The Impurity War
The Knights of Dawn were winning! Blessed be the Light, they were winning! Shalla Stoneborn, the casteless heroine of the Dwarven race raised the Spear of Purity in the air. The six-foot-long staff vibrated with energy as the spear head affixed at the end grew brighter with white light.
“Almirour-Ack!” Shalla Stoneborn yelled into the Heavens just as a hundred Shadows converged on her location.
The Darkness had felt the tide turn away from them when Jarrick Jaryn of the Frozen Isles plunged his sword, the Doom of Darkness, deep within the black heart of their leader, Dreg. The blade hummed with life and white light around the edges as the flat of the blade was as black as the heart it pierced just moments ago.
The Shadows, a hundred all, hissed as they grew closer to the casteless Dwarf. Black mist fell away from their empty bodies of pure darkness. This mist twirled in the air, eventually dissipating, while some of it seeped into the ground. The visage of the monsters altered every second as their form was not solid or set in one particular fashion. Arms tangled together while heads and torso’s became a mish mash of larger Shadows then they would separate back into their singular selves and would continue this process over and over; but just as the creatures were about to overcome Shalla Stoneborn, a roar that shook the very ground beneath their feet erupted from above. Almirour-Ack tucked his massive wings in and plummeted to the ground landing directly between Shalla and the approaching Shadows. The Light-Dragon of Drakenshire opened his massive mouth.
Miles away, Elanor Amarilus, the Elven High-Queen, saw to Jarrick Jaryn’s wounds as his confrontation with Dreg did not go as entirely intended. Elanor hovered her hand over Jarrick’s chest. A red light emerged from her palm.
“Fear not, my love. I shall have you in tip top shape in mere moments,” Elanor told him as she gently stroked his cheek with her fingertips. Elanor hid her uncertainty behind a smile but her big oval shaped eyes gave her away. He had lost a lot of blood, more than a Human was allowed to lose, of this Elanor was sure, so she forced all her energy to focus into her hand and the dull red light emanating from her palm grew brighter.
“As long as I don’t sprout pointed ears like you,” Jarrick replied. Even in what may be his final moments, Jarrick wished to crack a joke to make his wife feel better.
A lone Shadow quietly approached from behind. It appeared for a moment that the Elven High-Queen didn’t know this, but within a blink of an eye the red light sunk back into her hand and in its place materialized a gleaming bow constructed of pure white light. Elanor Amarilus held the bow with her left hand while pulling the cord back with her right. An arrow appeared during this motion. The single bolt, it too made of white light was sent flying and pierced the Shadow in what would be its chest, vanquishing the Shadow into mist. Beyond the remnants of the now dead Shadow were more…a lot more, and they were baring down on Elanor and Jarrick.
“All the Hells!” Elanor cursed at their predicament.
“One shouldn’t worry so much, my dear!” Shalla Stoneborn’s voice surprised Elanor. She looked up and glared directly into the underbelly of Almirour-Ack. The beasts scales, known as Embersteel, were thickest here. He had flown in so low the wind he produced nearly knocked Elanor over. The fierce king of the clouds opened his mouth and from deep within he let out a light so pure it could only have come directly from the Lords of Light themselves. In the cascade, the approaching Shadows popped like bubbles, leaving black fog in their wake for a few moments until it vanished.
Almirour-Ack landed then spun around to face Elanor who had already returned to the task of healing Jarrick. The Dragon sniffed the air and a grin crept across his massive face exposing his jagged teeth.
“I can smell victory in the air,” Almirour-Ack boasted. “Say, has anyone seen long ears or that other vile thing? I worry that I can only smell victory in the air and not the stench of their behinds.”
“Be kind, Al,” Shalla told the dragon, still straddling the back of his neck.
“All in jest, my Dwarf, all in jest,” Almirour-Ack replied. “Oh, wait, I think I see our friends heading this way! And, it seems they are bringing company.”
Almirour-Ack was correct. Na Santin-Vor, Lord of Lorsage and the Sunken Forests, and Axiolus, the outcast Orc with no name, was sprinting in their direction. The carelessness of both Na and Axiolus caused them to tumble down the hill until they hit bottom.
Shalla leaned forward to listen then said, “They are saying something.”
“You are correct, my dwarf. The Hare and the Orc are telling us to run.”
“That doesn’t make any sense,” Shalla said. “They would never run. We hear it all the time, they would rather die than turn tail.”
“And yet, before us are the very same arrogant creatures, running,” Almirour-Ack replied.
Na Santin-Vor threw his arms out in frustration as he approached his comrades. The seven-foot-tall Hare was covered in light grey fur from the tip of his ears to the bottom of his feet. Na’s legs were different from others. While other beings had straight legs, Na’s legs were inverted at the knee. This unique feature among the Harefolk allowed them to run faster and leap farther. His ears were long, which is why he was Lord of Lorsage and the Sunken Forests. Only the one with the biggest ears could lead such a strange yet noble people. The face of Na was as large as a grown man’s, yet resembled that of a Hare, or Rabbit, as some people like to say. Just don’t say it around Na.
