A former shell of himself, evil had permeated every corner of his essence.
Though Arden has spent countless years as an integral part of the forest and the lives of those who dwell there, time affects all things. Even a towering mountain will be worn down over the eons, and so it is with Arden. His usual tasks are becoming more and more a challenge, and his health as of late has been in decline. A gnawing fear in the back of his mind has made him realize that he may not be around long enough to uncover all of the forest's mysteries. Despite all of his wisdom and research, there is yet more that he doesn't understand.
At first, his ailment manifested as a general listlessness that was soon after accompanied by troubled dreams. He has pushed back one Hypogean incursion after another unscathed, but the darkness that came to him in the depths of his dreams was something he hadn't prepared himself to defend against. A voice whispered tantalizing offers. Offers of youth and vitality everlasting. Offers that would allow him, even in this advanced stage, to continue the work he'd been doing his entire life. The dreams grew in frequency and vividness. The voice in the dark reminded him constantly of his frailty, and the hopelessness of his goals. The voice was now accompanied by a threatening figure cloaked in shadow that was nonetheless oddly alluring.
As tempting as the offer was, Arden was too wise to accept it. A gift such as the entity offered would come with a price too steep to pay. Night after night, the shadowy haunter visited him, and night after night he rebuked it. He meditated for days, waiting for a solution to present itself. He needed to bar his mind from the thing's advances. Unfortunately, he had even less time than he thought.
It was during a battle on the forest's edge that the entity came to him for the first time during his waking hours. Distracted with the task of pushing back the invaders, the defenses of his conscious mind were down. The entity, having been refused time and time again despite its best efforts, had come to take by force what it sought. As the sounds of the battle echoed around him, he felt something take hold over his sense. It was as if he were simply an observer in his own mind and body. Another presence was here, controlling his movements and words. From the small corner of his mind that he still occupied, he saw his old student Nemora appear as the fighting lulled.
"Master Arden! Are you well? Tasi has been seeking you. She says that she has seen a dark presence in your dreams as of late."
He smiled slightly, waving his staff and entangling a group of Hypogeans in an eruption of thick vines. "Yes, my child. I am well. Now let's send these demons back to the Gate."
Arden railed against the thing inhabiting his body, speaking words that were not his. He scrambled for anything he had learned that may help him, thinking back to his own teacher. She had had great wisdom, and though he had held her in the highest esteem, he knew that his own knowledge by now far surpassed what she had gathered. Seeing Nemora nod at his impostor's response and bound away, he has an epiphany. Just as his own mentor had never uncovered all the secrets of the wood, neither could he. His own students would grow and someday surpass him in their understanding of their home, thus being part of the great cycle. Surely this was more important than complete understanding. With renewed purpose, he gathered his will and struck back at the thing controlling him.
With an anguished howl, the being separated from its host. It had thought its adversary defeated. Now, forced into the material world, it was given its own form. Dripping with a sooty substance, its body a twisted mockery of Arden's own, it let loose a sound of rage before scurrying away into the night.
Now, in the deepest of the withered glades, it bides its time and gathers its strength. Soon, it will emerge. When it does, chaos won't be far behind.
|Chaotic Entanglement||Arden uses this ability twice, respectively at 30 seconds and 60 seconds into battles.
Arden entangles his enemies with his vines one by one based on their battlefield locations until all enemies are entangled. Entangled enemies are unable to move and will gradually lose health over time.
The entangling vines disappear 6 seconds after Arden has finished casting this ability.
|Nether Shield||Arden’s abilities can be interrupted by control abilities that last for a duration of 1.5 seconds or more.
When Arden is unaffected by any enemy control abilities, he utilizes a passive shield that is able to reduce the damage he receives by 50%.
|Lightning Fury||When used passively, a singular lightning bolt is cast upon a random enemy every 3.5 seconds. When used actively, 5 bolts will be cast successively on multiple enemies. Enemies that are struck by lightning bolts will lose the majority of buffs from which they are currently benefiting.|
- The Unhinged is an evil entity who achieved his form in the material world after a failed attempt to corrupt Arden.