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The Dark Age Chronicles: The Fall of Night.

By ChaosWithImagination All Rights Reserved ©

Adventure / Fantasy

The Beginning of Darkness.

A cold wind blew in from the south west. A loud wail rose with it. Like a woman in great pain. The wail grew loud with each passing moment as the wind rushed along the barren slopes of the Syphen Mountains. The claws of wind raked loose rocks off the mountain and side and sent then clattering to the black base of the mountain. The night was still young, yet the sky was wreathed in a blackness that was not natural. An oppressive darkness that the very wind despised. The wind rushed over the slopes, dragging itself ragged across grassy meadows and on through the forest of Behrud and Giril. It rose laboriously over the central range of mountains called the Krogas. The shrill cry of the wind was now so loud that the creatures of the night hid from it. Men locked their windows and tried to stop their ears. And still on the wind drove itself, till it finally crossed the Krogas and entered the Waste Plains of Writhia.

A dragon rose with graceful ease and blotted out the moon with its great body. The massive chest of the beast rose and swelled. Suddenly a jet of flame, red and furious, streamed from its open mouth down onto the plains. The cry of the wind was lost here. Cries that were uttered here could be heard miles away. For it was here that the great Darkness emanated. It was here that it was being fought. The flames of the Dragon poured down onto the teeming throng of armour clad bodies below. The heat of the flames melted the armour of those that were in the direct path of the deadly outburst before the fire ever reached them. Their cries echoed thousands of others as their bodies disintegrated in the fire. Their comrades allowed themselves a brief moment of horror then forced themselves to turn away from the spectacle of death to face the new ones before them.

The sky above the clashing armies was scattered with flying beasts and red with smoke. The moon seemed to have been turned to blood. It cast a dull glow on the warring Griffins and Dragons below. A dragon dived though a cloud of smoke and never came out of it. A griffin flew out of the cloud its talons dripping with blood. Another Griffin and its Rider flew spirals around a Dragon; the Griffin Rider slashing with lightning speed and sharp accuracy at the Dragon Rider. His Griffin simultaneously striking at the vulnerable underbelly of the Dragon. Both Rider and Griffin screamed in victory as the Dragon and Rider, feel dead, out of the sky. Another Griffin, with half of its rider on its back, was being torn to pieces by two Dragons. The beast put up a valiant fight until its wings were torn from its body, and it fell headlong into the sea of flashing steel below.

The noise of the battle was deafening as steel rang against steel. The blood splattered men shouted louder than the ring of their blades and all were standing ankle deep in soil soaked in the blood of their fallen comrades. The blood flowing from their own wounds added to it. They stepped on the bodies of those who had fallen, driving the corpses deep into the soils of the Waste Plains. Many men drove steel into the hearts of others. Many men fought in a blind rage, oblivious to the world around them. Many men saw their own limbs severed before them. Many men fell to the ground and never rose again.

King Lyficen sat astride his Dragon on the mountain range of the North called Valas; meaning Leader in a tongue that was forgotten; as a lord that stands on the edge of his territory. His amber eyes took in the scenes of carnage that took place before him. On his face was a smile. His black armor was tinted red every time his Dragons shot flame. His own Dragon shifted below him and he sensed its impatience. His smile widened; he responded to it and calmed the Beast by a pat of his hand. Every one of his Dragons’ scales were inscribed with silver runes, so that the black dragon seemed to glow in the dark. Lyficen’s armor was the same. It kept him safe from all spells. He sat confidently on his dragon awaiting the outcome of the war that he had begun.

Queen Syria of the Land of Cysia looked on at the war below with a sick heart. She stood beside her Girffin and the Beast stood quite still. But Syria could feel the tense muscles under the fur and feather. From their stronghold in the Nycos Mountains, opposite to the Valas, she could see Lyficen sitting there. He glowed like star in the night, but he brought darkness to her land and she was determined to stop him. The smell from the plain rose like an invisible sheet and covered them all. It made her want to retch. It was not her first war but she had never gotten used to the stench of Death. Her eyes kept flickering toward the Krogas. It was from there that she expected help if things began to go sour, but it did not seem as though she would need it. The Dragons numbers were vastly diminishing, so was Lyficen’s Ground force. Syria smiled. Lyficen would not win this one.

