Realms of Destiny
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On the morning of what will forever be known as the Great Battle the sun shone bright and the clouds were etched with golden lining. If the circumstances were any different anyone would consider this another beautiful day.
The Sylrillians, led by Miraina on her obsidian dragon Destiny, were the first to arrive at the battle field; King Menianos on his silver dragon, Twilight, riding at her side. This great span of rocky flat earth floats in limbo between the two realms. All the battles in the past between the two sides have been fought on this very spot. Just the thought of generations of war that have been fought, and of millions who have lost their lives on this dead landscape only serves to make her heart grow heavy.
This is actually Miraina’s first time on the Everguard Shield. As she looked across the rocky span she could see nothing but emptiness. The troops behind her, she could see, are as ready as they could be. Their morale are high because of her presence, and she wishes more than anything that the prophesy about her powers as the Princess of Light was true. If that were the case, she could quickly end the battle, severing the head of the Rathnor army so as to avoid as many deaths as possible.
For a short moment, the Sylrillian troops waited in silence, as the morning sun shone through the ranks, the rays reflected off the shining armors and silver scales of the dragons. The various Granadias in their pride and beauty raise their heads and spread their wings. Here stand the heavenly hosts in their greatest glory. The Sylrillian warriors and their white wings are by far the most beautiful host to behold than anyone could imagine. At the very front lines however, she could spot a familiar little dark-skinned form looking up at her with his bright amber eye. Byakuron on his winged white tiger gave her a wink with his one good eye, causing her to smile. She knows that he’s not a kid anymore, and he is definitely older and more experienced than he looked, but she couldn’t help but adore him like a little brother. As the sunlight glints off the skysteel armor of the soldiers and the Granadias, the sight is no less dazzling than a sea of skyfire diamonds. Among the mighty beasts, on his Royal Gryphon Aliost, sat Solarus in his full battle regalia.
He looks pretty even when he’s out to fight a war. Miraina thought to herself. He was not looking at her, but she could see his determined face. Knowing that she disliked war, he would try his best to end this as quickly as possible. As her own swords master, Miraina couldn’t help but feel glad that he is actually on her side. Surely, no one would be able to do anything to him, he’s the strongest person she knew in all the realms she’d been to.
Flying above the ground Granadias, Miraina could see the dragon army, led by Sephiron, one of her own Four Guardians. Sephiron, like Solarus, grew up with Miraina from a very young age. He was taken in by King Menianos as a child, his mother was the King’s tactician, a respectable Sylrill, while his father was an Ulnorian commander. Sephiron, unlike the other Sylrill warriors, stood out especially in the bright sky. This is because, like all Sylrills he has wings, but unlike them, his wings are covered, not in white feathers but in scales, like that of a dragon, in the colour of the sea. Sephiron is half Ulnorian, allowing him the ability of flight but there is Merepeople’s blood in him still, creating such an unusual wings that stands out like an oceanic shield in the light blue sky. She could see the iconic frown on his face, but she knew that he was as ready for this battle as Byakuron and couldn’t wait to go into battle with the people of his father, the Ulnorians. Can’t he not look like he woke up on the wrong side of bed for once? She thought as she smiled to herself.
Miraina scanned the back of the army for her remaining guardian Grantig. As a Magus he would be in charge of Magical Defence, chanting from the rear. There he is! She could see him chanting some long complicated spell and a light outline of runic circles around his target, the Granadias. He is enhancing their powers, and she couldn’t help but be amazed at how he could so easily use his magic on beings so far away as though there was as close to him as she was to Destiny. Miraina could see the magical light reflected on his glasses and his short blonde hair flying in the wind. Grantig and his party of Magi will be sure to bless everyone’s weapons and shields before they go into battle.
Despite the sheer number of this armed host, the morning was as silent as dawnbreak. To think that this beautiful sight and golden silence will be stained by blood and death throes, Miraina’s heart grew heavy indeed. With all her heart, she wished that the Rathnorians not turn up. A fool’s hope of course, with the chance equating to perhaps of lightning striking the same spot twice. Yet another, more rational, part of her wished that they would come quickly and get it over with.
As soon as that resolve crossed her mind the silence was broken by first a bubbling sound which later turned into one of a flush of a whirlpool. Not far to the east of her own army a column of water pillar emerged from the ground. The Ulnorians have finally arrived at the scene. A second pillar emerged followed by a third, fourth, and fifth. There was a splash and out of each pillar, a single Ulnorian wizard emerged. Without sparing a single second to look around, they faced one another and began chanting in their ancient tongue the army summoning spell. Blue and green rays of light ran from one column to another forming a giant pentacle.
