By Alicia Steen, Nathan Steen, and Lynae Steen
General Tetze. Crystal Falls: Dark Moon, Jeshrun.
Still at the Crystal Falls, enough reports have come in for General Tetze to form an accurate assessment of the battlefields in Dark Moon. Lords Vytria, Cyran, and Kyle have done well to repel shadow in Dark Moon’s western and southern regions. Along the western cliffs, phoenix and wolves brought from RedStone are swiftly eliminating any stragglers left by the leviathn. Shadow has retreated from the waters of Blue Soul, revealing the first glimpse of early twilit dawn.
A dawn that Fortress Dark Courage may never see. Shadow is too thick in northern Dark Moon for early light to penetrate. Lords Erianna, Mykai, and Erelynn are fighting well, but the defenses of the fortress may not hold. Lord Synrn is gathering those warriors who still hold weapons at the Phoenix Tower, but those reinforcements may be too little, too late.
Four Lords are still unaccounted for, as well as the unknown Lord that makes their number twelve. Synrn insists that Lord Parkr will reveal himself right when he is needed, and as for Lords Jeske and Sranus, Jeshrun is a very big place.
The last anyone saw of Lord Ecalai, he vanished into the Northern Forest. He must still be alive, but he could be anywhere in Dark Moon’s northern battlefields. Erianna and Mykai still await his return at Dark Courage.
Erianna. Fortress Dark Courage: Dark Moon, Jeshrun.
“My, my, such wanton destruction,” a sickeningly low and sweet voice steps out from on a grapple hook. “You should not use such reckless magic when you could use something better.” A hand very light, almost fair but slightly more decayed with age raises a fan just under gleaming yellow eyes. The shadow general holds her other hand palm up midair as if about to grasp the air.
I clench my fist as steam rises from within me then I force myself to relax. I have no time to argue with shadow generals over what I know to be true. The Ancient of Days gave me this magic, and I will not throw it away for something less.
I split my swords into several daggers and toss them to where the serid and fox are fighting shadows next to a grappler. A few daggers bounce off the serid scales causing the sonic attack I attached to the daggers to increase in range. The fox crouches just as a few daggers fly over its head.
My magic catches something my ears can’t. I sidestep to the side and twist my body just in time to miss being hit by the brownish yellow fan flying my way.
“Pathetic,” her sickly sweet voice taunts.
A hard force slams into my chest, throwing me off balance. I manage to catch myself on the stone fortress floor.
The dark wizard general catches her fan in hand, taking a few steps toward me. I look up. There is a light sound little ahead of me to the right. The serid is biting the knee of a shadow while my fox is poising to strike at the head. I release a sonic attack at the dark wizard’s sickly ice lance that she is now holding in her left hand. Dark energy is released. The weapon holds together.
A shadow slices my left shoulder. I turn my head to the left, summoning my swords.
A poisonous ice freezes the wooden shards mid-track.
This is bad. At this rate I will never get to the northern tower.
Flashes of a burning city enter unbidden into my mind. I stiffen. That cannot happen. Not again. Not now. Not here. I can’t let Fortress Dark Courage fall.
Am I already too late?
I wish Ecalai were here.
Ecalai. Dark Moon, Jeshrun.
As Ecalai makes his way across the battlefield that Dark Moon has become, his anger burns hot within him. He is angry at the shadow for bringing death and destruction everywhere it went. He is angry at his own inability to save Jeshrun from it. Most of all, he is angry at whatever or whomever is responsible for bringing shadow here in the first place. As he picks his way through blackened stone, Ecalai resolves to set this right if it is the last thing he ever does.
A massive streak of lightning lights up the dark sky, followed by a resounding crash of thunder. In the brief moment of light, Ecalai thinks he glimpses the figure of a shadow dragon. There is something strange about the silhouette. Rather than gliding through the clouds, the shadow dragon appeared to be struggling desperately to maintain flight. It is hard to be sure, though, in the darkness of this starless night.
Ecalai studies the skies the glimpse a better view of the tense battle he can hear raging above. The thunder and shrieks are of no mere storm. As lightning continues to flash through the clouds of shadow, what he sees astounds him. Scores of shadow dragons, possibly one or two hundred, fly above Dark Moon, unleashing their fury. The shadow, though, is dropping them from the sky as it attacks them one by one. Thunder constantly roars a lightning strikes the shadow dragons, sending them crashing to ground in infernos of flame. The few shadow dragons that make it to the ground alive are swiftly torn apart by shadow creatures.
Something else draws Ecalai’s eyes. In front of him the clouds of shadow meet a low hill. Ecalai approaches with staff in hand. As he walks closer he notices the figure of a man on top the hill in the midst of the slowly swirling clouds. Ecalai recognizes him, though he has never met him personally. It is Mykl of the three princes of Gathyra.
Erianna. Fortress Dark Courage: Dark Moon, Jeshrun.
I can’t quit now. I can’t let another city fall.
Soft fur rubs my right arm as I get ready to stand. Glowing, piercing blue eyes gaze into mine, silent yet strong. I remember now. I have been starting to forget. I exhale, slightly unaware of the lance that just shattered in a thousand ice fragments while flying toward me.
My home Nagaster didn’t fall for no reason.
I stand up and sense the purple serid’s growls from the fight moving closer to me. My fox hurls himself at a shadow like a jet stream in the air.
My city fell because the people were ignorant.
I swing to the left away from the thousand ice shards flying my way. Reaching out with my hand I summon my swords again.
They were ignorant of growing shadow.
I release a sonic attack ahead of me a little to the left, knocking shadows off the wall. Sound waves bounce of serid scales and are frozen right in front of the dark wizard general.
And they ignored Him who defeats it.
I risk a glance at the purple serid, uncertain whether or not the magical creature would understand what I want.
I think he got the message. Blueish purple serid light zips to my shoulder, and engulfs my entire body. I reach out to pick up my one-and-a-half foot-length tall fox just as the serid darts northward. Since I’m prepared for it this time, I can use the magical energy from the light to shatter all shadow within a radius. The dark wizard falls to the ground.