“How do you escape when you’re in love?”
“When you’re young, you do lots of foolish things. Partying, drinking and driving, the general craziness you can look back at when you’re an adult and say “How am I still alive?”. So what do you do when you’re the only one left at the end?”
My name is Donovan King. I’m 20 years old, I graduated top of my class, Quickly gained a job with a high-class office, and just as quickly seemingly signed my life away to.
Growing up, I always had a skill with people. A connection if you will beyond what most people could imagine. The ability to completely sync with someone provided great opportunities. Friendships that are made quickly and hard to break apart. Building trust beyond normal means. These friendships got me many places, Including the first and only job I would need upon graduation.
My life consisted of working, coming home, and going back to work. Building what I already had was my first priority.
Every morning I’d wake up, my home a small studio apartment. rubbing my eyes as I looked around my apartment. My bed sat folded out from a leather couch, covers were thrown all askew. I reached to the bedside table for a cigarette, putting the filter between my lips, I pull it from the pack. Reaching into the pocket of my jeans searching for my favourite lighter. A silver design featuring a gun and badge on the ground. Lighting the smoke I look over to the window. The light slowly filtered through the tree branches of the neighbouring house across the street. The warmth shining down, slowly crawling up my chest. A large puff of smoke fills the filtering rays as I exhale and stand up. My arms reach to the sky, working out the knots caused from another sleepless night. The cold hardwood floors sending a chill up my spine as my feet touch them.
Heading to the bathroom, I walked past the window and the kitchen, the smoke billowed behind me through the sunbeams. Passing the sink and mirror I went straight to release the strain of the night. The pain of countless nights alone bulging through my jeans. I take another drag of the smoke as the relief comes across my face, Zipping my pants back up, I throw the rest of the smoke in the toilet and stumble back to the mirror. Gazing up I can’t help but chuckle. the dark rings under my eyes resembled a racoon.
Opening the Mirror revealed my treasure trove of pills. Uppers, Downers. All-rounders. Whatever was needed to make it through a day. Reaching for the only legal bottle in the cabinet, I popped a small handful of caffeine pills into my mouth, forcing them down. Closing the cabinet, the mirror gazed back onto my face. My dark brown hair almost black in the dim light of the bathroom, My facial hair, closely trimmed to my face. My hair, always a little shaggier than I’d like. My body was a bit bigger than most liked, A smattering of hair covered my chest.The sound of running water filled the room as the sink was turned on, I cup my hands under the tap watching the water fill my hands before throwing it over my face. I look back into the mirror, The sullen face of a lonely man gazed back at me. The smirk and smile forced onto my face, However once there, it was impossible to tell how false it was.
“Well, Let’s see who we can fool today.” I’d joke to myself in the mirror. But the voice in the back of my mind would always be quick to repeat back “It doesn’t matter who you fool, you’ll never fool yourself.” Turning from the mirror I leave the bathroom behind with a brief and shallow “Fuck you” said under my breath to the voice.
Walking to the wardrobe, my outfits are all laid out. Same clothes day in and day out. blue jeans, A black muscle shirt, a button up shirt was thrown over the top. After I put my clothes on, I catch my eye in the reflection of the bathroom mirror once more. “I got this,” I say to my reflection, one more attempt to convince myself before it was too late.
Walking for the door I grab my keys, My leather jacket slung over my shoulder, The sunburst explodes through the doorway as I open my way. The sun shone brighter than most on this morning. The smell of the ocean filled my lungs and my nose, Looking around the birds were chirping, the sun beating down, the day was beautiful, But it wasn’t enough.
Jumping into my car, The engine starts to rumble through the hills. The music blaring through the speakers, Drowning out the calling in the back of my mind. Cruising along the Oceanside, the city quickly began approaching. Skyscrapers, Resorts, Businesses. These are thing things that made the Economy here. And this is how I make my life. I was hired by an online firm to handle all of their white glove customers. I spoke with the largest people this company worked with, and if anything went wrong, it was my fault. However rarely did people not see eye to eye with me, and if they did, it didn’t take long to change their minds. I was their star player and they needed me to open the wallets of our customers.
Pulling into the parking garage beneath the building I could feel the mounting tension of the day beginning to build. Today was going to be one of the most important meetings of my career. I was set to meet an international media mogul and his wife for drinks and dinner. Alexander Bailey and his wife were due in town, The largest account that we dealt with, and it was my job to ensure that we didn’t lose it. Now seeing eye to eye with people is a trait of mine. Alexander didn’t scare me. Christina, His wife, did. He was an older man and someone whom I considered a close friend of mine. A senior gentleman who loved nothing more than to travel on his yachts while drinking sangria and smoking Cuban cigars. I’ve joined him numerous times for these ventures and always left with a better sense of what the good things in life are, His taste’s rubbed off on mine. Now, this should make things easy to seal the deal with and be done, and it would.

If it weren’t for the fact that his wife has been my mistress since first we met.

The Immense doors loomed before the downtrodden group.

So this is what the end of our Journey looks like.” Mused a shadow clad figure.
If we let our guard down, This is going to be the end of a lot more.
A red armored young man says, as he breathes deeply before taking a step to the door.

 The air around the group was Cold. Stale. Lifeless.
The rest of the group gathered around the door, as a few more bodies poured into the room.
Some no worse for the wear, Ready to take on the world.
Some, already looking as though they already had taken it on.

The hall loomed around them. The Darkness was heavy.
The shadows felt deep enough to cut with a knife.
So burdening, that even light could barely break through.

Following the last of the group stood a woman.
Middle aged, Armored from head to toe.
Looking back Cautiously to the doorway they came from, She slides her helmet off.

We need to start a fire and rest.” She stated very bluntly.
The majority of the group was exhausted.
However all of them knew that soon it would be over.

We have no time for that, Harbinger.
The shadow clad figure slid to the side of the room, Peering out the slits in the stone.
We need to finish what we came to do. Before the Abyss comes back.

The sight outside the makeshift windows was nearly impossible for the mind to understand.
Above, rose into an impossible high ceiling, the roof, made of stone,
stalactites hanging like great towers built in reverse.
The horizon stood silent, not moving.
The Umbra shroud bringing an almost palpable despair.

But looking down, That was the dangerous part.

The tower in which the stood dangled from the ceiling, similar to the other stalactites.
Beneath,  Sheer Darkness, An endless fall from which there will be no end.
The entry into the endless realms of the abyss.
Roars, Screams, Moans of both pleasure and pain.
And the most vile laughter, that claws at the center of your soul.

The only thing separating this very out of place band and this horrific fate,
Were Stone walkways,
Rope bridges
Massive iron rooms
Dangling precariously by giant chains in the ceiling and each other,
“The Suspended Fortress of Sovereign.”

A queen among the gods.
She ruled supreme with those whom worshiped her,
However when she began attempting to rule the gods,
Not even the divine power of the ruler could save her.

The gods banished her.

While unable to strip her of the powers she had.
They were able to seal her into her own realm.
A place where she was the ruler,
a place where she was the Sovereign power that existed.
Where she could have rule over all she wished.

When this was created, It was a Barren cavern.
A pit underneath the earth, Where she could do as she pleased,
Without interfering with the realms of man and god.
Gazing upon it now, This is a world of its own.

A world of Darkness.

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The group sat and recouped in the black stone hall.
Torches along the walls produce a black flame, leaving a dull, less than warming light.
Many sat wrapping their wounds.
Others tried to eat, However after most things seen here, It was no use.
Some held vigil, For the souls they’ve lost on this quest.
But most prayed.
Some for Family.
Some for Life.
Some even prayed to wake from the nightmare that is this hole.

But release wouldn’t come, until they could finish the task on the other side of that gruesome door.

Standing nearest the door, Were two figures.
One a tall man. Standing sturdy, The wear of the journey showed clear on his face.
Grey and white spots through the dark brown of his beard.
The lines of worry that outline his eyes,
both wide with Caution and closed with exhaustion.
Even his armor, unable to show its true light under the lingering night.

The other, The armored woman they titled “Harbinger”.
Her face showed little to no care for rest.
Stoic, Silent, Vigilant.
Few could understand how she held strength through these times.
But her faith in Kocena, For the Queen of the Final Rest was Unshakable.

Both gazed upon the door, Standing nearly twenty feet tall,
The ominous aura emanating from behind it could be felt.
No one could rest easy.
Not while being this close to the Queen of Darkness.