The wizards continued in their chanting and as the volume increased, so did the size of the pillars. The five water cyclones eventually merged into one, growing more spherical in shape. The summoning spell now encompass a space as wide as half the Sylrillian army. When the chanting stopped, the water sphere continued to whirl for a while then with refreshing splash, the bubble bursts, the moisture diffusing with the air around, in its place, the Ulnorian army. Having exhausted their magic on this great summoning spell, the arch summoners of the Ulnorian army were escorted to their carriages where they can recuperate and perhaps join the battle once they feel well enough again.
At the centre of the circular formation of the troops, Prince Ultima sits astride Emerald his sea dragon which, despite its name, does not look as awkward out of water as one would suppose. The thin membrane covering its side fins split apart and a pair of dragon wings emerged. Miraina marveled at the beauty of the beast as she watched the wings spread wide. She suddenly noticed that its rider was looking at her. Astride Emerald’s back was a young prince with sea-blue hair that swirled as the waves, the long tail he had tied up swished in the wind as though it had a life of its own. His eyes are as green as Emerald’s scales and resemble those of the dragon as well, their gaze as piercing as the crystal spikes in the Ulnorian caves. As they made eye contact, Prince Ultima gave a slight bow which Miraina returned out of formality. They have only talked once during the courting ceremony and nothing particularly good came out of that encounter. Those piercing green eyes often made her uneasy and Ultima’s heart was as cold as the water in which he lived. His complexion radiated confidence, his tone of voice commanding, typical of a royalty. This engagement was purely political and as the only heir to the throne, she had no choice in the matter. He seemed to have taken a liking to her though, so she thought that in time things will be okay.
<Good morning my lady> said Ultima, telepathically to his betrothed <you look beautiful as ever>. He gave her a crooked grin which would have had women all over him where he came from, but had little or no effect over her. Her heart was too heavy with thoughts of war and death that she had no time to think of things like that.
<Might I remind you, your Royal Highness, that we are about to fight a war.> Miraina returned, trying to conceal her annoyance of the Prince who seemed to be taking this far too lightly.
<Well we’re gonna send them scampering back where they came from, then you can come over and have tea at my place, no?> He jested. <Those demons are foul, tricky and evil things, you should just blow them to kingdom come.>
Foul, tricky and evil huh? How’s that coming from the side that betrayed them in the first place? Rain thought to herself bitterly. <You shouldn’t -->
<Ah here they come!> He intercepted before she could finish her sentence and gestured with his eyes towards the direction the troops were facing. Miraina turned to look. Sure enough the Rathnorians have arrived. The beautiful morning suddenly turned grim. The air grew heavy and dark clouds began to form on the other side of the Shield. Within seconds, the ground under the clouds began to lose its solidity, becoming pools of dark red liquid. Demon hosts appeared from above and below, elementals, abyssaluses, ghost warriors, dragons, beasts, and behind them all in neat ranks, the Rathnorians themselves.
Both sides seemed to be equally surprised when they saw the other. The Rathnorians troops, all except Flaros and his commanders, did not expect the Ulnorians in this war, their presence was certainly unexpected. The intensity of Light on the opposing seemed to have been greater than they expected as well. Miraina’s presence was beginning to affect the lower-ranking Rathnor troops, however, they betrayed no emotions.
Despite this, the Sylrillians were equally taken aback at the sheer number of their opposition. Sky General Sephiron looked uneasily at the ghost warriors, while Captain Commander Solarus too eyed the elementals with a mixture of trouble and curiosity. The Sylrillian troops too, could feel the Shadow Prince’s presence, but the sight of the Princess of Light in their midst gave them hope.
Miraina scanned the demon horde for their leader, which she intended to defeat before having to kill the rest of the army, or rather, let them hurt her people. She immediately spotted a red-headed figure atop a bone dragon, unlike her, he was quite far in the back. The master with the whip, huh? She thought hands holding tightly to Destiny’s reins.
Once the Rathnorians had taken their places the Rathnor standard bearer raised their standards high signaling that they are ready, the Sylrillian counterpart did the same. With that, both kings dismounted and walked towards the center. From their standpoint, neither side could hear what was exchanged between the two kings, but they had a pretty clear idea of what was being said. After a short exchange, both kings turned and walked back towards their troops. They made a simple gesture. The Kings’ personal guards held up their war horns, and with that the battle began.
