The Princess And The Dark Knight
People made way, some running, others swiftly walking. Mothers and fathers grabbed their children. The militia backed up, fear on their faces. Even the nobles made way. What they were making way for was a large group of knights, some wearing black armor while others wore silver. A few even wore a mix of the two. Blood coated their armor and the air around them was thick with dread and the scent of death. In In their hands were polearms and swords. They paid the people parting for them no mind. They just marched forward.
Their destination was the Alsmar Gate, the only way out of the city and into the outside world. Once outside, they wouldn't be back for years. The war they were fighting had no signs that it was going to end anytime soon. Then again, in this world, they are always at war. Luckily, it seemed the enemy this time around had no allies that could make this mess even worse. As the vanguard of Alsmar, they were going out first. That is why they still have blood on their armor. After the army managed to fend off the attack from their enemy, these knights were instantly given their orders. No time to rest nor to to prepare themselves. But, atlas, that is just the fate of the Dark Knights of Alsmar.
They were the most elite soldiers of Alsmar. Yet, despite that, they were treated rather poorly by the people of the kingdom. They were called psychopaths and were feared by all. Because of such treatment, they grew cold to even the ones they are suppose to be protecting. They still will protect the people of Alsmar but, if one were to ask if any of them would care if the people suffered from hunger or from corrupt rulers, the answer would be no. The only thing they fight for is peace from the outside world. If the people they protect could run around, free of worry and the fear of being attacked by another Faction, then that is fine for them. It doesn't matter if they are hated as long as the people they protect are safe.
Now, the same couldn't be said about the leader of the Dark Knights. The Commander, Marē. Marē doesn't stand out among the Dark Knights as they were. It helped them blend in with the rest of the Dark Knights to avoid being picked off by enemies. All that is known about Marē is that they are ruthless, cruel, a barbarian who uses all sorts of tactics to get the job done, no matter how dishonorable they are, and they are skilled in fighting despite being old. There are many rumors about the dreaded and feared Commander. One is that Marē is an Immortal. The name, Marē, has been the name of the Commander of the Dark Knights for centuries and that the Commander never changes in height or armor. Of course, despite that observation, the more believable rumor is that Marē is a title given to those who lead the Dark Knights. After all, the Immortals lack in sword skills and rely on cultivation and chi to fight properly. While the Commander has magic, they have not once been seen using chi or cultivating. They also don't fly like Immortals do.
Marē was currently in the front of their knights, covered in blood. They weren't wearing what one would expect a feared knight Commander would wear. They wore silver armor matching most of the other knights with only two differences that set them apart from the rest. Their left hand had a clawed gauntlet and their longsword was serrated on both sides near the tip with a hilt made of stainless steel, bright silver in color. During the few rare times the Dark Knights weren't off fighting, the Commander wore a black cape and a crown of black spikes on top of their helmet. The final difference would be that the red ceremonial robes that was wrapped tightly around the right side of their chest would be a bright royal red. Currently, like the other Dark Knights, the robes were a dark red.
As the knights marched on, lead by the Commander, a strange thing happened. Someone stepped in front of the Commander. The other Dark Knights marched on, undisturbed, but the Commander stopped. They looked at the person who stepped in front of them, their face completely hidden by the full armor they wear. However, that didn't stop others from noticing that it seemed that the Commander was a little surprised. Of course, anyone would be surprised in this situation. The person who stepped out in front of the Commander was a little girl with light tan skin and shiny pearly blue eyes with long white hair and wore a white silk dress, though she wore no shoes despite the rich appearance she has.
In her hand was a small white flower with a yellow center. The flower almost seemed to glow as the girl reached out towards Marē. Nearby, a noblewoman reached out and grabbed her right arm, panic all over her face. Just as she pulled her daughter back, Marē turned her body around, fulling facing the girl, and continued to stare at her. Because their left hand was on the hilt of their blade, the noblewoman thought the worse and got ready to push the girl away.
The air was thick with tension and everyone seemed to be silent. Even the Dark Knights have stopped marching and were watching their Commander. Marē didn't do anything for a couple of seconds, staring at the girl, before they lurched forward, causing the noblewoman to jump back in surprise, letting go of the girl's right arm.
