The Crystal Bard: A LitRPG Adventure (Kingmaker Saga Book 2)
The Crystal Bard: A LitRPG Adventure (Kingmaker Saga Book 2)
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The Trio are planning a second, larger attack and Terran knows they will have to stop it before it reaches the walls of Gneiss Glenn. But without the help of his friends and only low level elves to muster a defense, the chances of success are slim.
The settlement’s only hope is the legend of the Crystal Bard, a powerful elven warrior who uses their voice to rain destruction upon their enemies. But there hasn’t been a Crystal Bard in hundreds of years, and even if Terran did have the perfect pitch required, his troubled past haunts him. As Terran and the Rock Leaf elves run out of options, he must find a way to overcome his stage fright, or the Trio and the hidden force behind them, will destroy the Mother Tree and his shot at reuniting with his friends forever.
- Epic Fantasy
- Secondary World
An army gathers determined to destroy the Mother Tree. The Trio are planning a second, larger attack and Terran knows they will have to stop it before it reaches the walls of Gneiss Glenn. But without the help of his friends and only low level elves to muster a defense, the chances of success are slim. The settlement’s only hope is the legend of the Crystal Bard, a powerful elven warrior who uses their voice to rain destruction upon their enemies. But there hasn’t been a Crystal Bard in hundreds of years, and even if Terran did have the perfect pitch required, his troubled past haunts him. As Terran and the Rock Leaf elves run out of options, he must find a way to overcome his stage fright, or the Trio and the hidden force behind them, will destroy the Mother Tree and his shot at reuniting with his friends forever.
Intro Into Chapter One
Intro Into Chapter One
Terran spotted an enormous carcass across the hill, near an old rockslide. He sent Luna a mental message while he jogged through the pine trees, keeping a wary eye out for critters that might want to rip his throat out. Since they'd left the familiar confines of the Rock Leaf Forest, moving towards the ocean, the trees had changed to oak and hickory. They couldn't yet smell the salty air, but they occasionally spotted white birds with long beaks drifting on the breeze.
They'd been tracking the essence for two days without spotting their prey. He'd been scouting the edges of the Rock Leaf Elf territory—his territory, he reminded himself—to make sure no Crag Trolls returned while they repaired the damage from the attack. He'd been standing on a cliff overlooking the stream that ran north of the settlement when he felt the strong pull at the center of his breastbone, more severe than when he'd encountered the Spirit Bear, though his position as Champion of the Mother Tree might have made him more sensitive to the lost essences that once had been a part of the Rock Leaf Elves' home.
To level the settlement to the third rank, he needed two more essences, and he needed to gain higher ranks if he wanted to get his friends back faster, so he'd set off after the essence with Luna at his side, since no one else could help him.
But the creature that had the essence had thus far eluded them, leaving no tracks, only the mangled bodies of its prey, which confused Terran and his companion. Only the constant tugging of the essence had given him any way to find it.
The carcass near the rockslide had been reduced to a head and a large set of curved ribs. Flies covered the chunks of meat left on the bones. They scattered when he waved his hands but quickly buzzed back to their meal. The size of the carcass worried Terran. Examining the head revealed that it'd been a dire boar, not quite the size of the Spirit Bear, but large enough to give a hunter pause. Terran pulled out his dagger and poked through the bloody remains for clues.
"If you want a snack, we can stop for lunch," said Luna, coming from upslope. "I've eaten three preacher bugs and a wounded squirrel since we met up last."
Crouched on his heels with the tip of the dagger beneath what looked like a mostly eaten liver, he said, "Wounded squirrel?"
Luna sat on her haunches. "I pushed it out of a tree."
Terran scrunched up his face. "I thought those little critters could fall great distances without getting hurt."
Luna glanced askew. "I might have broken its front legs first. Hard to tell when I was sinking my teeth into its backside. Learn anything?"
"The guts are mostly here, except for the liver," said Terran. "There's a ton of meat left too. Whatever is killing these creatures, it's mostly interested in the liver, and not much else."
"Only a cursory look, but nothing obvious. Nothing a creature big enough to take down a dire boar should be making." He looked into the cerulean sky. "Unless it has wings. A bird of some kind. A very big bird."
[You have increased your skill Nature's Lore]
Skill: Nature's Lore 6 (INT)
Took you long enough…
Luna quickly slunk down, keeping her gaze upon the sky. "Bird? Well, since neither of us have wings, there's little chance we can find this stupid thing, which means we should just go back to the settlement."
Terran crossed his arms. "It isn't like you to give up on a hunt. What gives?"
"Do you know how some birds kill their prey? They pick them up, way high, then drop them on the rocks so they're nice and tender for eating," said Luna.
"Didn't you just do that to a squirrel?" asked Terran.
"Exactly," said Luna with an air of superiority. "I'd rather not become lunch."
"If we stay in the trees, we should be fine. Nothing that large can fit through this tangled mess," said Terran.
