Much thanks for taking the time to read chapter one of my very first novel "Shadow Genesis Volume 1: Preludes of War." If you enjoyed, be sure to leave comments.
Positive feedback appreciated!
The full novel can be found on B&N, Goodreads, and Amazon. This is the first novel in the Shadow Khan Series, and is a cherished piece of the Shadow Khan Project, a project fifteen years in the making. However, this novel is the first and only novel in the series' existence, and I am in the process of rebooting the series. The reboot, "Shadow Genesis: Inception", is a retelling of SG:PoW, the way it should be told.
SG:I is coming soon!
Shadow Realm’s massive beauty rested underneath the soft glowing lights that dotted the skies. There were two much bigger globes of light gracing the dark sky, softly caressing the land in its mauve luminosity. It was indeed a glorious eternal night, a night in which the great citadel of Dark Gear radiated in its finest. Built out of the great mountains of Nocturnus, its abundance of black diamond mined, cut, and sculpted to bring forth many towering edifices, all giving off that mesmerizing lavender glow within the complex designs that grace their surfaces, as tiny specks of light, drifting glow dust, twist and curve along these tall man and elementai-made wonders. The buildings themselves were sharp looking. Some thin and triangular shaped, like black crystal shards jutting out of the earth, while others were of a dome and quadrangular form.
The most marveled upon was not just the city itself; it was the intricately designed citadel that hovered in its own mystical gravitation, brought forth by the natural forces of dark magi itself. This was the incredible Dark Gear Citadel, housing the realm’s current ruler, the beautiful Queen Malice Khan.
Lady Malice wore a black decorative leather and silk, embracing her upper and lower figure. Completing her attire layered a silken opened dark lavender robe, bearing the royal Shadow Clan insignia. The adored queen of Shadow Realm calmly sauntered through the eastern gardens inside the citadel walking into the halls that connected the East Atrium on her way to the Throne Chamber. Her long, dark violet hair flowed from her gentle cranium in a sleek, healthy sight, spilt over shoulders and down about her round and firm chest.
She had an alluring presence, as all who noticed her would gazed happily upon her with a respectful bow the moment she passes by. Her long time as queen did not affect her looks, having that smooth and youthful brown skin that gave off a soft glow. Those eyes of hers were not just keen, for they emanated an enticing purple about the iris. There rested natural runic symbols that slowly rotated along the blacks of her pupils, displaying an innate power only her kind, the dark elementai, possess.
As she strolled down the corridors, she glimpses at the restlessness of her royal residents, those who lived inside the palace supporting her as they upheld the kingdom. These were smaller families, mages, and the occasional march of the royal guard. It was an everyday thing for Malice to wake up to that is if she was not too busy to herself within her private chambers, located high within the palace’s airborne structure.
Dark Gear was a huge and bustling kingdom rich in the spirit of the dark element. The denizens of Dark Gear swore allegiance to Malice and her royal assets, with the understanding that she is the one true power to entrust in. As of now, Dark Gear has entered a state of tranquility that took a long time to establish, for centuries ago, Dark Gear was an all feared tyrant through the fierce rule of Darkerage, and previous dark elementai rulers before him. Although she is the direct descendant of the now deceased and true dark elementai, her great power in the dark magi and wisdom throughout the years has given her the god given advantage over the fact that she is the last of her kind. Everyone else is of a crossbred element, for the dark elementai have bonded with others not of true blood.
Those who did not have the natural embrace of the dark element were regular denizens; however, some were capable of wielding a bit of Umbra’s essence, recognized as dark magi. They are mortal bound, or in other words human able to coexist with the dark elementai. The not so fortunate back then, ended up enslaved by the much higher of status. In addition, if this was not the case of slavery, the people that formed their own colonies or settlements, had a strong respect for the Shadow Clan, which at these times they feared.
This long line of powerful dark elementai shares the surname Khan, a renowned and respected name that shouted across the land. Not a single enemy against them dared to touch foot in their domain. Throughout those darker than dark times, the true deimons of Shadow Realm were the better. It all ended once Malice was born. Now those that once feared the Shadow Clan warmed up and praised them. Her presence has heavily influenced the nation, and in time, the entire world. One knew better than to challenge her. Just because she was as delicate looking as the lilac roses that bloomed in her gardens does not mean she had not the thorns that grown with them. To complete her unshakeable will and stunning looks, she harnessed a special form of power within. Different from dark magi, it was a complex and mysterious form of power that hails from the deepest reaches of the darkness itself. This power was the Shadow Force.
