Of Pure Intentions: Short Stories
Updated: Oct 8, 2021
Of Pure Intentions
A Collection Of Short Stories And Poems
A collaboration by Rosalie Thorne
With contributions by L.M. Smith and Z. V. Ezell
Of Pure Intentions is divided into three major sections.
The beginning will be short stories by:
Z. V. Ezell
The middle will be poems by:
And the ending will be a unique section of ‘unpolished’ works by:
Storied Past, Bright Future:
The air whistled past his face as he fell through the clouds. The mist forms of water caressed his cheeks and hid the tears of betrayal. As much as it burned to do so, he opened his wings to slow the descent as he slowly turned over to face the sky. The glistening stars blinked in and out of his vision. Patches of feathers began to burn. It was no ordinary fire that began to consume them. It was the mark of the Fallen, his shimmering wings taking another color, the color of his sin. ‘How could it have come down to this?’ he thought to himself as he closed his eyes.
They were considered gods to the feeble creations known as the chosen people. Yet he remained true to his position: to protect them, to teach them to survive, and did the unthinkable. He fell in love.
In the beginning, there was the clash between the Favorite Son, Samael, and the rest of the Archangel Generals. He was a Seraph, a Lieutenant under Samael’s command. As the favorite of their Father, he looked up to him as an older brother, bringing the light to all of creation. There was peace… Until the humans came. His general’s belief had caused a stir within the ranks, and a third of his family was cast out after siding with his general. He should have known that there were going to be repercussions further down the line, that it had to have been Written.
Thinking back, Azazel did not realize how fast things turned for the worst. When he and his Brothers had descended to the Earth, there was a mixture of fear and awe from his Father’s creations. They were oddly shaped creatures, weak in senses and constantly fighting against the environment and twisted beings that they called demons. Their Father had made them vow to watch over Man, to guide them in the light of their Father’s command. But that was when the divide between the Brothers began.
Their Father had removed their form of Free Will, to follow his commands without question after the final battle. Over half of Azazel’s own battalion of soldiers had been thrown to a new depth, twisted into new creature that started its own attacks on their Father’s new creations. It was then that he was tasked with leading his remaining soldiers to protect the new creatures.
Until one day, all he heard were the spiritual cries of the tribes he had vowed to protect.
He could hear the whispers, the screams, the feverish prayers spiraling around his mind. One by one, they started to become silent. A knot of anxiety settled into his stomach. Then, pillars of Light started wreaking havoc along the horizon. Too many, there were too many to stop for. His lower wings shifted back and down, allowing Azazel to start his descent into the nearest town. The smoke was billowing into the sky, flames still destroying the crops and homes. It was eerily quiet as his feet touched the ground. His wings folded against his back and dissipated into a white mist.
Something was terribly wrong. His eyes looked around the grey landscape, searching fervently for souls of any kind. Everyone, no, everything… was empty. It was then that the smell of decay hit him. He walked past the curling smoke to find dismembered animals littering the streets. He knelt next to a horse carcass, lightly running his finger across its mane. There was a disconnect. He could not feel its spirit anywhere.
There was a scuttle of footsteps around several of the homes that bordered the central market. His eyes narrowed as he stood. He could feel the power in the air. It was angelic, yet not. There was a malice that accompanied the power of Light. It was when he got to the middle of the market square that caused him to freeze. Mounds of bodies thrown haphazardly were circling the water well and troughs. Clothing, food, and other items were destroyed along with the stalls they had been in.
He opened his right hand, willing the Light to flow through his veins. A curved sword materialized in his hand, the blade a reflective silver and an obsidian hilt that had a guard circling his hand. A wheezing noise accompanied by the ripping of flesh came to his ears. He moved toward the bodies, and slowly made his way around it. His breath caught in his throat, rage beginning to build in his heart. A large creature was devouring a human leg, teeth sinking hard enough that the bone was beginning to splinter. But it was not that sight that was sending him into a fury; he could see the souls gathered in its being, being used as fodder to keep the Light pulsing through its veins.
