By Nathan Steen, Edited by Alicia Steen
Ecalai. Dark Moon, Jeshrun. Year After Shadow Two Thousand One Hundred. First Rise.
In the darkness where no eyes could see the Lord of Shadow beholds the battlefield of northern Dark Moon that is spread out before him. With a gloating smile Myzrath, for that is his name, revels at each strike the shadow creatures make as they press into Fortress Dark Courage. Of particular interest, however, is two men fighting on a hill some distance away. These humans, Ecalai and Mykl, are at the heart of the hurricane of clouded shadow covering the battlefield and with good reason. These men represent the heart of the conflict taking place here between dawn and shadow.
On one hand is Ecalai, the Cyess Lord. His magic blades are glowing hot and white from his intensity. His outright rage toward shadow is clearly expressed as he fights. He is like a champion of all the noble things men who dwell in the light hope to one day achieve. Yet even he, like the rest of them, is but a fool with a hopeless dream. For all their ambitions, humans like him are so small and easily manipulated. Ecalai is staring his own demise in the face, but will not know it until far too late. In his blindness he can’t even glimpse the Nephilim as they stalk him unnoticed in the thickening clouds of shadow around him.
On the other hand is Mykl, prince of Gathyra. He holds a presence like none other. He has even slain Lord Dragon and taken his power and position and the Commander of Shadow. Such are his abilities that he has already earned the right, and would soon claim, the title of Myzrath, along with all the power that comes with it. Myzrath smiles. The Ancient of Days had meant for Mykl to become one of the greatest warriors of the dawn, but Myzrath will turn him into one of the most feared servants of darkness the universe will ever know. Even the legends of Lord Dragon will pale in comparison to what Mykl will become.
The land trembles as the two warriors clash. Even the thunder is quiet when compared to the crashing blades of these two champions. Such is the power of their battle that even the creatures of shadow are careful to remain well clear of them. In the distance, however, unseen in the thickening shadow, Nephilim are gathering. Soon Mykl will call them forth and the trap around Ecalai will snap shut. The poor fool will never know what hit him.
Lightning flashes, and for an instant the sky is illuminated as bright as day. But Myzrath is no longer there to be seen. Concealed by darkness, he spreads his angelic wings and soars into the sky.
Growing darkness, thickening shadow, and clashing blades create the backdrop where Ecalai and Mykl fight as bitter enemies. It remains to be seen yet who will gain control of the battle, and thus whether dawn or shadow will prevail. Ecalai’s magic blades shine brightly in an attempt to cut through shadow. Mykl’s sword casts a dark light in answer. Neither of the combatants show any willingness to give up the fight, but as time passes fatigue begins to wear on Ecalai first.
“Don’t you see how futile your efforts are?” Mykl asks as Ecalai disengages from their clash to grab a moment’s breath. “Look at you. Your strength is leaving you with each passing second. If you are barely surviving now, how do you hope to stand against that which is still to come?”
Ecalai glares at Mykl but says nothing.
“I can see through your thoughts,” Mykl continues. “Your anger is all that is keeping you going, but it also blinds you to the inescapable reality of your own weakness.”
“You don’t know anything about me!” Ecalai at last responds. “You didn’t live what I lived. You have no right to say anything!”
“Ah yes, the incident at Nagaster. I can see how in your mind and memories you have used that excuse over and over again to justify yourself,” Mykl accuses. “As long as you are the victim any of your actions and motives are justified, correct? Too bad. The shadow finds you guilty just the same. Lie to yourself all you want, but you can’t escape the truth that all you have ever done has been for the sake of vengeance. Why else would you be here?”
“But that’s not… I couldn’t have…”
“You know I am right. I can see everything. Even now you doubt yourself.”
Ecalai pulls himself together. “You think I am going to believe you that easily?” he says while once again raising his blades. “Well, if you want to argue the point, then prove it!”
“So be it,” Mykl responds as he renews his attack on Ecalai. Mykl’s black sword pulses with energy, while the light in Ecalai’s blades begins to dim ever slightly.
Myzrath smiles as he looks down on the battlefield. Ecalai is beginning to falter. Already the doubts in his mind weaken in concentration and consequently affect his magic. Mykl is doing well. Soon Ecalai will fall into his trap and then the shadow’s work here will be complete.