Understanding Malice fully was her high maidens, Nuzu Onima, and the grand maiden Shileiza Kale, powerful dark gearian women from a long line of dark elementai and human mix descent, making them naturally blessed with dark magi. They dressed in the normal high maiden attire, dressed in fine silken robes of dark violet. Shileiza however was dressed in a more dazzling attire of silk violet robes and sparkling jewels that hung around her neck and pointy ears, and a black diamond cut tiara. They were the ones who carried out every order of their queen, even leading the kingdom’s massive legion the Shadow Knights, not to forget the Shadow Rogues, Dark Gear’s Special Forces. As they accompanied the queen, they were consulting on the matters that were more important than any other event at the time. There was activity boiling in the eastside of Shadow Realm.
So far the Corrupted, a ghastly race spawned back in darker times, have taken up stronghold in Onix Crag far off in the eastern mountain ranges of Dark Gear. Their presence in those mountains has sparked a deep suspicion in the heart and mind of the queen, as their kind are one of the long time enemies the kingdom has dealt with on many occasions long passed. Malice has already dispatched several scouting units into the mountains to take up observation on what the corrupt is actually planning.
This strategy was all ways a first option in Malice’s eyes. She was not quick to send out an army, wanting to observe their endeavors before making a decision in exterminating them. It was all ways a choice when dealing with the Corrupted. They received that name for a reason, made up of many grotesque and evil embodiments from ghouls to skeletal forms. They are foul creations, meant for the vile intent, and kept away from the settlements and other areas Dark Gear oversee. The first corrupts were at first goblin descent, and over time through darker methods, they grew in diversity. Wiping out much of their population forced them into silence, dwelling in the deepest depths of the realm. The Corrupted lacked the strategy of great offense, making them easy to dispatch. A large number of them could become a deadly mob if one knew not what to do for them. Now the Corrupted are once again active, catching the full attention of the queen.
“The eastern mountains have been stirring in activity as of late,” said Shileiza. “There has never been anything to be suspicious of, but now the Corrupted has managed to take hold of Onix Crag.” Shileiza was very much dubious of the Corrupted. She was not fond of their kind in the least bit. Any event that involved the Corrupted legion was a bad sign to her. At this time, it was unclear to what their intentions could be.
“We have yet to receive any for reasons not long before discovered. They have been stirring up commotion ever since. It is as if they have appeared abruptly,” She said lastly with steady words. Nuzu agreed with Shileiza, her own concern with the actions of the Corrupted and their sudden appearance sparking a not so good curiosity.
“Indeed, Onix Crag has never been infested with the corrupt. We cannot overlook this as being a possible migration to the mountains. They usually do not move into further dark gearian territory, and in such great numbers,” Nuzu said, speaking from her thoughts.
“There numbers were once small. They were but a minor blip in the realm, now they appear to have grown,” Malice said. “Is there any news of an attack on the smaller settlements or bystanders?”
“There has yet to be any sort of an attack. Ever since Darkerage laid waste to their previous leader, they have turned against the realm,” Nuzu said recounting past events. She was aware of Malice father’s history in being as cruel and over dominant. Without a care to anything he has set his sights on, Darkerage crushed and enslaved anything and everything that did not abide by his rule.
“Well that is a relief now isn’t it?” Malice said, optimistic in her words. “However any form of act by corrupts shall not go without acknowledgement. A reason why I have sent out a scouting party to expose whatever is amidst in those mountains. They are not to be trusted. I will never forget the stories of my father. After all, it was him who driven the corrupt into the dark corners of the realm, thanks to my mother.”
It was Darkerage who brought the darken grasslands surrounding Dark Gear, to a now barren ghost land, naming it the Shadow Barrens. It was there where Darkerage lured many of his adversaries into a full fledge overkill, demonstrating for the many times that his rule and shadow force was elite, and punishing if defied. Most of them were the twisted driven Corrupted, as their massive legion of ghouls and goblins alike wound up massacred without remorse. There was even a time, when Malice was but an infant, that Darkerage took on a massive legion of Corrupt and the like single handedly and stood victorious. Many great feats were in Darkerage’s days, and each one all ways ended in someone’s demise. When Darkerage disappeared and her mother Jinovia passed on, it was up to a young Malice in the upholding of Dark Gear.