However, much to everyone's surprise, Marē took a knee in front of the little girl, holding out their left hand. The girl seemed to be surprised as well and it took a couple of seconds before she could recover. Once she did, she reached forward with both hands around the flower.
Marē's clawed gauntlet, and in extension her hands, was huge, with just one of the claws being as large as one of the girl's hands. That didn't deter the girl. She carefully and skillfully wrapped the stem of the flower around the pointer finger of Marē before taking a couple of steps back, eagerly looking at Marē's helmet to see a reaction.
Marē didn't do anything for a couple of seconds before, finally, they started to move. They slowly got up and patted the girl on her head with her free right hand, causing the girl to giggle.
Afterwards, Marē stood up and went right back to marching, though their left hand wasn't on the hilt anymore. The other Dark Knights began to march after their leader. They left through the large highly decorated metal gates without a single one turning to look back.
The girl watched them leave, feeling a little bit hurt that the knight she gave her flower to didn't speak at all. She reached up and rubbed her head, recalling what the knight did give her.
"Princess! Don't You Dare do that again!" The noblewoman from before yelled, grabbing the girl's right arm roughly and pulling her closer.
"But why?" The girl asked, confused as to what she did wrong. To her, all she did was give a flower to someone who looked lonely and dark. She was following her mother's words.
Even the dark needs a light.
"Because, that thing you just gave the flower to isn't a knight. That is a monster."
The girl was only partly listening to what her guardian was telling her. She was more interested in the knight.
'I wonder when I'll see her again?' The girl thought, looking at the gates where the Dark Knights left.
Marē looked back and, after making sure that no one on the walls would be able to see them or their Dark Knights, stopped marching.The other Dark Knights stopped as well and started to relax. Some sat down while others talked to each other. A few of them took of their helmets. Marē did not join them in their relaxation. Instead, they walked away from their knights and went on top of a small hillock. With their back facing their knights, Marē took of their helmet and dropped it on the ground, not caring if it got dust on it.
Marē, underneath the helmet, was female. She did not look old. In fact, she looked to be young. Her hair was short and a chestnut brown color with random black streaks mixed in. Her skin was a white color, looking to be a little unhealthy, and on her left cheek was a line of stitches, the scar underneath tan in color. Her eyes were large but very different, her yellow iris were shaped like a diamond with two dark blue lines on both sides of her diamond-shaped iris.
Marē looked out at the setting sun, her expression unreadable. Outside of Alsmar, the world could only be described as a barren wasteland. The ground was made up of dark orange sand and the sky seemed to be covered by dust clouds instead of actual clouds. The temperature was pleasantly warm but the ground was cold and there was barely any breeze. This landscape went on seemingly forever, with no end in sight.
Marē watched the sun for a little longer before she looked down at the flower in her left hand. She had held it gingerly to make sure she didn't break it.
Marē brought the flower up close to her face, studying it...
....and her dead eyes lit up and a smile grew on her face, revealing sharp teeth that would make a wolf shudder in fear.
The Princess And The Dark Knight
A Tale From Nostalisk, The World Of Endless War
Sventlina let out a sigh, regretting that she had missed the news. If she had learned sooner, she would have prepared herself. Though Sventlina does know why she didn't know. Despite being the second oldest princess of Alsmar, she did not like greeting the returning knights of Alsmar. It was her duty though, so she had done it many times. However, afterwards she started complaining about it. She still does it but now, since she got under her father's skin, she only does it every now and then.
But these knights are different! If she was going to attend any knights coming home or going out, it should be the Royal Knights and the ones that are coming home now.
The Dark Knights.
From what she knows, the Dark Knights are the most feared yet skilled army in all of Alsmar and their allies. They are almost always out fighting so they return home very rarely. Sventlina has heard so many of tales and rumors of them that she honestly thought they were a local legend when she was younger.
'Twelve years of fighting out in the field. If it weren't for the rumors, I would have never believed it.'
"Are you excited, bored, or depressed?" A girl laying next to Sventlina asked, an amused smile on her face.
"A mix of the first two, and all of the third option," Sventlina answered with a small smile on her face.
Ruby Costella is Sventlina's long time friend. Despite being only a Count, Ruby and her family are well-respected within the palace. Unlike the few other Counts, they weren't corrupt at all and, unlike the other none-corrupted nobles, they weren't a family that is known for going out into battle. They won their respect through their actions in diplomacy and their kind behavior.
