In the great expanse of space, a binary star system is home to a several planets. From the untrained eye, it was a solar system like so many others. Large and small planets. Some with and without life. But one of these planets was particularly special. It was a large planet. Enormous, by our standards. Great ranges of mountains, deep oceans, vast deserts, and lush rain forests covered the surface of this planet. All walks of life lived here, both familiar and alien. Truly this world was magical. To the untrained eye, this realm, the planet of Olyndia, was paradise.
But this Olyndia harbored a secret. The world within the world. At the core of this massive world, was a smaller, but large, world of magic, Sephora. There was so much magicka emanating from this core world, that the larger surface planet couldn’t help to have knowledge of arcane.
Sephorans have the greatest mastery of the arcane. The power of a Sephoran child can very well exceed a sorcerer on Olyndia. Olyndians that make it to Sephora find their powers increased greatly. The difference is the Sephorans have inherent magical prowess. Olyndians don’t.
To the untrained eye, this shared space of magicka and life seems to be a peaceful place of coexistence. Wrong. There was power, wealth, and status to be had. Warring factions, from lowly thieves, rogues, and thugs, to the higher kings, emperors and viscounts vied for perspective power. Both realms had their champions, however. Their champions and forces of the just. Men, women, young and old. The righteous had all forms, but at the same time, so did the darker champions. Cold-hearted malicious, downright evil folks lived on both worlds.
Champions of the righteous and champions of the sinister clashed all the time. The rise and fall of the tumbling suns. Every single day, wars and peace endured. Such is the way of the world and the world within.
The air was still. The denizens of Harmony went about their lives, as they did every day. Children played in the streets, merchants and vendors hawked their wares. Nobody was aware of the storm on the horizon. Oh sure, storms come and go, but this was no storm of nature. This was something more sinister. In fact, on the mountains overlooking Harmony, a cloaked figure watched.
A flowing black robe shrouded the figure in darkness. Only the light from his eyes, small red coals, could be seen. Lightning flashed behind him. The storm was kept at bay, as if waiting for this figure’s call. Another flash and two similarly cloaked figures appeared. One swathed in crimson robes, the other in a midnight blue. As with the inky statue, only glowing orbs could be seen, denoting some sort of visage. The azure figure spoke in a high raspy voice.
“My lord, we are ready. We strike on your command.” The sapphire man bowed very low. The sanguine figure chuckled.
“We are not ready.There are only three of us! Surely we should wait for the others-” She was silenced by a black gauntlet, raised.
“My lord,” The crimson woman started again. “I only mean that we should not take this human city so lightly. We should at least wait for Felyim! The more strength we have, the better.” she bowed as the blue robed man snarled. He turned to face her.
“We don’t need her! Felyim must have other, more important things than our lord’s wishes!”
“ENOUGH!” the man in black boomed. The other figures shrunk before their lord’s powerful voice. The other man sputtered.
“My, my lord. I, that is we,” The dark man silenced him with another wave.
“Enough, Kyrax. Felyim is on a separate mission. She will not fail me. As for you, Kyran,” He turned to the blood red woman. “We will be fine, entering Harmony. The storm shall cover our approach. You, and your brother, shall contain the townspeople. Kill anyone who resists. Swiftly.” Kyrax looked at his sister and back at his lord.
“What of the Mage-King, my lord? He is very powerful, for a human.” The black figure looked back to the city of Harmony. As he did so, the violent tempest surged forward.
“I will take care of the wizard. The two of you do as you’re told. By the end of the night, we shall have control of Harmony.” His eyes flashed a bright red. Kyrax and Kyran’s eyes flashed as well. As lightning crackled around them, they disappeared in clouds of colored smoke.
