The Tribulations (Finished, Short Story)

Joeyray's Bar
Comments are appreciated. For those that role played in Amnesia, I think you know who this character is. Suggestions for short stories in the comments will be considered.

Chapter One:
A lone figure sat still before a long ominous valley. His breathing was steady. The eyes were closed; he was in a deep trance. Two moons shone dimly in the sky, fixed and never moving. In this land, day was eternally twilight.

The figure opened his eyes and looked carefully around him. It was deathly quiet. The winds echoed from the south, stirring up grains of sand that brushed harmlessly against his side. To his right was a lake. He gazed quietly at the lake. It was mesmerizing, the waves held a color of pure indigo, reflected from the moonlight. Such beauty calmed his soul.

He stood up. A lone figure emerged from the valley, walking towards him until it stopped a few meters away from him. A female Nerazim was in war gear, ready to fight at any moment. An intricate stave was pointed towards him. It was carved with the bones of the indigenous wildlife and decorated with ancient runes. The moon casted a long shadow over the female Nerazim so that it enveloped the lone figure.

"It is time for your test aspirant. Are you prepared?" The one in question nodded his head. "You may be at the top of your class but be warned, this is not easy. Are you prepared?" The figure nodded. "I am more than prepared Magistra Azira."

"Strong words for one as young as yourself." Azira chuckles. "I admire your confidence, but talk is cheap. Let's see that confidence of yours into action." She lowered her stave and stepped aside. "Your test begins now Razuc."

Razuc stepped into the valley. He looked to his sides, carefully checking his surroundings. The sides of the valley were cliffs; rocky with many jagged and pointed ends. The two moons were hidden but they casted their moonlight creating shadows that covered the valley. Slimmers of light penetrated the darkness.

He held up his weapon, a dull club used for knocking out unwary victims. He cloaked and slowly approached the cliff walls where the shadows were. He paused briefly, carefully scanning the area for any potential threats.

"You are all now approaching adulthood and it is time for your passage of rites." Magistra Azira spoke, pacing around the room full of Nerazim students. "All of what you learned, your fighting prowess, your psionic abilities, your wits and body will be pushed to the test."

As he surveyed the area, he focused his eyes on a particularly large rock that was in front of him. The ground on which the rock stood bore distinctive traces of footsteps near it; the winds did not completely blow away the tracks. Someone was there. He slowly approached the rock. Was it a trap? Did someone deliberately leave them there?

At last he was in front of the rock. Razuc's hands instinctively reached for the club. Perhaps it was more prudent to have my hands free. There was not a single sound heard. His nerves tingled with excitement. Jumped over the rock, he turned around midair and saw a shimmering presence hiding in the darkness. As he landed, he quickly charged at this invisible would-be assailant, knocking him against the rock.

The assailant decloaked, grimacing in pain and gasping for air. Razuc backed off only to clench his fists, delivering a series of fast, powerful blows to the hapless Nerazim. He buckled over. Razuc executed a crisp chop on the exposed neck. The body plopped to the ground, unconscious.

That was too easy, what an elementary mistake. He cloaked himself and continued to walk, always hugging to the side of the valley where the shadows provided cover. I wonder what the elders have in store for me.

"For your rites, you will all perform the Shadow Walk. If you succeed, you will be officially recognized as a true Dark Templar. But it is not an easy path. You will find many obstacles that will hinder you as you attempt to make it through the valley. But fear not, I trust that all of you will make it through."

Razuc suddenly found himself on his knees. He focused his energy to sprinted to a nearby rock for cover. Sharp pain coursed freely on his back. It was scorched, but not enough to maim him. A psionic bolt had appeared from nowhere and hit his back. Razuc had only enough time to use his psionics to mitigate the worst of its effects.

He cursed at himself for his lack of focus. "Today is the most important day of my life, and I let myself get caught in an ambush." The rock began to shake with great force. Bits and pieces of rocks flew all over the place.

Razuc felt his heart beat quickly. "I cannot let it end here! Think! Where can they be?" Razuc felt his hand shake uncontrollably. This sensation...was it fear that he felt? He gripped his hand tightly. "No, I cannot panic now, I must focus and control my emotions."

He crouched and looked in front of him. The pounding was relentless and he knew he had a few precious seconds left before he was exposed in the open. Observing ruins ahead, he knew that his only chance was getting there. Razuc sprinted away from his hiding place as the last blast finally revealed him.