Moving from the fire, The red clad young man begins to speak.
I still don’t understand how we’re even alive.
Rubbing his hands together over one of the fire’s they’ve built.
He slowly turned, gathering some heat before walking towards the door.

His shaggy blond hair matted to his head with the cold sweat this place brought upon.
His red stained armor slid slightly around his body as he stretched,
Quite obviously, The armor wasn’t made for him.
The queen of everything that makes the world a terrible place.
Taking a few steps closer to the door. He let out a frustrated growl, Kicking the door.
His foot hit the stone hard, giving no way under his strength.

If she’s so almighty, Why hasn’t she come out to give us a proper greeting?
His innocent smile curved into a grin of deep hatred.
Or does she know what would happen when we saw her ugly mug.
The rage reflected in his eyes, showing the malice he felt towards her.

The bearded man walked over to the young man.
Zyrus… She has us right where she wants us.
The rage slowly subsided hearing the despair in the senior mans voice.
While were here, We cant prepare for a true fight against her. Look at the men
He motioned back to the hallway.

The group had set up tents, and bedrolls and a few fires.
However none of them were resting or recovering as they should be.
The dark light bathed down on them.
Even those closest to the built fires, Barely able to gather warmth.

While were here, Only a few of us are even in condition to step into that room.
Sighing he turned away from Zyrus.
And while were down here, We can’t stop the things she’s doing to our homes…
The proud mans shoulders dropped, For she’s taken much from the King of Dresiliad.
These men have taken us this far, But more lives of my people will not be lost in this conflict.

The king walked back towards the area in front of the door.
On the floor, his blade and shield sat, Staring up at him.
In the past, His arms had seen him through all trouble.
However for the first time in his life, His faith began to waver.
The glimmer in his blade faded from sight, Not even reflecting the flicker of the campfire.

Drestyn.” Zyrus walked over to the much taller man, placing his hand on the armored shoulder.

I’ve got respect for you beyond the time we’ve known each other.
He reached past him, Down for the blade on the floor.
However that was the biggest load of bullshit I’ve ever heard you say.

Drestyn’s eyes flew open.
The words hitting him just as hard as if he had been slapped by the flat of the red knight’s blade.
Zyrus stepped forward, Standing in front of Drestyn.
Those aren’t words that the Frost Wolf would say, Let alone think.
Zyrus reached down grabbing Drestyn’s hand and turning it palm up.
And i’m sure as hell not going to follow someone that can’t even win a fight they waited this long for

Zyrus placed the hilt of the king’s blade into it’s rightful owners hand.
However wrapped around the hilt, was a simple rope, With a stone wheel attached.
Raising the hanging emblem to his eyes, he could barely believe what he held.
How…
The king asked, not understanding how this came to be with Zyrus.

Erika , She gave it to me before we left.
I didn’t even know she had it…
I know you didn’t.
Zyrus walked over to the shield, Picking it up off the floor as well.
The great shield took the form of a Roaring wolf. His fangs bared, Ready to rip through its prey.
She told me not to tell you that she had it.

“Your wife gave it to her on her deathbed.
She told Erika when passing it on, that she had to watch over you now.
She knew the darkness that would overcome you when she passed.
And she knew that the only pieces of her you would have left, Were in your Daughters.
But someday, When the darkness seemed unbearable.
When the world seemed at it’s bleakest, 
That even the smallest token like this, Would bring you out of even your deepest pit.

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The light that burned within Drestyn’s eyes could not be extinguished, Even by the shadows that surrounded them.
Walking to the Center of the Room, He Clenched the Pendant in his hand.
“Zyrus, Thank you.”
The young man smiled, a genuine smirk crossed his lips.
“Don’t make me regret it. My King”
The words crossed his lips, having never done so before.
A smile between the two, and an acknowledging nod was all they required.

The rest of the room was staring at Drestyn as he approached the center.
His voice dropped low, Speaking dull words, that couldn’t be made out by most.
Upon the end of the first line, a pulse was felt through all living beings in the room.

They began to stand, slowly gathering to circle around him.
Drestyn’s voice grew deeper, and another line sounded from his throat.
A second pulse flooded through the room like a wave.
The group began to murmur. People wondering what was going on, what the warm feeling was.

“My friends”
Drestyn spoke, His hand outstretched, eyes closed.
“I thank you for following our journey this far.”
Light streamed from his palm, The stone in the center creating an intense glow.
His eyes slowly opened, Revealing globes of light.
“However I must ask that you follow no further.”

A hush fell through the caravan. Soft whispers spoke from mouth to ear.
The pendant pulsed forth again.
The black flames of the torches were swallowed.
Leaving only the whole light of the stone.
“You’ve all given everything you have to help us.”

They looked around to the rest of their group, Realizing just how man were truly lost on this quest.
“Some of you have given your blood, Some your money, Even worse, Many have lost lives, Brothers, Sisters, Mothers and Fathers.”
Cupping his hands in front of him, The pendant began to float in front of him.
” Many of you have lost heart and hope. However the queen of darkness will no longer take hold of my people.”
The pendant slid over one of the hooks on the dark iron Chandelier.

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“For even in the depths of darkness, The light of hope can shine through”
Light began to slide down the walls, Coating the black stone hallway in a great light.
The armored woman walked forward. she stripped her helmet off.
The light grazing down the side of her cheek, a smile broke through the cold, hard exterior.
“The sunlight feels good, Doesn’t it Gale?”
She stopped and looked over to the voice, The shadow cloaked man walked from the corner,
His hood was down. Revealing a kind young man, short cut black hair, a smirk gleaming in the Sunlight.

“Even us who live in the shadows need to enjoy the light from time to time.”
The shadows stopped at the entryway, Walls of light Created windows, peering into the Night of the abyss.
“I honestly didn’t think we would get to see it again.” she whispered quietly.
Drestyn turned back to the group, His eyes back to normal. The same dark brown of his hair.

“This was my wife’s final gift.” Drestyn said to them.
His face warmed, His worn cheeks smiling.
“The stone of Sanctuary gives us a place of respite. We can now rest. and prepare for what will come in the morning.”
He placed his sword by his bedroll, turning back to the group
“But tonight, We celebrate, We’ve made it far. We celebrate those we’ve lost.”
He reached down for a jug of the finest Crestlian brandy
“But most importantly, We celebrate because if we don’t succeed tomorrow. We’ll never celebrate again.”

Taking a Large swallow from the bottle he tosses it to Gale.
Catching her off guard she drops her helmet to the ground, making sure to not drop the clay jar,
Brandy spilling over her armor, The king let out a Large bellowing laugh.
The spell of sanctuary is much more than a blessing of protection and light.
But a spell that renews you from the bottom of your soul.

The crowd began to get loud, Cheering after their king.
The group from the College of bardic knowledge took it upon themselves to keep the mood going,
Waiting for the queue, The music began to play.
The wounded began to smile, The men could finally eat.

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The fires burned long into the night. The men enjoyed their drink, As the women had their fill.
The music rang through the darkness, drowning the sounds of the darkness below.
The light shined bright in the room of Sanctuary, and for once on this journey to hell and back,
There was peace.

Drestyn sat back, On a makeshift throne of blankets and supplies. Watching the merriment, Waiting.
His smile showed to the men, they needed to enjoy their time here.
But his eyes, Showed a determination, A plan that has yet to be spoken of.

The night grew on, and the Music dulled, The wayfarers fell to sleep,
the exhaustion of the celebration taking the life straight from then

Only a few still woke.
They slowly gathered their things, Walking towards the great stone door.
“I see that you all knew what I was trying to do.”
Drestyn strapped his shield to his arm. Tying his scabbard to his belt.

“What? Did you really think that we was going to let you go in there all by your lonesome?” Zyrus quipped,
He smiled over jumping off of the makeshift throne the King sat upon the night before.
His armor jostled around his body as he pulled his straps tighter.
“I’m not gonna let you have all the fun with that bitch alone.”
He strapped his blade to the back of his waist,
Giving a big stretch he opened his finger, hearing each one crack in anticipation.

“I knew your plan before you did my liege.” Gales voice spoke in, Softer than normal.
“I stay with you until the maidens of death come to meet me.”
Her armor shined bright under the sanctuaries sun,
“The lady too needs to have words with this abomination.”

