Jarlax wore a ghastly grin as he waited for the great iron gate before him to swing open. He had spent ages preparing for this moment, and with this victory on the great field of Mount Mox, he would finally win back the Dark Lord’s favor and be accepted again into the Dark Eternal city of Utopin.
Jarlax was a Vampire. A lifetime of harvesting the souls of the unwilling living had instilled in him a craving, a need. Call it an addiction if you will, but Jarlax (and all Vampires) require souls to survive. He had defected long ago from the Dark Eternal collective, traveling abroad and feasting mercilessly on living souls. Then one day as he was hiding in a cave of the Burning Lands, an agent of Mortis came to Jarlax. The messenger was an ambassador for the Lord of Darkness, who wished to call him to unexpected duty.
The offer had been quite simple, but impossible for Jarlax to refuse, for he knew the Lord of Darkness kept his word. If Jarlax would use his summoning skills to win a Mount Mox victory for the Dark Eternals, he would be forgiven his soul harvesting. In addition, he would be rehabilitated from his need by the finest Dark Eternal wizards and placed back onto the true path to the dark reality.
Suddenly the great iron gate began to move with a creak that was quickly drowned out by the roar of the crowd.
As Jarlax hovered out onto the arena floor, a cursed, golden light streamed into his tired eyes. The blinding glare quickly receded, and Jarlax realized the magnitude of his situation. There were no Dark Eternals in this place. There was no shadow ore in the makings of this gaudy arena. Jarlax was surrounded by the living, and the sound of their jeers made it clear that they despised him.
Flinging back his heavy cloak, Jarlax the Undead floated solemnly toward the stone summoner’s table near the center of the arena. He carried himself with all the pride of a faithful Dark Eternal, standing straight and tall for perhaps the first time in a hundred years. Jarlax was confident. His methods were his own, and he was experienced only in the wilds of soul harvesting, but he knew he would win this day. Darkness itself would see to it.
As he arrived at the stone summoner’s table,
Jarlax removed the small bag from the inside pocket of his cloak. The bag was as precious as were the runes within, for they represented his monsters. Great and small, these were the creatures with whom Jarlax had formed a summoner’s alliance. If his sacrifice was pure, they would always come. The bag itself had been enhanced with Gloridax magic. The bag selected the team; all Jarlax had to do was shake and pour.
Across the way, Jarlax could see a ridiculous summoner of Khymeria making an arrogant comedy of himself. He had covered the table in trophies and absurd trinkets and was dancing around them like a fool. They called themselves the Life Splinter, utterly disgusting. A piercing cry came from above the arena floor. Jarlax looked up and saw a small Dragon flying overhead. The Dragon dropped two scrolls. With expert precision, one scroll landed on each of the summoner’s tables. Jarlax unwrapped the scroll, revealing the mana limit for this battle: Twenty-seven.
Jarlax was hungry. He hadn’t even had a piece of a soul for several days, but if he were to harvest here, the Dragonsguard would take him in a second. “Hunger is a foolish need of the living,” he reminded himself as he brought his attention back to the battle at hand.
While muttering some secret ancient words,
Jarlax shook the bag of runes, then gently poured them forth onto the stone table. Some of the runes came out of the bag, some did not, but gazing at the table, Jarlax knew he had a winning team. He carefully arranged them on the stone in the order he saw fit, but this was merely a reference. The monsters would know what to do.
Spending twenty-seven mana in a matter of moments was going to hurt. Jarlax had never needed to summon this many monsters at a time, so he had become accustomed to the pain in small doses. But dark magic was the magic of sacrifice, and to successfully summon this team would nearly tear Jarlax apart. Surely then he would deserve the Dark Lord’s forgiveness.
Lore written by @chrisroberts. He and his wife @carrieallen are currently finishing up the backstories and lore for all the Splinterlands, and working with @zipporah to complete the book. He will be offering sneak peeks, accompanied by brand-new artwork created by the Steem Monsters Team. Both Carrie and Chris prefer you refer to them as The Masters of Lore.😎
The Team is currently building up to launch a Kickstarter for the 150+ page campaign guidebook. Keep on the lookout for announcements and more inside scoops about the Splinterlands.