Chapter 1:

The Birth of The Sun

The Reaper of Carnage

The Sun lives again. Raising its curtains with its warm light, burning the moist fog of despair scouring the grass plains. A few acres of land stands out in the repetitive scenery, filled with rows of mangled farmland, dry and without a seed of wheat in sight. The weeds had grown out of control, rendering the land obsolete. The summer heat quickly dried the land even further, soon to boil even the waking cicadas that dared show a sliver of bravery.

A small and rotting wood home stood by the dead ground. In it were just five rooms, a primitive kitchen with an overused stone brick stove, still riddled with the smell of baked potatoes, a smell that made itself resident in the rotting board planks. A bathroom was uncomfortably placed right next to the kitchen. Infested with the larvae of gluttonous bugs. Many die from nothing but overeating alone; as if they were slaves to their instincts. The only working door in the house laid shut on it, a small barrier in the path of the mischievous tiny beasts.

A tight hallway leads to the master bedroom. With other much smaller rooms branching off from it. The only bed in the house. An uncomfortably tiny mattress sunk in the middle of the room, petrified from the musk of a war-torn man with a once beautiful lady resting next to him. The Sun graced their eyes and illuminated their jet black hair. The man’s oily skin and unwashed hair reflected the warm glow. Unmoving, he hinted at staying asleep as he journeyed back into his peaceful dreams.

The wife slowly woke up, opening her eyes, a beautiful luminescent blue gazed upon her surroundings. Her messy hair dropped down to her waistline, it remained uncombed for much too long. The thick blanket fell off her, revealing clothes that were worn out. The once pearl white fabric was now a dirty gray.

In another room laid a thick mat on the ground, numerous bugs and ticks hiding in the fur of a hunted beast. Mosquitos buzzed around the room, looking for prey as the mat lay there, unused. A picture stood on a dresser: A child's drawing of a girl in a field. A yellow sun stared down into what looked to be a lush and ripe field of wheat. A quickly scribbled house colored to the left of the girl towered over the surroundings.

The picture had started to yellow.

Across the girl’s room lay an even smaller room. A thin rug lay on the hardwood ground. Nearly taking up the entire space. There, A young man of seventeen years lay sleeping. He cloned the features of his father, jet black hair and a physique that had started to solidify itself. His mother's eyes were the only thing keeping the genetic tyranny at bay. His hands were scarred and callused with overwork, his face hardened from the exposure of the brutal conditions of labor and heat. His lips were bloody and cracking from dehydration.

In his arms lay a small girl of seven years. Curled close to her brother's body. Every night, she ignores the pain of lying on the hard, unmatted floor and gives in to her fear of the long night, seeking the safety and warmth of another living being. A children’s dress stuck onto her, a shade of purple that had seen much better days now had rips and tears in the pompous laced shoulder sleeves, they had lost almost all their color. Light seeped into the room from a small window, only a ripped net protected them from the diseased mosquitoes. She woke up quietly, her hair falling to her elbows. She patted her brother, quickly turning it into a gentle rock as she grew gradually annoyed at his stubborn sleep.

“Saga, wake up,” she said groggily, rubbing away the crust on her eyes.

Saga’s eyes slowly rose as he took in the scenery of another morning. His sister focused intently on rubbing her eye, continuing to rock Saga back and forth.

“I’m awake Myra.”

He sat up, the thin blanket slurred down to his waist. He raised his arm, pushing his warm hand through his sister's hair and pinched her cheek.

“Go wake Mama and Father up, I'll see if we have enough to eat.”

Myra quickly pulled away from the pinch and stood up, mirroring his smile.
“Will we be able to play outside today?” She asked with hope as she walked to the door. Saga’s mind quickly filled with concern, he took a brief moment before replying,

“We will Myra, I'll finish work as soon as possible, then we can play until sundown.”

Myra’s smile lit up even further, her walk suddenly turning into a run as she hurried towards her parents. The house was too small for privacy; so the echoes of their voices bounced through the walls.

“Mama! You're awake!” Myra’s excited voice pierced the groggy atmosphere.

“Is Father awake? Saga will be leaving soon.”

Saga could hear the rustling and squeaking of the bed as Myra jumped onto it. He stood up from the mat he was sleeping on, paying no mind to clean the room as he hurriedly made his way into the kitchen. His legs throbbing and aching as blood forced itself through them.