In the royal chambers, guards stood at the ready. The storm outside coupled with the sounds of fighting in the city, placed the castle on alert. The fabled Mage-King of Harmony sat on his throne. His handsome features gazing at a fireball he was manipulating. The Mage-King was not a human, like the subjects around him. He was a djinn. A being of great magical power. His skin was gray and his eyes were pure white. He had a jet black ponytail and a long thin beard. No worries could be seen on his face. His guards, though elite, were dismayed by the sounds of horror coming from outside the castle. Screams and shouts of terror. The Mage-King suddenly sat up. His pointed ears, noticing a faint sound.
“Ready yourselves men.” The Mage-King politely said. “If you should fall, know that it will be with great honor.”
Suddenly the room itself became dark. All the light snuffed out. An inky smoke filled the entire room. The Mage-King tried to remove the assailing darkness but to no avail. A scream in the darkness, cut short, by the sound of a blade. Then another bloody scream. And then another. It continued until the room was silent once more. The Mage-King, the very embodiment of calm, simply stated;
A deep voice answered.
“I am.” All of a sudden, two piercing red orbs appeared in the darkness. The Mage-King smiled, in the dark.
“I thought you were a myth, Paen.” From the shadows, a jet black gauntlet shot forth and grabbed the djinn’s throat.
“Clearly, I’m very real.”
Standing in the darkness, a silent vigil. Ysuran, the last of the sentinels, a guardian in the night. His order had died out. His people, gone. He was but a child, when the darkness fell on his lands. With the grace of some higher power, he was allowed to survive. Eons later, he stands watch. Savior to the fallen. Hero to the meek. Guardian of the just. Slayer of evil.
Ysuran stands his ground, on a plateau of the tallest mountain, in a range known as the Crown of the World. He lives out his days, in constant vigilance to those that would threaten his world.
“I swear, on the souls of my brethren, I shall do all in my power to stop the darkness from spreading once more.” Ysuran swore, as a young man. Blood dripping from his hand, cementing the oath.
Ysuran learned from his people’s great library. He learned diplomacy and warfare. Well versed in the arts of melee combat as well as the art of magicka. He lost many a battle when he was younger, but his experience grew. Ysuran was now a force to be reckoned with. The last of his kind. A demi-god. Alone.
Ysuran stood at eight feet tall. He was muscularly built, but that frame was hidden by his long black robes. His skin was dark grey, like raw iron. His eyes were of the purest black. Though, if one was to look deep into the dark pools, that were his eyes, one would swear that there were small red coals inside.
As the demi-god continued his vigil, a star seemed to lose its balance in the sky, and fall. The ball of flames slammed into the plateau that Ysuran himself stood. The smoldering rock gave way, as a winged demon stood from the crater. Fire licked the demon’s flesh, as it walked towards Ysuran. To an onlooker, it would appear as though this demon had caught the guardian unaware.
That assumption would be incorrect.
Ysuran turned to face this trespasser to his world in an instant.
“You think that a lone guard will stop me?” The demon said, in a low voice. “What hope could this enchanted statue have in facing me?”
The demon conjured a ball of red flame and sent it flying at Ysuran. It exploded, with such intensity, that the very mountain shook in answer. When the smoke and dust settled, the guardian was gone. The demon laughed a great booming laugh.
“What hope does this world have against the likes of me? I stand triumphant, for the first of many times.” The demon’s laugh was cut short with a great crack. The demon’s large frame was sent reeling. When the demon looked up, a large hammer, made of a gleaming black stone, was in the spot he was standing. Holding the hammer, was Ysuran.
“You would do well, demon, to know a few things about the world you seek dominion over.” Ysuran said calmly. The demon stood up, blood rushing from the gash in his skull.
“First,” Ysuran started, wiping the foul ichor from his hammer, “you should know that this world is not for your taking. The lives of the people below are not to be taken by you or anyone else.” With blinding speed, Ysuran rushed the demon, hammer in hand, and came crashing down on his foe, driving the demon into the stone.
