Issue #x - Theme Title



An Unheard Tale


Thaladus looked down on the jungle below. A twisting, silvery ribbon ran through the green, lush vegetation: the misty Ullen River as the first rays of the rising sun sparkled on the fog. The young mursaat focused his sight on the distant river. Tiny ripples were being formed in the fog as unseen objects passed through it. Possibly, only the most trained and sharp-eyed huntsman could’ve seen what were causing the disturbances, but Thaladus’ enchanted eyesight allowed him to see the source: masts and sails of ships. The embroidered golden griffins on the sails and flags of the vessels spoke for themselves: these barges belonged to the Krytan royalty.

Just like the ships stirred the sluggishly swirling mist, a sudden fury disturbed the mursaat’s thoughts. He knew who were traveling on those ships, and he hated them with every fiber of his being. Among his people, the hated mortals were called the “Chosen.” These “special” humans were prophesied to bring about the destruction of Thaladus’ race… and in the end they almost succeeded…


A three-legged fiend made of plants rampaged through the crystal streets, shattering them to thousands of shards. At the same moment, surges of energy and lightning impacted into the rotten plants that covered the creature’s back. The titan roared, but in frustration: it just became more enraged. Its hollow eyes fixated on the sources – two floating beings in golden robes and armor. The beast of torment let out another cry, and charged at the two mursaat. The frequency of their attacks intensified, but the titan just kept coming at them, unhindered by the brutal magical force. The magicians tried to flee, but their legs were entwined by rotten twigs and vines that the titan had summoned during its charge to entrap its assailants. Several feet away from the couple, the titan pulled its heavy hands back to its spiky back and struck. The left hand hit one mursaat in the head, instantly breaking the neck. The right hand thumped into the other mursaat’s shoulder, sending the body flying until it crashed onto the ground, dozens of feet away from the titan. Wings broken, the dying being tried to crawl away, but the titan was faster. It grabbed the injured mursaat, and then clenched its fist. The crunching sound of breaking bones echoed through the street, and blood gushed on the ground.

“Father! Mother!” the desperate cry came from a young mursaat standing at the end of the street.

The rotting titan turned its ugly head at that direction, finally releasing the broken body. The creature shrieked, but it sounded more like laughter. The bizarre smile that showed its hundred spiky teeth also suggested that the titan was laughing at its next challenger. It galloped at the new target but something was different now. Instead of absorbing the mursaat magic like it did prior, the surges knocked the beast back and golden flames erupted where they hit. The titan felt pain for the first time. The flames soon spread, and engulfed the creature. It screamed in agony, tried to extinguish them by weltering in the dust but nothing could put out mursaat flames that were empowered by rage, desperation, and anger. A few seconds later the titan’s writhing stopped, and it shrieked one last time before dying. The young mursaat stood there tensely, waiting for the titan spawns to rise from the blackened corpse of their “mother” but nothing happened.

“The magic I used must have prevented the spawning as well,” thought the mursaat and with that he floated towards the remains of his parents. Thaladus had to bury them…


“Thinking of the past, apprentice?” a demanding voice bellowed behind Thaladus, disrupting his meditation and making him return to the present.

“I have told you that you should not waste your time on pondering what you cannot undo. Our race needs you here and now. Fully focused on the goal, and not torn by memories of a life that you will never experience again.”

“Why is it so bad that I delve in these memories, master? It reminds me of the vengeance we must mete out on the humans.” Thaladus bowed his head in regret, since he’s just questioned his master’s order.

“In that case…” said the older mursaat with a slight frustration and resentment. “…it is useful. But don’t let it make you unfocused.”

Lazarus the Dire. One of the greatest mursaat leaders during the golden age of his race. He wore more regal plates and robes, representing the higher rank he had once fulfilled. He is also the reason why Thaladus finally had hopes of rebuilding their culture and race. For years, the young mursaat dwelt in a partially rebuilt crystal hut on the dry mountain that rose to the west of Aurora Glade. He didn’t have a purpose; he just survived, existed for nothing. But three years ago, Lazarus found him…


It was raining. A rare occasion on the blasted mountain Thaladus lived on. He was reading a grimoire that survived the titan invasion. The last joys of his wretched life were reading and learning of the past of Tyria and his race. However, he always read only a few pages each day, fearing that he would run out of the books he found among the rubble of the library. Aside from the one in his hand, two more were left for him to read.