“She will be silenced in the same shadows from which she ruled.”
The cold voice rolled from the corner of the room,
Raynard Zuri, The Shadow walked to the group.
“She has threatened the world for far too long.”

The four stood and looked back at the room, Everyone laying there sleeping, Expecting to wake, and to die.
“If we fail, They wont wake.” Drestyn said, a sullen tinge to his voice.
“Then I guess that means we don’t fail, huh?” Zyrus said back, his crooked smirk hooking at his right lip corner.

“Bwahahaha, If this rag-tag group is going to survive against the queen of darkness, you’re gonna need a lot more help!”
The voice that rang from their backs chilled them to the bone, Most didn’t recognize it, However Drestyn had heard this voice all too often.

“It’s been a long time Brother.”

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Turning towards the door, They saw the figure that the chilling voice came from.

“Far too long,” He laughed a loud boisterous laugh again, lifting an apple to his mouth and taking a large bite out of it.
Looking at the man, They couldn’t tell if he was friend or foe. His long blade reached to the ground, standing easily six feet long,
The  scabbard around it, was just as black as the shadows of the abyss outside of the room.
His hair, long, hanging down around his face in strands,
Black leathers formed a protective barrier around his body, However it was easy to tell, they didn’t slow the man at all.

“It’s not very often that you get to join me here beneath the surface!”
He walked towards his brother throwing the apple out the window,
Reaching for his brother he took him into a great embrace.
“It’s been far too long brother.”

He put his hands to his shoulders and outstretched his arms, the men taking in the sight that was each other.

The small band of heroes stood around watching, Wondering what in the world just happened.
“So, Is anyone going to introduce us here?” Zyrus asked, tapping his metal clad foot on the floor.

Drestyn broke from his brothers grasp and looked to them.
“This would be my older brother. Archon Frost. Lord of the Grim Battalion.”
He looked to his brother once more. For the last time they had see each other, The terms were not good.

“And how the hell is this the first time were hearing of there being a hidden member of the royal family?” Zyrus asked with his sarcastic, shit eating grin.

Smiling back down at Zyrus, With a dirty little grin,  Archon walked back to the throne, throwing himself back, feet over the side, laying down.

“Because, I’m supposed to be dead.”

The tension in the room once more became palpable.
Gale instantly unstrapped her hammer from her side, raising her shield between her and the supposed “Deadman”
“The lady of the dead has no words for those whom defile her  and cheat death.”
Drestyn raised his hand to the back of her hammer as she held it outstretched towards her new foe, Lowering it to her side.
“To those in our world, He is but a memory. I’m the only one who knew he was still alive.”

Archon looked to the group, loving the stunned faces.
” I’m guessing they’ve never seen the side of you that can keep secrets, Now have they brother?” He said with a slight bite to his speech.
“You see, The king there and I, We had run many campaigns between the two of us.”
“In our younger years, We were the ones who Assaulted the Titan-home when the Fang of the holy dragon was stolen,”
He said as he looked up and down the blade that somehow appeared from Drestyn’s scabbard into the mans hand.

“We Defended the heaven’s gate. The gateway to the realm of the gods.”
He lifted a small ring, with a gem, that seemed to have captured and entire universe in its small prison.
“We even managed to stop the assault from below the temple of all.”
He grimaced while saying this. “Or at least you did.”

The king looked down at his hand, sliding the gauntlet off, underneath sat the sister ring to his brothers.
“During the Avatar-Storm. We fought deep into the world. So far it was the first time we had ever found a place such as the abyss.”
“We fought hard there brother, We brought much glory, and saved many lives.” His brother bellowed.
“When we reached the bottom, There was an entire other world. We found where she had been seeping the darkness back into our world.”
“But that’s not all we found.”
“That’s where we met the Grim Battalion.”

“Apparently when there were cracks open to the abyss, Not ereyone that fell through the cracks died,  Some managed to survive down here, and even thrive, despite the ole shadowy bitch up here ruling things.” Archon said rummaging through  a bag for a new piece of fruit.
“That’s when we got our first glimpse of this place, and what i hoped would be my last.” The king said darkly.
“We fought and trained with the Grim Battalion, After our training and tours of war, I left for the kingdom. However he decided to stay here.”
“And now everyone up there,” He says pointing to the rock ceiling of the earth, “Thinks that I been dead about 30 years now.”
He puckered his lips, raising his index finger to cross them, blowing a low shush.
“But that’s our little secret.”

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The group silently prepared their gear for the final fight while the two brothers moved away to talk alone.
” You must have come here for a reason, Why did you only show now.” Drestyn looked at Archon with a deep worry of what was about to be said.
A sigh left his mouth as Archon wrapped his arm around his brothers shoulder.
“You’ve come to my domain, To complete a task that we’ve been attempting for hundreds of years.”
He reached to a nearby wine skin from a sleeping party goer, opening the cap with his teeth and taking a deep swig.
“I’ve come because I don’t wish to see my brother dead.” He said looking as stern as the grim joking man could.

“This isn’t a matter of honor any longer.” The king left his brothers embrace.
“Were here only because of the impact she’s had on the world above.”
He snatched the wine skin from his brothers hand, taking a long drink while turning his back to him.
“She’s corrupted all we stood for, All we held dear.”
Throwing the skin against the wall, He looked back to his brother
“First she took Erika. Then she took Anders…” His voice was shaking.

Archon stood silent. Looking at his brother.
“I… I had no idea her powers had reached that far beyond us.”
He stammered. Unable to catch his footing in this previously one sided argument.
“I’m sorry I wasn’t there…” his voice dropped.
After a few moments of silence, he slowly approached his brother. Whom now gazed beyond the light into the darkness.
His hands massaging his temples.

“I said when I came here you’d need more help against her than you had.”
The king turned and looked dead into his brothers eyes.
“You said it yourself. You’ve attempted this for hundreds of years. But she’s still alive. What help can you offer?”
“Your words sting for someone who offers help. But i’ll take them as nothing more than the words of a hurt man.” Archon suddenly straightened up,
His persona became more serious, rigid muscles, ready for anything and everything.
“You all gave much to be here, and it seems you lost a few things along the way.”
He turned around opening up his cloak to show the sword sitting on his belt.

“I Believe this belongs to you.” He said pulling the blade out, Tossing it through the air to Drestyn.
The blade shone brighter than even the shield of sanctuary.
A blade so pure, it’s white blade glistened like the white wings of angels.
The hand guard, Curved around the hand, forming a great dragons wings.
The pommel holding a great cats eye diamond.
He now held in his hands, the Lost Fang of the Holy Dragon.

The group stood in awe of the amazing sight in front of them.
The blade that the great hero Kailen Frost pulled from the mouth of the Holy dragon.
The blade that forged the six kingdoms,
The blade said to be able to even slay a god.

“But the shows not over yet folks, If you’d kindly open your eyes and the lid to that chest.”
Pointing over to the side of the group where there was only empty space now sat a great chest,
It’s massive lid felt heavy, And looked heavier.
Zyrus walked over to it, Grabbing on with both hands, flipping the top open.

The look of shock on Zyrus’ face showed that whatever was in the chest, was beyond anything he could imagine.
Gale looked over, For the first time seeing a speechless fire knight.
but when her gaze fell into the chest, her eyes instantly teared up, The drops welling in her eyes.
A weak, meek voice from inside the chest gently called out.
“Hey sis… How’ve you been?”

Her breath caught in her throat between sobs. She cleared the side of the chest, landing directly on top of her brother.
Sitting in the chest were two people.
One had short brown hair, a pair of clear spectacles donned his face and a long brown trench coat with various cloth pieces of clothing under neath.
“Wynd!” She finally managed to get out of her mouth. Clinging around the mans shoulders she was reduced to a crying mess.
Gale! You’re going to break me again, Please. Get. Off.” He managed to gasp out.
“Between where he’s been and your armor crushing his ribs, I’d suggest you get off of him.”

Next to him, was a faint pale girl. Her ivory skin was almost opalescent,
Her blonde hair ran down in a simple braid, clothed in a sky blue dress and wearing a great gold necklace with Deep red rubies.
Her eyes slowly fluttered open as the king looked over, Seeing what his brother had accomplished.
“Princess Nadia? But how…” He began walking towards her.
“I told you, Not everyone that falls through the cracks dies.”
Archon Chuckled
and with that same grin that breaks all tension
“And I seem to be good at finding things down here.”

