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processr
April 9th, 2008, 07:00 AM
Prologue

The four men ran into the vast chamber, examining their surroundings for any signs of life. The cavern was dark, however, so the flame user among them turned the palm of his right hand upwards, conjuring a flame. His gloved hand could easily hold the fire and contain its power; such were his skills. Now that the warriors could see into the further reaches of the cave they began to search for any indications that their enemies were here. There were many broken planks of wood on the ground, so the Fire warrior collected some into a pile and lit them with his magic. He suddenly heard the sound of dripping water behind him and wheeled round brandishing an ōdachi sword just in time to see a human form appearing out of a pool of water on the ground. He jumped away instantly, keeping his eyes fixed on the beautiful female form that had materialised. She was composed of the water itself, but once she was complete her human form could be seen. Stunning blue eyes looked at the Fire user, transfixing him, and golden locks of hair flowed down her back in the manner of a waterfall. The warrior was unable to tear his eyes away from the Elemental’s, and the seductress advanced on him. He found he was incapable of speech, and could only watch as the woman’s arm turned to water and headed straight for his mouth in an attempt to drown him where he stood. Then, just as her fingertips were teasing with his mouth a great shout was heard and a huge, hulking man brought an equally large bisento crashing into the woman’s side. She was unable to switch to her liquid form, and so the long, curved blade of the weapon sent her flying into the cave wall.

“Come on!” he shouted to his companion, “We must fight!” The Fire warrior nodded meekly, and they ran after the woman.

Meanwhile, another of the group of four, a mage adept in the element of Water, was searching the various alcoves that lined the cave’s walls for any signs of activity. In each of the odd alcoves, formed as a result of some long-forgotten activity, was a statue at least six feet tall, all portraying a certain warrior. When he came across the first statue the mage inspected it closely, searching for anything. He had searched four of these recesses and had just moved on to the fifth when he noticed something. This statue was slightly different to the others, but for some reason he could not place what it was about this one that made it distinct from the other four. He stepped back and uttered a spell under his breath. A dim blue light formed in his hands, which was transferred to the tip of the long, wooden staff he held in his hands, and he placed it on the shoulder of the stone statue.

“Reveal yourself!” he shouted, and the light on the staff grew brighter, causing him to shield his eyes. He heard the sound of rock cracking and breaking, and he looked up to see a man being revealed from within the statue! He readied another spell and held his staff in an offensive position. The man jumped at the mage, but met only the staff, from which came concentrated Water energy, throwing him back into the cavern wall. However, he got up, almost unharmed, and pressed himself up against the wall. But just as the mage shot another spell towards the Elemental, he disappeared! His body vanished into the wall, and his mocking voice rang out.

“Catch me if you can, magician!” The mage could not see the man in the wall, but someone else could. The last of the four men, an archer, was watching from a distance, and he began to rapidly fire arrows towards a near-imperceptible shadow, his highly trained eyes just about able to see the man. The Water user looked round at his cohort, who was focusing on where the Elemental was hiding. Suddenly one of the arrows hit its target, and the man’s body split from the stone and dropped from a height of approximately ten feet. He landed safely, however, and turned to face the two warriors. The archer prepared another arrow while the mage chanted another spell. Instead of attacking the Elemental, however, he blessed the archer’s arrows, imbuing them with the power of true flight. One was fired, and another quickly followed, and each arrow struck the Elemental in an eye, one in each, causing him to fall flat onto his back. However, he simply got up again and plucked the arrows out of his eyeballs with ease, feeling no pain; one does not kill an Elemental so easily.

Suddenly the two men heard a great noise behind them, akin to an explosion. They turned round to see that a great fire was burning, and that this wall of flames had blocked their escape route. A figure appeared from within the flames, but he himself also seemed to be ablaze. In fact, the man was composed purely of fire, its explosive power restrained only by arcane bracelets and anklets. Over his right shoulder was slung a great war hammer, also composed of flame. The Fire Elemental fixed his fiery eyes on the archer and charged at her, wielding the huge weapon with ease. However, just as the Elemental was about to strike the mage sent a powerful spell instilled with the power of Water his way, stopping his attack and throwing him outside of the ring of fire. The archer then turned her attention to the Earth Elemental, who was reaching into the cave wall, as if pulling something from within it. He then brought out his arm, and in his hand was a mace of pure stone. He ran at her, but could do nothing to stop the barrage of arrows that flew his way. He once again fell backwards, but could not arise so easily this time due to the sheer volume of arrows fired.

“Come on! Let’s go!” the archer shouted to the mage, and they ran past the stricken Earth Elemental.

As this was happening, the flame warrior and the bisento-wielder, a master in the magic of the Earth, were searching for the Water Elemental. There were no signs of her at the spot where she had landed, but as the two inspected the area they felt strong gusts of wind; not something one would expect this far into a system of caves. They frantically searched for the source of the breeze, looking in every direction around them.

“It’s the Wind Elemental, I know it,” the muscled man whispered to his comrade, “Look!” He pointed upwards, and the Fire specialist saw that a winged man was creating the gusts. Suddenly he flew downwards at the men, who could only just dodge the Elemental’s weapons – two long daggers, one in either hand. They had dived out of the way at the last possible moment. The Elemental landed where the men had been standing, and fixed them with a curious gaze. The men got up and brandished their weapons. Before attacking, however, the Fire user uttered a spell, causing his sword to become ablaze! He ran at the winged man, but he easily dodged the warrior by jumping up and flying over his head.

“Not so fast,” the warrior said, and brought his flaming ōdachi upwards, stabbing the Elemental and causing him to fall to the ground, his momentum carrying him just beyond the flame user. Then the muscled man charged, bringing his bisento high above his head and thrusting the long, curved blade on the end of the pole directly into the Elemental’s heart. He went limp and seemed to be very much dead. The man retrieved his weapon, but let his guard drop for just one moment. The winged man suddenly grasped the weapon, snapping it as he did so. He threw the weapon’s blade at the man, just missing his left ear, and jumped up to face him, daggers back in his hands. Just as this happened, however, the Fire user had spoken a spell, and had sent a stream of fire straight at the Elemental’s back, causing him to drop to his knees, screaming in pain. The Wind Elemental’s weakness was Fire, and so this caused him a great deal of pain. However, as the Fire user continued the attack he became weaker, and had to cease the magic. At this, the Elemental beat his wings, putting out the fire, and rose above their heads in escape. The two men ran after him, all the time keeping an eye out for the Water Elemental.

As the winged Elemental flew, he saw that two of his brethren had been in a fight, and he beckoned to them as he flew. They followed him too, just ahead of the chasing warriors. Presently the three Elementals found the archer and the mage, rounding on them. They were joined by the Water Elemental, her slender body forming from a puddle on the ground by the winged Wind Elemental, but at this the other two warriors arrived with a shout. The Elementals turned to see the two, and while they were distracted the archer and the mage took up positions around the four Elementals. The four took stock of their surroundings and realised that they were surrounded!

“Now!” the mage shouted, and the warriors brought their hands above their heads, chanting an ancient spell. The Elementals made for them, but were stopped in their tracks, as if frozen. A great prism of light had formed around them, and it was this that had immobilised them. The warriors finished their spell with a shout, and the prism formed an icy prison, trapping the Elementals for all time. No more would their powers be used for personal gain.

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Author's Notes: Yes, before you ask, this does take place before the main events of the story, and does merit being called a prologue. I've lost count of the amount of times I've seen fiction headed with "Prologue" even though it's just Chapter One. Anyway, CC and reviews are much appreciated!