“What am I going to do if I finish all of them?” this was a thought that crossed his mind on a daily basis.
The monotonous drizzling of the rain had him relive the day in his mind when his parents died. He was lost in his thoughts for hours, when he suddenly opened his eyes. He heard something… and felt the presence of someone in the vicinity. Thaladus silently closed the book with his clawed hands, and grabbed his staff that was leant against the wall, then quickly used his powers to become invisible – the ability for which they were known as Unseen Ones among the superstitious humans.

“I hope you know that those having the gift of True Sight can see you.” the disembodied voice came from somewhere the room.

“Those foolish humans would never come up here. They fear this place too much.” said the young mursaat firmly. “Also, I’ve placed some magical traps in the unlikely event that one would actually be bold or dumb enough to climb up here.”

“Ah yes, I have seen them. Not too sophisticated, but they do the trick.”

“Enough of this! Show yourself!”

And with that, a floating, tall shape was slowly appearing in front of Thaladus’s eyes. First like an insubstantial dream, then a ghost, and at last: an older mursaat.

“That… that… that is impossible!” Thaladus stammered in disbelief.

“Clearly, it is not. I am Lazarus the Dire. And… who might you be?”

“You’re Lazarus the Dire? One of our leaders? Does that mean that more mursaat have survived?”

“I’m afraid it doesn’t. You are probably the eighth I met in the last couple of years. But again: who are you, young one?”


“Is that all? No title?” The older mursaat gave a heavy sigh. “Then you are just a juvenile, are you not?”

“I might be just a juvenile, but I have defeated the titan that did this to my home.” Thaladus was getting a bit mad at the unexpected guest.

“Really? That is an impressive feat.” Lazarus crossed his arms and tilted his head to the right. “However, I will only see the proof tomorrow. My power has been damaged by those Chosen scum, and as you might guess, I am terribly exhausted. Could you show me a place where I could meditate and rest?”

Thaladus has just noticed that the great mursaat did not look well. His skin was paler than normal, and his stature was a bit stooping. His wings were moving weirdly, too. However, the word ‘Chosen’ struck a nail in his head. Although he had to tend the injured old mursaat first. “That question can wait until tomorrow.”

“Of course,” said Thaladus forgetting his previous anger. “I built a small meditation chamber into the side of the hut, and you can use my sarcophagus to sleep. I will sleep in my chair.”

“Impulsive, prideful, but respectful. Good… good,” murmured Lazarus to himself while floating towards the regenerating sarcophagus.

* * *

The burnt remains of the titan were still there where Thaladus had killed it. No matter how many years have passed, its three-legged shape stood there to this day. Dust had already covered most of the broken towers of the town, but this carcass was left untouched by the wind and sand, almost as if it was trying to avoid it as much as possible.
Lazarus thoroughly observed the battle scene. He looked a bit better but he still seemed frail and fragile. Thaladus tried not to look at his parents’ murderer, but he failed. It made him remember the sound of breaking bones and the smell of blood.

“Hmm… what did you say you used to destroy the titan?” Lazarus asked as he tried to straighten up from crouch – it took him a while.

“Lightning surges imbued with spectral energy. I thought it was going to kill me too, so I just kept shooting them just to cause pain to it… But it was cast back by the impacts, and then golden fire consumed the damned creature.” Thaladus clenched his fists while recalling the events, but some sort of satisfaction could be heard in his voice. “That was the one of the most beautiful sights I’ve seen in my short life. That writhing, screaming titan dying in front of me.”

“I see.” Lazarus was moving away from the scene, pondering and looking at the cloudy sky. “Still, it doesn’t add up. I saw some of my brothers using the same technique against similar titans, but the surges failed to damage them. You are either a bloody talent, or simply lucky.” Lazarus seemed to titter as he said that – the first occasion for days. “I hope it is the former.”

“Of course it is.” Thaladus stretched his arms towards the sky in arrogance as he said that. “My father always said I would become a counselor one day.” The memory of his father made him sad and lowered his arms.

“What a ham,” thought Lazarus to himself. “At least he is starting to grow up. And I think I have found a fitting title for him… but what are those?”
Lazarus saw two floating, pyramid-shaped headstones at the end of street. He approached them, and started studying them. Thaladus hushed away the memories, and looked around. He saw the old mursaat in front of his parents’ graves.