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Much had been lost in this journey, Friends, Family, And many lives.
Including the two that stood before them.
When the group had first left, There were only six.
Upon reaching the destination, Despite having much help, and all the caravan that had joined the journey,
Only four of the originals stood at the gate.
Gale Lost her Family.
Zyrus Lost his Friend.
And the Caravan lost many people who defended it.
But now the group stands strong,
Complete.
Ready to face their Final Challenge.

Taking a Deep Breath, The group stepped up to the door,
Creaking open the great stone doors.
A sudden piercing thought entered all of their minds.
Like a burning hot dagger, sliding into the back of their brains.

“Welcome to my home.”
“Won’t you join me?”

“Not all great heroes have done good or evil. Some are known only for being great.”

The Pantheon of Heroes is where all the Fallen legends of war and history reside.
Many are great warriors, Some Strategists, Or even Magi.
There reside Doctors and Scholars, as well as everything in between.
For many different things can make a Hero.

In these halls of history, You will find the stories of the greatest among us.
Simple born men, raised to powerful Warlords.
Wealthy strategists whom give away all they own, for a plan to work.
Even great doctors and healers, whom have sacrificed their own health and well being, To save others.

The stories within these halls are not meant or shock and appall,
Nor are they meant to bring a heartwarming heroism.
For these men and women, are the true heroes of Artoria.

Below find the few tales you’re ready to read.

Anders Frost – The Mounted Wolf of the Frost Family :
The sole son of the Frost Family,
Heir to the throne of Dresiliad,
However he has many a Task pushing against him,
Will he be able to protect his Kingdom?
Or will his first campaign be his final?

While most people overlook the use of magic living their everyday lives.
There are many people whom train endlessly and find magic in every aspect of life itself.
The truth is,
Magic formed the majority of the world as we know it.

The Keepers of Arcane lore have traveled far and wide across the realm of Artoria,
They’ve traveled to the great Ark of the titans,
To the depths of the Animus Ocean.
Few select whom were powerful enough,
have even made it through the great mists to lands completely unknown.
However Magic,
as with everything else in life,
continues to grow and evolve.

Here you will find the powers that many have coveted over countless centuries,
Magic that has been long lost,
Magic of Specific peoples and even of different worlds entirely.

The Arcane Classroom

Here is where the students and masters of the Arcane come,
Arts known as Sorcery and Wizardry.
Here you will find the widest variety of Magic.
Ranging from simple castings of levitation and flashes of light,
To the more violent spells such as Fireballs, and bolts of Lightning.
It’s even said that the greatest of wizards,
were able to do amazing feats such as grant wishes and even bend reality to what they see fit.
Here is where the greatest of those whom crave power started their journeys.

The Great Temple of Knowledge

While the Temple of All in the north is the religious center of the world.
The largest house of Divine knowledge rests safely in the Great temple of knowledge.
While the whole of the Library is the Holy place of Eolas Visas – The King of Knowledge.
This temple in particular is where his clergy have kept the holy and unholiest of tomes known to all religions.
While the Library itself and most of its halls are off limits to those with minds full of ill will and malice.
The lower levels have been designed to allow a Member of each clergy into their respective gods halls.
Bringing them directly from the gates of the city, into their specified deities place.

The Office of Contracts

Some magic,
Calls upon forces far beyond our own comprehension,
Creating a pact.
Writing a Contract.
Simple terms or sealed with blood.
Here is where all the information held of beings that can create pacts,
And what types of pact magic can be created.

Here you make a choice in the paths of the World Tree
Many tales can be found down these halls
Some of great legends,
and the things they did to achieve such status
Some are souls of the darkest evil this world could muster
and the horrors we could never forget they brought to our world.
However one and all, They are all legends of their own respect,
each as worthy as the next.
Below you will make your choices.

The first path leads to the home of all great heroes,
Those whom embody the greater good.
These legends reside in The Hallowed Sanctuary

 The second path holds a moral middle ground,
As the heroes here have neither exceeded the marks of good,
Nor fallen to the depravity of many,
They will forever live within The Pantheon of Heroes

 The final path you’ll find in this root of the world tree,
Is where the truly horrible souls of our world live,
Where morals hold no sway over the actions and minds of these dark souls.
They’ve been condemned to live within The Darkened Hollow

“When two became one, Our world was born,”

In the beginning, There were only two beings.

A brother, The Bringer of Light. Gideon.
And
A Sister, The Bringer of Darkness, Phalla.

Gideon brought the light, Bringing life to the gods.
While Phalla brought the darkness, Bringing despair and nothingness

Over the years that our planet was forged, They fought back and forth.
each molding the world with a bit of themselves each time.
Their children became the gods.
Each created from an emotion,
a feeling put into physical form
Ruling the world,
The gods the scene for the many tales weaved here.
Here you will find the Progeny of the Creators.

 Villya – The King of Madness

 Villya is the epitome of Insanity and Chaos.
Born from the Emotions of rage and hate,
The king of madness was born.
Within most,
his name and acts strike terror and feelings of disgust,
For he is truly the lord of the Corrupt,
the Depraved and the Damned.

 Ryzen – The Wayfinder 

Ryzen is the patron of the Adventurer’s and the Curious.
Born from the sheer wish to explore,
and find all that can be found.
Ryzen wanders places beyond our world itself,
leaving behind guideposts for those who attempt to follow where few can.

 Drage Tavoren – The Dragonfather 

To uphold the Honour and Regality that was seen for the Future,
Drage Tavoren was born as the Father of Dragonkind.
Watching from the Eternal Perch,
He rules over all Dragons
Ensuring that Artoria would be a home for his Children as well

 Eolas Visas – The All-Seer 

Born as an older brother to Ryzen,
He is the Deity whom has all knowledge.
While one constantly sought new places and adventures
The other spent eons discovering the secrets of that which they’ve already found
For he believes that with great knowledge comes even greater power.

 The Keeper – Holder of the Divine Book 

 When the gods began to fight amongst themselves,
Both Gideon and Phalla saw the need for peace
When everything and nothing combine,
The keeper was created.
Granted power to grant and remove a deities power,
He was born to keep Order amongst the gods.

 Kocena – The Queen of the Final Rest 

As the gods began to create the Mortal races,
Death soon became Inevitable.
While most were respectful of the dead,
Some used them as tools and toys.
Kocena was born to stand against them,
She battles the forces of Desecration
And provides to the dead the rest that they truly deserve.

 Kojeke – The Furious 

When i took my oath. I vowed to protect my people from within the darkness. I swore to not let them fall to the horrors of our world.”
I Failed…”

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The city stood quiet in the darkness of night.
However this night is different.
The moon shone with a dark light, seemingly bringing more shadow than light to the alleys of Dusk Vale.
This night came only once a year, Umbra Nox. The Shade Night.
On this night, The shadows seem to dance in the streets.
Tonight is when the new Seekers of the Night are created.
The streets were silent. No creatures moved. No wind blew.

A great structure in the center of the city, was the only place where there even seemed to be movement.
The building stood far above any other building in the city, Composed of iron, and Blackstone.
When the Umbra Moon shone onto the building, It revealed more than the eyes alone could see.

A single group of brave individuals stood at the gates.
They stood as still as the Gargoyles, watching down upon the gates from the Ramparts
Their cloaks, Were all wrapped around themselves in a Similar fashion,
Taking the appearance of a troop of shadows given mortal form.
This was going to be the final test to tell which of them would become Seekers of Night,
and whom would be returned to the shadows.

 The rod Iron gate slowly began to swing open.

Standing in the gateway was a great figure. Clad in a black suit of Armour.
The skin on his face seemed to pull tightly over his skull,
and the paleness of his skin almost matched the stark white of the bone beneath.
A deathly chill rolled out of the Citadel behind him.

“Welcome Candidates.”
His voice was as cold as the chill that followed him through the Gates.
Here is where you will face your final tests.Here is where we find if you are worthy to Join our Ranks.”

 The Armour clad figure began to walk through the ranks. Inspecting each and every prospective seeker.
Each figure stood rigid. Whether it was the Cold, Or the intimidating presence of whom walked by them.

I am Highlord Graven. Leader of the Seekers of the night. And one of the four kings of Veil-Nagath.”

This statement alone brought fear into some of their hearts. One of the Kings of Night have come to see them.