During this time, Malice made no changes in the status of her kingdom until she came of adult age, and realized within herself, ruling in tyranny and pure chaos was not the way. Malice, despite her name, is a special dark elementai. Special even in ways her own kind are still lost in understanding, but never doubted or questioned her. It was not in fear to why they have never frowned upon her ways, it was, something else. Sensed from her; a mysterious sense that all came to terms with, and for the first time they all felt a peaceful change in the tides of Shadow Realm.
“If they have returned for vengeance, they will not succeed,” said Nuzu. “Their poor fighting ability and slow intellect places them in a disadvantage without hope.”
Malice raised a left lavender thin brow. The worry coming from her company placed a smirk forming upon plump lips. “Hmm, do not worry. Let the scouts do what they must. There has not been much of a problem surfacing in Shadow Realm, but I will not let this go without acknowledgement,” Malice said, voice soothed the worried minds of the maidens. “If the corrupt are planning something, they will not succeed.”
The women arrived in the marvelously decorated Throne Chamber. Pillars held erect, embedded with symbols of eon’s worth of heritage and lore. Along the floor lay a dark violet floor rug, designed in glowing violet symbols. On each side, matching ebony columns stood tall with silken draperies, displaying the Shadow Clan insignia. The queen had more matters that needed looked into other than the Corrupted.
There was a group of five in the throne chamber. The awaiting group knelt silently patient before her arrival. Malice properly settled herself upon her suspended throne of black diamonds, constructed straight from a composited source, and lifted from the base thus hovering in place. She sat with eyes gazing down on the kneeling individuals clad in black body suits, faces covered in this skintight material, and eyes covered in dense black lenses. Black metal headbands engraved with the clan insignia adorned their foreheads, representing their allegiance to the Shadow Clan.
They are Shadow Scouts, pure stealth forces serving only one purpose, to gather information for the queen throughout Shadow Realm. They may appear to be unarmed, but with the power of shadow craft at their disposal, they are able to call forth their weapons if their mission calls for it. Nuzu and Shileiza stood on both sides of Malice, eyes facing the scouts. One of the scouts, a male, knelt further in front from the rest. He wore a black cloak over his dark attire, being the leader of the group. He commanded the present unit of shadow scouts that have been surveying the south mountain ranges of Shadow Realm. What they discovered only brought more problems for the queen to sort out.
“Lady Malice of Dark Gear, we have arrived with news from the southern reaches of Shadow Realm,” the man said. “The Deep Fang have taken the mist clan hostage in Onyx Canyon.”
Malice raised her head a bit in concern. Her hands rested along the throne, though soon those fingers of hers gently tapped along the cool solid black armrest once the cloaked scout spoke about the mist clan, her inner thoughts swirling. The Corrupted were not the only ones making activity in Shadow Realm. The Deep Fang have also been terrorizing the innocent.
“Further encounter spots the elder Gerodima Odin is within that group, they remain unharmed, but they could be preparing to be taken into the Deep Fang compound,” the man said lastly.
Malice’s features showed worry, as her fingers stopped their gentle beat. She was surprised at Gerodima’s presence so close, not even thinking on Gerodima in that group. There was more than one mist clan, and all of them originated from Murkshroud. She remembered Gerodima well, a slender light skinned male of gray shimmering hair and misty gray eyes. Always puffing on a jewel designed pipe as well as telling stories to her when she was just a youngling. Gerodima was the only one who spent time with her and her mother when her father was away on chaos and conquest. When Jinovia passed, Gerodima was all that remained besides Nuzu and Shileiza. Gerodima here in Dark Gear only meant that he was more than likely to be traveling towards the citadel.
“Gerodima…is near?” Malice said in a soft but stunned tone.
“The Deep Fang we have seen with the mist clan appeared to be a straying group. When we arrived unseen, they were standing watch surrounding the captives. It is certain that they have sent for a caravan to return and pick up the mist people,” the commanding scout said lastly.
Malice did not panic, however she was anxious to see Gerodima once again. There was a sense of discomfort that waivered within her, for the old friend was now in the clutches of the primitive Deep Fang. They are merciless savages that once had a large commune in the untouched planes of Dark Gear. They fled their once claimed land thus forced into the darkness by Darkerage and his crucial ways. When Darkerage vanished, the Deep Fang returned to their once claimed territory. Gerodima must not go there. This was something to take care of fast. The Deep Fang were all ways an archaic and surly bunch. Gerodima and his traveling group will either be enslaved, or killed if she did not act immediately. Malice lowered her head with dazzling eyes slowly closing. This was not one of her easiest of days, but she had what she believed were easy solutions to the problems at hand.