He took a step closer, attempting to be as quiet as possible to surprise it. His boot squelched into several discarded organs. The creature stopped its eating, and slowly turned its head until its white eyes locked with his blue ones. The sword slipped from his fingers, disappearing as his concentration vanished. It was his nephew, a child of Ramiel. The sweet boy he had helped raise was now a ravaging monster. His teeth were now sharp like a rabid dog, the softness in his hazel eyes swirling with Light that was consuming him. Even the wings that had sprouted through his back had mangled feathers and distorted form.
His nephew stood, only still reaching his chest in height. His body swayed slightly, like how the villagers used to walk after they had a lot to drink. Azazel raised his hands as if he was trying to calm a spooked animal. “Isaac, it is me.” The creature’s head tilted, almost like it was trying to recognize him. He opened his fanged mouth slowly. “That’s it, my boy. Tell me what happened.” An inhuman roar emerged instead of a voice.
Another figure rushed at him, the shoulder connecting with his torso. He had been so focused on his kin that he did not see that he was being surrounded. His eyes quickly looked around as he spiraled in the air. They were all children of his Brothers. Azazel’s body crashed into the ground, the clanking of his armor dulled by the dirt. The Nephilim stayed on him. He landed on his back and his arm blocked his face, which crossed the chest of his nephew. Its jaws kept snapping at the air, bloody slobber splattering over his face and chest plate. He sucked in air, trying to catch his breath, but the circle was getting tighter around him. He had no choice but to keep fighting. “I’m your uncle!” He cried out as he swung his arm out, Light fueling the power, sending his kin flying backward. His words did not have any effect.
Azazel scrambled back on his hands, his feet dragging against the ground. Among the piles of bodies, several more Nephilim rose. Blood poured from their open mouths. His back hit a stone wall of a building as the Nephilim slunk down the mound of bodies on all fours like wild dogs. The panic and anger rose in his chest. He could not destroy his own family, but he was not being left any choice. His hand finally found the hilt of his sword as he began to focus for it. As he made a movement to stand, a dark mist swirled before him. The mist steadily became solid, armored feet appearing first until a horned helm formed, a towering figure shrouded in a cloak that made even himself feel small. “Save your strength.” The somber voice commanded from beneath the helmet.
The Armored Shadow advanced towards the group, his steps certain and precise. A female Nephilim attacked first, holding the limb of one of the villagers like a club. She swung it down and the dark entity crossed his arms upward, blocking the attack. Using the torque against her, he twisted her arm, snapping it as the limb went flying into a second male’s face. That movement was a perfect distraction. A rapier-like blade appeared in his hand. It effortlessly sliced across the Nephilim’s throat. Its hands grasped at the Light and souls escaping, attempting to recapture its Essence before falling to the ground, lifeless, with a thud.
Using the balance of striking out with the sword, he struck the female’s leg, cracking the tibia right below the knee. As she fell, the rapier glided into her chest, releasing the Light and Souls in a swirling column of bright light. The one that was marked as Azazel’s nephew attempted to wield a wood ax. He grabbed the nephew’s wrist, sidestepping and putting power into his knee as it collided into the Nephilim’s stomach. The hit was hard enough that the creature went up into the air. He fell alongside him, his armored elbow easily snapping the Nephilim’s arm into the opposite direction it was supposed to bend. His blade shrunk into the size of a small dagger, which then sunk into the meaty flesh of his enemy’s back. He missed the heart by centimeters. The boy, now infuriated like a wounded animal, managed to flail onto his back, kicking the dark entity enough that he could attempt to stand.
He would not let that happen. The Armored Shadow flared his wings out, the power of flight pushing him upright as he held up the Nephilim by the throat.
‘No… It couldn’t be.’ Azazel knew who those wings belonged to. His nephew clawed at the armored hand that was crushing its larynx. No, not his nephew. A cannibalistic monster. Azazel’s breathing became ragged as he finally stood. A silent tear went down his cheek as the Nephilim’s neck was snapped, releasing the souls to continue to their next destination.
The Armored Shadow dropped the body, then his arm lowered as he glanced back to Azazel.
Azazel’s concentration gone once more, the sword vanished. His steps now unsteady, he slowly made his way to his savior. As he got closer, more tears began to fall. The armor that used to be the purest of white and silver was now black as pitch. The golden wings that had been tended to with care were now stained red, a deep color like the setting sun, with patches of feathers missing to expose the black surface underneath. He felt his knees tremble, then gave way as he knelt before the figure before him. “My General.”