“Secondly, you shall take note that this world is free from bondage to any entity. They live their lives, free of tyranny and corruption.” Ysuran swung his mighty warhammer at his demonic opponent, once again sending him twirling away. The demon’s body was broken and bloodied. He turned to face the sentinel.
“Yeah? And what is the third thing I should know?” The demon asked, spitting his blood in defiance. Ysuran flashed a grin.
“The third thing you should know is that I am no statue.” Ysuran set the hammer down, and watched the defeated demon. “You should leave this world. You lie defeated. The field of victory is mine. Leave and never return.” Ysuran stood perfectly still. The demon, not willing to accept defeat, scrambled to his feet. Fists clenched with rage, the demon’s skin seemed to ignite.
“I have never been beaten by man before. Now is no different! You will fall to your knees and proclaim fealty to me!” The demon shouted. In the blink of an eye, Ysuran crossed the distance and flattened the demon. The grin was gone. Ysuran looked stern, as a father reprimanding his child.
“Your arrogance will be your undoing, demon.” Ysuran said firmly, placing a large boot on the demon’s throat. “Your threats hold as much weight as the air in your lungs.”
The demon gasped, fear filled his eyes and his voice.
“What are you?” the demon managed. Ysuran looked into the eyes of the demon and said;
“The last thing you’ll ever see.” With a closing of his fist, a tremendous bolt of lightning cleaved the demon’s skull in two. The body of the winged beast withered into ash. Ysuran looked to the sky and walked back to his post. A lone tear rolled down his pewter cheek.
“What am I, indeed.”
Paen was enjoying himself. The Mage-King didn’t put up as much of a fight as he’d expected. The dark lord noticed that he was easily the most powerful being on Olyndia. That was the case, until his peace was shattered.
“My lord! We’ve been attacked!” A knight, clad in jet black armor shouted. Paen looked at him with his soulless eyes.
“Attacked? Preposterous! There hasn’t been so much as a whimper since we’ve besieged this castle.” Paen replied. The knight didn’t falter.
“In the mountains. The troop you sent to the east has been decimated. There was but one survivor.” Paen clenched his jaw. With a deep breath, the dark lord boomed.
“Bring him to me! NOW!” The knight winced and quickly scurried out to bring the remaining soldier.
The survivor had no wounds of any kind on the surface, but his face reflected the horror he had witnessed. He was blank, emotionless. Paen quizzically looked at this man before him.
“Leave us. I must be alone with this man.” Paen said, dismissing his guards.
“Why do you stand before me?” Paen asked. Without a moment’s pause. The soldier answered. Not with his voice, but with another’s.
“To bring you a message, coward-king.” Paen raised an eyebrow. “To tell you, Paen, the Usurper, that your days are numbered.” The dark lord stepped forward.
“Who am I speaking with? How is it that you possess the will of my soldier?” Paen walked around the soldier before him. “Why do you presume to know me?”
The soldier’s blank face shifted. A slight smile crept across its face.
“And give away my secrets? No, suffice it to say, I am much like you, Paen.” The dark lord snorted.
“You will forgive me if I don’t believe you. I will ask again. Who are you?”
The puppet-knight shuddered. Its head turned to face Paen. The dark lord didn’t flinch.
“I will be your undoing. For now, however, think of me as a rival.” As soon as the soldier finished speaking, it leaped at the dark lord. Paen anticipated such a move and severed the head cleanly. He wiped the ichor from his blade.
“Undoing. Right,” Paen muttered. “Possession of corpses is simple magic at best. I will not fear some Necromancer.”
The severed head began to rise. It rose up to match the height of Paen.
“Necromancy is child’s play. You will not reign forever. I will be your undoing.” The floating head confidently volunteered.
Paen looked at the head for a moment and then enveloped the head in jet black flames. The head, engulfed in the shadowy inferno, began to laugh. A hysterical maddening laugh, echoed in the hall of the dark lord. When the flames disappeared, a skull was left behind.
