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The Archer Returns

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The lands of Genesaris looked the same from where Zio stood aboard the ship, the Pathfinder. Its hull was made with reinforced wood and metal and it was armed to the tooth with cannons and a large sail. Atop was an unmarked flag. The skies were orange, it was dawn and Genesaris´ beautiful sun shone with a brilliant orange light, illuminating the waters and the approaching coast. The winds were fair and the sail was long, but gentle. Fortunately, the storms had avoided the Pathfinder´s course, but Zio knew that his luck would run out soon. So, as they approached the shores of Izabal, he heaved a heavy sigh of relief. His silver hair blew gently and his blue and silver armor shimmered in the dawning sun. His bow, an ornately designed Steel Bow, hung across his back, adorned with his similarly designed quiver and arrows. He made his way to the front of the ship, where the captain eagerly steered her along. His steps drew closer as he approached the similarly dressed captain. 

Zio: Captain, how close are we?

He asked, sternly looking across the oceans of the Orisia Isles. 

Captain: Heh, with me at the helm, we will be there by high noon. If I may ask, what´s the rush?

Zio  crossed his arms and simply responded.

Zio: Unfinished business and I also have to meet some old friends of mine. 

The captain abruptly stopped speaking and tended to the ship. Zio went back and made his way to the crow´s nest, he needed some time along to ponder his thoughts. He hadn´t been in Izabal since the era of Kayden Arghest who long since died in one of their last tragic battles. Bandits, dragons, knights, the city had been through hell, but Zio didn´t come for too much excitement, just a meeting or two and he would be sailing back to the Faraway Kingdom of Nol, or so he thought.

Edited by Xenophoenix

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As the captain had predicted, they managed to make it to the shores of one of Izabal´s scattered ports by high noon. With a thud, the Pathfinder had set its anchor and the beleaguered crew happily made their way off of the ship. Zio, climbing down from the crows nest, hailed the captain.


Zio - Captain, we might be here longer than I expected.

Captain - I understand, take all the time you need. Meanwhile, I´ll pick up a few odd jobs here and there while you´re handling your business.


Zio nodded, walking off of the ship. The cobblestone streets of Izabal were filled with merchants and shopkeepers peddling their wares. Zio made his way down the main street, ignoring the gaze of onlookers. After all, his ornate bow was crafted from Nol, and its design was undoubtedly unknown to this land. He had to focus, he was meeting one of his long standing friends. But his reverie was cut short as a group of soldiers riding horseback charged right past him. Zio roared at one of the soldiers who heeled his horse and responded.


Zio - What is going on!?

Soldier - Get back inside, the Baroness has been taken!


Zio rushed to a nearby stable, unlatched one of the horses and leapt upon its back.

Zio - I´m coming with you!

Soldier - There is no way I´m letting a civilian fight!

Zio - You think I am a civilian! I am one of the Great Lords, Zio of Nol! I was sent here to meet with your highest ranking commander!

Soldier - Tch! Fine, Zio of Nol, suit yourself! Let us ride forth! Once we form up, report to Commander Reinard, he will be leading the Vanguard!

Zio nodded and charged forth.


With a powerful whinny, their horses charged off into the distance, tearing through the streets of Izabal, through the gate, and out into the vast open fields outside of the city. Fear had set into the young lord´s heart. Who was behind this attack? Would their actions spurn Izabal into yet another great war? He had came to establish peace, yet he would have to draw his bow in battle once more.


Edited by Xenophoenix

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Their horses charged for minutes across the open plains near Izabal. Their local general, Reinald, took the charge, with Zio at his side. His silver hair flowed violently in the wind as their horses came upon a colossal figure. Humanoid in appearance, his maw was fixed in a tight grit, exposing his fang-like teeth. Even from where they were riding, they heard its thundering footsteps as it moved forward. With their pace, the horses would easily catch up to the giant, but there was one glaring issue. Zio’s eyes squinted as they drew closer.


Zio - General, is that… is that the Baroness!?

Reinald - Where? All I see is that giant… thing!

Zio - Right there, strapped to its back!