As he ran, Razuc turned his head to see his attacker. A Nerazim was on top of a nearby cliff shooting projectiles at him. In turn, Razuc picked up sizable chunks of rocks with his powers and hurled them at the projectiles, greatly reducing its trajectory. "You will not stop me!" yelled Razuc.

Magistra Azira stood above the valley, quietly observing the fighting below. Razuc was running for his life, using the environment for cover. He was very close to the ruins now. Another Nerazim approached Azira. G'henk the Wise spoke, "He is a resourceful one Azira. You have trained him well." Azira nodded. "Naturally, he is my student and he possesses a sharp mind. He will succeed."

G'henk laughed. "Are you so sure about that? You do know who is in charge of the ruins right?" Azira made no movement, only watching Razuc's progress. Razuc threw himself into the entrance of the ruins. His attacker reached the edge of the cliff and shot one last bolt where Razuc stood before disappearing in the shadows. "I am sure my disciple will be able to handle it," she replied...
Looks sophisticated. Looks like you could become a grand RPer. Keep up the good work!
Cool story you should definetley keep it going
Chapter Two:
Razuc was face down on the floor, eyes closed and breathing heavily. His body screamed in pain, the muscles ached horribly and his back, burned. The crackle of the psi bolts stopped. Was he no longer pursued? Razuc could not tell. Silence was once again his only companion.

He was exposed in the open, clearly seeing the two moons. "Stand in the moonlight, and you will surely be finished." Razuc remembered the words of his teacher. Mustering his strength, the stood up. The ruins were very old, their origins most likely Xel'naga. They were fairly large and the buildings were compact, casting shadows that were seemed to go forever. The buildings aged with time, worn form the passage of the elements.

He staggered and walked to the towards the darkness, trying to find a place of respite. A harsh, cold wind sliced their way around the buildings. The winds lifted up the sands which swirled upwards and danced in the air. Suddenly, it came crashing down on Razuc ferociously. The sands smacked against his sore body over and over. It bit him everywhere and blocked his vision. Razuc moaned, "Alas! Even the elements turn against me!"

Razuc covered his face. "I must find cover inside or else I will be swallowed up by this sand storm." The winds picked up more speed, obscuring his vision until he barely make out the outlines of the buildings. I must trust in the guidance of the void.

Closely his eyes, he allowed the void to guide his senses. When he came to, the storm was still raging but Razuc found himself in front of an open door. He went in and closed the doors with difficulty.

Now safe from the storm, Razuc sat down to rest his weary body. The constant barrage of sand wore down on him. He removed his tunic. It was burned at the back and irritated his sore body because of the sand that was stuck in it. I can only rest now and wait for the passing of the storm. Razuc closed his eyes, allowing his body slowly to heal.

The storm was as ferocious as ever outside. It howled and screamed. It slammed itself against the walls. Yet a hooded figure paid no attention to the raging elements. Walking swiftly, the figure came to a stop to pick up a handful of sand in the ground. It was bloodied. A foolish, injured soul had entered his domain. He turned around and walked, still grasping the sand. "Can he pierce the veil...Will he overcome this tribulation?" He opened his hands, letting the sand blow away.

Razuc finally heard the winds die down. The ache and the soreness was mostly gone but the burns he had received were there to stay. He flexed his arm. It was okay. So I am not in the best shape but I am much, much better now. If I complete this, I should avoid combat if I can and concentrate on getting to the end of valley.

He stepped outside and he was able to see again. He noticed that he was atop a hill. The end of the valley was a few hundred feet away and the ruins continued for only another 50 or so feet. If I encounter no one, I can get there within the hour.

Razuc cloaked and treaded carefully, taking his time to navigate through the ruins. Once or twice, he felt something trailing him but he could not locate any presence. Razuc walked slowly, always checking behind him. Am I paranoid?

There was a snap. Razuc took out his club and eyed the area carefully. He moved backwards slowly, attentive to his surroundings. Even though I am hidden in the shadows, I am in a fairly open space where I can be attacked from any direction. I must get away from here quickly.

As he slowly back off, Razuc heard a whoosh behind him. He turned around quickly seeing a black blur in the sky. Rolling out of the way, the black blur landed on where Razuc once stood with such speed, a cloud of dust and sand emerged. Razuc could only see an obscure figure in its wake.

