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Chapter 1 by Zac

In the far away Kingdom of Cornidale, there lived a king named Zacchaeus. He was a fair and just king. He kept his people happy by keeping taxes low and the kingdom protected from The Harmen – a race of mutant beings whose organs are exposed to the elements. Their only desire was to inflict pain on the human race through excruciating torture in order to feed their young with the weeping, mutilated bodies of their victims. He was able to do this because of the loyalty of the four greatest knights Cornidale had ever known. And who are these great knights you may ask? They are Taylor the Strong, Hickman the Wise, Sole the Happy and last, but certainly not least, Uli the Spellcaster. Each had his own special set of skills: Taylor could wield a great-sword in each hand, Hickman had command over a black and yellow dragon, Uli could use arcane magic to summon fire, ice and lightning. And Sole? Well, he could do the most unique thing of all; transform himself into any insect or arachnid he desired. One day while his knights were off fighting the forces of the Oboyoboa Kingdom, Zacchaeus fell gravely ill and before long he was coughing up litres of blood at a time. Realising he was dying without an heir to succeed him, meaning the Throne of Cornidale would be left unattended. Then it hit the young handsome king: One of my four knights, Zacchaeus thought to himself, Yes any one of them would make a fine king. However another thought quickly entered the young monarchs mind: But which one? Which one is worthy to be king and how do I prevent the other three from turning on him once he becomes king?. The king thought about this for a day and a night and finally the solution came to him: A tournament! Zacchaeus mused to himself, They'll fight to the death and the one who survives will be my successor, the perfect plan! When the four knights returned they went to their king’s bedside. They had spent the past week worrying about whether or not the King would die before they got to see him again. While Zacchaeus did look like a ghost in his blood-soaked bed, there was still plenty of life in his voice as he spoke: "As you well know, life is gradually leaving me... However my priority at this stage is not my own welfare. No, my main concern at this point in time is for the welfare of Cornidale and making sure my throne has an heir". The four knights looked around confused. "An heir Sire?" Sir Taylor asked
"Yes, good knight, an heir. It will be one of you"
"One of us?!" the knights exclaimed together.
"Yes one of you. You shall fight each other in a tournament and the winner shall be crowned king". Zacchaeus stopped and look at the knights’ stunned faces "Now doesn't that sound fun?"

Chapter Two (Sole)

The knights left the King’s chamber solemn and dreading what twisted fate lay ahead of them. Hickman the Wise stepped forward and tried to speak with as much composure as he could muster: “Alas, my companions, Zacchaeus has spoken and it is for the Kingdom of Cornidale that three of us must lay down our lives.” Sole the Happy responded: “Indeed it is…. I suppose it is for the best that we make our own arrangements in order to have an heir by the end of the week.”With a series of unenthusiastic nods, the knights parted ways to prepare for their upcoming endeavour.

~

The arena was immense with the audience soaring high above them from all sides, cheering and roaring with excitement. Little did they realise that this was far more important for their own safety than they knew. Zacchaeus watched from the Royal Box, propped up on a bed with sheets crimson with the blood that almost flowed from his mouth. Hickman the Wise was the first to appear – circling high above the arena on his dragon whose mouth oozed with the blood of its prey. Uli the Spellcaster stepped forward as lightning shot across the sky and the fire of the torches flared upwards. Taylor the Strong marched out, regal and upright with his great-swords ready for flaying flesh and spilling blood. Lastly, Sole the Happy moved into the arena – meek and unarmed except for a dagger he strapped to his leg.

Zacchaeus feebly lifted his arm as a gong sounded, signalling the start of the battle for Kingship. As soon as the echo died away Sole’s pleasant demeanour vanished and his skin began to tear and split. An exoskeleton emerged from the bloody gaping innards of Sole’s body, and soon the bones in his arms were bubbling and cracking. His face split open as two immense pincers grew from his jaw and there Sole stood, in a puddle of his own blood and flesh, as an enormous Scorpion ready to kill. Taylor rushed toward Hickman on his dragon with both swords flying in an impenetrable flurry of slashes. The dragon reared up, hissing, and retaliated by sending a clawed foot straight into Taylor’s blur of blade. Blood sprayed outward as immense clawed toes fell to the arena floor and soon Taylor’s blades were slicing through shin bones as though they were chalk. Hickman took off and blood rained from above as Uli sent a fireball across the arena toward Sole. The fireball incinerated the Scorpion’s left side – forcing Sole to return to his human form. As Taylor set his sights on Uli, Hickman descended and his dragon’s claws sunk into Sole’s mutilated remains. The claws slowly pushed through bone and flesh alike, spilling blood and organs outward under their immense wait. Sole the Happy was no more. The dragon screamed as, from nowhere, a spear-shaped icicle thrust forward from the ground into its enormous neck. Blood splashed onto Hickman’s face as Uli stared him down, hand outstretched.

Chapter 3 by Taylor

Scorched landscape of the arena stands around them filled with corpses of the fallen Knight and the Dragon of Hickman. Hickman decides to make a move revengefully launching himself at Uli with no thoughts but anger and frustration coming to his head. As Uli sees the sadistic dragon tamer rushing towards him he smirks with delight, bringing his hands forward and letting out a light shiver as a bright spark of lightening targets and persecutes the airborne Hickman. The light from the strike covers the entire arena with a aura . The lightening strike completely blinds the final 2 Knights as Hickman’s flesh is burned to the crisp. In the darkness Taylor was able to hide allusively from Uli. As he stares down Uli from a distance taylor moves silently and fiercely attacks Uli from behind severing his arm off with his great swords shining as they go through the flesh of the sorcerer. As Uli feels the pain of his nerves being cut and blood oozing out of his arm that is now only a slight stump coming out of his shoulder he lets out a telekinetic push through his shout of anguish. The push slams Taylor backwards and coincidentally into the jaw of Hickman’s dead dragon. As he is pushed back on to the mouth of the deceased dragon its 2 foot fang pierces through the left side of Taylor’s back going through flesh and bone and coming out the other side of his impenetrable armour with Taylor’s heart still beating on the point of the deadly sharp tooth. With Uli still screaming from the torturous event that had happening to him he is unaware of his victory. Once Uli stops nurturing and starts to realise what has happened he his thumped on the back of the head blacking out…

The champion warrior awakens to find himself in a dungeon tied up. His surrounding is alerted by the great king Zacchaeus, “ahh boy thank you for killing your friends for me, with you now becoming a champion i shall complete my ritual.” “what?!” “Uli my boy, a little while ago i discovered a ritual to make myself immortal and the only thing i needed that i didn't have was the sacrifice of a champion now that you are a champion i shall sacrifice you.” And with that began tearing Uli limb from limb stewing him in a pot with a bunch of other ingredients. The blood of Uli turning everything a deep red. As soon as Zacchaeus began drinking the potion he began feeling different. He began to not only be himself but have the abilities and behaviours of the fallen knights from the tournament. He became skilled with swords, he became skilled in the manipulation of fire, had the ability to talk to dragons and was always happy. All five of them became one and King Zacchaeus was now known throughout the land as King Zataysohicku, the Strong. Wise. Happy….of Cornidale

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