Chapter 3:

Vol 1: Ch 2: Rathnoria

Realms of Destiny

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“Striking on three…one…two…three!”Bookmark here

“HA!” the soldiers cried in unison in response to the voice of one man.Bookmark here

“Again!”Bookmark here

“HA!” Bookmark here

“Again!”Bookmark here

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Having been the head if the Rathnorian Imperial Guards for over 100 years Prince Flaros is respected and feared by all his subordinates. Though training them all personally is only his part-time job, no demon in his right mind would betray any sign of weakness or even lack in discipline in his presence.Bookmark here

What then does he do in his full time? Flaros Zephyren is by far the most efficient and powerful Rathnor of Destruction the Rathnorians have ever had in thousands of years. Entering various Realms, Rathnors of Destruction would ensure that tragedy happen when and where it should. Entering and leaving realms like shadows, they would bring with them death, and in some cases, destruction to entire realms. With each successful mission, Rathnoria gains more minions from the souls of those who have died. However, Flaros himself have created a great weapon, or rather a skill which he alone could use. This skill, and the kingdom’s greatest weapon is the Trove of Souls. The Trove of Souls has no material form. It is Flaros’ method of collecting souls and spiritual residues, mixed with his Blood Magic ability and dark rune magic, was able to inscribe in blood the runes which would harness and collect such energy. With each passing year, Flaros’s success has brought about more strength and power to his realm, and now it is time to end this war with their eternal enemies once and for all. The Grand Design has blessed the demon world with the Shadow Prince, no Sylrillian will be able to stand against him. In this war, Rathnor will reign.Bookmark here

From a very young age, Flaros had been brought up to hate Sylrillians as much as he hated light itself. What heart he once had when he was a child, he lost it long ago. His blood red hair and crimson eyes betray no emotion. He was born to kill, to lead his people against the hosts of Sylrilia, and with that, his mother’s death wouldn’t have been in vain. It will not be long now, by his own hands will the enemy fall.
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As he moved from one unit to the next, Flaros was pleased to notice that all the fire and void demons were behaving as they should. These beings from the depths of hell have no master, and in the past, they burn and kill any who come in their way. It would take twenty Rathnorian soldiers to put one under magical binding, but with the methods derived from Flaros’s intellect and his power as a Shadow Prince, he was able to make them obey. Flaros himself had approached and bested the elemental king, putting all demon elementals under his control.Bookmark here

Next to the elemental demon units are the abyssalus, underworld beasts. Unlike the Sylrillian troops, the Rathnorian troops are dominated by beasts rather than Rathnorians themselves. The various mythical creatures range from black dragons, cerberis, behemoths, hydras to small creatures such as imps and gargoyles. The abyssalus have been trained and used for battle for thousands of years, and with the spirit residue derived from diminishing captured souls, the well-fed abyssalus have gained more strength.Bookmark here

As Flaros was about to make his slow round past the black dragons, there was a diffusion of dark matter behind him and a red demon messenger emerges from the darkness. Bookmark here

“Permission to report my prince”, said the demon, his head bowed in respect.Bookmark here

“What message do you have for me Diablos?”, asked the prince, his cold eyes remaining on his troops.Bookmark here

“The Demon Lord has requested your presence, your highness”. This Demon Lord, is no other than the King of Rathnoria himself, Flaros’s father. Bookmark here

So it is time then, Flare thought to himself. “Tell him I’ll be there after I do my final round”. His tone was final, and as important as the Demon Lord is, Diablos was born in service of his prince, and was in no position to comment. With that, he put his hand to his shoulder and with a slight bow, disappeared into the same dark matter which he arrived.Bookmark here

With the departure of Diablos, Flaros dismissed his guards. He will probably no longer be able to take his casual stroll around this massive army so he called forth his black wings and took off into the dark-red sky. Bookmark here

Completing his round of the abyssalus unit, the prince made his way quickly over the ground troops he initially inspected and onto the ghost warriors. Instead of enslaving and diminishing the souls captured from his missions. Flaros thought it more useful to recruit some of the best of these souls, including them as part of his troops. Fighting is a nature in all living and unliving beings and if there is one thing he learned from his various experiences of different Realms, is that there are good warriors wherever you go. Bookmark here

On their arrival, those who have in their life time been skilled fighters, will put through trials similar to those given to Rathnorian troops. If the souls pass the test, they will be offered a contract, and once they pledge their souls to these contracts, they will become ghost warriors of the army.Bookmark here

This approach of course, does not only concern fighters but also magicians and tacticians. The souls would get to keep their magical powers and in return become ghost magis and serve in the Rathnor army.Bookmark here