He walked over to a large woven basket, covered with a hay lid, desperately looking for any remaining food. There was rarely any in the house, and when there was, it was only potatoes he could barely afford from the market in the cities. There was barely enough to feed his sister and mother. The only food Saga received was during work under a landlord’s farm, most of which he would steal. He rubbed his shoulders, his body was still severely sore from the constant overwork. Inside the basket were three medium-sized potatoes. Only enough for today… He silently thought in his head.

He continued out of the house, pulling the rotten door open. Directly outside was a small well, the stone bricks covered in dead plant roots. He looked down the well, hoping that something was left. To his dismay, even the well was completely dry. A bucket sat idly at the bottom, apparently neglected for weeks. He would need to make another trip to the river, his muscles creaked in despair, the stress started to crack into Saga. Still, he pushed himself forward and grabbed a ten liter cauldron, the only container in the house that could secure the water he was taking. He tied the iron lid onto the cauldron with a small rope, nearly snapping it in the process, and began walking towards the far river, his arms already beginning to retaliate.

As his home grew distant, Saga gazed upon the once fertile lands; now dead and dry, with signs of desertification starting. The land gets plenty of rain and fresh sunlight, yet the seeds had stopped growing 4 months into the war. Every farm within the immediate area had the same phenomena simultaneously. All land outside this range stayed fertile, as though they were parasitically taking in the nutrients. Saga lived right at the edge of this dead zone, and he could never have cursed his misfortune more than ever before. Months of trying to work the farm back to health ended in vain, the constant tilling and digging seemed to have progressed the death of the soil even further, and ultimately he had to give up.

Saga knew this was no natural cause, even the traders had spread rumors of it being a curse. Such thoughts were illegal in the state, however, as it beckoned suspicions of a negligent God. Something deemed impossible under the Church.

Phenomena like this had started to appear thirteen years ago, along with the discovery of witches and Godlike powers. People with unimaginable strength, some able to control the very ground around them, others even able to manipulate minds. The country rejected the use of these powers, calling it Blasphemy against their God and the will of the people. Madness spread across the nation as tensions soon escalated into chaos, the Church capturing and publicly executing anyone suspected of having these powers, while many of the Blasphemers grouped together and destroyed churches and entire towns in revenge.

However, the difference in strength between the two powers was soon obvious, when twelve of these Blasphemous individuals killed the King and nearly a thousand soldiers in one week, eviscerating countless other civilians in their wake. The entire northern region of the country was now under rule by them. The tall mountains and huge blizzards used to be a natural barrier for the Church against other invaders. It was nearly impossible to get an army through it fully intact. And now it became the hideout for thousands of Blasphemers, safe from the attacks of the Church. Claiming to provide safe haven, these twelve Blasphemers took the reins of their newly founded country, declaring their stand against the Church.

After their onslaught, these powers became more common, even appearing directly in the Church’s Knight Guard itself, but instead of trying them for blasphemy, they were claimed to be Holy Powers given by God himself, as a divine weapon against the Blasphemers, and the war was officially declared soon after as these new Holy Knights were deployed five years ago. Since then the war has progressively gotten more expensive and brutal, starvation and poverty has become upon nearly the entire country. At the same time, the Church grew more powerful and robust, forcing the country under its thumb. With just a simple gesture towards God, officials steal and rob from people, all of it going towards the war. Anybody who resists is publicly tried and hanged.

Giant armies with tens of thousands of fully armored soldiers, catapults, trebuchets, and even rumors of a gigantic floating fortress, all for the sake of war. Unmatched in strength, there remained no country in the world that could rival the Church’s power. And yet… The country was slowly being pushed back by the blasphemers, the civilian death count rose to match nearly the battlefield casualties, and not a single one of The Twelve Atrocities had fallen.

The Church grew more and more desperate as their people began questioning their alliance with God, and so their tyrannous hands grasped the country even tighter. Punishing those suspicious of thinking of “blasphemous” thoughts. Upon seeing the curse put on the plains, the Church covered it up by ruling that their land was immune to the powers of the blasphemers, silencing anyone saying otherwise.

As the minutes passed away, Saga’s legs started to pulse with a dull pain as the repetitive scenery slowly changed. A vast green forest stopped the plains from growing any further. The dead land had ended here, as soon as the first tree met the fields. focused on getting to the far river, Saga stopped thinking and continued forward on the path, into the mouth of the forest.