Thursday, 18 July 2013

Kalgar's Vision of Paragon

Hello all, I wrote this piece as an aside, as a way of explaining to myself, and anyone interested, in

Dallas Kasaboski
the emotional and spiritual transition my character Kalgar had in The Long Game to paragon. I felt that a lot of ground needed to be covered so that Kalgar could take on a new path and so I could better understand the character better. The entire thing is a vision, created by the god Kord, and used to introduce Kalgar into bigger and better things. I hope you enjoy!

Kalgar awoke to find himself aboard ship, drifting in an endless sea. His entire body hurt, in a way he hadn’t felt since his Academy days. He tried to lift his left arm and winced; it was still hard to move since the fight with the dragon. The Red Dragon, last of its kind. Kalgar thought about that as he moved to the upper deck, but there was no wheel! The ship seemed to know where it was going, and Kalgar trusted the sea enough to let it run its course.

The Thunderhead soon came to a halt, gently touching down upon a beach which appeared from nowhere. Kalgar disembarked, and walked uphill, drawn that way for some reason. Overhead, storms were raging, familiar sights and sounds for Kalgar.

A flash, a crash, and before him appeared a tower of muscle. 20 to 25 feet tall, it looked like a giant and Minotaur mixed. Its fists were as big as Kalgar’s chest, and its chest was bare. It looked down on Kalgar as one would look at an ant.

It opened and closed its mouth several times, looking confused, as if it hadn’t spoken in some time. Finally, it found words.

“Dragonborn. What are you doing here? What do you want?” Its voice rumbled like waves crashing to shore.

“I want to speak with Kord.”

The creature laughed, and its laughter shook the ground and the sky alike.

“No one speaks with Kord. I am Kord’s Fist, you may speak with me.”

And as it said so, it took a step forward and brought down a massive foot. Kalgar rolled out of the way, just in time.

He drew his sword and got knocked aside by an almost casual backhand. “Is that all you’ve got?” Kalgar weased, testing his opponent.

The creature laughed again as it smashed its hands together. A thunderous force shot out, knocking Kalgar back, and he was struck with lightning. Among the pain, Kalgar thought how odd that thunder hit first.

Kalgar’s entire body went stiff as the energy coursed through him. He could feel a single heartbeat and his blood flowing through his body. Everything inside him seemed frozen, on fire, and exploding at the same time. Kalgar screamed and the clouds overhead screamed back, recognizing his pain.

Lying in a crumpled heap, Kalgar pulled himself to his knees. His vision was blurred, his scales steaming. “Kord, you brought me here, I will not fail you now.” Slowly, he rose to his feet.

“Ha! There is life in you still? You will learn the price of pride.” The creature charged, and Kalgar retreated. Turning the fists just enough to barely smash off his armour, Kalgar matched step for step, but was losing ground. Fighting on the edge of a cliff, he tried calling the storms, but as loud as they were, they weren’t listening.

“Fool.” The creature said as he smashed his fist down. Kalgar had prepared for this, shuffling his feet, remembering his training with Shizuka, and he stabbed the creature in the neck with his katana. Howling, the creature threw its head back, and Kalgar still holding his sword, went with it.   

High into the air, he spun around and around. Storms, seas, creature, sky. He had the satisfaction of seeing the creature fall over the cliff. That satisfaction disappeared as he realized he too was falling. In that brief moment, Kalgar’s life flashed in his mind; ships, training, earning his rank, Sora, weapons of mass destruction, meeting Alvyn, Tong, great battles fought, but his mind kept returning to Aes. There is so much left to do, he thought. In a world full of war and turmoil, Kalgar’s heart thought of home.

Falling, Kalgar splashed into the still water. His armour, heavy plate, had been specially designed for cases of drowning, but this was not a normal sea. Melora reached up and dragged Kalgar down and down. The water grew dark, and Kalgar was running out of breath. Kalgar prayed. Melora, Kord, forever have I followed in your footsteps. If this is the fate left for me, so be it, but do not forget how I have fought for you.

Above, a flash of lightning struck the water and went straight for the dragonborn. His eyes snapped open, and as he was struck, he felt the pain once again. The waters turned, and the pain forced its way out his back. Reborn, among sea and sky, two silvery copper wings ripped out of Kalgar’s back, and the sea surged beneath him. Throwing him high into the air, his wings caught hold of the wind and he glided gently back onto the cliff.