“Shileiza…keep progress in the situation of the corrupt for me. Nuzu, contact the Shadow Rogues and lead them into the south to retrieve Gerodima,” Malice softly demanded.
Both maidens nodded without a word, immediately leaving their queen’s side to take care of their orders. The shadow rogues will leave with Nuzu to Onyx Canyon, while Shileiza checks in with the scouts and their current objective. Malice noticed that the scouts from the east have yet to return, which bothered her. When things were taking too long, she saw this as a bad sign.
“Rise, shadow scouts, you are dismissed,” Malice said as she ordered the scouts.
The scouts rose to their feet, bowing to Malice respectively. They then disappeared in a cloud of black mist. Malice was swimming in her thoughts. She felt her long times of solace ending. It was times like these when she usually remained in her chambers studying or spending time honing her skills in the dark magi and the mysterious shadow force. Old forces once threatening in the past were making a comeback, gradually shattering the calm atmosphere that took years to create. The corrupted were making a ruckus to the east as the Deep Fang were causing trouble in the south. Sending the rogues into the east to dispose of Deep Fang was necessary. Gerodima was a cherished friend of hers. After all these years, he was still alive and well. As for the Corrupted, the other band of scouts should be arriving shortly.
Deep within the mountains to the east, the corrupted were restless. There were of all kinds despicable and evil moving about. Flesh-rotting beast in rusted armor, some of imp descent while others were living skeletons, made up some of the corrupt. The majority of them were of goblin descent, the very first of the corrupted to roam Shadow Realm.
Loud noises of metal against stone echoed across the region. Billowing smoke clouds rising above them as dust and exploding rock debris took to the air. The corrupted were working without respite, mining deep in the mountains only to emerge with wheel barrels of raw black iron ore. The mountain was a mining site and a weapon assembly line all in one. Black iron crafted into many weapons and armor for use by the corrupted.
The corrupted were so busy that they failed to realize that they were under complete scrutiny by the shadow scouts, who have been watching everything from an undisclosed location within the mountains. The corrupted were not so bright, for they failed to have any form of security surrounding the mining site. Even if a guard existed around their location, they would not have detected their intruders due to their lack of magi.
From their positions, completely one with the thick shadows, they had a complete view of their activity. To their observations however, they noticed one particular individual strolling leisurely through the mass. It was a female, slender and curvaceously formed. Clad in bone armor from head to toe, covering most of her white as ash skin. Glowing vividly through the beastly horned skull helmet were emerald green eyes. Her hair was curly, long, and red as the blood that flowed through her veins. What the scouts saw aside from her physical features was the deathly aura that showed itself as a colorless heat wave all around her.
She is Esesael of the Wicked, a nether elf from the Damned. Her kind is native to the Netherealm, another plane of existence unreachable through normal circumstances. Esesael is an exception, for she has betrayed her kind, turning her allegiance to a powerful force that dwells in Wrath, the heart of the Damned. This force is no other than Hellion, queen of the Damned. The Shadow Scouts are aware of this Esesael and her allegiance to Damned Queen and her diverse and merciless legion of terrifying monstrosities. The scouts were not pleased at what they saw, and even more displeased at what came next.
Rising from the smoke of the lower caverns, a colossal built muscular male of dark brown skin towered over the shorter minions. Colorless white stood out in an eerie glow from his rough face, with a distinct scar curving about his angular jaw on the right side. He wore darker bone armor, darker than Esesael’s. He held a huge mallet along his shoulder blazing a noticeable dark aura. The man was no stranger to chaos, baring old battle scars marking his exposed and pallid marked flesh.
This hulking mass was a dangerous adversary of the realm. The scouts knew this huge man to be Crucial the Tank of Hell. Many came before him sharing his name. It was an honor upheld by his huge and bulky kind for him to carry on such. Crucial was not a force to tackle with, as many experienced a not so pretty conclusion when facing him. He was a gigantos, hulk sized people from Giants Dominion northwest of Dark Gear. They are the much larger cousins of the Deep Fang, although they detest one another.
The large man approached Esesael with a menacing grin across his lips stretching his huge hands out clenching it into a fist, popping bones in relief. Eyes of his could not help but lust at the rear part of Esesael. Who was very enticing to him since the moment he met her. He never has seen a nether elf before, hearing about them only from the lips of his elder gigantos brethren. She was everything they described her to be.
