This page is the additional storyline material for the blog entry

In Search Of the Beast

IN SEARCH OF THE BEAST

The grounds of Necropolis were silent. The moon, low and large on the horizon, cast a cool blue light across the stony ground causing ancient statues to cast long and dark shadows into the corners. One statue in particular, a giant griffin, accounted for most of the darkness. Its wings folded behind it, arms spread wide and stretched heavenwards.

In the griffin’s arms sat a lone creature, as still and cold as its host. Scaly skin glistening in the thin light, it clutched a Globe of Seeing which it moved slowly from side to side examining its reflected features. As it did so it recalled the events of that day, the frightened humans being herded into the central courtyard, the pathetic pleas for help as they were dragged one by one to the sacrificial stone, and the final air rending screams each time the knife came down in one swift arc and the life blood ran.

He remembered a tired, resigned face being pushed towards the stone, a face that seemed of some importance to him. Yet how could that be when the lives of these people meant nothing to him? And, as the gleaming blade struck home, he recognised the agonised face. It was his father.

Then he remembered. He remembered being younger. Being freer. Being human. Suddenly the painful memories of all he had been came flooding back to him.

The temple masters had done this to him. They had been responsible for all that he was, and the loss of all he had been. A feeling of shock rose, fighting with anger for dominance. Now he would stop serving the temple masters. He would stop killing for them. He would kill them.

He scrambled to a standing posture, and lifted the globe high above his head. He held it tightly in his gnarled claws, and, issuing a bellowing roar, crushed it. It shattered, and thousands of tiny shards arced downwards, making the ground around the statue look cold and frosty. Nothing would stop him now. He would crush them as he had crushed their globe, and wouldn’t stop until the blood of each of them, and the creatures they had created soaked the earth. Once this was done, he would combat the Beast himself.

Flame red eyes stared out across the sun-scorched plain, scanning the distant forests. Just for a moment he enjoyed the stillness. A respite before he once again set mind and body against the unnatural creatures his masters had spawned. He knew that somewhere within the giant forest lay several Beast Mage buildings, and, hidden even deeper, the Beast himself.

Drawing in breath sharply, he flexed his hardened muscles, feeling the blood pulsing through his arteries, the double heart pounding furiously in his chest. His power and speed were all that ensured his survival. He knew that the minute he was weakened, and his reflexes dimmed, that minute would be his last.

Setting off at a run he made for the trees, stirring up a trail of grey dust behind him. To have remained on the plain while the sun was high would have been fatal, and the trees would provide a respite. Even so he knew that their shade would not prove entirely safe, and were likely to be providing shelter for other beasts than himself. As the warrior reached the edge of the forest his instincts told him that he was unlikely to be alone for long. His eyes narrowed, darting from side to side watching for the tiniest movement that would betray a predator.

When it came it did so with speed, rushing at him full on. It provided a warning, as its black wings crashed through the foliage, and from its mouth came a piercing scream as it sighted its kill. The warrior had barely enough time to turn as the giant batlike creature flew directly at his head. Crouching, he brought his bone-covered fist up hard into the creatures soft underbelly, using its own momentum to direct it into the trunk of a tree. It screamed in pain, hitting the tree with its spine curved back-words before falling to the ground, its spine smashed and skull broken. It made no noise but for the treacly blood bubbling from its mouth and ear.

The warrior ignored the body. Behind him had come another screech, this time even closer. As he turned and dived for cover another winged demon flew at him, claws extended for the kill. The warrior struck out again, but too late this time, and he felt its talons tearing into his flesh as he rolled away into the undergrowth, dragging the creature with him, rolling onto it and breaking its neck in one movement. He lay there panting, momentarily dazed. He could feel a warm wetness across his side and stomach, and with it a sharpening pain.

He stood slowly, fighting the waves of pain that passed through him, feeling his hearts pounding faster. He had to keep moving. Other creatures would smell the blood soon and he could not ward off another attack.

