Spellborn: Cauldronborn

Back when I was content lead at Spellborn Works, I created multiple ‘mood pieces’ to reflect upon the universe of “The Chronicles of Spellborn”. These texts were written at a conceptual level, to provide artists and fellow designers with an idea of how the game world behaved on its own. This rough text was meant for post-release content. There was the notion to give the Enclave a more suitable opponent and the Arionites were chosen for that purpose. However, as the Arionites were already all over the game, we needed to introduce a stronger version.

"How many have we wasted so far?" To Eridin the question did sound offensive. By order of Shadow's Hammer or not, these were still their fellows. That woman didn't seem to understand that.
"So far, seven have died, Sharan. Three immediately after the cauldronization, four after 'successful' cauldronization."
"Good." The word mark clawed itself into Eridin's mind. "That means we are well within the limits of the procedure." She picked up one of the red crystals on the altar in front of here and walked to one of the dead bodies. "It also gives us… opportunities."
"Opportunities? They're dead! Finding a suitable weapon to fight the Enclave is one thing, but outright killing our own to get… these undead monstrosities… is-…" Sharan flatly held her hand up to signal silence. Eridin obeyed.

"You seem to miss the point here. I didn't expect full comprehension of my work, but a little bit of faith would not go unnoticed. Cauldronization does involve death. It is an ancient Demonic procedure from before the Great Collapse: drown the subject then revive it and endow it with magic that would have otherwise obliterated the subject. The Speyrfolk used it to create Cauldronborn and we have evidence that may link the procedure to the Berserkers and the Speyrfolk curse."
"So we should just kill our men in hope of finding something useful?!"

"No, you idiot! We should perfect the procedure to make them not die!!!" The crystal forcefully hit the floor and shattered. Eridin's face turned pale even though the Arionite clothing already emphasized his overly white skin tone. "What part of this don't you understand!? These brave Arionites did not volunteer to die! They volunteered to help us understand the procedure, to learn from mistakes, so that one day we can perfect it for the good of-…" Sharan's voice suddenly stopped and she stared directly at something behind Eridin. He turned around and an imposing figure stood in the temple doorway. The temple was poorly lighted, but this person did not need light, instead it radiated off of his armour, his body, his presence. "…Shadow's Hammer…"

Sharan dropped to her knees and bowed. Eridin just stood there, entranced, his jaw slowly dropping, his eyes slowly growing larger as his brain grasped the situation. Shadow's Hammer Ithkari Aryones stately stepped forward. Eridin couldn't believe this was happening. Shadow's Hammer! Here, right in front of him!
"Were… Weren't you… dead…?"
Shadow's Hammer turned towards him, his face as grave as the temple they stood in, his eyes as deep and bright as the Deadspell Storm itself. "A gross exaggeration, I can assure you." Though he had not spoken ill of him with those words, Eridin felt that his question had offended him, and the answer lay heavy upon his heart. The sheer presence of Shadow's Hammer pressed upon him like an anvil on his back. He could not move, such was the aura of his leader.

Shadow's Hammer walked up to Sharan. "Arise, Ancestral Mage! Speak to me!" Sharan stood up. Her eyes did not dare meet those of her liege and with difficulty she managed to utter some words.
"Bu-… but I am not worthy, my liege…"
"On the contrary Sharan Defuhn. You are." The words rumbled through the temple, the crystal shards on the ground trembled across the stone slabs. "Now tell me. Tell me of my men. My new men." Only know did she look him in the eyes and Eridin knew what she felt at that moment. But instead of a burdened look on her face, a feint smile appeared. "Yes… Yes, my liege, I will!"

For some time Sharan explained the process they performed here. She told him of the Speyrfolk, of their Cauldronborn. Of the progress of crystals and Sigils the Raven had made while in hiding amongst the Enclave. Of the crystals they had discovered: levium, dailevium, trilevium. Of how they tried to fuse the properties of the crystals, Sigils and Cauldronborn to create the perfect weapon. Of how some of his brave followers had volunteered to become one of the first… Of how the Enclave was afraid of it all. It was only at those last words that the visage of Shadow's Hammer showed any trace of emotion. The sinister smile cut itself into Eridin's thoughts as the weight of his presence kept him from moving.

"But…, I beg your forgiveness, my liege, as Eridin did raise the question already… But how… How can this be?" The smile vanished from Shadow's Hammer's face.
"The Enclave shall pay dearly for their choice." Now the entire temple was shaken to its foundations. "They held me, against my wishes. They held me against my life. They held me… against my death…" He looked Sharan straight into her eyes. "Yes, they shall pay. And I, no, we shall show them what they did to me." He moved his right-hand towards her face and with the back of his gauntlet touched down her left cheek. A shiver ran across her spine, a desire within her started to burn.

"Yes." He removed his hand and moved backwards. "But first we need to know what they did to me. Let us begin." Sharan immediately turned around and moved towards one of the many cauldrons. Shadow's Hammer picked up an orange crystal from the altar. His eyes lit up as he touched it. "Are you a brave Arionite, Eridin?" The words snapped around his heart and the weight disappeared from his back. Eridin could move again, but the stare of his leader pierced his mind.

Eridin started breathing heavily. His heart started pumping fiercely and his body instantly felt wet form his own sweat.

"You are a brave Arionite, Eridin."

Powerless, Eridin put a step forward. And another. And another. And another. He was standing in front of Shadow's Hammer. He felt small, insignificant and in his mind he kept shrinking.

"Now that certainly is a brave Arionite."

Eridin wasn't surprised as he felt the crystal pierce his heart. He did not even feel pain. And as he was dropped into the cauldron and saw the water turn murky with his own blood, he kept thinking of how glorious it was to die for Shadow's Hammer.

Unfortunately, Eridin did not die.