Three hundred years ago we lived free from the evil. Three hundred years ago we could travel around the world and not be attacks by monsters in the night. It was the three hundred and first day that the world was engulfed in a darkness. Few kingdoms stood through the darkness, others fell to the evil. Humans understood after that. They understood that we can't fight against something that rises again and again. Something that never dies, doesn't feel pain, emotion or hunger. It's sole purpose is to kill. To kill us humans. The people behind it all are, The Necromancers.
Would you fight a losing battle? I know I wouldn't. I'd probably hide myself away with everyone I care about and never leave but they'd probably find us. Find us and kill us with no remorse. The undead don't die. The people who try to kill them mostly die and the only way to completely get rid of them is if you dismember them completely or burn them. Even then, until they are complete dust, they keep moving. That's why it's best to get away if they come in numbers.
According to my dad, who isn't really related to me, he found me under some rubble when my kingdom was attacked. He's an adventurer and a merchant. He's the type of person who fights for the bounties to live and sells what he finds. He had been traveling when he saw the kingdoms and apparently I'm the only one who survived.
I haven't gotten the details on where he found me or if my parents are alive but I remember them to some extend. I remember running on the grass in a field and riding a horse somewhere. I remember my father with a big, shiny iron sword in hand as he swung it around and I most of all remember when my mother grabbed my hand and ran away from monsters as they stormed the front gates. My father hightailed it away from us as fast as he could when the wall fell on top of us. My mother covered me with her body as the monsters ran past us thinking we were dead.
I'm pretty sure she died and my dad could have gotten away. Carter, my dad who took me in, found me and dragged me back to his village. He didn't stop working to raise me though. He taught me how to handle a sword since I could lift one and we traveled. He gave me a name since I couldn't remember mine and since he had a love of the occasional gamble, I was named Ace.
Right now I'm in between our old countries. The lines between the countries blurred when the necromancers came to our world through a portal. Five real kingdoms stood standing through the evil. The other five crumbled to the ground like mine. One for each necromancer I'm guessing. The necromancers ordered their undead to find and kill all humans. Each kingdom fights daily just to stay standing but it was worse a long time ago.
"Ace, my boy, wake up and help with the bags. We need to get moving" I cracked my eyes open when I saw the glare of the sun. I saw my dad loading the bags onto the horses we found. I stood up and dusted off my pants before grabbing my unsheathed sword and sheathing it again. Grabbed one of the heavier bags full of extra swords, I tied it to the buckle on the horse.
I picked up a light bag and put it on as well. This bag was filled with papers, letters and other things like ink and feathers. Since the invasion, there haven't been any wars to stop people from messaging each other but because of the monsters, no messengers can get the messages where they need to go. Every time we go somewhere we occasionally get a letter and bring it to other people in or out of the kingdoms.
I grabbed the water bladder and took a drink before packing that up too. My dad looked about finished with the packing so I hopped onto the horse and took the reins. "Ready." I stated before we started our way to the next kingdom.
Many hours of riding later we ended up in the kingdom of Surin. Sarin is one of the more safer kingdoms due to it's outstanding knights and large amounts of land. In Surin there are two other main places to go, not including out side villages in the country itself, Nauru and Oak Shield. In the main capital. Guards are posted directly outside and on the city walls. The kingdom is quite large with a river flowing through it and may houses, streets and alleys.
People on horse back tend to come in and out with goods at mid day, adventurers like myself and Carter come mostly around day break or late afternoon. After the necromancers came, Surin became the most peaceful of all places, they offered safety inside it's walls. Surin used to have wars with StoneVale and Rutus but when Rutus fell to the undead, StoneVale and Surin called a truce, for forever long the war against the undead continues.
We galloped through the gates and down the main road to the adventurer's guild hall. Each city has a hall for us adventurers. When a new adventurer decides to come, they get a type of pocket watch. I received mine and so did Carter. To keep track of time or show identification, the pocket watch is very important for us. Adventurers are of very few because of the numbers of undead, many die quickly so you have to wait a year before receiving the pocket watch itself. It's like a test to see if you're going to die as soon as you get the identification and if your easy to kill.
I've had mine for at least two years. It has my name carved on the top and a snap clip to keep it closed. You can get almost anywhere with one of these pocket watches. To show what level of adventurer you are, you get a tattoo like thing on your arm, chest or wherever. Each tattoo is different and you get and add on for every level. Though you don't show them to just anyone, each city, village or kingdom has a specific trusted knights who see if you are who you say you are. So even if you have the pocket watch you need to show the tattoo as well.
Carter stopped in front of the guild hall. With a sign with an axe and a sword on the front, we tied our horses to a post and walked inside with a few bags. A bag filled with bounty items such as; monster parts like feathers etc.., Letters, wood and other things. The clerk looked to us and smiled.