“It must have been hard,” began Lazarus. “But you cannot do anything now to change this, Thaladus. Instead of hiding here, you and I should start plotting our revenge on those who are responsible for this.” he pointed at the two headstones. “The titans would have never come through Komalie if the humans had not opened that hell-hole.”

“Last night, you mentioned the Chosen. Are they truly the ones who nearly spelled the end of us?”

“Indeed.” said Lazarus, bowing his head and shaking. Thaladus didn’t know that it was because of the anger or the injury. “They opened the Door, let out the titans, who then invaded our cities and killed everyone they could find. Only a handful of us survived. And now, even the other seven survivors I spoke of earlier are plotting to dominate Kryta instead of rebuilding our race and plotting a greater vengeance. I hope they will be successful, though.”

“And what do you suggest?” excitement and anger were sparkling in Thaladus’ soul as he eagerly awaited Lazarus’ response.

“First, I will train you while I regenerate. Then, we will begin looking for more survivors, search for more mursaat lore and knowledge, and rebuild this town… And amidst doing that, we will start the preparations for our revenge against humanity. They will pay, even if we have to wait ten generations for it to happen.” The shaking intensified, and bolts of lightning were shooting from Lazarus’ clenched fists.

“We should go back to the hut where you could regenerate, master.” Thaladus was surprised that he had accepted Lazarus as his master so fast, but he was more worried for the well-being of possibly one of the last of his species than to reconsider what he had said.

“Yes… yes," Lazarus said weakly, but the shaking became slower, and soon stopped and the lightning died down. “I need to rest, then find a way in your grimoires to cure this curse.”
The two mursaat slowly started floating back to the crystal hut.

* * *

Lazarus’ recovery did not go as well as planned. While the seizures stopped from occurring due to natural and sarcophagus regenerations as well as rituals and techniques described in the grimoires, an aspect of Lazarus’ power was still rebelling against the mursaat… if Lazarus used that aspect, he would become exhausted fast and a convulsion would happen despite his recovery. The mursaat counselor became grumpy in the next three years as he saw his apprentice becoming more and more powerful while he still remained weak. Thaladus thought that the demeaning title ‘the Arrogant,’ was bestowed upon him by his master just to annoy him; however, Lazarus claimed that it was not the case. He said that the title would make his enemies complacent, thinking that the young mursaat is just a braggart without true power. In the end, said enemies would fall just as easily as the titan who had underestimated Thaladus all those years ago. Thaladus became content with the title after some time; what is more, he started liking it. Arrogance was in his nature after all…
Master and apprentice stood at the edge of dry plateau that overlooked the enormous Maguuma Jungle. They were scouring the beautiful vista for the ships that had passed earlier. The barges had already docked at Tangle Root, and now the crew was unloading their cargo.

“What will you have me do to them, my master?” asked Thaladus moments of silence after their quarrel over past and memories.

“Do not kill them.” Lazarus crossed his arms and looked into the distance, almost as if he was trying to find the ocean to the south with his eyes. “These fools were former White Mantle knights. They turned on their comrades in the recent war, and played a great role in the demise of our seven brothers who commanded the Mantle in Kryta.”

“With respect, master, but why? They killed our brethren, and now we are letting that crime go unanswered?” Thaladus looked upset, and he was looking at Lazarus now. The other mursaat was still watching something on the horizon.

“They came here to celebrate their victory and honor their role model, Saul D’Alessio. I want you to cause terror only by showing up and making threats. Deep down in their hearts, they still fear the mursaat. I want you to reawaken that fear. It may rot their hearts.” Lazarus finally turned his gaze to his apprentice. “But more importantly, we need to rally the humans who are still loyal to us. Who will be the tool that unwittingly seals the fate of their own race, when the time is right.”

Thaladus now looked puzzled.

“The White Mantle, master?”

“Precisely.” Lazarus said smugly. He was amused. Not at Thaladus this time, but at his own plan.

