Welcome to the community voting phase of the Duelyst Lore Contest! All of your submissions were fantastic and we had alot of fun reading them.
With that being said only ten could move on so without further ado here is your top ten entries:
[details=blankzero - Pandora]Curiosity was my original sin, but it was soon joined by others.
You think me mad, and to your credit, I look the part. My hair is an eruption of ebon, a wild dark halo about my head; my dress is tattered and frayed by centuries of aimless wandering. I see the reluctance in your eyes, but I remain silent, unable to reassure you — my words were stolen long ago.
Curiosity was my original sin. A jeweled box was the tool of my destruction. The jewels were lovely, so lovely; emeralds as bright as a daytime meadow, sapphires as deep as the coldest sea, rubies as pure as an infant’s blood. But their facets held no interest for me. Their mystery was dispelled by the light sparkling through them, illuminating every angle and casting out all doubt.
I needed to know: What secrets did the box conceal? What great truths awaited within for me, and me alone to discover? What marvels and splendor were hidden away by one little golden clasp?
Curiosity was my original sin, but it was soon joined by others. My selfish carelessness unleashed terrible evils into this world: Wrath, the cold hatred that seeks vengeance for countless trivialities. Fear, the terror that drains your resolve and roots you in place, robbing you of your will to act. Envy, the gaze that pierces and loathes from a distance. Rage, the blind fury that lashes out and destroys everything it touches. And the worst of them — Serenity, the awful, quiet peace that remains when you look into the box and lose yourself inside of it.
You think me mad, not comprehending how far beyond madness I have gone, not aware of the wolves that forever howl in my mind. Come closer, my child, and see them for yourself.[/details]
[details=martinsilenus - Sojourner]In each shard - story. In each story - wisdom.
A hunched figure clutches its staff as the path weaves into the darkness, leading him to the hopeful safety of a border town. Wild jungle dances with shadows and movement as it is stirred by the brewing storm. A thin trail of blood follows the traveler marking his struggle. The wood thumps on the cobblestones eroded by the unstoppable onslaught of plantlife. Something is watching from the undergrowth, lurking, waiting.
Finally, the figure stops, exhausted beyond belief, unable to take another step. And the lurker knows the time has come. His steps are light and flowing, like rippling silk in the wind. He has given the traitor hope, now it was time to shatter it. His blade flashes white with each strike of lightning. There is nowhere to hurry – the man before him will not resist. The judgment is swift and precise – the sentence carried out.
The eyes of the wanderer are turning glassy. With his last dying breath he sees a face. A mild expression, a wild strand of white hair. Recognition flashes in his eyes and a light smile adorns his lips. He was not alone on his journey. He will be remembered. He will live on in her stories. As he slips into the blackness, he feels the soft touch of her fingers on his forehead.
She leaves her companion behind as she did innumerable times. Another story, another shard, another step on the endless journey. Something ends, something begins…[/details]
[details=HealingMystic - Healing Mystic]“I may not know who you are, but I do know this; I’m not going to let you die.”
Pots and vials clattered as the world shook with anger. A small hooded creature calmly poured liquids into a small bowl before her. A blood curdling scream pierced the air as the figure continued mixing with rehearsed motions seemingly paying no mind to anything other than her craft. She stepped back and prepared to add the final ingredient to the glowing green brew.
The figure’s ears perked up as a body launched into the chamber. Its skin was burnt to a crisp, its entrails leaking. The creature bowed her head for a few precious moments lamenting the loss of life before returning to the task before her. She opened her hands and began to channel her life energy into the mixture. She paused again as she felt an unknown force. Turning around she saw a small orb rising from the body. The spirit gave a wordless affirmation to the Mystic, they both knew what needed to be done.
For generations the Mystics were trained to selflessly use their own life to fuel their potions. About half of her life span had already been wasted away, and she was prepared to give it all. However the aid from the spirit eased the burden on her own body as the elixir began to take on a more ethereal form. It spiraled in the air before softly floating down to her light blue palms.
Carrying the magic she walked out to the battlefield. The factions who were slaughtering each other didn’t matter, nor did the explosions that singed her cloak. She cared about one thing and one thing only; saving lives.[/details]
[details=scarzig - Whistling Blade]“They do not eat the wanderers they slay, they leave the bodies to nourish the forest, and to serve as a warning for future trespassers.”
Named for the forest they inhabit, and as tall and sturdy as the trees they protect, the Whistling Blades were more than just a scary story to frighten the children of Xaan. The tales were indeed very true, and served as a warning to be heeded by all but the most foolhardy.
Never enter the Whistling Blades.