"What can I do for you men?" We pulled out our identification and showed the watches.
She nodded. "Pardon me, adventurers." We nodded already knowing the routine. "We are here to hand in a few bounties." She nodded again after listening to what Carter had to say.
"Alright. This is your.... Fourth bounty collection?" She question. I shook my head and corrected her.
"Nope, this is our twentieth time we've been here to this guild. Our fortieth in total." Her eyes widened before she quickly nodded and poured out the contents of the bag. We handed her the bounty papers where we were given the tasks and she looked them over.
"Everything looks to be in order." She handed us the coins and smiled. "Thanks for coming adventurers. Is there anything else?" We shook our heads and she smiled again.
"Look to the sun for a way home, friends. Happy hunting!" Carter stomped out while I gave one last looked to the girl and nodded before following.
Each guild has their own saying. Because the sun rises in the east, Surin adopted the name, Kingdom of the Sun, because they are the farthest east of every kingdom. Carter stopped by the horses with a frown on his face when he looked up.
"What's wrong?" I questioned. He looked down at me and shook his head. "Nothing but the clouds." He stated. I looked up in question before frowning as well. Grey, smoke like, clouds pasted through the sky. It wasn't rain because the sun was still shining. It's ominous feel sent shivers down my spine when I remembered something.
Ace's memory, Kingdom of Astilan, before the fall.
I ran through the garden and up the steps passing the worried looking pair of guards. I ran to a large room with two large chairs and to my mother. I sat on her lap as she smiled down on me. She picked me up by the waist and carried me to the balcony that was nearby. She pointed into the distance.
"This is your home. This is your place. Your safe place. We love you so much and you'll grow up to be such a great young man." I smiled unknowingly about what would happen. She ruffled my air as a gust of wind blew. She hummed a tune as she gazed into the distant valleys. It was peaceful.
My head rested on her shoulder and I listened to the beat of my mother's heart. I noticed my father come up behind her. He smiled but his smile turned into a frown just as fast my mother turned around to look at my father giving me a full view of what they saw. Dark smoke like clouds past over head and quite quickly. The wind began to whip through the trees as the sun disappeared.
My mother looked down at me with sad eyes. "Sorry baby boy. Looks like this isn't such a safe place after all. We love you but now we all have to go." Looking behind her and gazing to the gates the were relatively close by, I stared in awe of the amount of people poring in through the gates. The knights weren't kind to them like they are with you and me. They cut some down but tumbled to the ground just as fast. The dark smokey clouds imprinted the image of themselves into my brain as I frowned.
My father and mother carried me through a hall but a man in a dark robe stood in front of us. With eyes pure white with no pupil, he gazed into my eyes and laughed. He pointed his staff at the wall and the wall combusted into a dark flame. My father took a run at the man with his sword drawn before stopping half way and coughing on the floor.
The man disappeared, the wall collapsed and my father ran in the opposite direction. I was pinned unmoving, while crying, under my mother. I got a glimpse of monsters running through the hall of my home. I got a glimpse of the sky. The sky..... was pitch black smoke.
"Ace! Ace my boy! Snap out of it!" I was being shaken where I stood, or fell... I was on the ground looking up at a few smokey clouds much like in my dream. I gasped and looked around. A few people I didn't know were gathered around in worry. A knight look at me and held my back and Carter had a large worry filled frown on his face.
"Are you okay lad?" The knight questioned urgently. I nodded brushing it off. Carter didn't buy it though.
"Ace, one minute we were talking about the clouds and the next your on the ground with tears coming down your face." I brushed my hands over my face and pulled them away. He was right, I had been crying. A few tears had fallen down my face.
I stood up and smiled. "I'm fine. Just an unwanted memory." I gave a pointed look to Carter telling him that we would talk later. He nodded and people began to walk off.
We walked with the horses farther into town but I stopped by a bench with, apparently, a worried look on my face. "What is it?" He questioned. I shook my head and shrugged.
"Really, I don't know. It's like I remembered something from before I was with you." He motioned for me to continue and I pointed to the clouds. "The smokey clouds look familiar. They look familiar because I remember them from when the undead stormed my home. It was just before and there were a lot more of the smokey clouds. The wind was faster and the clouds darker. Everyone was really worried and then there was a man. We ran down the halls and he stood there in a dark robe."
Carter nodded, he followed along silently before asking. "So your telling me that the necromancers are probably going to attack again." He ignored me talking about the man but I nodded regardless. "We need to tell someone. Preferably someone who will do something, like maybe the king. " I agreed.
"How will we get a audience with the king? We're commoners, that's almost impossible!" He nodded but smiled.
"Not when you're friends."