a kick in their teeth. After that, it all turned upside down. That's when I decided to join the new guard under the newly appointed commander of the fortress. It was hard at first, but then the new weapons came from the Capital and we began to put the place in order. The filth was gone, and the people came back. There was even hope that life would return to the old ways, but it turned out to be false. All that demon stuff... It drove everybody crazy. The people, the beasts... And even those coastal creatures seemed to succumb to its deleterious influence.

33. Moving resolutely forward, the imperial detachment continued to fight off the constant attacks of the pesky shells. Suddenly the image of a gigantic claw-footed monster appeared as another wave crashed over the shoreline. But of all those present, perhaps only the wounded guardsman was surprised by what he saw. He had never caught such crayfish, not even in his heady tales over a mug of ale in the tavern. The question even flashed in his mind, whether he himself had gone mad, like so many others. In the meantime, a new battle was almost inevitable...

34. Bowman:
You guys are tough! I'm afraid to ask, how much do you get paid for your services? Or are you volunteers? And you give your leader some of the bounty as well? Well, that's up to you, of course. I'd still love to see you mash up all these beasts. These shrimps seem to have brought a lot of her sea friends with her.

35. It seems that the influence of the infernal filth is indeed much stronger than it first appears. Why else would all those deep-sea creatures have been washed ashore en masse? Better hurry up before there's too many of them. They look pretty angry and hungry. Especially that ichthys guard over there...

36. At last we were off! But no sooner had the hostile noises subsided than they heard loud clapping and dirty sailors swearing ahead. Had the shipwrecked pirates decided to have a showdown on the nailed-up wreck of their ship? No. They seem to have been driven mad by the sweet singing of the sirens, who had perched themselves on the nearest rocks and reefs, curious to see the result of their treacherous shenanigans. Everyone cover your ears and try to take them by surprise!

37. The sea devils, having met with a worthy rebuff, immediately hastened to hide in the depths of water. However, instead of thanking them, the rescued pirates decided to reward them with only a few shots in their direction. Well, they asked for it!

38. Hey, cap, - the voice of an approaching woman corsair suddenly rang out from afar, - That pale dickhead had run off and turned on us - her voice was abruptly interrupted. Cap?.. - she asked a bewildered question when she saw the strangers standing over his body, and then she loudly shouted, - Oh my Gods! They killed Cap! You bastards! - immediately there was a distant cry. She was in the middle of an argument with the pirates as suddenly a horde of angry pirates loomed up beside her

39. Good fight! But outside their element, theyre nowhere near as good. Anticipating a certain defeat, the remaining pirates attempted to flee. A group of mercenaries however, in their red uniforms, suddenly appeared on their way.
Bowman:
Relax, I know them! Theyre good fellas, they have been a great help to all of us here. Though, I didnt think theyd be so merciless on their enemies
As he watched the mercenary behead the last standing pirate and place his severed head on his belt, he took a slightly squeamish step forward toward the pirate. Before he could even utter a word, a mercenarys arrow whistled near his head. Theres obviously something wrong with them!

40. There were no words enough to talk some sense into them, only brute force would work! And only up close did it become apparent that their robes were soaked with blood, including that of the unholy. It seems they could not resist the filth, and succumbed to the obsession of their own mercenarys duty. Well, at least they found a worthy death - with weapons in their hands. In the meantime the goal of the march was coming closer, though from this vantage point it seemed more distant than ever. Ahead there was a gloomy, misty valley. It didnt look like the most pleasant place, and definitely not the safest one either. Who knows what danger might lurk just a few steps ahead

41. What no one dared to say out loud has turned out to be a nightmarish reality. There is not a single adventurer in the whole Empire whod never heard of a recent battle with a terrifying demon spirit that hunts its prey in a mist shroud. And there was a whole flock of them lurking here, surrounded by a swarm of treacherous wandering lights. Now that they were gone, the fog had lifted a little bit, revealing the view of the old cemetery, stretching into the distance. The tone of sinister sounds on its side did not foretell an easy walk. Perhaps it's best to prepare well before entering the domain of the dead who have no knowledge of resting in peace.

42. Bowman:
Usually its not so 'crowded' here. We used to drop by here quite often at the request of the locals, but most of the time it was just a handful of skeletons and a couple of zombies. Or even just the whistle of the wind between the tombstones. I didnt even know that so many pirates were buried here. Isnt it customary for them to find rest and peace at the bottom of the sea? ..

43. Bowman:
Let's go! The exit is that way.
The guard lunged ahead, pointing in the right direction, but as he neared one of the crypts, the stone wall shattered to pieces with a deafening rumble. A moment later, out of the cloud of dust rose the outline of a grim bouncer with a ship's cannon on his shoulder.