Here you will be truly tested. To the end of your physical being.”
He waved his hands towards the end of their ranks,
The shadows to the sides of them coming to life,
Rising to reveal the Current ranks of the Seekers of Night.
“And to the end of the pitiful minds you currently take refuge within”

As he leaves their ranks, No warmth returns to their bodies.
For they’ve just been in the presence of the King of Shadows.Returning to his place in the mouth of the gates.
The Highlord turned to face them once more.
Here is where you sacrifice yourself, To protect our people from within the darkness.”
The shadows began to Coalesce at his feet, Slowly rising to his hands.
Upon successfully completing your trials. You will gain the right and privilege to join the ranks of those you see standing around you.”


The current seekers stood, Each with their own demeanor. Some sneering at the “Fresh Meat”.
Some applauding their courage for the Trials they’re about to face. They were as varied as the races and cultures that comprised them
And if you complete the trials to satisfaction.You gain the honour of bearing our mark, Through the Chains of Night.”

The shadows finally came to a Physical end in his hands. Revealing a chain, Shining brightly,
This pendant he now held was awe inspiring to the candidates.
It’s material looking as though it was a metal comprised of pure darkness.
Coming to an end where it bared the sigil of the Seekers of Night.
A blade plunging through a five point star.

However there is no guarantee that you will survive even the first of the Trials ahead of you. ”
The floor behind Highlord Graven came alight. Two black flames, One on each side of the walkway.
And those whom don’t. Will be returned back to the shadows.”
The shadows once again clouded beneath the man,
As a great maw of shadows flew up from the ground,
Swallowing the chain he once held.

The men stood still. Their blood froze in their veins,
For now the realize the consequence of their failure.

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Have you heard the heartbreaking tale of the Forlorn King?”

The withered elder woman sat in front of the cobblestone fireplace on the back wall of the Inn,
her wizened face smiled at the children sitting around her, taking in the warmth,
and sheltering themselves from the harsh winter with tales of far off places.
Her scratchy wheezing voice rang through the group, eerie and haunting, yet oddly comforting.
” This one may bring some tears to the eyes and sorrow to the heart.”
She adjusted her brightly coloured shawl, pulling it tightly around her chest.
“However his story is not complete, and may yet have a happy ending.”

The children always got lost in grandma’s stories,
with the school day done, and the long work days still having many hours left,
not a child stirred to leave the room.
” Please gramma, don stop da stories.” 
One of the small girls in the group sat close by her feet tugging the elderly ladies shawl.
Her big brown eyes stared up, as did all the others, like a crowd of stray dogs all staring , waiting.
Give grandma a second to catch her breath!” Called out a voice from around the corner of the bar,
The bald headed imp of an innkeeper stuck his gleaming head over the swinging bar door.
Have a hot drink to warm your insides, old woman. I can hear your bones creaking from here” He barked out before going back to wiping the mugs.

She smiled, laughing at the quips between herself and the barkeep.
You know if my bones were to stop creaking, you’d be the first to come running.”
Shaking his head and rolling his eyes, he turned away to busy himself with readying for the workers rush when the mines and log camps let out.
Leetha, can you take the crone her drink? And for the love of god, tell her to stop telling Wulf’s story. He won’t be coming back.”

The doors from the back leading to the kitchen swung open.
Stumbling from within was a young girl carrying what seemed to be far too much food for the tray she was carrying.
Once I’ve unloaded the food for the kids, I’ll make sure gran gets her drink.”
Turning around with the food she was carrying, her bright blue eyes shone, reflecting the flickering red and orange of the fire.
Her hair, curly and bouncing, a beautiful chestnut brown, matching much of the wood interior of the building.

As for Wulf’s story, I rather like tale, and as sad as it may make you, you love it as well Eugene. If you dont want to hear it, ask her to stop yourself.
She smiled and winked at the Gnome as he grumbled off to the back of the bar, rolling another keg out front for the rush.

As Leetha turned the corner, the gaze of the children finally shifted from the elderly woman.
For now the pack of stray dogs, caught wind of the delicious food she carried.
With a slow turn, each of the children turned their gaze to her,
their eyes wide, mouths salivating, like predators that have just found their next meal.
Leetha’s look was much the same,
a face of unknowing prey walking into a den,
the few seconds of fear, before the predators inevitably pounce on their target.

The children began to surround her.
They quickly ran to her, grabbing the food that’s been teasing their taste buds and noses all afternoon.
Quickly each of the children grabbed a bowl from the tray, each dish different, each child knowing which dish was theirs.
Within moments it was hard to tell whether the group were attempting to gather food or mug someone, or maybe even just create a dog pile.
Within a few seconds, the children started to disperse, running to their seats with their food.
By the time the last child left, the tray that was holding the food began to rise,
with Leetha standing underneath of it for cover of the oncoming children.
At this point, meals such as this have become routine around the Inn.

Taking a deep breath Leetha stood back looking at the room full of children.
The Gnome and old woman chuckled at the scene of the mob of children almost stampeding over the curvy young woman.
She laid the tray up against the wall before crossing to the bar and grabbing the drink that was still steaming, poured for Gran.
Moving towards Gran she gently blew on the hot butterscotch brew before taking a sip, smirking at Gran with a wink and handing her the warm mug.

Such a sweetheart my granddaughter has turned out to be, and not too far from the tree when it comes to those looks”

Gran winked back at the young girl. Her smile matching the same crooked smirk climbing up the right side of Leetha’s mouth.
The stifled laugh soon broke out from over the bar as the Gnome stuck his head round the corner once more.
I don’t know what tree you think she got those looks from, but it definitely wasn’t one you’re a part of!”
The bellowing laugh rolled from the little mans body, quickly infecting all the children until the whole room was a well of laughter.
You’re one to be talking , your head alone is bald enough to blind the sun if it were foolish enough to look down at you.”
The children now laughing at the joke made towards the Gnome slowly started to quiet down as they began eating the meals prepared for them.
For around these parts, short of Grans stories or Eugene’s home cooked meals, very few things make people forget the dark times around them.

Gran sat back in her short bar seat in front of the fire. Watching the children eat always warmed her old bones, though, the brew helps this along enough.
For a few golden moments, there was silence at the Inn.

As Gran finished the buttery brew, she licked her lips before setting the mug at the table closest her.
The children all looked up from their meals, knowing that soon her next story would start.
Children, this tale is a long one,”

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Long ago in the Winterlands, North of even the Temple of all, ruled the Varstrom family.
The brave warriors of their clan raised the northern lands to be their own, a kingdom for which their family could live and thrive.
However they were not always the only ruling faction.
During the height of the Dark times that plagued the North, a war broke out.
The Varstrom family fought for the land, to keep the North unified and to ensure the livelihood of their people.
However the Wynchild family amassed an Army to rise against the Varstroms.
Believing the people of the North were entitled to more of the world, they attempted to seize control of the nation,
making further plans to then move from the North and begin a war with the other nations of the world.

The civil war took a great toll on the land.
Live were lost,
villages and cities crumbled to the ground.
It was said that both sides were too evenly matched,
but among the Varstrom family stood the sentry of the north.
The strength of the Winterlands.
Wulf Varstrom.

Wulf, The son of king Varstrom had left years prior to the war breaking out.
Defending the northernmost parts of the land,
the wildest, harshest, untamed stretch known to our people.
The primal north.

He left under the impression he would find the power to save his homeland there.
Beyond where even the bravest dare to travel.
He said he wouldn’t return until he found it.
However amidst the chaos of the war, Him and his coven of knights returned.
They cut a swathe through the enemy forces, pushing the Wynchild warriors back to their fortress in the mountains.
However this didn’t deter the two armies, for at this point, the war wouldn’t end until only one family remained to rule.
This alone wasn’t the issue, the troubles this war brought were far more than any could understand.

When Wulf and his men walked through the gated walls of Winterwood Keep, the people gathered in the streets, cheering and celebrating.
Despite the snow, despite the wind, they gathered and felt their prayers were answered.

The knights filtered through the gates one by one. Each followed by a lone squire.

Seven knights had left.
Seven knights returned.
None the same as when they left.

First through the gate was the knight of Gold and Silver.
The youngest of the knights, his pale white porcelain face, stoic as a mask,
A gentle kind smile warmed those who gazed upon him.
His armor was a great suit of golden hues, and his hair fell around his face,
a grey silver that’s graced him since he was a small child.

