Here is the fourth entry in the series of masks. This is Sairos:
As I've done for the others, here is Sairos' lore.
After making our way to the central room of the temple, Ardelrius stopped in front of the last gate at the center. I glanced at the Summoner who remained emotionless as usual. Despite having been damaged in the fight against the volcanic Kulradon, I couldn’t see a trace of injury. Ardelrius’ deep black robes were seemingly untouched. How did the wounds sustained that fight become erased? Was I merely imagining things?We stood before the final gate. The intricate seal shined and then dissolved, causing the bone-like doors to swing open with a groan. Ardelrius started forward and I followed close behind. The gates led to another large room that widened out ahead of us. Sloping walls were crafted from a deep blue metal and textured with coiled shapes. At the center of the room was a massive statue. It looked like a sort of dragon-like creature with its arms outstretched. The statue’s lower body was serpentine and anchored it to the floor of the chamber. Ardelrius stood before the imposing statue and waited.
“So, you are the one that tests the might of the four gods,” a snarling echo sounded. The noise seemed to resonate through the chamber. Ardelrius stood and raised the tree-like staff.
"We come seeking the artifact you gods are guarding,” spoke my traveling companion in the same emotionless voice. “True strength is needed to prepare for the great threat approaching this world.”
Hm,” the disembodied voice rumbled. “You speak confident words for one wielding a sacred relic. Let this be the final test.”
A slow rumbling began to shake the chamber. The statue in front of us trembled, cracks running along its “skin”. The stone covering dissolved revealing flesh beneath. In seconds, the dragon-like creature had come to life. All around us I could see the walls moving. The coiled patterning lined with spike began to shift. The walls were part of the creature’s body! The final god reared up, drawing itself to a terrifying height while balancing on its serpentine body.
"I am Sairos, the Tarnished Dragon,” the creature declared, its voice now echoing from the imposing monster in front of us. “Show me your conviction, Summoner. If you present even the slightest weakness before me, you will meet your end here.”
Sairos lunged forward to attack my companion. Slashing out with sharp claws, the final god cleaved the floor of the temple apart. Ardelrius nimbly leapt to the side, standing ready. I watched it make a simple gesture with the tree-like staff and a large form emerged, taking shape. It was a heavily-built purple-skinned demon with two sharp horns and an irregular set of war armor covering its body.The enemy stands before us,” I heard Ardelrius mutter in the same dry rasp. “Grahl, your master commands you. Destroy the enemy.”
The summoned creature roared and charged across the room at Sairos. It struck out with its fists in rapid succession. Sairos deflected the blows and countered with its bladed tail. Grahl stumbled under the weight of the strike but managed the hurl a chunk of the stone altar against Sairo’s body, stunning the great dragon. Injured, the summoned demon dropped to its knees, black mist running from its body. In seconds, it had dissolved, the mist dispersing into the air. I looked back at Arelrius who made another gesture with the tree-like staff. A piercing bright light wrapped around the branches and coalesced into another large creature.This time, a beast even larger than the previous appeared. I recognized the imposing form of the great yellow ogre Ardelrius has bested in the forest. Brandishing a massive spiked club, the monster stomped forward and faced Sairos.
“Voracion, your master commands you,” Arderius spoke again. “Crush the enemy.”
With a grunt, Voracion sprinted at his foe, shaking the chamber with each step. He swung the spiked club with terrifying speed. Each blow glanced off of Sairos’ armored hide but the dragon god was unphased. After trading blows, Sairos’ bladed serpentine body whipped forth, coiling around Voracion as he momentarily paused. I watched the dragon god constrict his prey until Voracion’s form exploded into black mist like Grahl’s. The churning clouds filled the area around Sairos.I turned back to Ardelrius once again and stopped. The Summoner must have used Voracion as a diversion for some other incantation because a massive runic seal had transfixed itself in the air above Ardelrius’ body. With no time to spare, Ardelrius sprinted forth even as the black mist from Voracion’s defeated form was still dissolving. Darting up the sections of Sairos’ body, I saw the tree-like staff glow with an otherworldly light. Its form momentarily distorted, taking the shape of a scythe-like weapon. Ardelrius leapt forth, sailing through the last of the black mist and striking downwards at Sairos. A terrible force shook the chamber and all was still.
After a few moments, the dust and mist finally cleared. Ardelrius stood below the dragon god who stood, stunned. A long wound slowly opened up down the front of Sairos’ body. No blood flowed by the edges of the ragged cut began to burn with the same darkness as the scythe. Ardelrius raised its staff which had returned to its original form.
“Impressive,” Sairos rumbled, its piercing eyes focused on the Summoner below. “Those summoned by the Tree of Souls are only as powerful as their master’s will. Perhaps you do possess the strength to save this world.”Just like Kulradon before, Sairos’ body began to fade in color. Its skin slowly corroded like weathered metal until the beast in its entirety had become a lifeless statue.
“Proceed to the final chamber at the heart of this temple,” we heard its voice drift through the air. “Your reward awaits.”
At the far end of the room, the intricate seal of the gods once again appeared. The wall shook and fell away, revealing a corridor leading off into the darkness. Ardelrius once again silently walked forth and I followed. What was this so-called reward? I couldn’t help but feel a nagging sense of fear as we left the final god’s chamber.
This was another emblem I drew on stream previously. As explained in the lore, Sairos has a serpentine lower body and I tried to show the length here using the coiled shapes. The sharp-edged rune behind it would probably be some sort of energy projection and I think it helps add to the idea of an ascended dragon that became a god.
That's it for this entry. We're nearing the end of the event and I will be wrapping things up in the next post.