“The corrupted are working feverishly. Their armory grows,” said Crucial still amazed at how a horde like this despite their efforts in the past manages to maintain the will to oppose a kingdom that demolished them. All the while, his eyes rested on Esesael. He could not help but be captivated by Esesael’s round and plumped rear end. His mind was fixed on all the possibilities he could engage in if he gotten his grubby hands on her.
“This will be a sight to see, they hardly look fit to fight…the shadow knights will destroy them without strain!” Crucial barked in a brief shout of laughter. Having broken away from the trance Esesael’s backside placed him in. “Once the power of magi takes hold of them, they just may stand a chance.”
“The corrupted are only the beginning of what is to come,” said Esesael observing the corrupt as she responded to Crucial.
“Their thirst for revenge is what drives them. My queen wants an army already stationed here in Shadow Realm. What a good choice in choosing an army already enemies to the Shadow Realm ruler.”
Esesael was following orders. Hellion assigned her to venture into the Shadow Realm and manipulate the realm’s enemies. It was an easy deed done well, for she has awakened an old grudge within the corrupted. Crucial was another asset, chosen by Hellion and sought after by Esesael. Rallying every enemy was just the first phase.
“This will be quite entertaining. I’ve only heard of the corrupt and their previous motion against the kingdom,” said the deep raspy toned Crucial, licking his chapped lips as he marveled at Esesael once more, rubbing his chin. Esesael had stopped her saunter as she observed the workers, causing Crucial to halt without warning behind her in a short distance. If the giant man stumbled and lost his footing, he would have crashed into Esesael, maybe even crush the nether elf underneath his bulky form.
“The Corrupted are working within their will if you have not already noticed,” Esesael said. “Lady Hellion has uplifted her hold upon them, and so their wishes to take down the ones responsible for their leader’s demise never dwindled through the times.”
Esesael was educated in Shadow Realm’s history. During the rallying of the Corrupted by Hellion’s will, Esesael became aware of Darkerage as he banished the Corrupted after throwing their leader out of commission. The powerful shadow king killed off a great deal, causing them to escape into the darkness. It was then Hellion’s ways found them after a desperate call to forces unknown. She cradled them into the Damned, where they grew in numbers, waiting to make a comeback. Some kept their place in the Damned, others returned hungry for revenge. Hellion aimed to keep their numbers from deteriorating until the time came for them to rise again, giving them another chance to succeed where they once failed. With Hellion’s influence, perhaps they sense that this time victory will be in their favor. Aside from the corrupted’s path of vengeance, Esesael knew something else that the Corrupted did not. Not even Crucial knew the true intentions that her queen had. The thought of it made the bone wearing nether elf giggle.
“Your service to Hellion is greatly appreciated. My queen is pleased,” Esesael said, sparking a smile and chuckle from within Crucial’s thick throat.
Eyes and ears took in what was going on within the shadows of the mountains; the scouts’ mission was complete. What they discovered was more than enough. When the scouts prepared their departure, they were restricted from leaving. Something was holding them in place. Perhaps that spine tingling sensation served a further purpose than just alarming, for it paralyzed the scouts entirely.
Above them did the sky form clouds of darkness, followed by a strong hissing sound mixed with the strong winds blowing in. The spine-chilling sound resonated through the mountains, breaking progress of the corrupted. The thick billowing clouds would flash red, thunder boomed and crackled inside. In its wake, crimson bolts of lightning ripped through the fluffy haze of darkness. Something was coming, and the scouts were unable to evade. The clouds will split open revealing a crying red eye, drizzling red across the mountains. It was raining blood.
“Hellion…” was all Esesael could say once she lifted her gaze to the fiery skies. She dropped to her knees, as her queen made a brief appearance. Crucial stood tall and gigantic as he wiped his face smearing blood, gazing into the red eye that brought forth a gory downpour. It now blazed a crimson aura as it loomed over the area. It then became clear to Esesael as an area nearby in the mountains was exposed. The darkness faded, revealing all five shadow scouts petrified.
“You have seen enough my dears,“ A womanly whisper was heard thus with a quick strike of red lightening came an explosion on impact brought forth by Hellion’s intense and striking power meeting earth.
The great blast sends that area crashing into nothing more but rubble. The paralyzing hold on the scouts wore off, which was but a small relief, for the attack was too quick for them to make flee. The scouts were not that fast to evade and escape the blast. Not even a shriek of pain left their lips. The assault was quick, and painless. Crucial and Esesael, somewhat a little startled from the sudden attack, as well as the Corrupted, watched the whole thing, thus could not believe they themselves have not noticed their enemy beforehand. This did not sit well with Hellion, who had but a few more moments before her seeing eye spell disperses.