The second knight was the knight of Fire and Brimstone.
A dark man, his armor was a great black stone material, outlined with fiery red cracks,
He laughed and roared of their triumphant victory, his great mace swinging in the air,
whilst the loose trophies of their victories clanged along the armor of his horse.
His vicious smile brought fear, but comfort, knowing he was on the side of the Winterlands.

The third was a small wiry man. Upon his horse he seemed almost not tall enough to be full grown.
It was strange to see a Gnome among a group of Human warriors,
However, housed in the emerald green armor was the Jade Knight.
Known as The Conqueror, he was the one behind all the plans used to take control in previous wars.
His face completely covered by a wrap of green silk, very few have ever seen his face.
However the mystery behind his military knowledge is celebrated none the less.

The fourth knight was the only female of the group.
Her smile alone was enough to bring most men to their knees. Wearing armor adorned with sparkling diamonds,
the knight of hearts marched through the gate.
The men began to swoon, flowers were thrown from different places and people in the crowds.
Blowing a kiss and giving a wink, she turns back towards the route at hand.

The next of the group seemed to be a large man, tall, muscles as large as a normal mans body.
His armor fit tight to his arms and chest, shining a pale blue in the snowy light.
Known as the Patient Monk, he was the wisest of all the Knights.
Barely acknowledging those he passed by, it was clear he was lost within his own thoughts.

Following the Patient one, was the largest of the group. This mans wild mane of hair resembled that of a lion and
his boisterous laugh could be heard throughout the courtyard.
Carrying on the back of his horse was a cart, in which sat the fattest boar anyone in the kingdom had seen for years.
The great knight sat upon his horse, his entire body rolling as he laughed,
yelling to the people, who knew seeing the Chef Knight would surely mean a great feast.

And the last of the group. Was their leader.

Atop his great war steed, sat Wulf Varstrom.
Leader of the Coven of Knights. Son of the King. Savior of the North.
The crowds cheers only grew louder, tears came to the faces of some,
those who remember seeing the prince leave for his journey.
Now seeing him return as the warrior he grew to be.
His brown hair stood short to his head and his face stayed clean shaven.
His smile was just a genuine as when he left,
a smile that told all who saw it, that everything would be alright.

While the keep had been this busy on a daily basis, It was never in such high spirits.
The people of the keep rejoiced that their saviors had returned.
Children were at play, families were at work, everyone was in preparation for the celebrations.
However not all souls here were in high spirits. High in the Keep, The Knights have their own hideaway.
Gazing down from the balcony, Wulf could see the hustle and bustle of the city.

Stepping out onto the balcony, the Knight of Hearts slowly walked towards Wulf.
You know that we’re going to make sure that they’re all safe right?”
She smiled looking into his eyes, he smiled a smirk that, he was all too well known for.
I know they will be, because we’re the best at what we do. We made the vow to make sure they were safe.”
She ran her hand down his back, now out of their armors each of the Knights looked more like regular people, than the stations they’re held up to.

Wulf was about a heads height taller than she was, his body wasn’t forged of muscle, nor was it weak. However there was a certain strength about him.
His eyes shined a dark brown, almost glowing like a light breaking through the cracks of the earth.
Wearing his normal clothes brought out a caring that couldn’t be seen through the steely resolve of his knightly suit,
However it’easily showed that despite the hardships the north had put him through, he’d lost none of his lordly grace.

I’m not worried Freya, we’ve never failed before. We won’t start now.”
She smiled up at him, wrapping her arms around his neck she leaned in, kissing him on the lips before pushing away and walking back for the door.
Looking back, she looked at him with a very loving gaze, a playful flutter in her step as she walked back for the door.
Freya wasn’t much older than Wulf, not having seen thirty winters yet, but she’s more than developed into an amazing and experienced woman.
Her dirty blonde hair fell down her back between her shoulders, it had a bounce and curl to it that seemed to require much attention,
but Freya was never one to spend the time to pretty herself, it seems her beauty was a gift granted by the gods.

Wulf slowly began trailing after her, for a brief moment a genuine smile crossing his face.
As she passed the threshold to the Keep, the wind suddenly changed, taking with it the smile and the relief.
“Do not forget our deal…”
Wulf looked around, over his shoulders, over the balcony but he was alone.
He didn’t know if the voice was truly there, but he knew the threat truly was.

Walking inside, Wulf took one last look outside at the mountains, before pulling the doors tightly closed.

The Knights were all within the common room, each attending to their own duties.
Freya hurriedly ran to her room.

Kress, the youngest knight of the group sat at a table in the middle of the room.
His silver hair hung down around his face as he was inspecting something very closely.
With a sigh he lifted his head, a jeweler’s loupe in his hand,
Not everything we brought back with us is real it seems.”
He took one of the ruby looking gems in his hand,
before gently tapping it with the tip of a tiny jewelry hammer he had.

Malik, the dark warrior knight sat in the corner of the room,
he knelt in front of his great mace, which was laid on a cloth.
He poured an acrid smelling black oil over the spikes and flanges of his weapon.
You fawn too much over those jewels and gems, but are they going to save your life when you’re in battle?”
He laughed at the young man, a harsh cutting laugh.
It was clear that Malik meant no harm, however his tone was placed to egg on further comments.
As he knelt, the enormous corded muscles and scars on his back bulged underneath his shirt.
His dark skin showed much weather, and his black hair hung messily by his face.

As long as I’m here, you won’t need to worry about risking your lives in battle.”
The Emerald Knight piped up from his seat in the corner,
he sat back in a high backed chair with a rather large book, and an even larger glass of brandy.
At least if you can listen to the orders you’re given.”
He smirked out over his book, taking another sip.
His face was angular, he was not quite like the others, looking much more foreign.
His almond shaped eyes shone as green as the armor he wore when on the battlefield.

Sitting in the farthest corner from the outside doors was the quiet one.
Hopefully soon we will not need to waste energy on fighting over such trivial matters.”
He was deep in a meditation stance, his legs crossed, back on the wall.
His voice thundered, deep, like rocks from the ancient earth scraping against each other.
His head was bald, shaved clean, as was his face.
Markings on his face show that his training came from the Monks in the north,
The monks of the Winter Wyrm.

Standing at the table to the side, was the largest and easily the hardest to miss of the group.
Either through the smell of his food, or the size of his girth, Angus always made his presence known.
Just be glad we can eat now boys! No more of the snow soup made with maple sap! No more scrawny rabbits grilled on the side of a blade!”
He slammed his knife down into the block, cutting of a chop of the meat he was working with, and dropping it in the pot that was boiling.
Now we eat like men!” 

The Knights all let out a little grunt of acknowledgement,
except for the one female knight who reminded them from the other room that not all among them were men by a boot flying from the room for the cook.
As the boot hit his backside the men all laughed more.
Don’t worry lass, I didn’t forget yer rabbit food!”
He laughed more as he went back to preparing the stew for the nights meal.
Although to avoid any more flying boots, maybe you should go and eat like a man before supper.”
The Chef looked over to Wulf, making his dirty comments as the men all laughed, trying to keep Freya from hearing.

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Wulf walked over to the room where Freya disappeared to  , knowing that whatever she was doing, it would be dangerous to just open the door.
Knocking, he heard her grunts of frustration coming from inside.
Risking life and limb, he decided to open the door, quickly sliding inside.
Freya sat on the floor, a small chest sitting between her legs that she had just drug out from underneath the bed.
She smiled up at him, giving the same sly smirk that she knew he was so used to giving.

Peering into the chest, he could see numerous knick-knacks and trinkets. A few little jewel baubles,
a journal and what may have been a ring?
What are you doing all alone in here?” He asked trying not to stare too much at the box she has from her past.
I had something I wanted to show you.” She smiled as she held her hands up to him, hiding what she held,
Put your hands out.”
As he put his hands out, she gently placed her hands into his palm, letting out the little corded gem from her hands.

In his palm he held a bright little gem. Inside the gem, it seemed to hold swirls of all the colors imaginable.
It was wound tightly with a black cord, made into a makeshift necklace.
Gazing down at it he began to laugh.
We were twelve when we found these.”
Wulf reached into his shirt and pulled a silver cord from his neck, with a similar gem,
Gems blessed by the gods of the morning.”
She took her necklace back, quickly tying it around her neck.
It was said that as long as we both had these and we were together, we’d always live to see the morning come.”