“Did none of you hear us? We said run! Why are you just standing here?” Na Santin-Vor also sported a single braided ponytail sprouting from the top of his head which touched the back of his legs. The leader of the Harefolk was just as massive and majestic as the weapon he held in his hand…the Battle-axe of the Lords. Electricity visibly crackled along the edge of the blade of his weapon, hinting at immense power within.
“Of all the Heavens and all the Hells, people!” Axiolus shouted. “The Lords of Light themselves are ready to explode through his stupid axe! You should have heeded our warning!”
Almirour-Ack scoffed at the Orc. “Dragons do not run, Orc.”
“Let this be remembered as our final stand!” Axiolus roared, unsheathing his staff, the Infinite Balance, from its case affixed to his back. “Whether we live or die is still yet untold!”
Unlike the others, Axiolus was a Mage. While they all wore some manner of Embersteel forged armor, Axiolus wore his simple cloth robe. It was the very same robe he wore the day he was expelled from his home. The Orc’s magic had repaired the old thing over the years, but the wear and tear on the material was obvious still.
Behind the hill from where Na and Axiolus appeared came the squeals of what had to have been a thousand Shadows. Then, the squeals coalesced into one massive sound. The sound produced by this massive thing that was heading for the Knights of Dawn split the cloud above.
“What in the world is that?” Shalla Stoneborn said.
The top of its head emerged over the hills apex. As its head revealed itself, so came its shoulders and arms. The black and empty void of the monster stood two hundred feet tall. The outline of the giant seemed to move like the surface of water after you have jumped in. The creature was never smooth nor still. As it approached, blocking the Orange Sun out from behind, the shadow cast over the Knights of Dawn made them shudder.
Jarrick Jaryn of the Frozen Isles shoved Elanor’s hand away and unsteadily climbed to his feet. For the moment, he used the Doom of Darkness as a cane to prop himself upright. Elanor moved to place his arm around her neck but he stopped her from doing so.
“It is fine, wife,” Jarrick told her. “You have healed my chest enough. I must stand regardless. A beast approaches from the North and it aims to fell my family.”
“Are you certain?” Elanor asked.
“As certain as I was when I first told you I loved you.”
“You should hop off and join the rest of grounders, Dwarf,” Almirour-Ack growled. “I shall take flight and aim for its wretched face.”
Shalla kissed the dragon on the top of his head then slid down his side to the ground. Almirour-Ack bolted into the sky. Beneath the wind of his wings, the Knights of Dawn lined up, roughly six feet stood between them.
This was the first time, in quite some time, that they were all together on the battlefield. The war had dragged them all in different directions at different times but now they were together and that meant one thing. Synergy. When Knights of Dawn stood together, the light within each of them flowed freely, reinforcing their weapons and their abilities. As the power between them surged, illuminating the intricate lines of their Embersteel forged armor held together by the Light of the Lords themselves, the monster before them roared.
Just as the outcast Orc said, this was their final stand. Although the Knights of Dawn destroyed the Shadow Tyrant, the monster would also prove to be their undoing. On this day, heroes died.
Before the Impurity war, the entire world was a utopia. The Lords of Light had successfully created a place in which all races coexisted in harmony. The day came however, when creatures known as Shadows invaded the land. They were vicious and vile monsters of pure corruption. Realizing that their utopia was at risk of falling, the Lords of Light created their protectors, the Knights of Dawn. Imbued with the purity of Light itself, these beings pushed the Shadows back and saved the world.
Light won the war, but at a heavy price. The corruption cast by their presence was set. Light would never be the same again. It would never be as pure as it once was. So too were the people of the world forever changed. Love decayed and turmoil reigned. Wars raged, and as ages passed, the Knights of Dawn and the Lords of Light were forgotten…until now.
A creature of the Dark has returned and is making its move to kill the last remaining descendant of the Knights of Dawn. Locked deep within, Ezra Discardi holds all their power combined. Now, the evil and vile Dreg wishes to consume Ezra’s Light and finally encompass the entire world in Darkness.
But, this story is not about Ezra Discardi. No, this story is about another child. A young girl…a princess. Eliza Dukar holds the key to saving Ezra Discardi from the maw of pure evil. Indeed, she alone has the opportunity to save us all. I pray to the Light that she learns to wield her greatest strength before it is too late for us all.
My name is Alice by the way. I am the Keeper of the Light. The battle between good and evil is as old as time itself. Fables have been recounted untold times across the cosmos in all realities here and afar. As the Keeper of the Light, I am privy to all sorts of information associated with this subject. You can believe me when I tell you this particular tale is one for the ages.
We shall begin this one with a phrase that you may find familiar. I fancy it myself, anyway.
Once Upon a time…