As he stumbled between the trees he noticed something out of place against a distant trunk. Coming closer he realised that it was a doorway, and recognised that it was a Beast-Mage construction. Thinking only of the things that would soon be trailing him, the warrior took a chance and dropped through into the darkness.

There was a cool breeze coming from somewhere beneath him, and, now that the creature was out of the forest, a menacing silence fell, a silence disturbed only by the slow dripping of water deeper within the cavern.

As the warriors eyes became accustomed to the poor light he made out a worn stairway curving away from him into the darkness. So, his suspicions were confirmed. He had stumbled upon one of his ex-master’s outposts. An outpost that would definitely be inhabited by bizarre creatures, but that could also possibly host the Beast. There was only one way to find out…

Padding slowly down the stairway, the warrior readied himself for whatever abominations lay in wait at the bottom. Soon the stairway straightened out and the warrior found himself on a narrow ledge. The phosphorescence from the cavern walls was enough to reveal that he was in a huge chamber that extended away into pitch darkness. Now the silence was interrupted by distant sounds of angry growling. Whatever inhabited this place had obviously picked up his scent.

The ledge that he was on appeared to be deserted, so he advanced slowly. Without warning there was a sizzling sound behind him. Instinctively the warrior jumped, and felt his feet burn as a white hot fireball shot beneath him and explode violently against the cavern wall. So, his former masters were aware of his presence, and realised his intent. He would have to be twice as alert now. They would use every means in their power to stop him.

Ahead of him now he could make out a rough wooden ladder staked into the side of the ledge. He swung himself onto it and began his descent, dropping silently the rest of the way when he saw another ledge beneath him. No sooner had his feet hit the ground than a scaled abomination rushed forward, his large teeth glinting as he roared ferociously. The warrior turned calmly and despatched it with a single blow.

And so the ordeal went on as he worked his way deeper into the cavern. Unnatural creatures beset him at every step, but each was destroyed with determination as the warrior remembered his promise to himself to continue until every last one was dead.

He had just dropped onto another ledge when he caught a glimpse of something shining in the distance. Moving closer his keen vision made out a key sitting on a shelf on the other side of a broad chasm. He started to move swiftly towards it when he was halted by an almighty roar. Suddenly he was confronted by a huge guard. His opponent took a short moment to size him up and then made a charge, swinging his double headed battle axe at the warrior’s head. Without losing a moment the warrior sidestepped the blow and slammed his fist into the guards throat. There was a sickening crunch as the neck snapped, and the warrior stepped back quickly as the huge body tumbled forward over the ledge.

There was no time for recovery before another hulking figure was rushing headlong at him. But this time the warrior was ready, and his flying kick sent the guard plummeting backward to join his accomplice. Now a clear way lay ahead of him to the key. He sprinted along the remainder of the ledge and, just as the edge of the abyss met him, he leapt forward, hands flailing, reaching to grasp the edge of the shelf.

He made it in a shower of dirt and stones, and caught his breath as he hung swinging above a seemingly bottomless chasm. He could feel his sweaty hands begin to lose their grip. Now the warriors true destiny would be decided….

THE WARRIOR’S OBJECTIVE

You must fight your way through several different regions in order to reach the heart of the enemy’s stronghold and face your ultimate adversary. Creatures you encounter will invariably be hostile, and will cause damage when they come into contact with you. Contact can be avoided by punching or kicking creatures away from you before they get too close, or by shooting them if you have a weapon.

Each time you are damaged your heart-rate will increase. Your current heart-rate is shown on the monitor in the centre of the screen at the bottom. If your heart-rate gets too high your hearts will burst, resulting in instant death. During your attack on the stronghold you will find various artefacts which can be used to assist you on your quest. Some of the items, keys for instance, can be collected for later use when you move over them. Items that you have in your possession will be shown at the bottom of the screen. Other items, such as potions will have an instant effect which is shown on screen when you move over the item.

There are also weapons that can be collected at certain points in the game. These are used instead of punching and kicking to destroy your opponents. Certain creatures can only be destrBoyed by special weapons. It is up to you to discover the best way to use the artefacts you find and how to tackle the creatures you encounter.

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