A Pebble Across The Water
Following the dirt road, they could hear the port town before they would see it. For Baan, a rather crafty barbarian, said he could definitely smell it before the others. Of course, Chaya was unable to smell a thing. Her slender form was shrouded under a fur cloak, a giant hammer made of enchanted agate- the sharp banded pattern, combined with natural blues and bronze coloring, clinked against the small pack she carried. As they approached one of the entrances to the town, they were given a wide birth from the local populace as they headed to the hubbub of the central marketplace.
It could have been the goblin-like warrior that was towering at seven feet tall, coarse hair covering the exposed parts of his body under the armor. His face was more shaped like a bear, and his teeth glinted in the bright sunlight. It could have been the stone goliath with the cracked obsidian skin, her ruby eyes and gold links within intricate carved braids shining as much as the warrior goblin’s fangs. Chaya glanced to her right and watched her drunk ranger companion take another swig out of fourth emergency flask. A smaller male, which could have passed as a child if not for the goatee and defined male form, trailed behind the group, shaking his head disapprovingly at the elf’s antics.
The roar of the crowds got even louder as they got closer to the water. There were different species of humanoid creatures scattered through the market, selling odd, rare, or often-needed items to everyone passing by in their stalls. Service areas were wildly advertised, from the bath houses to the blacksmiths. There were so many people, but they could see that the town was definitely thriving. The dirt faded to worn cobblestone, but then gave way to paved concrete and solid wood leading to heavily laden piers. Ships lined the port for well over five miles, which is what they had been able to see from the nearby hill.
The group split to where they needed to go. Chaya went to grab provisions for everyone. It helped that she did not have to eat and was able to have some downtime to make sure their map was updated. Baan went with Allister the drunk elf, more than likely to make sure there was no trouble in the tavern. The ranger was good in the woods and his environment but tended to say the wrong things to the wrong people. Riven, the monk, went to a blacksmith to double-check some weapons.
They reconvened closer to the afternoon. Baan was the first to speak as they approached the piers. “We have found several ships that should be able to help us.” He pulled out a crudely drawn map with four X’s marked. “Which one should we look at first?”
“Let’s go from farthest to closest.” The halfling pointed to the X that was placed to the far left. “I know ran past this area, it should be about a mile down the port.” A sigh dragged throughout the group. Everyone was tired, even Chaya wanted to restore the wear and tear on her limbs.
As much as they hated it, they trekked that extra mile to see a giant city ON the ship. Alistar approached the guards in front of the ship’s boarding bridge. They spoke in brief whispers before he turned around, shaking his head. “They wanted nine hundred gold. NINE. HUNDRED. GOLD. EACH. And that place is nothing but full of rogues and thieves.”
Lucky for them, the other three ships were closer to each other. One was carrying royalty but would have only allowed Chaya on due to her being a Noble. There were three ranks of guards that surrounded the ship. One was on the ship itself, and two over the pier. All the soldiers stood at attention with weapons in clear view. The ship itself was adorned with gold, a jeweled carving of a lion at the bow. That left two more ships for them to explore.
“You have got to be kidding me.” What appeared to be a boulder was bouncing against the waves like a normal boat was the third ship on their list. Baan scanned the ship. “It’s a giant rock. There is no way that this should be floating.”
Chaya bounced on the balls of her feet in excitement. “We should check it out.”
All her companions replied in unison: “No.”
“Can I at least touch it?”
All again: “No.”
“Weeeee should probably look at all our options.” Baan grabbed her by her shoulders and steered her away from the stone ship. “We shouldn’t make this be like the Dire-horse incident again.”
Chaya pouted. “I almost got to pet it.”
“Yeah, and almost got Riven killed in the process.”
“He was trying to pet it too!”
Riven shrugged. “She is right. Plus, it was my fault it got spooked in the first place.”
They approached the last boat. Well, if they could call it a boat. It looked like it was ready to sink at a moment’s notice. “Oh, so I guess this is better than the floating rock.” Chaya snickered with sarcasm at their crestfallen faces.
“I mean, there could be a reason that it’s survived this long.” Alistar mumbled unenthusiastically. He didn’t even believe the words that left his mouth.
“Anyone on board?” Baan called out as he come up to the ship.