Unlike the spirits in Sylrillia the Rathnor ‘ghosts’ are recruited before they can materialize into existence. Hence, they do not possess any physical form. In Sylrillia, the spirit of the heroes are housed and cared for until they can find their own existence in this new realm. This often take months, but these spirits eventually gain a firm existence and become Sylrillians. The Rathnorians do not use this method, thus, all Rathnorians were born into their race, and all the captured souls have only two fate: to become a ghost, or diminished into spirit residue.Bookmark here

Following the ghosts, Flaros also flew over his ground troops and dragoons. The mounted cavalry on dragon backs saluted as he passed. The shadow prince nodded to himself as he went over each unit, and at last he had returned to where he started. He landed on the ground, focused his powers in a small beam and drew a straight horizontal line just longer than shoulder-width on the ground in front of him. He held out his hand as though miming a wall where he had just held his line. He muttered the word “Dark Portal” under his breath and a dragon’s skull rises from the ground up to about a foot over his head. The portal itself contains a swirl of many colours but as one would look at it properly, one would feel as though it is darkness that dominates that gateway and that darkness is slowly but surely drawing one’s soul inside. It is a dimension door which Flaros likes to use when travelling from one place to another. Once the portal has reached its height, before Flaros could step in, a familiar figure appeared three steps behind him. With a swish of the figure’s wings that in an instant turned into a black cape, the figure dropped down on one knee.Bookmark here

“Your Royal Highness.” Said the figure, white head bowed low, etiquette dictates that no one shall look royalty in the face without permission.Bookmark here

“What is it Commander Morgend?” He turned to face his second-in-command. “Be at ease, I can’t have my sister’s friend on her knees. How is your eye?” Bookmark here

Commander Morgend nodded her head and immediately looked Flaros in the eyes as she stood up. Lillyth Morgend is Flaros’ right hand, and had been since the Flaros took up position as the head of the Rathnor army. She had been fighting Sylrillians since before he was born. Without her demon wings, Lillyth is but a woman in an armor. It even looked odd. She has silvery, short, white hair and a violet eye, the other, which used to be bright red, she had lost taming elementals just a few days ago. “There is nothing to worry about my lord.”Bookmark here

“So what news do you have for me? I’ve got an appointment with the Demon Lord, I’d rather not have him wait.” He did not look impatient, or even angry, but everyone knows that the Demon Lord will not ‘wait’ for anyone, and even the prince could get in trouble on a bad day.Bookmark here

“Yes sir, this will be brief. Our spies tell us that the Ulnorians will be participating in tomorrow’s battle, I would like to know if there need be any formation change regarding this new information.” As she spoke she took careful note of Flaros’ reaction. The Rathnorians shun the Ulnorians for good reasons, and if it was not for the ultimate territorial advantage and impenetrable defense that they have, the Demonic host would have laid waste to the entire race long ago. She had expected fury but instead, he was smiling, murder in his eyes. She had never seen him smile before, and it made her uneasy.Bookmark here

“Now if this isn’t good news I don’t know what is. So they’ve come out of their little bubble have they?” Flaros is already lost in his own thoughts. The age long hate of his people he will be able to end himself. The Sylrillians and Ulnorians…this is almost too good to be true. “Do nothing, have them come.” Bookmark here

Flaros re-emerges outside the throne room. As he stepped out of the portal, the guards dropped to their knees and let the young prince into the Demon Lord’s chamber. Flaros walked down the hall up to his father and just a few paces before the throne itself gave a graceful swish of his cape and dropped to one knee.Bookmark here

“You wanted to see me my lord?” Flaros asked, his eyes on the ground.Bookmark here

“It is time”. Those three words seemed to resonate from every wall of the chamber, even in Flare’s head. “Will the army be ready by tomorrow?”Bookmark here

“Yes Lord, it is ready as we speak. The wrath of Rathnor will find its targets tomorrow. The Crown Princess will be avenged, and the war will finally end.” These words, Flare spoke without emotions. It was well known history that the Sylrillians have captured and killed the Rathnorian Crown Princess 500 years ago.Bookmark here

“Yes, it shall be done. With your powers, you shall overthrow the Sylrillian line and Celestia will be ruled by darkness. I am counting on you…” said the Lord, and as the prince rose to his feet, turned towards the double doors, the Demon King added “…my son”.Bookmark here

Without so much as a glance Prince Flaros Zephyren walked out of the throne room, his footsteps echoing through the cold dark halls which, although occupied by demonic guards, seem to be as empty and dead as Flaros’s own heart. Bookmark here

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