“You bumbling fool! Your careless acts have ignored the dogs of Malice, who have been watching everything!” The queen’s voice reverberated, causing the ground to tremble beneath their feet.
“Their enemies have been among you all the while, and your errors would have brought the Corrupt to a future disadvantage! I did not set them free, just to be slaughtered once again!”
Crucial frowned while rubbing the back of his head with a free hand of his while Esesael scowled at her own failure. What if the scouts did manage to return to Dark Gear with what they seen just now? Who said that a massive group of corrupted could go undetected in the first place?
There are ways however, that the shadows alone could be tapped into, smoking out anyone of prying intentions. Hellion had that ability, as her power was greater than Esesael’s. The fact she is incapable doing such a move has placed her at a disadvantage. Hellion had to sacrifice a great deal of her power to open up a temporal rift just to check on her subordinates. To discover that her underlings are being foolhardy was more disappointing.
“I am sorry Lady Hellion, my apologies are sincere. I was careless.” She lowered her head in self-pity and disappointment. It was all she could do in hopes to return to Hellion’s good graces.
“Fail me again and I shall end you quick,” the womanly voice said with promise. Esesael knew the queen will not hesitate to take her life, but she also knew she needed her. The flaming red eye faded into the clouds as the red rain ceased, and the dark billowing clouds disappeared. The night was once again clear of disturbance, as if nothing ever happened.
Crucial looked down to Esesael who was still kneeling with head down. “So we been peeked upon by the Dark gearians, sneaky curs…I ache to soon smash’em under my mallet.” His voice rumbled in his throat with a deep dark chuckle. Crucial knew the dark gearians well enough to hate them with a passion. “They tricky sort, but get passed their shadowy mettle and it is open season.”
The grimy gigantos spoke with some experience. His people have fallen before the former king of Dark Gear in the past. He wishes for the day to redeem his people and their loss. While he fantasized about crushing Malice, Esesael remained kneeled. Her bone covered face full of anger.
South of Dark Gear, absent from the majority of civilization, lies the peaceful Dark Wilderness. Further through the forests brings the tropic gorge of Shadow Vale, and in the far distance, the Southern Mountains, where Onyx Canyon rested. The canyon was the last location of the mist clan. They were still there, unfortunately. Draped in soft whites and baby blue garments, the light-skinned people of Murkshroud were a peace-loving race. They had thick wooly white hair, with cloudy grey eyes to match. They were all huddled close in fear, intimidated by the savaged born Deep Fang. They were armed. Clad in the blood red bones of their slain victims. Completing their tall, burly, and menacing display was their obsidian black skin, and piercing light brown and red eyes.
They were all men. Their faces clean of hair, their heads smooth. The ones standing guard around the mist clan were the biggest, chiseled men of fur loincloths with matching animal skin boots warming their huge feet. They held swords made of bone, jagged along the edges like that of teeth. They were utilizing the teeth and bones of the slaughtered, wearing them like jewelry. The wandering ones held staffs in hand, shrunken heads on their ends that glowed blue, filling the eye sockets. Shamans of Deep Fang, the more fortunate of the Deep Fang, blessed with dark magi.
The mist clan had not a clue to what was going on. They were traveling down the main road heading towards Fort Lojos when the Deep Fang shamans attacked them from the mountains. Ambushed, they were unable to use their mist abilities to evade and flee their attackers.
Sitting with the panic-stricken bunch was the peaceful elder Gerodima. The old mist man sat with his smoking pipe between lips, letting free the only form of mist that drifted in thin streams in the middle of the group. Time has passed on him greatly as his features were old and frail. He was resting his eyes, ends of his brows hanging long, meeting the length of his snowy white silk beard, being the only hair he had on him. His cranium covered in grayish blue tattoos.
Without a doubt, Gerodima has surpassed his primes. The clan was expecting him to ascend at one point, but he has even surpassed that. Feeling the need to depart from Murkshroud once more, he and his traveling companions have crossed the foggy waters of Murkshallow with one destination, Dark Gear. Now he and his people are in captivity. Gerodima was nonchalant through it all, as if they were just making a pit stop. Sitting with back gently against him, and staying as close as she could to the old man was the female Sol, his caretaker. Holding on to her long white locks, she was lost in thoughts she believed would be her last. She thought of her home, her people who stayed behind, and the unflappable Gerodima behind her. The thoughts swirled inside her head, possibly keeping her from panicking. She did not look at her unruly captors; rather listen with pointy ears instead.