To Razuc's horror, it was not only one dark templar that emerged from the cloud but three. Each one wore a different attire of war gear, one with a stave, another with two clubs and a third weaponless; all of them still equally fearsome. The three dark ones were silent and they slowly approach Razuc.
Chapter Three:
Razuc could not believe his eyes. Time and time again, he ran into ever higher obstacles. First, he was injured in the back and forced to run for his life. Then a powerful sandstorm impeded his journey and now he was face to face with three rather powerful looking, masked dark templars.

Razuc back off slowly. He legs were numb. Is this the end? Are my efforts for naught? Razuc felt his back against the wall. The Three approached him, raising their weapons. Razuc closed his eyes waiting for oblivion.

"But how can we possible do this?" a student asked incredulously. Azira looked directly at the student's eyes. "There are no such things as guarantees in life. Anything can and will turn against you. But when that happens, do not be afraid. Keep yourself focused and fight. Fight until you see the path. Courage and knowledge will be your friend. You will find a way in the end."

Razuc opened his eyes in time to see The Three usher forth their might upon Razuc. A thunderous boom echoed through the ruins. Dust and rubble flew all over. The wall was torn down by brute force. A battered, bloodied body, barely breathing, slumped along the wall.

"So he has failed," said the wielder of the staff. "Truly, what a pity. Perhaps next year," the unarmed one said. The last one spoke "Carry him, he has failed to pierce the veil."
Chapter 4:
Razuc's body was carried to a hidden gateway somewhere in the ruins. A lone Nerazim was there. The body was dumped on the ground. The Three vanished in a puff of smoke. "It seems that Azira had put too much faith in this one. He has fallen like all the others and failed to see the through the mirages."

Korlen grunted and picked Razuc up. "I suppose you were fated to fail after setting foot in the ruins instead of taking the alternate routes. Such tragic circumstances. Far'zh did a number on you. You never had a chance boy." He activated the gateway. "Still, I suppose I should give you credit for taking down Aldim."

Korlen found himself next the G'henk and Azira. He rested the body on the ground. "Do you see that Azira? Your favorite pupil has failed." G'henk went over and placed his hands over Razuc. "He is still breathing, we can take him to the infirmary. But next time, go easier Korlen. You shattered many of his bones."

"Bah! What does it matter? It is my job to impede their progress and that I did." Korlen walked towards Azira. "So then are you ready to concede defeat?" Azira chuckled softly. "My dear Korlen, perhaps you should not quickly claim victory. After all, a master of deceit should know when he is cheated."

"What? What are you talking about?" Azira laughed boisterously. "See if the Razuc you brought is real." Korlen stared at the body. "Of course he is, I even checked his pulse and verified that his body is real."

Azira went over to the body. "I know my students and I can tell you that what you see here is nothing but an imitation. Watch carefully, the effects should disappear right about now." Razuc's body flickered on and off and then vanished in a puff of smoke.

Korlen could not take his eyes off the ground where Razuc once laid. "In my arrogance, I was blinded by the very doctrine that I was suppose to live by." He fell on his knees and hung his head in shame. "I...I concede defeat Azira. Your student was the first in a long time to be able to best me."

Azira patted his back. "There, there, I am sure you can still teach him much more. After all, you had three very powerful hallucinations that no doubt scared him." Korlen sighed. "Perhaps I could. If he can make this level of hallucinations, he will be able to learn my arts easily."

Azira looked at the ruins. A small figure was running away from it, closing in on the final checkpoint. "Stay vigilant Razuc, never let your guard down."
oh yeah great story im loving it
It will be finished!
Chapter 5:
Razuc had ran for life as quickly as his legs could carry him. He had narrowly avoided a terrible fate, his quick thinking in that instant had saved his life. Perhaps it was the near death experience that allowed him to perform such an arduous task.

As the weapons fell on him, Razuc blinked away, instantaneously leaving a hallucinated copy of himself. He had hidden himself, nearby, not daring to twitch a muscle in fear that he would be discovered. Only when their footsteps died did Razuc cloak and sprint out of the ruins.

By the time they discovered the double, Razuc would be long gone. Once again, he found himself in the valley. Trying to catch his breath, he rested beside a large, worn rock, wary and alert of any possible ambush. I am not out of danger yet.

He could see the end of the valley now where a small shrine rested. His tribulations were almost finished. A gentle zephyr whispered in the valley. It was soothing, a sensation that Razuc enjoyed and calmed his tremulous soul. The two moons were in full view now, the shadows were slowing receding.