He passed the general a small brass telescope. With a glance, the General’s eyes widened in shock. There she was, the Baroness Aurora, strapped on the back of a giant monster, bound tightly with rope. He gritted his teeth and spurred the reins, moving his horse faster.


Reinald - Any plans for how to deal with that thing!?

Zio - Let’s see, there are a few of us. Maybe we could flank the beast and bombard it with arrows.


Reinald gritted his teeth, staring at the towering figure that continued its charge forward. With no idea where he was going, or where they would end up. He had no choice but to follow Zio’s advice. Roaring, he commanded the soldiers to split their forces in two. Zio would lead the left flank and he would lead the right flank. In the back of his mind, he hoped that their arrows could fell the beast or at least slow its movements long enough to free the Baroness from its back.


Reinald - Split Formation! Left flank with Zio! Right flank with me!

The soldiers responded in unison.

Soldiers - Yes, Commander!


With a nod, Reinald and Zio had split and continued their pursuit. Their forces drew ever nearer to the giant humanoid figure and a massive wave of anxiety built up within them both. Surely, they both feared the worst.

Edited by Xenophoenix

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The left flank led by Zio finally caught up to the giant, upon closer inspection its body was made of a hardened rock. In its right hand, was a massively sized stick. Any hit from that thing and the horses, even their riders would be instantly killed or fatally injured. Fortunately, the weapon was in its right hand, but that didn’t leave any saving grace for Reinard’s men. He glanced around him, the men were scared, their eyes were white with terror. Each slam of the giant’s foot struck fear in their hearts. Zio had seen worse, the experiences of war had hardened him. He could stare down a fell demon and not even flinch, but even he had to admit, this monster was indeed powerful. He drew his bow, Myr, and nocked and arrow. His cavalrymen followed suit, nocking their arrows in their bows.


Zio - Men, ready arrows!


The cavalrymen raised their bows, the fear in their hearts was still palpable. However, they needed to fell this beast quickly and without fail.


Zio - Fire!


Instantly, the men fired their arrows. Zio loosed the arrow from his bow. Their arrows flew through the air pelting the beast on its side. The fear had taken over, their arrows missed the mark, all but three hit and even those hits were shoddy. The men nocked their arrows again, readying for another assault. In the distance, Reinard’s men had begun their assault. Their arrows completely missed as well. Only one arrow lodged itself, damaging the stone giant. No matter how fierce their assault was, the giant did not relent its charge. The Baroness still remained strapped by rope to its back and Zio knew that they were running out of time.  

Edited by Xenophoenix

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They let out volley after volley of arrows and still the stone giant refused to relent. Zio nocked his bow again, readying another arrow and gritting his teeth. He let his arrow loose, pelting the giant. Reinald followed suit, doing the same. Arrows weren’t working, or at least, they weren’t working the way he had expected. He frantically put his bow across his back and drew his sword. He had the craziest idea and he was beyond scared that it wouldn’t work, but he needed to do something quickly. His horse continued to charge and as it drew closer to the stone giant, he leapt from the horse and went soaring through the air. The soldiers around him stared, stunned in awe. Time slowed down for a moment, everything was quiet as he managed to grasp a hold of the giants leg. His hand gripped tightly as he plunged his sword into its hardened hide to maintain his hold. He had now become stable and he drew his sword and climbed up its back, using cracks in the hide to hold onto. Climbing for a few minutes, he had finally go to her. She was unconscious, but there was no serious harm to her body. Working quickly, he cut her free, grabbing hold of her body, but the giant shook fiercely, flinging the unconscious Baroness and the young archer off and sending them plummeting to the ground.


Soldier - Zio!


With a thud, he landed on the solid ground. He could feel excruciating pain radiating throughout his body. He could hardly keep his eyes open, let alone stand. In the distance he could hear the giant stop its movement and launch its assault against the other soldiers. He was fading in and out of consciousness, but he felt his body being dragged by a soldier. A flash of vision revealed her to be female. A familiar face. He smiled knowing who it was.


Zio - Is… that… you, Lyn?

Edited by Xenophoenix

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