Sventlina's second oldest brother was suspicious at first of Ruby and her family. His job was to investigate nobles and, since it was primary the Counts that were corrupt within the Kingdom, he had a strong suspicions about the Costella family. That changed after he spend some time with Ruby's eldest brother, Arrin. They had a mutual understanding of one another and, as such, they quickly became close friends. At least, that is what Svetlina heard.
"Do you think they all wear black armor and use black weapons?" Ruby asked.
Ruby was also someone who was easily swayed by rumors.
"Maybe. I think that my father said most of them have silver armor instead of black armor," Sventlina told her friend, remembering the few snippets of words she heard from her father which she most definitely didn't eavesdrop on.
"Hey! Did you happen to hear the rumors about the leader of the Dark Knights?" Ruby asked, leaning forward.
"Um, no. What about them?" Sventlina asked, grabbing a pillow from her bed and using it as a shield between her and Ruby.
"Apparently, they are so cruel and emotionless that they were said to be the descendant of a Tyrant!"
"I doubt that one is true," Sventlina said, raising an eyebrow, "The Tyrants were around millions of years ago. Even if they have descendants, their bloodline would be so far changed that even the old myth of 'like child like parent' wouldn't...How do I say this?"
Once, years ago, there was a popular belief that if someone's parent was a terrible person then they would also become a terrible person because they share the same blood. Of course, now if someone were to judge someone going off that they would be in the wrong and looked down on but that doesn't mean everyone doesn't still go by that belief. But, even if it was true, saying that the Commander of the Dark Knights is a descendant of a Tyrant wouldn't work.
Ruby understood what her friend was saying and made a pouty face.
"Sventlina, the rumor destroyer. Can't you just accept one rumor?" Ruby joked.
"I will accept a rumor when you stop believing in them so easily."
Ruby shook her head.
"But that's why I have you," Ruby pointed out, pointing at Sventlina.
"Ah, yes. Thank you very much for that," Sventlina said in a fake dry voice.
"Do you think any of the knights will recognize you?" Ruby suddenly asked, causing Sventlina to pause and think about the question for a bit. She expected Ruby to tell her another rumor, not a question.
"I mean, of course they'll recognize me. I'll be where the princesses stand," Sventlina responded, giving her friend a look.
"No no no. I mean, yes they'll know that you're a princess but you saw them before, back when you were seven or six," Ruby explained, causing Sventlina to frown.
"I did?" Sventlina asked.
"Yeah. Your eldest brother told me about it. Apparently, the Commander nearly killed you."
When Sventlina heard that she felt a chill run down her spine. What if the knights do recognize her? What if the Commander recognizes her? Sventlina isn't exactly a standard princess found in the Kingdom. She has white hair and shiny light blue eyes. That isn't even mentioning the white outfits she likes to wear.
'Wait a second. I'm the princess! Even if the Commander recognizes, me they won't be able to harm me. Plus, they've been fighting out there for eleven years! What I looked like wouldn't have been on their minds.'
"They won't recognize me," Sventlina said, shaking her head, "Besides, even if they do, they can't do anything to me."
Ruby's eyes narrowed.
"Are...are you afraid?" Ruby asked, leaning forward again.
"N-No! I'm not afraid!" Sventlina denied, though she wasn't very convincing.
"...Well, if you say so," Ruby said, leaning back and shrugging, though her voice had a noticeable teasing tone in it which caused Sventlina's cheeks to blush in embarrassment.
Sventlina opened her mouth to defend herself when both the girls heard someone knocking on the door.
"Come in," Sventlina said rather quickly, happy to have a distraction.
The two large doors that lead into Sventlina's room cracked open and a maid stepped inside. She had short yet dense brown hair that almost covered her eyes.
"The King requests your presence in the throne room, Second Princess Sventlina Flos," The maid humbly told Svetlina, bowing.
Sventlina looked at Ruby. Ruby winked at her, telling her to go. With a sigh, Svetlina got out of her bed and walked towards the doors.
"Don't you dare hide my diary again!" Sventlina told Ruby before she left her bedroom with the maid following close behind her, leaving Ruby all alone.
"...Now, where did she hide her diary this time?" Ruby asked herself, a mischievous gleam in her red eyes.
