The Proclamation Chamber glimmers as the twilight of a thousand setting suns refracts around the domed ceiling, each burning orb rising again within the milky marble of the expansive floor. Pillars of weary stone rise upwards around the periphery of the vast room. Here, the apex of the Di-Verse, worlds beyond counting stretch out their talons of appeal. Some of their voices are heard, some even considered. Few are chosen.
An expectant buzz of conversation sizzles through the crowd gathered in chamber. It feels like a long time since a general gathering has been called. Something big must be a foot. Rumours flash back and forth across the room, some refuted with derision, others catching hold, breeding speculation and ponderous thought.
The Warriors of the Eternal Quest wait for the announcement. Board-shouldered barbarian trolls stand side by side with slender ochre-skinned elves. Feline beast-men with sharpened claws converse with white-bearded dwarfs, who perch on ledges to gain a better view. Every kind of weapon that can be found under the suns is contained within the hall: swords, staffs, guns, bows, axes, staves – the list goes on. The very best the Di-Verse has to offer in terms of fighting prowess stands waiting in the chamber.
A sonorous blast from the trumpets heralds the arrival of the Power. Standing high above the crowd on a platform jutting out of the chamber wall, he waves an armoured fist in an arc around his body, summoning silence.
“Heroes from a thousand worlds – we have been granted... a quest.”
A roar of excitement erupts from the gathered warriors, quickly silenced by another gesture from the Power.
“I have received word from the realm of Visgarthia,” he booms. “A dark force, long dormant and thought to be quelled once and for all, has been reborn. If it is not stopped, Visgathia will fall.
“Warriors of the Eternal Quest; sharpen your blades, buckle on your armour, and ready your nerve. For it is time... to fight!”
Cheers and howls fill the hall, metal clashing on metal as the frenzied fighters relish the news of their new mission.
The voice comes like a pin-drop, yet also crashing like the thunder of an inexorable water fall.
The occupants of the chamber turn to look at the source, a tall debonair human, a crossbow slung across his shoulders, leaning casually against the wall.
“Speak your piece, brother,” rumbles the Power, a note of annoyance evident in his tone.
“I was just wondering,” says the human, flicking a lock of luxurious hair from his brow, “will we be heading into battle one by one, as the custom seems to be?”
“Yes, that is the way,” responds the Power.
“Isn't that a bit counter-productive? I mean, we have greatest warriors in the entire universe gathered here in one group – why don't we attack en masse and wipe out this dark enemy quickly and efficiently?”
Some of the warriors stare incredulously at the man, others appear thoughtful.
“Although that may seem like a good plan,” begins the Power in reply, “our laws state that one hero must step into the breach. If he or she fails, another will be called up to face the quest.”
“When you say 'laws', do you mean our 'contract'?” questions the human.
The Power glowers menacingly from his lofty position.
“You could use that word, yes.”
“And our contract is based on a time rate?”
“So... the longer the job takes, the more we get paid?”
The glower deepens into a look of burning rage.
“Yes,” snaps the Power. “Do you have a point?”
The human warrior raises his hands in a gesture of compliance.
“Just wanted some clarity – no offence was meant by it.”
The Power ignores the comment, his attention returning to the rest of the expansive hall.
“Friends and comrades – the realm of Visgarthia needs you! Be alert and ready for the call!”
A cheer arises, less enthusiastic than before.
The Power raises a fist towards the roof of the chamber. Ripples of lightning explode from the centre of the dome, bathing the crowd in a white glow. Images flash across the ceiling – an ethereal landscape, bathed in glorious sunlight, men and women working and laughing and living – a dark shadow arising, horned creatures with long crooked beaks climbing out of the corrupted soil – a terrible being towering over the realm, stretching out a clawed hand to crush any resistance...
“The wheel will turn and the Chosen will fight,” proclaims the Power.
“We will be ready,” the assembled heroes reply with renewed vigour.
“Wait here in the chamber until the selection begins,” instructs their leader. “Until that time, the buffet table is... open!”
With a burst of smoke, giant tables heaped with food and beverages appear around the edges of the vast room. Crying out in unison with a passionate roar, the Warriors of the Eternal Quest storm the buffet. Adventure awaits, but first, it is time to dine!
Stay tuned for more info on Hack 'N' Slash Hero - the adventure begins soon!