The rocks and boulders in and around the forest glow with crimson streaks of mystic energy that match the eyes and blade-like limbs of these enormous entities. The Whistling Blades; the creatures, and the forest that is their namesake, benefit equally from this residual magic, and one cannot exist without the other.
The eerie howling of these territorial creatures is indistinguishable from the sound of the wind billowing through the creaking boughs of the treetops. This, combined with the stiff, razor-sharp leaves of the mystical trees chiming and rattling in the breeze, creates a foreboding cacophony that strikes fear into any trespassers long before they reach the edge of the wood.
And that was where the Whistling Blades always left the bodies; at the edge of the wood. Their decomposing corpses nourishing the saplings along the forest’s edge, while the Whistling Blades’ crimson eyes glow from the shadows of the trees. The forest keeps it secrets, and the warning is renewed.
Never enter the Whistling Blades.[/details]
[details=testaa - Arrow Whistler]Every arrow has its mark.
Tighten, release, loose.
The shaft whistles from her fingers into a blossom of red. Just ahead, soldiers roar their approval, slamming their shields into the ground. The clamor of war, the crash of metal against metal.
She puts it to the back of her mind. No time for distractions, or the soldiers cheering her on could be the same ones tasting steel. One more arrow, one less sword for them to fend off.
Simple reasons. She fought for the soldiers, guarding her life with her own. For the ones who’d fallen doing the same. For the child she’d left behind. Truth, ideals and justice could fend for themselves - she was concerned with the living and the dead.
The weight of the teak makes itself known in her arms. The strain of catgut against her fingers, biting deep enough to draw blood. She feels it running down her arm, sticky and red. She tightens her grip on the bow, not willing to let it fall. Not while her quiver’s still filled, not while the other side’s still standing.
Closer now, the soldiers engage, swords rising and falling in bloodied arcs. She draws her arm back and steadies her aim.
Tighten, release, loose. Another arrow finds its mark.[/details]
[details=crystalgears - Sunset Paragon]Do unto yourself as you do unto others.
The three poachers had been planning their trip for months. They’d heard captivating descriptions of all the creatures of Magaari’s deep jungles and high hills, about their life-giving emerald fire and their beautiful scales. How lovely they’d be mounted on the wall at home, or bottled, or worn! After much deliberation and many enticing stories, they packed their weapons, sold their things, and crossed the Restless Sea.
Their time in the Beastlands was profitable. After a scant few weeks the hunters had nearly filled the hold of their ship with all manner of pelts, horns, and extracts. Soon they’d return home with wealth that would last for fifty lifetimes, and enough green fire, surely, to live to spend it.
On the last day of their excursion, as the sun began to sink low in the sky, the poachers crested a hill. Across the way grazed the most spectacular beast they had yet encountered. Its short, shimmering fur gave the impression of a hole cut through the earth to display the colors of the sunset beyond, and its horns and hooves were like gold. The best part was that it hadn’t seen them yet.
One huntress quietly drew her bow, nocked an arrow, pulled… and was struck in the heart by an arrow she did not fire. One of her companions shouted in shock and grasped his sword, and as the creature turned to face them he was cut across the neck. The last drew his spear, met the creature’s eyes, and suffered a stab to the gut.
The beast turned back to the grass, the poachers breathed their last, and their ship was left aground on the coast of the Restless Sea.[/details]
[details=wexx - Archon Spellbinder]I cannot stop you from using magic, no. However I can control how and when you will use it.
From the time of the First Empire Arcanysts followed the teaching of the School of Order. Their mixtures could enhance one’s abilities and were highly sought out resources. They discovered these spells from by using power contained withing magical components and scripts.
But magic consumed lives of the people, making them obsessed with it as they carelessly misused mana crystals left over from the First Blooming. Wasting these precious resources caused Songweaver Eurielle to establish Trinity Mandates, which caused a huge outcry within the Aestari people.
Spellbinders were established to overseer rules set by Trinity Mandates, to confine the usage of quickly depleting mana crystals. Needless to say they were not liked by the Aestari people. Just the sight of them usually signalized that somebody was discovered using magic for their simple desires and consequences for that were not enjoyable at all. They were ranging from bans on using magic to much more dire ones.
Symbol of the Spellbinders are several books, chained together by golden chains. Other than for Spellbinders themselves and a handful of powerful Arcanysts, nobody knows what they contain. Rumors say that they collect powerful spells which may one day bring forth an end of the world, or destructive spells which can be used to swiftly end wars. Either way, their ability to control usage of magic is terrifying as it is alone.