“Paen, you will fall before us. I destroyed your troop moving east. I will bring about your demise. And I will not be doing so alone. You will learn to fear me. I promise.” The skull’s empty sockets became small violet flames. The fires seemed to fill the sockets completely.
“Like I said. I am much like you.” Paen recognized the eyes, rather, the power behind them.
“There’s no way. My council and I are the last of my kind. You… Are an impossibility!” Paen shouted.
“No, coward-king. I am as real as you. You and your council are not the last of us. Enjoy your reign. It shall soon end.” With those words, the skull clattered to the floor. The magic left.
Paen walked to his throne. His mind reeled. You and your council are not the last of us. Us? That isn’t possible! Paen thought to himself.
Meanwhile, hundreds of miles to the east, a man in shining armor sat in a chair, smiling. His eyes were closed, as he was relishing his small victory. He walked out to the cliff, his tent stood upon. He looked out to the west, his violet eyes gleaming.
“Yes, coward.” The man spoke to the winds. “I will be your undoing. I will just need some help.” With that, the man with the violet eyes turned to the south, and began his trek.
The six of them gathered together. Nobody spoke, as they circled the ivory pedestal. Atop the pedestal sat six orbs. Each sphere seemed to hum with power, casting both light and shadow. As each figure stood in front of one of the orbs, a seventh man, clad in shining white robes, descended a dark staircase.
“Sentinels of the Sephorum,” the man in white boomed. “I am glad that you’ve come.” The six figures bowed graciously, in answer.
“The time for the Sephorum to be spread out, is now. A great evil sweeps the land of Olyndia. Harmony has fallen to Paen and his ilk.”
A collective gasp from the sentinels emerged.
“Master? I thought… I thought Paen was dead!” One of the sentinels blurted.
“Yes, I too, thought that the demon was destroyed.” Another said, in a worried tone.
“No. Paen was not destroyed. He is very much alive. His strength has returned and he has amassed many followers.” The master sentinel bellowed. “This is why the Sephorum must go out into the world. There will be those who will rise up. To defy Paen. They need the help.”
One of the sentinels looked to his master.
“Master? Why do we need to spread the Sephorum? Why risk Paen finding them?”
The Master smiled as he answered.
“Spheros, you are the youngest of our order. You may not remember this tale.”
“Over three centuries ago, when Paen first rose to power, he was cast down by the first of our order, Skyfire. Skyfire was one of the most powerful wizards ever. His victory was assured. Once he won, he split his magicka between the Sephorum. All six of these orbs before you contain an essence of Skyfire’s magicka. Skyfire enacted a spell to hide these spheres from those of evil, so only the just may find them.” The Master explained.
“Now, the six spheres, represent each type of magicka that Skyfire valued. What are they, Sentinels?” Master inquired. The sentinels answered in sequence.
“Fire.” The sphere glowed bright red and orange, before dying out .
“Earth.” The pedestal seemed to quake and move, at the beckoning of the Sephorum’s will.
“Water.” The sphere melted into a pool of shimmering silver liquid before reforming.
“Air.” It got cold and windy as the orb seemed to change into a spinning vortex, before resting back on the ivory pedestal.
“Time.” Stop. All of the world seemed to cease, and in the blink of an eye, start once more.
Spheros looked at his sphere. It twisted into the shape of a spiral, and shifted into a cube, before bulging out into a perfect sphere again. He couldn’t be sure why, but the Sephorum seemed to be smiling wickedly at him.
“Madness.” Spheros gulped.
The Master smiled.
“Very good. We are protected from absorbing Lord Skyfire’s essence from the Sephorum through the order. These orbs are meant to help those in Olyndia overcome the evils that plague its lands. Someone will find them. But first you must bring them to the six pedestals. You know where to go.”
Spheros placed his hands on the ever shifting Madness Sephorum, he half expected to go insane, but he still had his own thoughts. He breathed a sigh of relief.
