The night across the plains of El-Marath shook with the deep growl of thunder. In the starless sky where deep prophecies were once told from, only the presence of the waning moon gave light to all that was dark. Nothing could be seen in more than a stone’s throw away. The wise trees that adorned the road before even the rise of Man gave nay a rustle to their leaves, the creatures that lived amongst them hid in their shadows. Not a movement was made, and not a sound was heard. It was the first night in many chapters where neither man nor beast could take refuge in. Yet for many, it seemed as normal as any other night, but to those who were Gifted, they knew that the deep awakening to a storm was due.

The plains were vast and isolated. Only remnants of stone and forsaken buildings dotted the landscape amongst the woods. The air was always cold and the nightly wind howled in despair, a lament for its fall and the desire for it to rise again. As to what the few elders remembered, El-Marath had become a sad reminder of its former self.

For 10 decades before, the great citadel Norvelle once stood in its place. The marvel in which the city bore was none to be reckoned with. Huge towers and white marble buildings were enshrined inside walls made of the finest stone quarried from the famed mountain of Aedil. There were thousands who lived and went about their daily lives in great joy and pride to what they had. Each day passed prosperously with new trade and discoveries being made. The army of Norvelle was an army of three hundred thousand, equipped with the strongest armour fitted by the Dwarven blacksmiths and the sharpest swords shaped in precision by the Elven Overseers. It was widely known amongst the people and throughout the land that none could stand against such might.

Yet in the reckoning of the War of The Second Age, darkened sorcery engulfed the land. The wild flames of fire appeared almost anywhere, and their flames licked the buildings with a ferocious terror. Chaos filled the hearts and mind of almost everybody. In between the fleeing crowd, men were unwittingly being struck by swift bolts of shadow. Each hit took their souls out and the bodies collapsed to the ground, writhing in pitiless mercy. The Norvelle army reacted instantly to their call of duty and unsheathed their swords, ready to defend their civilization. Yet legions of winged hounds with barbed tails and dagger like canines pounced on them. In the midst of confusion, a maelstrom of lightning ruptured over the soldiers, striking their hearts, some with their breath stolen forever. Still, those who could still stand charged forward to strike. Their orders were simple and clear, give enough time for the people to flee.

The ruling lord of Norvelle, Thion III stood at the highest tower of his great citadel, commanding what he had left of his men. His mind was calm and decisive. It was obvious that the attack was too great to overcome. Dark sorcery en masse had been used, and he had the Mages of Meldor had forsaken his plea of help. Shrill screams, the crash of architecture falling and the loud cry of the enemy dictated the way the game was going to end.

Suddenly, five winged hounds appeared at the tower where Thion III stood. The four soldiers on hand drew their swords. As the hounds pattered forward, the men drew back, each time waving their blades frantically in front. The beasts of the dark in addition to their deadly appearance, had malice filled in their thin, slit eyes. Their forked tongues stood out leaving a long stretch of drool across the floor. And they were hungry. Thion III closed his eyes, he knew despair had settled in. He could feel the soldiers edging in closer to him. In times of peace, men’s valour was nothing to be reckoned with. But when faced in the eye of danger, especially where the danger leads each individual to care only for himself, fear would be imminent. He knew the battle was lost. It was already prolonged for two hours.

A sharp yell of horrified men erupted, two of the soldiers lay on the ground, headless. Their bodies still jerking uncontrollably at the power of the strike. Blood dripped menacingly from the tails of two hounds. The remaining men threw their metals on the ground, begging for mercy. Their eyes shone with the fear of untold terror. Thion III knew his time had come. Facing them, he muttered under his breath with the fiery of the White Flame, Inflemius Bristar. A blinding light blew the vision of the sky, leaving not a single breath behind.

To be continued