"Sure you don't want to go back? Chanterelle seems to want to test the weight capabilities of your hammock quite often. Might be necessary for another round," said Luna.
"Fine. We'll go a little further and then turn back," said Terran. "Now that we know we're looking for a bird, maybe we'll have better luck."
The Rock Leaf Lynx stayed by his side as they moved through the trees, not even making one comment about the noise his footsteps made. The further they went, the more Terran kept waiting for her to say something.
"What?" she asked, stopping mid-stride. "You keep looking at me."
"You haven't said anything about how loud I've been moving through the trees. The last few days you haven't let up. It's kind of worrying me that you've been so quiet."
The lynx blinked. "Hmm...fine." She sat on her haunches and cleared her throat. "Are you sure you're not a subrace of plain rock, rather than Rock Leaf Elf? The goal is to avoid the sticks, not break every one on the ground. Did you know what they call Rock Leaf Elves that can't move silently? Humans."
He applauded quietly. "That's better."
She crouched towards the earth in the semblance of a bow, then fell in next to him as they continued their hunt. A little time afterward, she said, "You clapped quieter than you walk."
"Okay, that's enough," said Terran, the corners of his lips tugging upward.
"I can't turn this off once it gets started," said Luna as her tail swished with pleasure.
Further comments were swallowed away as the forest ended. The hillside ascended rapidly, but that wasn't what made them stop midstride. The pines of the next hill had been stripped of needles and knocked down. It looked like there had been a big explosion, sending the trees in multiple directions. Terran whistled softly at the destruction. He couldn't imagine what could have caused it.
"I hope you're not planning on heading into that," said Luna. "Unless you're looking to make noise by stepping on bigger and better sticks."
"I wonder what caused this?" he asked.
Luna padded onto the fallen trees. Between the rotting trunks, saplings grew. They were no taller than Terran, with green, leafy extensions.
"It happened a long time ago," he said. "On that other side, the trees are larger, suggesting that this didn't happen all at once."
Using her furry gray paw, Luna tapped on a tree wound that looked like huge gouges.
"Haven't we seen marks like this on the dead bodies?" she asked.
"You're right," he said, "which means we're close to the creature's nest."
Luna hunched low, her hackles bristling as she scanned the sky. "I hear something…"
Terran caught the scraping of claws across the canopies, and he turned, throwing himself between two trunks as the massive winged creature dove from above. It'd been skimming the trees to stay out of sight, and had used their advance into the open to attack.
As it soared past, looping around for another attack, Terran scrambled up the log, ignoring the pain from where he'd cracked his shoulder. The bird creature—he took a second look fearing he'd knocked his senses loose when throwing himself to the ground—had wide eagle wings and the feathered head of an elk. It was called a peryton. A level 14 peryton to be exact.
He might have stood on the log gawking longer had it not been diving towards him, claws extended to snatch him away.
Terran threw stone shards at the peryton, hoping to deflect its dive, but the spell mostly hit the feathery underside, dealing no damage. Claws caught him across the shoulder, and bright red pain shot through his vision, forcing him to dive between the logs again.
The peryton perched over the logs, reaching between with its claws, slashing and grasping for Terran as he scrambled to push himself further beneath the rotting wood. The peryton tried to shove its head through the gap to snap at him, but its horns couldn't fit past the logs. A painful, earsplitting screech had Terran throwing his hands over his ears.
He reached through the earth, hoping to find deep stone, but these were old hills, worn down and turned to soil. He would find no weapon from the ground.
[You have increased the skill Earth Sense]
Skill: Earth Sense 2 (END)
Not that it did you any good.
The peryton grasped for him with its claws again, so Terran triggered his Rock Leaf armor, rendering himself invisible. A screech from the peryton signaled its displeasure, but it didn't move from the logs, continuing to slam its claws into the ground, trying to pierce Terran like a shish kebob.
The peryton shoved its claws into the nearby log and flapped its wings to lift it. Terran saw what the winged beast was going to do, so he scrambled from his hiding spot, running across the logs to escape, but in his confusion he ran towards more empty space rather than the protective cover of the trees.
Hurry, Terran. Luna spoke into his mind. It's going to be able to see you soon.
"No shit," he mumbled to himself as the peryton, despite his invisibility, oriented itself towards him and, with one swift beat of its wings, launched itself right at him. He barely took a single step before the peryton caught him around the midsection.
He was ascending quickly into the sky before he realized the peryton hadn't gutted him with its claws. He was reminded of Luna's fears as the horned bird climbed into the bright sky.
A glance to the earth made his head spin with vertigo. He reached into a pouch to pull out a pine cone, when his stomach lurched into his neck.
Plummeting rapidly towards the ground, Terran lost all sense of pride and screamed his bloody head off.
The earth approached in three rapid blinks.
You have been slain!
You are reading about a computer video game being played. Interesting characters, that grow and change, in this face paced action adventure with just the right amount of descriptions and challenges.