Aestari people learned a long time ago to fear these mysterious robed figures. Once they show up in their crimson and black robes it is too late to run. Magic of Aestari people is under their judgement, be careful lest you be deemed unworthy of it.[/details]
[details=beingsirius - Aethermaster]“Kings change the laws of nations. I change the laws of reality.”
Time flows in cycles: Day to night to day, a clock’s spires ever moving in endless circles. Spring to summer, to fall, to winter, and back once more. Nothing was ever truly new, merely reborn. The wisest of the Arcanysts kept this knowledge buried deep between their ribs, but none could truly master the philosophy as Aethermaster had.
Its cards flipped and shuffled, cut and dealt in ever-shifting formations: a trinity, a cross, two circles entwined, all flowing serpentine between one and another. It had taken lifetimes of knowledge to coalesce its arcane talents into its deck, but the end result was a powerful artifact, granting its owner the ability to shape fate into its desires, even if only so slightly.
The three cards hovered in place: A single sword on the left, grasped and readied for battle. A chariot on the right, flanked by Azurite Lions, upon which a faceless queen rode, shield in hand and surrounded by a phalanx of spears. Aethermaster stared at the middle card, face impassive, jaded heart confined in an emotionless oubliette. It learned long ago to be affected by others’ fates was to affect your own misfortunes.
A single skull in profile, on a mound of rotting worms and flesh, a vulture’s disease-riddled body festering at its base. Its eyes stared into Aethermaster’s like it was accusing the Arcanyst of its fate. Aethermaster stared back, and the cards floated back into its deck, at home amongst their seventy-five other companions.
Drops of rain fell from the sky and hit the forest floor in front of the Arcanyst like bodies leaping from a parapet. It looked up, knowing already that war was on Mythron’s doorstep once again. It stood up and began to walk, knowing a long road laid ahead.[/details]
[details=maskster - Spelljammer]“Imagine a song so stirring, you needn’t move or imagine at all to be ever elsewhere.”
An otherworldly chorus, unheard by ears alone and unsung by voices imperfect, channels the tremendous and unfathomable energies of quintessent harmony. Found and lost at the rims of the void where the music of creation is freshest and loudest, this natural arrangement of vibrations finds its clandestine way into the world of all mortals and the unalike. Stings of aether dance and bow only to some very rare sentience that may tune and pluck them. Once is a feat of legends, twice is the hallmark of the Spelljammer.
Periodically yet fleetingly, like a chased memory in vain, the complex forces reverberating between these crystalline conduits attain an improbable sort of resonance whose magnitude spontaneously overwhelms the prismatic power any consciousness may wield. This event, of all bluest moon’s envy, sends a wave of force surging through the rubicund of that same-said sentience. Meteoric with impossible power, rivaling even the forces responsible for Eyos itself, Spelljammer’s entropic and inauspicious presence reaches untold heights.
Perhaps this brief but undeniable manifestation, whose duration becomes increasingly more stable and consistent, is a foreshadowing that the imminent danger that is feared to follow the Spelljammer, is actually Spelljammer herself.[/details]
[details=eudaimonia - Dancing Blades]“When the bodies of blademasters grow weak, their call can continue in the sacred dance.”
Warm blood pooled upon the cold cavern floor. Ezra laid in the purple glow of the cavern walls, listening for the footsteps to come. All was quiet but for the hum of the black amethyst and her ragged breaths. Eleven Inxikrah bodies lay scattered across the chamber, and she couldn’t help but grin. She’d bought her team ample time to escape, and the Alcuin Loremasters would benefit greatly from their research. Too long had the Inxikrah laid claim to Aestaria’s nights. Her life would be a small price for the peace of her people.
When the toxin visions came–the Inxikrah’s bodies shivering into the shapes of her comrades–she knew her end was close. Next came the noises, an unending hiss that threatened to sever her mind. She steeled herself now, and set to her final art. She laid her blades upon the cool stone and set to the binding. Her blood began to stir and spill towards the swords like a tide, and it blended into the steel, painting it with the pureness of her soul. As the last of her blood left her, she slumped back against the black amethyst wall. In her last moments of darkness, above the toxin’s hiss and scorch, she could hear the gentle song of Eyos beckoning her to blissful sleep.
Within the hour, another brood of Inxikrah had caught the scent of their brother’s deaths. Expecting easy prey, they slithered into the chamber only to find a set of blades hovering in mid-air, swaying as though to the beat of some ghostly heart.[/details]
The voting phase will run from 04/10/2016 till 08/10/2016 14:00 EST
Please note that to receive your prize you must have a valid mailing address, if you do not have one your physical prize will move onto the next applicable entrant
We at CPG want to thank you all for participating and to wish these top ten the best of luck in coming out on top! [poll type=multiple min=1 max=3 public=true]