Prologue: Time of Troubles. (The Sword Summoner: History Repeats)

At the dawn of the fourth era of man, three cities were built in the land of Farava. To the southeast was Onlasar, carved into the very rock of the Endii Mountains near to the vast southern sea of Verinadia. It was the oldest of the three cities and was known as the shield of the East. Established during the Klade wars, it had been converted to defend the eastern lands from the vicious barbarians who ravaged the rocky landscape and raided the windy coast.

In the northwest, only a few leagues east from the ruins of the Old Kingdom’s once sprawling capital, was Lanstiro. It was the most fortified of the cities, constructed to stop the monstrous creatures known as Forukks that roamed in the far west from escaping their shadowy realm of Miankkuth. It had been built in celebration of victory over the Klades. The Old Kingdom had been shattered, but humanity had survived. Lanstiro’s strong walls and stronger warriors were the mighty sword of Farava’s people.

The final city was Pastrino. It was built in the centre of Farava and was the most pleasant of the three cities. No threats were able to bypass Onlasar or Lanstiro, so its people were peaceful and naïve as to what occurred beyond their city’s vast white walls. Dense forests as ancient as the world itself boarded its northern boundaries while the sun parched Amion desert separated it from Onlasarian lands. Steep cliffs that led to the lower steps of the country partitioned Pastrino from the outer confines of Lanstiro. 

The foul creatures of the west were eventually beaten down, forced to stay in their own twisted domain by the powerful warriors of Lanstiro. Confident in their victory, the Lanstirians failed to be prepared when the Forukks amassed once more and laid siege to the battle hardened city. Lanstiro’s contact with the other cities ceased.

Onlasar sent its finest scouts to investigate, but they never returned. Then in the snowy winter, while harsh blizzards ravaged the land and visibility was poor, Pastrino was attacked by the demonic Forukks and warped human savages from the shadowlands. They fought bravely, but they were no warriors, and after two days of battle, few men remained. In what looked to be the last stand, the few surviving defenders fortified the city’s bell tower and made ready for the next wave of invaders. 

Before the enemies reached the tower, a lone man appeared to face the horde. He had no weapons or armour of any kind. A blinding sapphire light flooded the blood soaked streets. The stranger now held in his hands a blazing blue sword with a lance like hilt that was embossed with jewels. He charged forwards and slashed. Screams echoed through the ruined city. A cloud of dust rose around them as azure energy ripped through the Forukk’s ranks like a ravishing wave. When it cleared, the barbarians and Forukks were dead.

After a council between the remaining people of Pastrino and representatives from Onlasar, the decision was made that the two cities should send their combined armies to Lanstiro to discover her fate.

Men from the outlying villages joined the gathering army in droves. Even the isolated warriors of the desert rallied to the call. It was the largest gathering of soldiers since the Old Kingdom had fallen. The assembled armies marched with all haste to the lost city. 

The once lush ground had taken the first steps toward becoming a barren wasteland. Trees that had formed vast forests had been felled, and a creeping fog rolled across the newly formed plains. As the army moved onward it encountered no signs of life. Unable to hunt, food became scarce. Finally, they crested a high hill that revealed structures on the horizon. 

The fortress city was bigger than ever. Its walls were blackened and spikes lined every surface. Beaten metal covered the cold stone like armour. Newly constructed parapets and turrets formed a web of defences around the original structures.

The Faravian armies marched forward cautiously. The sky suddenly darkened, and for an instant, the allied soldiers thought it was rain. Many never thought again. Arrows punctured armour and flesh alike. The largest battle since the Klade War had begun.

Arrows rained down upon the allied armies as they desperately tried to force open the iron doors. They had expected to face the Forukks in revenge of their sister city, but instead had been betrayed. 

Siege crossbows fired and the bolts plunged into the stone of the city’s walls, leaving a rope line that could be climbed. The first of the allies reached the top of the fortress and were immersed into heavy combat. Bulky, leather skinned Forukks, and heavily armoured men in the red and black livery of Lanstiro, battled with the lighter armoured soldiers of the East. As more allies scaled the wall, Lanstirian bodies joined the litany of dead.

A bright light filled the area around the fortress like the dawning of a new day. In the middle of the battle stood the stranger, his glowing azure sword pulsing with life. He ran towards the wall and his sword became large near its hilt as it roared with a sudden violent energy that fired him up into the sky in a blaze of blue flame. As he came down he ripped into the enemies on the wall.

The stranger led the assault on the gate, killing all who stood in his way. The outer sections were quickly captured, but the city itself had also been fortified. Barricades had been erected in the streets while archers fired down at the attackers from boarded up windows. Pits, rockfalls and other such traps had been installed at every turn. 

The battle lasted hours and cost many lives, but with the stranger’s aid, the allies managed to push their way through the city’s gruesome defences, capturing the buildings in concentric rings as they forced themselves closer toward the centre. Finally, they managed to push through into the central castle, breaching the keep after a brutal assault.

In a bloody one on one battle between the stranger and the enemy leader, the traitorous monarch was killed and the turncoats were captured and executed. The remaining Forukks managed to retreat back into their own mysterious lands amidst the chaos. None dared to follow them into Miankkuth’s death filled shadow.

The victory felt hollow. The body count was high and the damage to Farava as a whole was unimaginable. The very air within Lanstiro seemed to corrupt the mind, turning friend against friend. To counter this, much of the city was destroyed, while the rest was abandoned to the merciless hands of time. 

Despite this victory, Forukk assaults continued against the humans’ defences as the years passed by. Many farms and villages were wiped from the maps. In an attempt to bring about true peace for the land, the stranger set off alone into Miankkuth to put a stop to the attacks once and for all. The corrosive fog that marked that land had now consumed the ruined fortress of Lanstiro, vastly expanding the monsters’ domain. Forukk sightings ended, but never again was the sword-summoning stranger seen by human eyes. All memories of him faded with the many generations that passed peacefully by, as did the memories of the Forukks, and of the battle itself.

But history has a way of repeating itself and old enemies never lie still forever. Peace makes men grow weak while hatred lets others grow strong…

Next – Chapter 1. Another Day.

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