“Maaayyybbeeee…” a long drawn out whisper sent a chill up their spines. Chaya fought the itch to grab a hold of her weapon. “Here I am!” A skeleton of a man popped up over Baan’s shoulder. Baan fell forwards, attempting to roll to a farther position to get ready to fight. Everyone else jumped onto the ship, ready for a battle right on the ship. The skinny male was dressed in the typical attire of sailors from the northern region. “Easy hairy guy. You asked if I was here, you didn’t see me the first time.”
Alistar was the only one that did not lower his weapon. “Who are you? And what happened to you and this ship, it looks like nothing has been taken care of in over a year.”
“Jensen. First mate. Curse? Curse. I dunno. Something happened out there. Out in the water.” He got way up in Chaya’s face, a monocular appearing in his hands as he examined her eyes. “Such a vibrant red. Eyes carved with fine detail.”
“What happened when you were out at sea?” Chaya squeaked out as he moved to the monk, looking at the detailing of his robes. “Storm, bad one. Lost part of the crew. Rest are currently below deck, it is my turn for watch.”
“That doesn’t sound much of a curse, just bad luck.” Alistar placed his bow back over his shoulder.
“Bad luck. Much bad luck! Since the night.” He also got into the personal space of Baan, pulling at his jaw in order to see his fangs up close.
“Jensen, do you remember what happened that night? Anything at all?” Chaya circled around the sailor, her cloak getting snagged slightly on the protruding nails and splinters. She tried to feel if there was something enchanted with the ship through her hands touch the rails, but there was nothing.
Hearing his name made the sailor pause in his antics for a moment. “Fog. Nothing but fog and sky. But in water. But not in water.”
“He’s not making any sense.” Baan gurgled out with Jensen’s hands still on his fangs.
“No sounds you can remember?”
“Only sky. With water on the ship. But no water.”
Chaya walked up behind him. He looked so fragile, and so confused. She took his shaking hands and put them down against his sides. “Hey. We are looking for passage on a ship. When we find it, we will look for the place that is full of fog and see if we can help you.”
Jensen the sailor only nodded and quietly slinked away to the cargo hold door. Just as quietly, they all exited off the ship, more shaken up by the ‘curse’ story than the crazy character that was Jensen. “Do you think that it was nearby? I mean, I’m not sure that ship could make it too far, or survive another storm.”
“I am sure that we can look into it. Rock ship it is!” Everyone trailed behind Chaya as she walked with a purpose towards the large stone that stood out from all the other ships in the port. Dwarves were bringing up crates on the boarding plank, checking gear mounted up, and one was climbing the netting of the mast.
Chaya walked over to the rock ship and waved at one of the dwarves taking inventory. Chaya felt a sense of familiarity and finally felt more at ease since before she left the caves of the Dwarven Caverns that had been her home. “Excuse me, is the Captain aboard the ship?”
The dwarf lowered the papers and amusement spread across his face. “Depends. Who are you and what do you want?”
“I am Chaya of House Dgwyim. My companions and I are seeking passage to the new continent. We were requested by the Order of the White Cloth to explore the land.”
“Companions? Wouldn’t know a golem to have such high standing in a crew.”
“My father carved me from the stone deep within the earth, and his love and want for a child was able to bring me to be his child in life.”
The grizzled dwarf stroked his beard, the intricate braids bouncing between his fingers. “Interesting. But it is not up to me. The captain is in the ship, I’ll go get him.” He handed the documents to another dwarf and pulled on a lever that protruded out of the stone. The group could hear the clinking of greased and well used gears rumbling through the ship.
“So… what’s happening now?” the halfling managed to sputter out in amazement and confusion.
“You heard him, he’s going to go get the captain.”
“Yeah, there is an issue with that. We-” he gestures to himself and the rest of the group, “-had no idea what you or the dwarf were saying.”
“Oh.” If Chaya could blush, she would have turned a dark shade of purple or blue. “I must have been speaking in our mother tongue. I’m sorry, it has been a while since I have spoken like a Dwarf.”
“You asked to speak to me?” A gruff voice called out to them. They looked back up to the top of the ship. An older dwarf stood before them, his black beard and hair streaked with grey that matched his eyes. He wore practical clothing, weather-worn with only an emblem attached to his breast that was as faded as everything else, but still signified his status. He looked everyone in the eyes before he gestured to one of his crew. A boarding bridge slid down from the deck to the pier. “I assumed one of you to be a dwarf, since my first mate informed me that one spoke with the mother language.”