“Now go, Sentinels! We need to make haste. Every moment we tarry, Paen grows stronger.” The master commanded. The sentinels opened portals to Olyndia. Spheros placed the orb into a pouch made to carry it. He opened the portal and stepped through, instantly transported to the realm of Olyndia. The portal shut behind him.
That wasn’t so bad, was it, Spheros? A voice in inquired inside Spheros’ head.
Spheros quickly looked to the pouch, and he could swear he heard laughter.
The tavern was bustling this evening. Roaring laughter and shouts of triumph, mixed with the cacophony of clinking mugs of ale and stout, made up the sounds of the tavern. It was perfect for Saelynn to make a little coin.
She was shorter than most folks, but that never bothered her. Her long, dark hair was tied back. Her dark chocolate eyes scanned the room for a target. When she spied her mark, she walked up to him and stumbled into him.
“My apologies, sir!” Saelynn exclaimed in a strong, yet soft, voice. The man smiled down at her.
“No apologies necessary, young lass! One should be so blessed, to even share the same space as one so fair!” The man said, as his friend shoved him.
“I saw her first, you lout!” He exclaimed to the first. The first shoved back.
“You wouldn’t know a woman if she offered you another ale! Don’t make me laugh! Ha ha ha—” as a hairy fist slammed the man in the mouth, Saelynn, had already slipped through the crowd, a large wallet of gold in her hand. She left the tavern and walked down the road. She thought she’d been home free, when a man stepped from the shadows in front of her.
“What have we here? A lost little girl?” The man said, in a high cackle. Yewyn turned to walk the other way, to find that her path was blocked by three other shady figures, each laughing quietly. She tried to walk away, but her arm was grabbed by the first guy.
“Where are you going, my sweet? Is that any way to greet your hosts?” He pulled her close, her back to his chest. “We would like the pleasure of your company.” He said with a hiss.
“Let me go, you pigs!” Saelynn spat, struggling to break free. The group laughed.
“Pigs, are we?! Ha! You won’t be going anywhere, my sweet!”
Saelynn had had enough. With a shout, she elbowed the man holding her in the ribs, hard. She stomped on his left foot with hers, and crouched, flipping him over her. He landed on his back hard. The three others stepped back, their laughter ceased. She crouched low, her face towards the dirt road.
“You will not touch me again!” Saelynn exclaimed. Her voice had changed, as though someone else said it at the same time. “You will not touch anyone EVER again!”
Saelynn looked up, her face twisted by anger. Her brown eyes, now amber, glowing orange. She stood up, but she did so seemingly twice. She seemed to flicker.
The three rogues helped their leader to his feet. He shoved them off with a scowl.
“My sweet, you have no idea who you’re messing with. I will teach you some manners, to respect your superiors!” He walked forward reaching his hand towards her.
“That’s mine now.” She calmly said, the ethereal voice matched with a slight delay. With a flash of light, the rogue stood in pain, draining blood from the stump where his arm used to be. He screamed in pain and crumpled to the ground. Saelynn stood in the same spot she had been, still flickering, but she had an ethereal blade of fire, dripping with blood.
“Never again shall you harm another innocent person. Unless you apologize, plead for forgiveness, you will be effigies to those whom you’ve harmed.” Saelynn said to the group of rogues.
Writhing in pain, the leader shouted,
Saelynn walked up to the huddled lump of former rogue and placed a boot on his throat. The three others stepped back in fear.
“Wrong answer.” With another flash of light, the rogue burst into flames. Yewyn turned to walk away, but suddenly stopped and looked back.
“Why would you do this to someone?” She asked, tears streaming down her face. “Look at what you’ve made me do!” She shouted. With another flash of light, the group of rogues were annihilated by white hot flames. She shut her eyes hard, tears struggling free. The ethereal voice whispered,
“We both know the answer to that, my dear.” and it was gone.
Saelynn opened her eyes to the pile of bones and ash. Her dark brown eyes gleamed. She sniffed as she turned and ran home.