Lyficen’s aide fidgeted at his post. He watched his lord sit in confidence while their armies were being decimated. Their Dragon’s numbers were pitifully small. ‘The fool! The aide thought, ‘does he not see! Something has to be done to salvage this impending defeat!

“My Lord” he said, with a boldness he did not feel, “Shall we retreat?” Lyficen turned around in his sear and fixed his gaze upon the aide. The evil that emanated from the man drove a cold spike of fear into the aide’s heart.

“Retreat?” he asked his voice chilling the blood of all those that stood there, “why?”

The aide was too passionate about the situation to be daunted, “We are being destroyed!”

Lyficen smiled at him as one would smile at a stupid child. He turned away and dismounted his Dragon. The beast shook itself.

“Come here,” he said in a condescending tone. The aide hesitated and then walked stiffly to Lyficen. Lyficen placed an arm around the man’s shoulders. “What do you see?” he asked pointing to the plains below. The aide was aware of the sharp fingers of Lyficen’s metal gloves. 

“You see defeat?” he asked, “I see victory.’ With that Lyficen raised his hand to the south.

The aide turned his head to look. There was a dark cloud moving swiftly from the south. At that distance he could not make out what it was. Queen Syria also spotted the cloud. A fear grew in her mind. It could not be. He had orders! What was he doing? Lyficen smiled and chuckled to himself as the cloud grew into a shape. They were flying beasts. A Griffin was at the head of them. The Beast entered the Plains. The Griffin sent a cry and the Army of Cysia lifted their heads in greeting and froze in horror. Many that froze were immediately cut down. For behind the Griffin flew a horde of dragons.

Syria stood with her mouth open. It could not be! One of her own! The Griffin Rider circled the skies smiling. Lyficen laughed and turned to the aide, “There is my victory.”

“But how?” the aide stammered.

‘I blinded his eyes,” Lyficen said, “The fool. Let him see what he has done.” With a raise of his hand he said a few words and suddenly the Griffin Rider seemed to jerk out of a trance. He gazed about him in horror as the truth dawned on him. His eyes glanced around frantically then rested on Lyficen. It became contorted with rage. Lyficen nodded.

“Come my Rider,” he whispered. The Girffin Rider swung out his weapon and stirred his beast. They flew toward Lyficen cutting down all in their path. As they gained ground they flew faster. Lyficen pushed away the aide and raised his hand again. The Griffin Rider raised his blade and with a rush came down upon Lyficen. Suddenly he stopped as though he struck a stone wall. His griffin pitched away into the Waste Plains, unconscious. And he fell at Lyficen’s feet.

He tried to rise but Lyficen crushed his head into the earth with his boot. Blood poured when he moved it. Lyficen grabbed a hand full of hair and spun the man around to face the Plains. He drove his gloved hand into the man’s back. The Rider cried out in agony.

“See what you have done!” Lyficen hissed, “You have given me my victory.’ The man remained silent but slipped a knife out of his belt. Lyficen spun the man around by his hair again. The man groaned.

“Now you will die,” Lyficen said. The man smiled and in a rush pulled away and drove his knife into Lyficen’s face. The blade went in deep to the hilt but Lyficen stood there as though nothing happened.  He pulled the blade out and the wound resealed itself. The Rider stared in horror. Lyficen sighed and drove his hand into the man’s stomach. The man lurched forward. Lyficen grabbed him and held him still as he twisted the metal hand. The man choked in agony.

“You have brought a great curse on your land by trying to kill me,” Lyficen whispered to him, “I would have settled for the death of all your griffins here but now you have sealed your land with a greater doom. Know this Griffin Rider and die. For all the land will curse your name.”

The man sank forward and Lyficen tossed the corpse aside. He raised both hands and began to chant, his voice rung loud and clear. And when he was done he turned his back to the Waste Plains and called for a retreat. It was sent and his army withdrew. As they marched away they could hear the dying screams of Griffins as their Riders killed them and the sound of steel upon steel as the Army of Cysia slaughtered itself. 

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