“Without survivors, no one could spread the word that the Unseen Ones still live. The zealots are also outcasts, and some of them have been in the jungle for some time now. However, we need more than a few battalions for our cause.” The older mursaat put his left hand on Thaladus’ shoulder. “Fear attracts the fearful. You will be the fear, and you will attract those who fear us too much. By reigniting their old nightmares, they will see that they cannot escape the Unseen Ones, and in the end, they will flock to our guiding presence.” Lazarus was getting into his speech, and Thaladus was drawn to his every word. The young mursaat became really enthusiastic. “Of course, the converted will draw others to them and more importantly, to us. They will reproduce in the process, and in several generations we will have an army of foolishly loyal devotees who are willing to sacrifice themselves just to make their gods satisfied.” At that point Lazarus started into a deep, menacing laugther. Thaladus remained silent for a moment, but soon he began laughing too.

“An eye for an eye...” Thaladus said after both of them stopped laughing. “They will get what they did to us.”

“That is the plan, Thaladus.” Lazarus was smiling – the wrinkles deepened near his mouth that was covered by his regal mask. “Just play with them… like the cat plays with the mice. But I say this again: do not kill any of them.”

“I will restrain myself, master.”

“Good. But go now. You need to get to Maguuma Stade before the finale of their petty celebration. After they’ve been frightened enough, disappear, and return to me.”

“It shall be done.” Thaladus let himself down to the ground to kneel before Lazarus. A moment later he rose again, turned away, and started his journey through the jungle.

Thaladus the Arrogant knew that on that day he was going to start rebuilding the future of his species. He wanted to slaughter the Chosen vermin; however, he saw the wisdom in Lazarus’ plan. They were the key to the destruction of humanity and to the ascension of the mursaat. That day, he was going to launch a chain reaction whose effects would only be felt hundreds of years afterwards. But he and his master had all the time in the world. They could easily wait that long in order to maximize the power with which they will deliver their justice on his parents’ -- on his brethren’s -- murderers.

He could hear the happy shouts and see the lights of fireworks. He was very close to the Stade now.

“Let the games begin…” Thaladus knew this wouldn’t be his finest hour, but the time had finally arrived to set their hundred-year-long revenge in motion.

* * *

Thaladus looked weary, but he also seemed satisfied as he approached his master. It was twilight already, but Lazarus was still standing at the edge of the plateau, watching the sun go down to the west.

“How did it go, apprentice?” asked Lazarus excitedly, turning around to greet the young mursaat.

“Better than I had first expected.” said Thaladus as he knelt. “Many fainted – mainly their females – others cowered in fear, while the minority became enraged and attacked me. But no, there were no casualties… unfortunately. I merely deflected their curses and magics, which became rather boring after some time.” Thaladus raised his head to look into the eye of his master. “I don’t know how these Chosen swine could’ve defeated scores of the best protectors of Komalie.”

“The Chosen they faced were enchanted by the powers of our sworn enemies, the seers.” Lazarus said with scorn, but Thaladus was not sure whether it was meant for him, the seers, or both. “Moreover, an undead lich from Orr boosted their little powers, which then became enough to overpower the defenders. They ambushed small patrols and groups, trying to chip away Komalie’s defenses slowly – and they succeeded. Do not disrespect the fallen who did everything in their power to stop those vile humans.”

“I… I am sorry, master, I did not mean to…” Thaladus bowed his head in shame and started to apologize but he was cut off by Lazarus.

“I can understand it all too well, Thaladus. You are still inexperienced, but you passed your first greater challenge. And I appreciate the apology you were trying to make. But be mindful: do not underestimate the humans. We had made that mistake too many times, and look where it got us.” Lazarus looked away anger at the last few words. “Now rise, my apprentice. You have done well. The first steps were taken in this long-long game.”

“What do you think master?” asked Lazarus anxiously “When shall we make our strike at humanity? When will the plan reach its final stage? I will remain patient, but the blood of my parents, of our brothers demand vengeance.”

“When it’s ready, Thaladus, when it’s ready,” Lazarus said with an enigmatic smile. “I do not know, but while we become stronger, they will get weaker, softer. They will forget the techniques they used to defeat us. They will forget the true powers of the mursaat. Our wrath will be devastating. It will annihilate these vermins once and for all.”

Lazarus the Dire and Thaladus the Arrogant watched silently as the last rays of the sun sparkled on the misty Ullen River. Both of them thought that the downfall of humanity was finally at hand, and the re-ascension of the mursaat in reach. They just had to wait…

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