Chaya raised her hand to affirm it was her that spoke it. After briefly explaining what they were wanting, the captain sat on a crate. “Familial blood and status have no power here. You want passage across these waters, you will earn your keep, as well as a safety deposit that will be returned to you when we reach the new continent.” He gestured to Chaya. “What can you contribute?”
“I can help repair the ship, and also play music.” She removed the large hammer from her back, revealing three strings that were attached from the handle to the face of the mallet portion. She strummed a few of the strings, revealing the enchantment within her instrument. Small dazzling lights appeared like fireflies, twirling through the air and taking the shape of butterflies. As she continued to play, the butterflies lightly landed on the crew and her companions, giving them an odd sense of peace.
From there, Baan showed that he was able to cook and prep decently. Alistar noted he could help keep watch and Riven could stay top deck and help the crew be prepared for the weather. Their skills and money accepted, the companions and the ship were out on the water by the early morning.
The next couple weeks or so of the trip were uneventful. Everyone had found their place within the ship hierarchy. That was until the fog rolled in. There as minimal wind and even all sea life had almost disappeared. Chaya squinted at the water, feeling the ship under her bare feet. It softly shifted, so there was nothing fundamentally wrong with the ship, only the surrounding water. The ship slowly drifted through the water for a couple days, until it came to a complete stop.
The air was extremely still. There was no flutter against the flag that stood over the crow nest. Even the waves that normally lapped against the stone made no sound. The sea had flattened from its chopping waves to being smooth as glass. All it reflected was the dense fog that seemed to be closing in around the ship. Captain Geode walked the length of the rails, eyeing the water. “Something isn’t right. Crew, to positions.” His voice was very low, almost coming out as a growl. With practiced speed, the rest of the dwarves took up their weapons.
Chaya readied her Warhammer. She knew her companions were also getting to their own vantage points, so all they did was wait. A low note drifted over the still water. The humanoids all shivered as of they had been doused in water as the note swelled and disappeared.
“What the hell was that?” One of the dwarves whispered.
Alistar drew an arrow back. “Sahuagin!”
At his shout, multiple fish-like creatures leapt out of the water, tridents and spears gripped in webbed hands. Chaya felt her legs swept from under her as a tail collided with the back of her knees. The inhuman screech rattled every member of the crew and made everyone launch into action. On the ground, Chaya had to roll from side to side to avoid the trident from being lodged into her neck or chest. Even if she was made of stone, she knew that she could die if she was shattered.
A thrown bucket collided with the side of the fish creature’s head, allowing an opening for Chaya to strike twice at its shin. The bone snapped, and she reached out to grab the handle of the trident. Using the momentum, she rolled the sahuagin onto its back, striking the fish whiskers with her elbow. A swift head-butt knocked it out of commission. Rising, she swung her Warhammer into its limp body, sending it flying into another fish creature that was pinning a dwarf to the mast with a spear in his shoulder. Chaya was only able to get a quick glance at the deck before engaging with another sahuagin, the handle of her Warhammer catching the spear inches from her eye.
Alistar was plane jumping from location to location, catching several of the sahuagin off guard or killing them. Loose water blobs slinked onto the deck, and Riven was attempting to keep them at bay. He was being swallowed up until Baan pulled him out. Blood sank and ran through the stone rivets, dripping back into the ocean. The remaining sahuagin appeared to be retreating, leaving the water elementals to try and move the battle back into their favor. Chaya was surrounded by the water, and she realized that she was in the water facing the sky, but still not in the ocean. Her weapon slipped out of her grasp and landed a few feet away from her as she was hoisted into the air. Jensen and his crew and captain must have been in this area, with the fog and was attacked by this same group before escaping. How she had not pieced together the events irritated her, but she could not focus on that now. She saw Riven punching through the elemental, managing to shake it off and take deep breaths before being swallowed up again.
Chaya just felt heavy in the water, but not having the need to breath worked in her favor. She fell limp, and the odd slimy feel of the water spat her out onto the deck. Her Warhammer was just within reach when an arrow impaled her forearm. There was another deep note, another battle cry of screeching. The fish creatures were coming back. The stone splintered away, the dull ache of pain reaching her senses.
