FRESH STORY CONTENT!! 9/3/2022 — Derek Barton — Wyvernshield!! – 2022 New Content A white plume of dust trailed far behind Llasher in the chill of the air. His white and brown roan raced hard down the rocky road, its sides heaving hard from its exertion. It was a murky morning, the first rays of light unable to break through the layers of clouds overhead. He was afraid he was forcing the animal beyond its limits, but the urgency of his mission required it. A trio of riders ahead were outdistancing him. They were members of the Beleardea, the dangerous cult of religious fanatics, once banned from the continent. As one of the Camiyaan race, he was tan and lean, but he was also completely hairless. He wore black riding clothes under an olive-green vest and hooded robe. Across his chest was a leather bandolier holstering three small, silver hatchets and attached at his belt was a coiled blue-black whip. Covering most of his face, he wore at eye level a dark blue bandana to keep out the road dust. One of the three riders was on a black horse and he wore brown leggings. He was known on the streets as Temerryk, a courier. Pressed to his sides he carried a well-worn leather satchel. He was the one LLasher originally tailed in the crowds clustered on the notorious Port Ssescima Wharf.On another horse, a gray, black-spotted mare, was LLasher’s new target: Pontiff Joman-Gregg. The afternoon before, Temerryk had met up with the pontiff and received a package, its contents meant for the new Ebon Queen. The surprise appearance of the pontiff shocked LLasher. His orders were only to subdue Temerryk in order to learn what the next moves were for the Beleardea. But he was not about to let the elusive pontiff escape. The unexpected opportunity was too good to pass. LLasher had circled around the clandestine meeting and stood among the fruit and vegetable stalls. Thus he hoped to block the pontiff’s chance to reboard his waiting ship. However, the pontiff had not been traveling alone or unprepared. Out of nowhere, a large, square-shaped man exploded from a nearby merchant stall and plowed the Camiyaan off his feet, dumping him into the waves of the Everglass Sea below. The brute was the third rider ahead, the muscled escort, who now rode on a brown mare next to the pontiff. The three were barely out of his reach. The horse chase had been ongoing all night since the docks of Port Ssescima. Luckily, LLasher who was familiar with the region, had been able to take shortcuts to catch up with the trio as they traveled down the Nestermaryn Forest Road. Yet the window of opportunity to catch his prize was fading as the distance to Wyvernshield grew shorter. Unbeknownst to his quarry, LLasher had some reinforcements placed ahead by happenstance. Ex-Wyvernguards he had placed as scouts were keeping tabs on the outskirts of Wyvernshield. He hoped they were alert enough to spot the horse chase as they approached.He stared ahead and focused on the darkening gray skies. A ferocious funnel of clouds loomed. It spanned a distance of several miles wide and towered up from the ground into the sky almost out of sight. Lightning flashed sporadically and large debris whirled within it. The massive tempest was called by the locals the Sea of Storms, or The Barrier, encapsulated the entire region and even by sea no one had been able to get close. And the Barrier seemed to grow daily.Miniature, red bird-like creatures were fixated on the unnatural phenomenon and flocked around it. No one was sure if they only watched or if they attacked intruders as well. Since LLasher and the others lost Castle Adventdawn, months before, most of the city residents had never been seen again. Many atrocities were being accredited to Ebon Queen Letandra. Vile crucifixions and hangings were reported the first few days after her dark reign began. The bodies had decorated the courtyards and the walls of the castle itself. Much like the city of Wyvernshield, LLasher’s life had changed considerably in the last couple years. He lost most of his arm during a violent encounter with the infamous Pale Mage, Auste Cros’seau. Afterwards, Princess Letandra found him lying near death and used her Mending spells to keep him alive. This had been the catalyst for his own personal transformation. Through her one act of mercy, she showed him how his life had been selfish and utterly meaningless. He gave up the slave trade after his recuperation from the attack. Later when he learned of her abduction, he became obsessed with finding a way to rescue her. He wanted her to know what she meant to him and that he was becoming a man worthy of her show of mercy.The new queen still resided as far as everyone knew in Adventdawn Castle. Only a handful outside the Khestal Ezan Order knew it was The Bleeding Crown entity controlling everything. The mammoth tempest then exploded into existence on the fourth day. Movement broke his dreary reverie and he focused on two new riders, his posted scouts giving chase! The three Beleardea members doubled their efforts and made straight for the Barrier. Temerryk continued to clutch at his side the package. Suddenly the two scouts’ horses broke off pursuit, one horse rearing up, nearly throwing the rider. The other angled to the left, running in a zigzag pattern as the rider batted at something unseen in the air. As Llasher feared, a spot of the curtain slid aside as if brushed away by an unseen giant’s hand and a roadway could be seen inside the storm clouds. They charged right through the fierce, swirling fog. It did not surprise him that the evil cult had a way in unhampered. The opening sealed up immediately behind him. Dark protective sorcery in play. Damn! What happened? It should have been an easy ambush. Ahead the pair of chasing riders regrouped, then pulled up short in front of the hidden opening. They were in an obvious debate about what to do next.LLasher whistled and waved his arm trying to get their attention. They were too involved in their discussion.He gave up on the idea that they would see him. He brought the roan to a stop, rummaged frantically inside his backpack and located a small mirror. Angling it to catch the light, he flashed it over and over at the men. When he was about to give up on the idea, one saw him and waved back. He immediately thrust his hand in a forward motion. The riders acknowledged him with a salute, dismounted and plunged into it by foot. The horses were too panicked to be guided inside. The animals by instinct knew it was beyond dangerous inside the magical disturbance.This mission had gone south quickly, but failing would be too high of a price. This was too important to let the parcel slip through their hands as well as losing Pontiff Joman-Gregg! He needed them to risk the Sea of Storms. Bringing up his spyglass, he watched them hesitantly creep into the whirling winds. The expressions of dread and fear were evident on the two. He used the bandana to wipe away sweat and dust from his smooth face and neck. Shaking his head, his gut told him this was a bad idea. “It is a risk we have to take! Her horror has gone on too long already.” His words echoed back at him. They sounded weak, petty and desperate. No one had ever come out of the Sea of Storms. Yet… No one yet.