They fought with magic and steel, with light and shadows. The beasts of both sides entered into a melee of fangs and claws. Despite their commanders’ desperate attempts to keep order, the sheer number and bloodlust was too great that first the Rathnor troops broke rank, followed closely by the Allies who tried to defend against them. Within moments, the battle turned into a perfect visual representation of the phrase “all hell breaks loose”, although to be politically correct, one would have to say “all hell and heaven breaks loose”.
Rain was having trouble finding the commander now. She had averted her gaze for only moments but with everything going on all at once on the ground and in the skies, she could no longer find him. Riding Destiny was perhaps a bad idea. An Obsidian dragon is rare in both Sylrillia and Rathnoria, she stood out like a star in a moonless night. There was definitely a price on her head, hence the amount of demons throwing themselves at her, making it more difficult for her to look for the person she really needed to find. She needed some space. With an idea in mind, Miraina placed her feet on the edge of Destiny’s wings, eyes now blazing gold, and let out a nova of light. The blast caused several gargoyles and imps to fall like flies, giving her the space she needed. She readied herself, spread her wings and disappeared into a gust of wind.
The light nova had done more than kill several demons, it had also alerted Flaros to the presence of a new threat. Unbeknownst to Rain, Flaros had in fact been keeping an eye on her and several other commanders atop dragon backs. Her move just then had confirmed to him that she was the one emanating the Light that caused the uneasiness amongst his troops. So that’s the Princess they’re so proud of…well, let’s see how they react when those white wings are stained in her own blood….
After blowing away several Rathnorians and winged abyssaluses, Miraina was finally able to gain some space. She looked about the battlefield again for the bone dragon. It did not take her long to find it. However, she also noticed that its rider had gone. She scanned the battlefield again but this time something else caught her now-golden eyes. It was her father King Menianos and the Demon Lord, his opponent. The King seemed to be holding his ground but the Demon Lord himself was summoning more and more minions to aid him. As she looked on, one of the Imps summoned had managed to blind Menianos with some black liquid. The Demon Lord raised his massive sword, but that, as with his entire right arm, disappeared when a column of Light cut through the demon ranks. The Demon King let out a howl of pain which resonated through the hearts and soul of both sides.
As had been taught, Miraina did not to end it just there, she called forth her sword and guardian, Elaenor, and charged towards the one-armed King. As she brought her blade down, it was met not with flesh, but with solid steel. The sword itself, black as darkened obsidian, and its wielder, with his blood-red hair and eyes the colour of garnet, was staring straight back at her.
Miraina quickly recovered but instead of attacking again, glared at her opponent in shock. This was indeed the person she was looking for, but not the Prince of the Rathnors, this was –
“Flare”. She said to no one in particular. She did not recognize her own voice when she said it. In that moment, memories of the red-haired boy flooded back to her. The crack of a twig, the splash of water, those eyes of garnet which she thought then was so beautiful-which she thinks now- is so beautiful. She almost forgot that this was in fact the enemy commander she’s thinking of.
Flaros did not so much as notice the sudden change in the way his opponent looked at him. He neither heard nor cared what was said under her breath just a moment ago. This sudden shock was an opportunity that should be taken. He summoned five fire lances out of thin air and let them fly towards her. Rain finally came to her senses and summoned a shield of light just in time to intercept the lances.
The Rathnorian sword art is one of the most effective offensive art, designed to kill, weaken, or hurt, depending on the situation. Flaros was second to none. However, the Sylrillian sword art was also a famed defensive art which not only protect the swordsman, but also those around them. But Rain knew that it was only a matter of time until Flaros broke through her defenses. His demonic aura is strong, much stronger than other Rathnorians she’d encountered since the fight started and Sylrillians around her, her father seemed to be having difficulty breathing in his presence.
They swung their blades again and again, fusing it with the magic of their races. But with no will to fight her friend, all Miraina could do was defend blow after blow.
“Flare, it’s me Rain…I’m…do you not remember me?” she said frantically behind her shield. By this time, Prince Flaros had gathered soul remnants from around him and poured it into his sword which seemed to grow in size. “Don’t you remember? 119 years ago, in the Realm called Earth…you said..you were my friend!”
His gaze changed for an instant at the word “friend”, however, that did not last long. The young boy Flare had changed, and Flaros Zephyren, the Shadow Prince was in no mood to converse with an enemy.
“I know not what you speak of Sylrill.” With that he swung his massive sword into hers. The force sent her flying straight down into the ground.