Although Razuc wanted nothing more than to enjoy the wind, he knew he had more pressing matters at hand. He stood up, refreshed, and continued to trek to the end of the valley. I am almost there. I will be ready for contingencies.

Razuc tried to stay as close as possible to the shadows but they soon retreated as the moons were directly overhead. The altar was a full minute sprint. I will be seen much more easily now, I must run as fast as I can to the altar.

He was closing in on the altar when he sensed something was closing in on him from behind. He blink sideways and turned around. It was the Nerazim that had blasted him. "You again...I won't fall for the same trick twice." growled Razuc. He stood upI do not have time for this, I am so close to my goal.

Razuc carefully backed up towards the shrine, his eyes closely watching Far'zh's hands. Far'zh gathered up psi energy on both hands. He will lock down my movements and eventually overwhelm me if I don't take him down. If I can close in the distance, I would stand a far greater chance of beating him.

Far'zh unleashed both bolts at Razuc. In a flash, Razuc ran forward towards the two bolts. Merely inches from his face, he blinked forward, closing in on Far'zh. I am near him, and it seems like his reaction is slow.

Far'zh made a talon with each hands and motioned them backwards. What is he doing? Nothing appeared from Far'zh. A feeling of unease washed over Razuc. He turned his head, hoping that it was not what he thought it was.

The two psi blast split into many different beams and they were now homing in on Razuc. Razuc, stopped, his nerves fired up and he dodged the onslaught of beams by a hair's breadth. Brilliant, it seems this one has some tricks up his sleeves. The wind picked up speed and the sand brushed harmlessly against Razuc.

Razuc knew his reserves of energy were running low and the situation was looking more dire by the minute. His stamina was also running out and Far'zh was drawing him away from the shrine. There was one thing that Razuc could only do with the remainder of his energy and he had only one shot at it.

Far'zh shot another psi bolt. As it traveled to Razuc, he raised a sand wall and flung it all at Far'zh. The dark templar used his psionic to blow away the sands, all of it picked up by the strong winds. He squinted his eyes looking for Razuc. Another sand storm was kicking in.

There he was! He shot two bolts in succession towards a shimmering figure approaching him. The bolts hit their target and the figure cried in pain. That was too easy thought Far'zh. He heard footsteps behind him. Impossible! he thought, I was sure I hit him. Well then, I will make sure you do not get up. Four more bolts hit their mark. "Try getting up from that!" he yelled triumphantly. A shadow over him briefly. He looked up and to his horror was Razuc.

Razuc was in the air directly above Far'zh, his club was readied for clobbering. It came down with a a vengeance on Far'zh's face, leaving him with a bloodied face. Razuc collapsed, his energy spent. The winds died and the sand settled to the ground.

" not finished....yet...there is be..f-finished..." He gasped. "I...will not stop here...I WILL NOT STOP HERE!" With his willpower, Razuc forced his body to get up. His legs were shaking uncontrollably. "Move, damn it. I SAID MOVE." He took small, agonizing steps. Every step felt like a eternity. He was so close yet he felt so far.

At last, Razuc finally arrived at the base of the shrine and threw himself at the steps. His tribulations were finished. He turned around, facing the heavens. The stars shone brightly, the moons were fixed, unmoving. It was deathly quiet; the only sound he heard was his jagged breaths. He turned his head sideways to the right. The lake was there, a beautiful indigo color, a mesmerizing color that had always gave him serenity. He closed his eyes and fell to a deep sleep.
Razuc completed the Shadow Walk and later attained the rank of Prelate. He took on a variety of missions for Shakuras and eventually the Daelaam, the unified Protoss organization of the Khalai and the Nerazim. His abilities in combat and tactical prowess is among the best having learned them all from masters. His last mission and last known location was in Sector XYZ, where he was sent to retrieve a Xel'naga artifact led by a strike force under Cal'zur. The location and status of all Dark Templars sent to the area is currently unknown and reports of the sector do not show anything conclusive.
Very nice!
Thanks for the praise Nick!
01/14/2012 11:50 AMPosted by smylez
Thanks for the praise Nick!

No problem! Very nice writing! I like the way its written.
Thanks again for the reviews (constructive criticism is welcome). I guess people here won't mind reading another short story around the same length or less if I decided to do it?
Good job! Now... If only I had the patience to do a long story like this with my Changeling...
Haha, thanks. Wasn't easy at all but it was very fun to explore the beginnings of a character I made. By the way, what is this changeling you speak of? I remember you mentioning at Amnesia.

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