One of the savages of Deep Fang patrolled further out of the area of the encampment. His bone armor held old cloth snared about it blowing in the gentle breeze. Stalking along rock harden earth with honed blade in hand and spear on back, he stared straight into the distance of Shadow Vale. The night was silent, too silent. A silence that was the last thing he will ever hear.
It happened too fast for him to notice, the pain already taking its course, and quite excruciating as his black face went into a total blood curdling shock. Red mixed brown eyes showing more white than usual, as they almost pop out of his skull.
The oblivious savage was gone before he realized his own doom. His head would lower as the rest of his upper form came sliding off the lower half. His body split in two as torso fell to the ground, legs landed to knees, falling over with a sickening thud. Behind the severed and deteriorating carcass that was, stood a sword posed black armored male with cloak swirling wildly behind. His hood covered most of his black helmet, which concealed his face entirely. He wore black armor covering much of the back, chest, arms, shoulders, and legs. Layering the skintight material it wore, outlining firm abs. He stood up straight, turning around to stare down at the mutilated remains of his foe, twirling his blade swiftly in hand before dashing off in an incredible speed, bringing him to be only a black blur. In seconds, a flurry of the same blurring images came storming passed. The shadow rogues of Dark Gear have arrived.
The Deep Fang did not see it coming. The rogues had appeared and swarmed the area before they knew it. The rogues were outnumbered, Nuzu lead five rogues into a camp full of Deep Fang brutes. Regardless of their numbers, they still had the upper hand. They had the darkness, using it against their foes as they dived in and out of the shadows fluently. The small group of shamans sensed the coming threat and vanished like ghosts into the night, concealing themselves in a spirit veil, an invisible blanket of dark magi that shrouded their appearance. This alerted the entire camp, bringing the beastly men to prepare themselves, but it was not enough.
Two of the rogues had launched out of the shadows and into the air, with their eyes on the area below full of startled screaming savages. From their hands launched spheres of darkness that hit the ground like explosives, sending two helplessly into the air suddenly sliced into pieces.
A few tried to attack head on, but the rogues were expecting it the whole while. The moment those bone blades of theirs came to swing; the rogues vanished in a sudden burst of darkness. In came the shadows from underneath their target’s feet, taking them by surprise, throwing them into the air where the rogues reappeared with armored feet kicking them in juggling blows, then hacked to death. Their severed bodies quickly turned to black ash, burning darkness that ate away at their bodies. The final touch delivered by the black magi blades the rogues wielded, leaving no blood spilt.
The much bigger men that guarded the frightened mist clan had no choice but to defend themselves. As they stormed their way into battle, they quickly found themselves falling apart in agonizing dismay as ligaments were hacked and slashed. Not even the brawny men of the Deep Fang stood a chance. They too faded away in a black ash. The moment they fell, a black globe was casted over the mist people, Nuzu’s spell shielding them from conflict. She appeared in the midst of the ambush, turning her head as she sensed magi not of her own or the rogues.
The shamans were becoming a bit of a pest. The rogues counted nine of the Deep Fang present. The shamans must have disappeared the moment they sensed the rogues then reappearing an instant their men had fallen, unleashing their spiritual abilities as quickly as possible. The forces of the undead began to appear, slain clansmen, plus a few more ghastly creatures that spewed out of their shrunken skull staffs to aid. The blue wraith like minions attacked the rogues without hesitation, washing over them like a blue plague, anxious to seep into their armor and burn their flesh, if not possess their targets naturally.
Nuzu knew of this form of dark magi, she was not looking forward to a loss of men on her side. She twirled her staff, bringing the end to a slamming halt. She had summoned a spell during the spin of her weapon, bringing forth a blazing display of orbiting runes and spinning magi discs that revolved around her form. Nuzu aimed her staff at the shamans, unleashing a wave of expanding dark energy that rushed over them like a black blanket. Trapping and melding into their bodies. Shaking violently and in a shriek of pain the shamans melted in place. Their dark spirits dispelled upon their defeat.