When the two were just small children they used to adventure outside of the Keep, far into the moors where their parents didn’t allow them.
One morning, on Freya’s twelfth birthday, Wulf gathered her before the sun rose, said they were going on an adventure.
They hiked for hours it seemed, the sun not rising any further than the slight glow over tops of the mountains.
After the journey, they reached an old ruin.
Father told me about this place, this is where they used to come to worship the gods of the morning, the gods who brought sun after the night.”
They hiked to the top of the temple, which rose above the mountain top.
When they finally reached the top of the temple, the sun finally peaked itself out over the tops of the other mountains.
The top room of the temple was surprisingly still intact, it was a room made of crystals and colored glass.
But when the mornings came, inside this room, the light became something else. As the light slowly filtered into the room,
the colors began to dance, the reflections, the prisms, the thought and care these people put into their morning prayer.
It was a beautiful sight.

When they went to leave, Freya’s older brother was waiting in one of the seats of the temples main hall.
He woke up and followed them when they left, just to make sure that nothing had happened,
but seeing his sisters face so happy on her birthday, he couldn’t ruin it for them.
He took them back to the altar and showed them the real reason for the prism room.
At the back of the altar, there was a little sliding stone door. As he slid it down it showed four obelisk shaped crystals.
Each of them glowed and danced within it’s crystalline prison like the scene they had just witnessed.
Freya’s older brother told the friends to take them. Said that they were called Crystals of the Morning Haven,
There was a myth behind these crystals.

When the warriors of the temple of light left on their pilgrimages, they went in pairs.
A pilgrim, Traveling to pray to the god of light at each of his major temples,
and a guardian, a protector to make sure that the pilgrim would complete the journeys.
When a new couple set out on their quest, The elders of the temple gifted each of them one of these crystals.
Each crystal represented the life force of the connected person, and it was said it could even protect the holders.

Even the years when I wasn’t around you, I never forgot.”
She looked up at him, her eyes slowly growing teary,
“I thought we were going to lose you in the north, I realized that this wasn’t with me, and it was here.”
She lifted her head to look at him, tears streamed down her face as she put her hand onto his chest.
I didn’t think you were going to last until morning.”
She wrapped her arms around his waist.
He slowly accepted her embrace, holding her tight, running his hand through the back of her hair.
It’ll take more than the primal forces of the North to put me under.” He smirked and laughed,
although to be honest, he could still feel where the frigid blades entered his chest.

The thought instantly reminded him of the only reason that he was still there.
Looking down at the back of his hand, he gazed at the dark blue mark that he knew only he could view.
The symbol of the Cackling Skull was burned to the back of his hand,
The sign of the deal that he’s made with the Grinning Reaper.
And we’re going to be able to save our home!” He yelled out grabbing her by the shoulders.
We’re going to be able to stop the war, and then, we can stop the fighting, we can stop the killing, we can raise families, or explore the world!”

The glint in his eyes when he talked about the future was unlike anything she had ever seen,
and somehow it always made her bad feelings vanish, like suddenly, with him, everything would be okay.
Within an instant, she was suddenly swept off her feet and standing on the bed, Wulf’s hands around her waist lifting her up.
Haven’t you ever wanted to search the world? Eat foods of far off places? Meet people you could only dream of meeting?”
He gazed into her eyes as he spun her around the room, Her giggle filled the room, it was intoxicating, and once Wulf could stop this war,
he hoped to hear it every day.

Before long, there was a heavy banging on the door.
Kids! Quit yer canoodlin and get out here and get some grub!”
The hearty laugh that followed afterwords confirmed most definitely that Angus had already been into the wine barrels.
With another smile Wulf stood and walked for the door, opening it first he bowed and ushered Freya to the door.
Milady.”He said with a general knightly courtesy
Freya walked by with the smirk crossing her face.
You only wish I’d call you lord!” She stuck her tongue out at her before turning and leaving for the table.

Entering the common room there was what seemed to be an entire feast sitting on the table.
Meat, vegetables, fruits, wine, water, everything a meal could desire.
The Keep shall be having it’s own banquet in a few nights.” Said the Emerald Knight.
Looking over to the table, down at the food, then back up to the knight, then back to the food. Angus’ face turned bright red.
Well I never in my life have had someone who knows good food and even considers myself a friend complain about a banquet that I’ve put on! You need to learn to appreci…”
Angus began his rant towards the quiet strategist who now looks scared of being eaten himself.
Mathiu just apologize for hurting his feelings and eat the meal!” Wulf called over the table to him as he picked up a piece of grilled home made bread from one of the local bakeries.
The group each had their favourite dishes prepared for them by their chef, they all sat down and drank and made merry for the time being.

As the night drew longer, all the Knights slowly retired to their rooms.
Until only Wulf sat alone in the stone room, sitting on a sofa, watching the embers in the fire slowly burning down.
The room grew cold, colder than the fire should allow.
Wulf noticed his breath pouring out of his mouth as a white mist.
Then the voice clawed at the back of his mind, like nails to a chalkboard.

You haven’t told them of our deal yet, have you?” The voice grated at his sanity.
They do not need to know of my dealings with you.” Wulf spat back at him.
The ghostly being shifted forward from the door. A white tattered cloak spun about his shoulders, covering his face and his body,
If you fail, they are mine too. Did you forget this?” He calmly spoke back.
“I’ve forgot nothing of our deal.” Wulf stood to turn and face the entity with which he spoke.
The Wraith looked him up and down, slowly peeling the hood back revealing a white skull. Whiter than the snow that fell on the mountain tops.
Deals with the Cackling Skull must be completed. Or penance will be taken.”He stated once more, very clearly for Wulf.
” I know what deals with your kind entail demon. Worry not. We will win, and the souls fallen from the enemy lines shall be yours.”
Wulf had made a deal with the Devil.
In order to achieve the power that he needed, the power to save his family and the lands of his people,
he gave far more than he had bargained for.
“That was not our deal young warrior prince.” The voice called back, he turned, staring at the wraith.
“We will take all souls claimed in this war. The innocent as well as the guilty, the blood of the enemy, as well as the blood of the Family.”
The blood in Wulf’s veins went cold. Barely able to keep himself standing.
You take what you must, but if the power I’ve gotten doesn’t save my family, be aware I’ll come for you.” The words were spit from his mouth like a bad taste.
” Do not believe that your threats mean anything to us young mortal prince. For we are eternal. We are the Cackling Skull!”
The wights jaw fell open and began chattering back and forth, letting forth a horrifying high pitched laugh, shaking Wulf to the bone.
Sitting bolt up right, Wulf looked down to his palms.
He had fallen asleep on the couch after the nights merriment, waking now,
he was drenched in a cold sweat, almost as frozen as he felt in his dream.

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“Vault of the Worlds Knowledge”

 The Motto of Kreszya

Few places in this world reflect the true face of nature as well as Kreszya

 a great portion of the south east of the great continent is covered in trees and forest,

For these are the lands that Nature calls home.

Creatures that have been born and born again,

And some that have evolved from the torment that the world has suffered over the years.

 A great forest home that spans an Entire country.

Hills, Forests, Jungles.

Kreszya is a Nation that protects as it is protected,

Born from the World Tree as a Sanctuary for the creatures of Artoria,

Here the world Vies for it’s own life, Fighting a constant battle to see what will come first.

The end of Corruption, Or the Withering of the World Tree.

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Capital: Felenrize – The Fortress of the World Tree

During the Godswar, Most places in the world were areas of great danger and destruction. The power of the gods, Fought the power of the mortals.

Divine power against The Soul and the Arcane powers that it can create.

Standing beside Dresiliad as one of the only beacons of hope left, The Kingdom of Refuge was slowly wearing down against the nearly endless divine armies.

As all seemed hopeless, And the tides began to turn to favour the gods.

The world heard the cries of those whom have protected him.

Felenrize decided this would not be tolerated.

The seed that was born to the earth during Gideon and Phala’s creation.

All the Energy, All the knowledge, All the life that had existed during the years the seed laid in wait,

Provided their essence to awaken the World Tree.

As the seed began to break free, The ground all across Artoria began to shatter.

  Continents changed, Landmarks were destroyed and created again.

The Roots burst forth from the ground. Flying to the sky.

The roots struck into the Invading gods, Bringing them from mid-flight back to the earth.

The Trunk of the Tree grew taller than anyone could Imagine.

Towering above the world, Above the Gods that still stayed frozen in the air.