Her fingers wrapped around the handle and she used it to prop herself up to her feet. She just needed to give someone an edge, to shake off the elementals before they could become easy prey. Her other hand clasped the quartz handle and she drew the weapon close. Using it as a focal point, she tried to tune to the energy of the ship itself. She aligned her magic with the vibrations, like tuning a violin. The magic swelled around her feet, through her body until she was shaking from attempting to contain it. The gold veins throughout her stone skin started to glow. The words felt strange in her mouth, but she yelled in the mother tongue: “רעידת אדמה”.
The entire ship began to vibrate. The sahuagin that were attempting to climb aboard the ship were immediately thrown off. The elementals began to lose their forms, releasing their hostages. There were several deep breaths being taken, groans from those injured, and only a couple that would ever draw breath again. The tremors throughout the stone began to shake through the tendrils of the curse that kept the ship in place. The ship began to sway and rock against the waves.
Captain Geode managed to crawl to the wheel, hobbling on one broken foot. “Keep it going!” he yelled to Chaya, who was on the stern of the ship. She closed her eyes, trying to keep the tune steady. She kept whispering the spell over and over and over. With several hard tugs of the wheel, the ship began to move just a little bit further. Alistar and Riven were taking care of any sahuagin using arrows and hidden knives since the water elementals were being thrown off until they were exhausted. As they burst through the fog, they were met with a sudden downpour of rain.
Chaya sank to the kneeling position, her entire body shaking from the exertion. Baan and Riven helped her to her feet after the crew and them got the ship back into somewhat chaotic order, checking after the injured and dead. She dragged her feet as she walked to the railing at the helm.
“Land ho!!” The crow master yelled as the edging of the continent came into view. Everyone was soaked to the bone from the water avatars and the storm that was finally starting to lighten up. Chaya stood at the helm of the ship with a few of the other dwarves, playing a gentle tune of their homeland in celebration.
The chatter disappeared into more clattering of grabbing weapons as dark shapes appeared in the sky. What first looked like birds turned into three dragon-bloods. Fully armored and wings shifting in the wings, they landed on the ship with a large thud that caused the ship to rock significantly. The first one to rise from the drop was a black anthropological dragon. A reptile snout peeked out from under the horned helm that left room for the horns protruding from the sides of his head. His scales flexed under the armor and his wings curled around his shoulders. One clawed hand rested on his sword. “What is your intention of coming to this land?”
Everyone tensed, all their weapons at the ready. The captain slowly walked forward. “We are only anchoring here for a short while, dropping off passengers and getting supplies before the return home.”
Chaya left her arms loose against her sides, trying to stay passive. “We are only wanting to explore this land, and possibly make alliances.”
The dragon-blood raised a hackle, a lizard tongue darting out between rows of fangs. “This ship is full of magic and enchantments. How can we be sure that you are only here to explore and not conquer? You just took out part of our defense sqadrons.” He raised one clawed finger. The other two dragon-bloods gripped their weapons as four water elementals slithered their way onto the ship.
“Wait.” Chaya took one step forward, her arm out to the side. It was more a warning to her companions and the crew to not act instead of speaking to the armored dragon-blood. Her hand slowly slid into a pouch and she removed a rolled-up scroll. “My name is Chaya, bonded daughter of the House Dgwyim.” The scroll unraveled, revealing the family crest and the written pedigree of her origins. “I come here on behalf of my family with other explorers. I vouch for them and their intentions, my noble blood as my vow.”
A light puff of smoke exited his nostrils. “You said House Dgwyim?”
“That is right.” Chaya kept her gaze steady against his cat-like pupils.
A brief pause passed between the two groups. The dragon-blood removed his hand from his weapon. “Stand down.” The water elementals slid back into the water silently and the guards with him lowered their weapons. “A few of your Clansmen arrived here years ago, have helped build up the cities. They are true to their word and are great allies.” He removed his helm, shaking out scaled tendrils that could have been mistaken for hair. “My name is Thaleus, Commander of the defense forces of this continent. Welcome to Isle Monstrorum.”
To Be Free:
To Love, To Lose 1:
To Love, To Lose 2:
To Love, To Lose 3: