Chapter 0:

The Man They Call Elias

The Devils Gate

Elias was young when he first discovered the life of a mage. His skills were honed and perfected as he grew and in his prime, he lived in an age of power, when wizards were free. He had just celebrated the birth of his nephew when the revolt came.

A new power of evil sorcery had returned. The Devils Gate. People believed it the balance between wizards and their power, an equal and opposite reaction. The public turned against what used to hold them in comfort and safety, the great mages they once saw as a friendly guard to their community.

It was a plague appearing all over the land in the form of black, glittery sand. It was the sign that the Gate was back. Many magic users and adventurers went on the quest to find the Gate and seal it, but when it was found it had no key. Throughout history the Gate had disappeared and reappeared, always with a key. The key was the safeguard. It kept the power of the Gate at bay. It had been forged long ago by one of the most powerful witches known to exist. She sacrificed her life to create it. And now, it was gone. The unknown location of the key lead to tensions. The black sand was a draining force of magic. It sucked away the magic from any living thing it came across, and then stole that things life. Whatever it was stealing magic and life away for is what people feared the most.

It became a time of high stress and anxiety. Many non- magical user grew concerned for wizards, for good and bad reasons.

Elias, one of the most powerful mages known to his town, decided to conceal his magic. Binds were placed on his body - tattoos that wrapped around the limbs of its vessel like snakes. His magic was sealed. The barrier from his magic did not stop him, for as soon as he recovered the energy the binds had taken to properly seal away his power, he took to weapons of steel and chain.

But when the day came of the final push against the banishment of magic, he could not do anything to save his sister or her child. For years, people had been tense with one another. Some pressed for the complete removal of magic, suggesting that it was possible to live without it and safer considering the fatal circumstance of the black sand. Others fought that magic was blessed to people willing enough to have it grow as a part of them, born with the passion. It was a great power that should not be forsaken and although there was a new threat, who could say whether people could survive or not without their magical allies? And what of the magic folk who have magic running through their veins. The Swan Kingdom and Therians, what of them?

In the end authorities, acting on decisions of poor and hasty taste, were coming to arrest and disband magical guilds. It led to unrest. Some lost their lives, including that of the woman Elias grew up with and his nephew

When the army came, he could do nothing. His energy remained constantly drained by his seals and too many soldiers, far too many for the size of the town came. The soldiers came and the happy town perished. Forced down and pinned to gravel, families watched as their houses burnt down. Elias had been racing to find his sister in all the chaos when he came across the disaster. His sister, Soraya, was laying lifeless in front of him and her son was in the arms of the army. But there was nothing to stop the blade that destroyed the boy, and with that, it destroyed him too. Maybe he would have given himself to the army. To surrender without a fight. But a part of him was determined to persevere.

A great force brewed deep within him, new emotional powers unleashed. He felt his seals break away, too weak to withhold his magic. He now had control of the seals meant to conceal him. New symbols formed over his skin, a reaction to the new spell he formed on himself. His skin became abundant in odd symbols and tattoos, remnants of the weakened restraints. With the breaking of the seals, Elias felt a burst of energy return to him. The feel of his power was back. With it, he tore himself free from the decimated town. In a field behind their house, he said his final farewells to Soraya and to the boy. He buried them there, on the hill behind the perished house. He sat with them as the sun went down, blessing its warm golden rays on their final moments together.

Elias took to a new life. He hid himself behind a mask of rags, wrapping around his head leaving a slit for his eyes. He bandaged his arms and legs, hiding his markings, drew on a cloak and set off, a secret force against the government, a vigilante. He would replenish the world they stole from him. He would find a way to fight against the Gate. He would fight for others and he would protect the sanctity that magic offered to this world.

Joe Gold

The Devils Gate