The World Tree has Awoken, And ever since, Has stood as a Monument to the powers of the Planet itself.

Leader : Seigzeil – Sage of the World Tree

Prior to the Godswar, Kreszya was a Beautiful place, Filled with Worshipers of the Gods of Nature and Fertility.

Flowers and Foliage, Animals and Wonderful Sights. However upon the Coming of the Bearers of War, Life changed for all Creatures.

Their Divine powers took many lives.

Great bolts of lightning struck down Homes at a time,

Fires took with them entire Cities.

Even those whom were considered faithful were not spared.

Before Felenrize took hold as the World Tree we now know, The stood as home to the Gods of Nature.

During the war, The gods stood Divided.

The New Gods, Forsaking the old ways of the Gods, Wanting to Raise the Mortal races to their own level,

And the Old Gods, Wanting the Mortal races to be Subservient to them, Seeing this as their Divine Birthright.

One of the Gods that had Sided with the new gods, Ruled over Felenrize, His name was Seigzeil.

As Destruction Loomed over the world, Few places stood as a Defense against the Gods.

The Flowered City Held strong for longer than most.

Many gods resided here, Great beings of nature and Those whom embodied the Forest.

They all defended their home until their last breaths, The last left alive was Seigzeil.

For a brief moment, When the shield above the now scorched city destroyed, The assault stopped.

The gods commanding the assault on Kreszya held their attacks and looked down on the single god left defending a destroyed home.

Tears broke from his Eyes, as he wept for his friends and comrades that had fallen, As he fell to his knees, Bleeding… Dying.

The gods above him looked down, Laughing, Mocking him, Telling him that a True God would have protected his people.

The rush of Anger that overtook him at this moment was something unlike the world had ever seen.

His eyes took a Pale, Green, Glow.

The burned ground around him began to writhe, The roots of the fallen trees seemed to come alive under his feet.

The fallen began to wake, Their bodies seemingly rejuvenating,

And the gods could do nothing, But look on, Not knowing what was happening.

All the Fallen slowly seemed to approach him, Becoming one with the once fallen god.

The energy was Unimaginable.

The Ignorant gods that flew above were frozen, Paralyzed by the scene unfolding.

He looked upon those whom came to destroy all the gods had worked for.

“A True god, Would never have committed as grave an act as you all have. You can pay for your indiscretions by returning to the earth.”

a Final pulse of great green light emerged from the Sage, Slowly covering the ground underneath of him.

The ground slowly began to crack.

For Seigzeil has awoken the World Tree.

Flagstone Artifact : Tears of the Ancients

“Mist Reforged

The Motto of Crestlia

Few places are as Shrouded and Mysterious as Crestlia.

Covering the Western land of the Great Continent, Crestlia Is the home to the Kingdom of the Arcane Law-keepers.
The Defenders of law that have become one with the Arcane forces that fuel them.

Here is the place, Where one can find themselves before even knowing they’re lost…
Or Lose themselves without ever knowing it.

Oceans, Islands, Caves.

Crestlia Is a Stormy Ocean home That was created by the vast power of the Arcane Animus Ocean that Surrounds them.
Crestlia has always Protected the kingdoms from the creatures that exist within the Mists.
However the Defenders of the mists are defending against far more than they’ve ever known could be there.

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Capital: Ceruleus – The Seaborne Citadel

In the center of the Animus Ocean, Stands the Fortress of the Mist.

A Legendary place that few have ever seen the inside of, and even fewer have ever made it out of after entering.

It’s said that Deep within the Citadel is the Prison of the Arcane, An Inescapable Demi-plane.

During the Godswar. The Law-Keepers Closed the Citadel.

Sealing themselves and everything else housed inside away,Not to open until the world knew Law once more.

Now the Seaborne Citadel houses not only the Law-Keepers, But this is the Home of the rulers of Crestlia. The Maxia Family.

 Leader: Mystal – Sage of the Mists

Few people can say that they have truly navigated the Mists. Even fewer can say that they’ve survived the mists.

However The Sage of the Mists has done both.

The mists changed him greatly however, For now his mind works not as one, but as many.

In the mist, He lost himself, But found clarity greater than the gods themselves could Offer

It’s said that the Whispers of the Mist, have even taught him Secret Arts that our world never knew existed.

 Flagstone Artifact: The Heart of Oceans

The Godswar saw many fights tear those close to each other apart. Families, Friends, Brothers and Sisters.

 Even the gods were not exempt from this.

Not all of the Gods agreed with the war on the Mortal races. Many stood with their Mortal followers when the onslaught of the gods came.

Many different lineages were removed from existence this day, Only leaving Memory of them in the World tree.

The King of the Oceans was a Powerful god of water.

He was the one that Created The Seaborne Citadel,

The reason why the beasts of the Animus oceans were Trapped within the mists.

During this war, His brothers and sister Took him for granted,

Creating their plans using his great oceans to assault the Mainland of the Mortals.

However He had no plans of betraying his children…

As the ships sailed through the mists, a Great storm was brought forth, Unlike any had ever seen.

The creatures were freed from their foggy prison, Left to feed.

The god of the Oceans had Saved many lives, At the cost of the lives of his brethren.

Never wanting to face what the gods had become,

He shed a final tear for the great atrocity that he had to commit against his Brothers and Sister to save his children before taking his own life.

Turning himself to the Creatures that he had kept prisoner all these years, The devoured him, Body and Soul. Only leaving behind a Crystal.

The Heart of Oceans.

Notable Locations: Animus Isle

Amongst the Most dangerous Parts of the Animus ocean there are various scattered islands.

These Islands are perhaps the most dangerous part of Crestlia.

While the Kingdom sits close to the mainland, These far off islands have long since formed their own Hierarchies.

Forming their own Societies. However despite the islands that have been Cultivated. The biggest one still has no living residents.

Once holding a Great Fortress that the Sea gods ruled from, Now the Ruins hold the Lives of those lost to this Ocean and it’s predators.

While many of the souls carry out eternal lives on these islands, The fortress Itself was taken after the Godswar.

All the gods that perished in the storm of the sea god have taken up arms, Raising the former fortress back to a now gruesome glory,

A twisted mockery of the Seaborne Citadel, The Drowned Keep rises from Animus Isle once more.

Notable Locations: The Maelstrom

 While the ocean is full of many storms, and whirlpools that could rip apart the most sturdy of ships.

One storm stands above all else.

The Maelstrom travels through the Animus ocean, Collecting all whom dare stand in the way of it’s force.

A great Twister of water Rips apart the already rough water, The clouds above lash down with Lightning and Cyclones.

The Winds surround this storm, Making escape a near impossibility.

The storms power seems to grow with each life that it takes,

Many believe that because of this, that the maelstrom was sent from the Creator to Begin the World anew.

Notable Locations: The Hall of Aquian Kings

 Many of the Races that inhabit Artoria have created their own cultures and societies.

The inhabitants under the Sea are no different.

The oceans themselves houses just as much life as the surface itself.

As such, a leader must have been crowned.

Once a terrible place, Full of hunters seeking prey, Changed when the god of the seas came

Within him was The Heart of Oceans, The proof of the True king of the Animus Ocean.

All in the watery home followed his call,But While there was never peace, There was order.

When the god of the waters died, He left behind his heart, Which has only revealed itself to those whom were worthy of becoming an Aquian King.

Here lie their resting places, Each one, Providing another Heart to the Hall,

For the true Kings of the Ocean, Shall never leave their home.

Notable Locations: The Hell Trench

 Amidst all the Chaos of Crestlia, The Great storm, The Arcane Bastion, The Animus Mists,

Potentially the greatest threat goes nearly unnoticed, However this devilish location has effects that are felt world wide.

 Threats from other worlds are a constant in our world, In the centuries that have passed, The demons and devils that invade our world were far more brazen

Invading through great burning gates, besieging castles and strongholds, Devouring entire Countrysides.

In the years since, Many crusaders have taken up the Fight, Partnering with The gods to slay the great hordes,

They now choose a much subtler way to enter our world.

Far beneath the sea lies The Hell Trench, A great fissure, said to travel so far that it splits our world in two.

However what exists beyond the trench is far worse than we could imagine.

For the infernal realms of Hell have many holes into our world, None are as large as the Hell Trench.

Ancient Prophecy foretold of the trench long before we ever saw it’s effects on our world,

Stating that this would be where the Emergence of the end will happen.