The creature was gone, and the storms seemed quieter. Suddenly, a voice echoed through his heart, mind, body, and it came from everywhere and nowhere at once. “KALGAR!” it whispered.

Holding his hands to his head, Kalgar barely kept himself conscious. “What! Enough games! I...”

Kalgar stopped in mid-word as he looked up. The storms were spinning, faster than he had ever seen them before, lightning flashed, and he saw Cyfandir, the world, from above. He saw the dragons fall, and the dragonborn rise. Another flash, and he was in battle formation in Adamantina, facing against the Warlord. Once more, dragons flew overhead and burned everything around him.

The storms coalesced and above him, all around him, everything that was not him seemed to be one giant creature. “KNEEL KALGAR, KNEEL IN MY PRESENSE!”

Kalgar took a knee, but kept his eyes fixed on the creature. “I kneel before your strength, but I hope to one day rise to meet it.”

The universe rumbled, pleasantly it seemed, and the creature shrank down, revealing the red-bearded body of Kord. “Well said. Rise, sir, let us talk.”

Kalgar rose and sheathed his sword. “My lord, it is a great honour.”

“The honour is ours to share. You have...changed, and grown much in a short span of time.”

“I strive to follow your teachings.”

“And you have, you’ve been making a name for yourself.”

“I have, and I think I’ve earned some answers.”

“You’re a bold one, but you show respect as well. You’re right.”

And before Kalgar could ask, Kord said. “You want to know what you’re doing here. Don’t look surprised, your heart is clear to me, were it not clear to others. You are here because you’ve been making a name for yourself, in my name, and I wanted to see if you were worth my time. I’ve been bestowing strength upon you as you’ve earned it, and you’ve done great things.”

“Devils, demons, ghosts, krakens, and now a dragon? You had my curiosity, now you have my attention. But still, the experience has left you marked.” Kord gestured toward Kalgar’s newly formed wings.

“Yes, I, I do not know what is happening.”

“If I were to search your heart, what would I find? Strength? Honour? Loyalty? Your heart runs pure and strong, like the dragons of old. But, you’ve seen them now, haven’t you? Greedy, and lusting for power. Kalgar, you have been blessed, thrice, by the goddess of the sea, the dragons of old, and by me, lord of storms and the sky. In your heart runs a purity of will not seen in quite some time. Legends give me many names, one of them being dragonbane. There was a time when that was not true. When a dragon’s strength and honour inspired me to fight, to grow. But, those days changed, and the hearts of dragons became colder than the bottom of the sea. The dragonborn were raised from the ashes and caverns of the sea, but even their hearts are running cold, as you’ve seen in Aes.”

“You are learning the cost of power, and the burden of strength. If you are willing, you’ll be asked of much more before you’re done.”

“Strength must be checked, and weakness is its own punishment.” Kalgar said, his words ringing true as always.

“Indeed. Your strength will be checked, that I assure you. We three who have blessed you expect great things from you. You are to light a fire in the hearts of dragonborn and remind the dragons of what they used to be. Strength is good, destruction is not. Like a thunderclap, your presence will serve as an ominous reminder of your power within, and you’ll find your connection to the dragons of old will grow. You have called the storms many times Kalgar, now you will have direct control. So go, and I hope to see you again on the field of battle!”

“Wait! Please, one more thing.”

“Yes, the Order. I was wondering if you’d have the courage to ask. What you have learned is true, the Order is full of those who have earned favour fighting in my name. There have been many, but like candles in the wind their loyalty and devotion have gone out amongst the storms. You have already sensed its power, but you have barely begun to sense your connection. Each member of the Order feels a connection to me, and thus a connection to each other. What little know, however, is that this power can be combined. It has not happened often, but at times of great need, my soldiers have offered up their strength to a chosen few, or one, and used that strength to win the day. This knowledge is part of the test of being within my Order, Kalgar, for it is a test of what you would do for strength, and what you would use that strength for. I have seen your heart, held it in my hands, and I know you will make the right choice. I tell you so you may better lead the hearts of other men. Now go!”

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