44. Am I... still alive?! - the bowman asked in confusion, while trying to figure out where he was and what was going on. The whistling in his ears from the severe stun was still there, but it seemed that his allies managed to come to his rescue and defeated the monster. Better not to resist and let them take him away from here as soon as possible. Glancing at the body of the defeated enemy, he involuntarily wondered: Peculiar, how does he carry so many cannonballs? What else could a shell-shocked soldier who miraculously escaped death worry about? Except the infernal portal that appeared in a distance, opening its hellish embrace

45. Demons. Too many demons! These infernal fields were swarmed with them - and they kept coming through the hell gate opened by the damned cultists. In the name of the Empire, all this madness must be stopped! Even if it is the last thing one manages to do in this life!

46. With each next step the smell of nasty burning in the air was getting stronger, but there was no turning back. It seems there was supposed to be a fortress somewhere around here. But there was no trace of it left. The infernal portal in the distance was stretching high up in the sky with an infernal glow to it. A shadowy, demonic altar with a horde of demons massed at its foot was seen in the distance. The area around it was strewn with the bodies of fallen defenders of the land, and the enormous hell erberi was feasting on the corpses. The silhouettes of several more cultists behind him were beginning to weave the outlines of yet another hellish gateway.

47. The infernal gatekeeper has fallen, filling the air with his piercing perimortem howl. This howl attracted the attention of almost all the demons in the area, who had already lined up in battle formations following the orders of their commanders. Meanwhile, the bowmans attention was drawn to the wicked altar. It seemed impossible, but his commander was still alive. He was now lying chained to the altar before the grim figure of the inferno commander towering over him. Let's hurry before it is too late!

48. The demons and their wretched minions did everything in their power to delay the imperials as much as possible and to complete the sacrifice. The brave imperial officer's heart was pierced by his own blade, and the shadow of his assassin slipped away. The bowman didn't wait for the fight to end. He reached his squad commanders lifeless body by dodging the demon's attacks. Before he could do anything about it, billows of mist erupted from the bleeding wound, spreading in all directions and turning into vicious mist demons. Suddenly the officer's hand grasped the hilt of the weapon stuck in his chest and with a sharp movement retrieved the blade, immediately slashing it across the archer's shoulder. The imperial commander's face and body began to change, taking on more and more demonic features, and then he suddenly soared into the air, joining the pack of foggies he had spawned earlier. They seem not to let anyone near the hell portal.

49. Looks like someone slipped up - the infernal heat scorched away all the fog. Though the battle turned out to be a difficult one. A rather sad ending for the brave commander, but the imperials did everything in their power to prevent the entity that had possessed him from tarnishing his memory with its unholy deeds. And while the bowman bent over to pay his last respects, the imperials saw the lonely figure of a mysterious stranger in a black robe ahead.
Shadow of the Master:
Well, well, well, the pawns sent their slaves to drown out the echoes of their sins? So imperial. Or they told you nothing? Ooh, theres a couple of shocking revelations...
His voice sounded strange, as if in a kind of trance, and when it finally subsided, the imperials saw a whole horde of angry demons in front of them. In a moment the images of two Inferno commanders loomed on either side of him. Two painfully familiar images...

50. What was that? Some insidious demonic manipulation? Illusion? Deception? While the imperials looked puzzled, the stranger suddenly burst into laughter, an ominous but not insane one. A new seed has been sown. Upcoming sprouting promises to be a peculiar one - he said, casting a brief glance at the freshly wounded bowman. Then the stranger turned around and walked leisurely toward the infernal portal, while addressing the Inferno warlords: Your role is fulfilled. The result is no longer important. With these words he disappeared behind the veil of the portal and the infernal commanders suddenly began to transform. They were turning into weird dark silhouettes and merging into the monstrous hatred demon. Shaking the ground with a heinous roar, the demon directed its gaze full of infernal hatred towards its enemies. Meanwhile new gates of hell began to open everywhere

51. As soon as the infernal abomination has fallen to the ground, new gates of hell cease to appear. With the monster's last breath a force shockwave spread across the filth-soaked soil. Once it reached the stone of the unholy portal, its entire base gave way to a violent vibration. Either it was going to collapse, or something even worse was about to break out of it. Meanwhile, countless armies of demons were pouring in from everywhere. It appears there was nothing the imperials could do about it. It is time to get out of here, with the hope for reinforcements to arrive soon...

52. As soon as the imperials moved away from the cursed portal, a bright magical flash lit up the space behind them. Another shock wave followed. When the light finally faded, they saw innumerous fragments of the destroyed portal falling to the ground. The one time, the worst fears were not confirmed. But it still gets too hot here. It's time to get out of here quickly, hoping for reinforcements to arrive soon...

53-70. It is getting too hot in here. Its time to leave, now! Hopefully reinforcements will arrive soon

71. A little halt before the next push. Yet some alarming questions that no imperial dared to ask have followed the desired moments of rest. First they have to realize whether they want to discover answers and whether they want those answers to be honest. Perhaps it's better to get on the road again and indulge in the rage of the battle.

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