Another shaman came out of hiding, letting loose a much bigger azure wraith with burning black eyes. Howling mouth revealed sharp rows of teeth in one horrific scowl. It was coming straight after Nuzu, preparing another attack. She was close to too late. His back was turned, the shaman should have known better. From above, another rogue came twirling straight down in a blind speed with blades falling upon the shaman’s bare black shoulders. It was a clean cut, separating arms from torso without a trace of blood to dribble. The unsuspecting shaman shrieked, yelling to the top of his lungs. It was enough to annoy the rogue, who reached up with hands free of his now deteriorated swords to silence his foe, snapping his neck an instant.
The mist people were unable to see what was going on, but they could hear the sounds of blades and the screams of their captives loud and clear. They were still in a panic, even more startled when the loud howls of the wraiths made their appearance. It all ended however, the sounds of chaos ceased to exist. The black dome that shielded them from harm suddenly disappeared, and before them were Nuzu and shadow rogues, and the dark burning lavender ashes of the Deep Fang fading away into the air.
“So…what took you people so long to get here? Keeping an old man waiting is very rude,” said Gerodima. He expected them to have arrived sooner.
It was not hard for Nuzu to spot Gerodima in the crowd of frightened people. They all stood up, easing their scared selves as the worst of their troubles has ended. Sol helped Gerodima to his feet, leading him through the group to appear before Nuzu and the rogues. It has been awhile since Nuzu has seen the old man. Surprisingly to her, he still lived.
There was only one thing left to take care of, or so Malice thought. With Deep Fang taken care of, all that remained was the corrupted in the east. She knew they most likely have grown in numbers, but she was unsure as to what they were doing. It bothered her in a way; they were old enemies after all. They appeared to be hard to get rid of, like stubborn vermin. Kneeling before the black statue of her father, she began to contemplate on what has occurred, looking for answers from her own memories. As Malice remained silent in this intricate memorial chamber, something was taking place outside in the court. A burst of dark energy exploded in thin air within the center of court spreading out numerous people in a panic. There was a body tossed out of that black burst of energy.
It was a shadow scout, staggering to his feet in a battered mess. It was the scout from the mountains, having survived Hellion’s wrath. It was not long until Malice came rushing out of the memorial chamber with Shileiza and several others who came for her when the commotion took place. Malice was unmoved by what she saw. It was what she expected, but she never lost her that serene air about her. The badly injured and worn out scout who fell to one knee the moment he saw her. All around her was other people, talking low to one another as they watched. This has never happened before. Malice knelt down in front of the man, gently settling one hand along his shoulder.
“What is your name…?” Malice asked of the struggling scout.
“I am Oritu Juniss of Dark Gear…Lady Malice Khan,” he replied in a weaken tone.
“Your assumptions are true, the corrupted plan to wage war against Dark Gear and are working under the will of Hellion. They are mining in the mountains, using the black iron to make their weapons…” Oritu’s voice was too weak to finish, falling over to point Malice had to keep him from slumping over and onto the floor. When it appeared the scout has gone unconscious, Malice laid him down onto his back, with a soft delicate hand placed along his neck, checking his pulse. Fortunate enough, Oritu was still alive.
The entire court filled with gasps and mumbles. A scout has returned with news on the corrupted and their endeavors in the mountains. The thought of Hellion playing a hand in this did not sit well. A possible war against the queen was even worse. Malice disrobed the scout’s facemask, pulling it off to reveal his smooth brown toned face. The scout was young, but a man nonetheless.
“Send him to the recovery chambers immediately. I want him in best condition to tell me everything that has happened at the mountains as quick as possible,” said the rising Malice with calm words ordering the guards. They immediately lifted up the fallen scout, taking him to the recovery chambers. Two lower class maidens accompanied the guards, for Oritu was in need of treatment that the maidens healing magi possessed. It was going to be some time worth passed until the civilians of dark gear are steady going again. Malice had no choice but to take warning of this scout’s words. It was what she feared after all.
“It was so sudden my queen”, Shileiza’s hands slid along her forearms and cuffed her elbows as she explained what she had learned. Malice ordered Shileiza to look into the progress of the scouts. What she found was only vague images, too difficult to make out even with her magi.
“The imagery was exigent. I was unable to clearly gaze into the mountains. My magi are blocked by something else. There was one thing that had me confused, what was hindering my sight was unsteady. By the time it wore off, I was unable to see anything. Whatever it was, it was fighting to keep stable,” said Shileiza.
“The man spoke of the corrupt planning to attack, and Hellion was involved. Interesting on how Hellion is able to pry into Shadow Realm,” Malice replied. “She is still unable to actually cross over. Something is going on, and I aim to find out just what it is.”