DARKNESS DESCENDS
BY DROGO


The following story is about "The People's Rebellion", the first in a tragic chain of events that will rip apart the great Mynian Kingdom and leave it broken, and its people disenchanted with all they once knew. One young man fights against injustice, and another seeks to define it. They will find their own truths, and it might just destroy them.


PROLOGUE

he sun has but recently reached its zenith and hovers above the earth like a burnished disk of gold shining good fortune and health upon all that toils beneath it. The rays of sunlight fall upon a verdant field filled with the lush growth of a new spring and the promise of a new year. The field is deserted, save for one man standing upon it. He stretches his arms upward, and his back outward flexing muscles that are pleasantly tight. The warmth of the sun fills him as his arms come up to complete the stretch he has started. Life fills his eyes as one refreshed from a long slumber and he gazes about him, enjoying all that can be seen. Upon hearing the birds sing their daily song the man breaks into an easy smile and he begins to take a step towards the birds and their sweet songs.

His foot falls back to the soft earth and he moves slightly forward with his step, blinking as he moves. After but a moment his eyes open again, there before him has appeared a new sight where there was nothing but grass. A stronghold tall and fair has arisen before him. The grass rises only to be met by the foundation of this immense place. Stones, the size of a man, are mortared together to form the foundation of an insurmountable bastion. They sparkle clean and white as if newly chiseled. Of carved wood and cleverly filigreed iron is the gate made of, wide enough to fit twenty men abreast. Following the ironwork upward along the gate, the man’s eyes continue up higher. There they stare in awe at the elegant towers and bright, snapping pennants, pure amazement fills the man to see something that is made of cold rocks and dead wood to be turned into something of such rare seemingly living beauty. Then he spies the mighty battlements of the fortress and beholds twenty upon twenty hosts of men standing in force. Bright are the helms upon their heads, new burnished are their strong spears, and proud are their visages.
 

While the man admires that which is before him, a part of him notices that the birds sing no more, in fact there are no noises to be heard at all. Curiosity overtakes him and he turns around, he is taken aback by what he sees. Men, women, and children are before him, in the hundreds. The lines of them stretch back to the horizon. Strong, hardy people they appear one and all. Simple clothes they wear and simple, yet honest do their faces appear. Fair skin or tan, dark hair or shining, light eyes or shadowed, each is as different from another as can be, yet a strength and resemblance emanates from them in such a powerful wave that the man can not help but take a step towards them to join their ranks.

With his step comes yet another change, those he was coming forward to embrace as brethren no longer appear as they did but a moment ago. The inherent strength in their faces has been leached out as if stolen by the grave. The men now have pained despair painted upon their faces, the women have become haggard and withdrawn, and the once inviting smiles upon the children’s faces are turned to expressions of fear as they clutch their mothers' skirts. The now wretched hosts open their mouths as if to raise a great shout, but not a sound comes out. Fear replaces all other expressions and many a hand rises up to point back the way the man had been facing.

Following the direction of their hands the man turns once more only to see that the great hosts of gleaming soldiers have raised great bows of wood, arrows of light are fitted to the bows ready to be shot. The man opens his mouth to shout, but once more not a sound is heard, he then raises his arms, waving them wildly to gain the soldiers attention. He takes a step forward to try to reach the gates before the arrows can be loosed. But, with his step the mass of men draw back their bows as one and loose their shafts out past the walls they stand upon. The very sky shimmers with the light from the arrows that were loosed.

Seeing the arrows take flight, the man stops in his tracks, riveted by the sight of seemingly a thousand suns crossing the sky. He squints against the glare as he follows their flight through the air. They fall with unerring accuracy, each one striking true. The man’s hands go up to cover his eyes from the horror he now sees. Blood pools upon the ground forming a lake of death. Man, woman, child - it did not matter to the arrows, all were laid down in death. The limp forms of brave men lie pin cushioned above the bodies of their loved ones, brave deeds were all to no avail for those bright tips found even those who sheltered behind them. Few are those that still stand, silent tears fall down their stricken faces. The lips of the wounded twitch and tremble, as they were work into grimaces and noiseless shrieks of pain.

The Dream of Dael Lurusian

View picture in full size Image description: Interpretation of a dream of Dael Lurusian, a high priest of the Hermien Sect of the Mynian Kingdom. Picture from the game Magical Empire™, used with friendly permission. Illustration drawn by Quellion.

Bright tears fall from the man’s eyes to see so many indiscriminately killed. He leaps forward to aid those he can, his heart going out to them even as it is ripped asunder by that which he sees. Before his eyes the shimmering spirits of the dead and dying quickly flee, as if they cannot take their host's pain any longer. With his step forward as with every other, the scene shifts yet once again. No longer is the field filled with the wounded, now, only long dead corpses remain with naught a mut of flesh left upon them. The endless fields are barren and hold only dust. All that was alive is gone, only the now cold stone remains.

Tears now blind him as the man continues running forward; with each step another image is presented to him. Images to make the soul wail, they are filled with nothing but fire, death, and destruction; one leading to another, a vicious cycle that he cannot escape from. Finally when his legs can no longer hold him he collapses weeping to the ground, his tears falling upon the scorched earth. After some time he slowly raises his head up, afraid of what he might see, but needing to nonetheless. No more is  the verdant plain or the strong fortress. Burnt bones litter blackened earth, riven are the once strong gate and ruined are the once proud walls. Naught is left of the shining host nor of the slaughtered people, a feeling of emptiness permeates the land. The man knows that nothing now lives in the blighted land.

He pulls himself forward but a few nailsbreadths, his exhausted body not able to give any more. Darkness encloses all of the land and all is blotted from the man’s vision. Finally, after an eternity of dead silence, a harsh sound comes through the darkness. It is the laugh of a broken man. Whispered, cracked words follow the laughter, “So, he who created all that is has died, and with his death so do we all die.” Once more harsh laughter is heard, and the man chokes on the laughter. For it, like the words, are his own.

Lighting rips through the sky and thunder cracks apart the heavens, causing the man to violently awake. His arms naturally come in front of him in a protective gesture. After a moment he puts down his hands realizing that he is not to be attacked. He pushes himself to his feet and stares at the myriad pinpricks of light that meet his eyes. “May The Creator protect me”, he whispers in chattering breaths. He wraps his arms tightly about him to ward off the chill of the pre-dawn darkness. “What does it all mean, what am I to see from this?”

 

Story written by Drogo View Profile