Sventlina entered the throne room and was met with a strange sight. Her father, King Aden, was sitting on his throne with an amused look on his face. That was bad. King Aden was someone who was bored and, as such, would go to great lengths to find something to cure his boredom. One time he had her meet a Demon* after having been told a true story about how the demons, back when they were at war with the Kingdoms, would isolate cities and poison their food and water supplies, making the people within fight against each other before they entered the city, killing any one they saw and taking their head for trophies.
The demon that Sventlina met was a soldier. Sventlina remembered when she was meeting the demon soldier, she was shivering non stop and hiding behind her brothers. The demon was very kind, though her appearance was rather frightful. Wicked sharp teeth and glowing odd-colored eyes and two short black horns sticking out of her blue and purple hair. She wore no helmet and nothing on her hands. Sventlina looked up why a year later and learned that demons have very strong hands and, as such, their bare hands are better than most armor. That and it hinders the use of their claws which the female demon did have. Big black claws. The reason why they don't wear a helmet that covers their face is because of their breath. Apparently, most demons can breath some kind of element out of their mouths like a dragon or wyvern.
The demon, despite her friendliness, took amusement in Sventlina's fear. But, other than that, the demon did no harm...well, expect for the fact that when the demon left, Sventlina kept on saying 'mate' instead of saying someone's name like the demon did for a while. It sounded fun at the time. That was mostly due to how cheerful the demon sounded.
Sventlina looked around the room and saw what had to be the reason for her father's amusement. Kneeling in the center of the room was someone who looked like the demon Sventlina was recalling about. Well, their armor did but it took a moment for Svetlina to realize that this person was wearing a modified version of the knight armor this Kingdom has.
She had short light brown hair with some black streaks and her skin was white which definitely wasn't normal. Her left hand had a clawed gauntlet on and there was trace of dried blood on her armor.
Sventlina studied this strange new person and noticed that she had a white flower tucked in her hair. Sventlina felt something when she saw that flower but couldn't figure out what she was feeling. Before she could study the flower more, Sventlina felt herself stiffen. She sensed a ridiculous amount of darkness and death was coming from the girl. As the Princess Of Light, a name given to her by her family because of her overabundance of light and life magic, she could sense what magic and aura others have. This is the first time she has met someone who has an overabundance of something like her. The fact that it was the polar opposite of Sventlina was even more shocking.
"Ah. You arrived my wonderful daughter," King Aden greeted his daughter, a bright smile on his face.
Sventlina shivered on the inside. She had a bad feeling about this.
"Meet your new friend or whatever," King Aden told Sventlina, getting right to the point and pointing at the girl who was kneeling.
'I doubt she is actually someone from another Kingdom or Faction. Father wouldn't be this happy if it was.' Sventlina concluded, studying the girl.
'But then why is my father telling me to be her friend?'
Sventlina walked towards the girl and stopped right in front of her.
"Raise your head," Sventlina ordered.
The girl stirred but didn't move.
"Oh. Sorry about that," King Aden apologized to his daughter before looking at the girl.
"Marē, you can stand now."
'...Marē? Like a horse?' Sventlina thought.
Marē stirred again and raised her head and opened her eyes. Sventlina stared at Marē's eyes. She had never seen eyes like that before. They resembled a demon but different.
Marē, after a couple of moments of silence, smiled, revealing sharp teeth, and bounced up and grabbed both of Sventlina's hands with her own, surprising the princess.
"Hello there! My name is Marē. It's nice to meet you again," Marē said, her voice quick and bubbly like a little kid. It took Sventlina a couple of seconds before she could say something in response.
"Uh...hi. My name is Sventlina Flos. I am the second princess of the Kingdom of Alsmar," Sventlina introduced herself, feeling a little weirded out.
"Hee hee. That's a nice but rather confusing name, don't ya think? I think I'm gonna call you Sventa. How does that sound?" Marē asked, standing up to her full height.
"Um...sure....wow you're tall," Sventlina agreed awkwardly, looking up to meet Marē's eyes. Marē towered over her. If Sventlina had to guess, Marē must be around seven feet tall.
"Yeah, I get that a lot," Marē said, letting go of Sventlina's hands and taking a couple of steps back before leaning forward a little like she was before, making her appear not as tall as she actually was.
"So, who is she?" Sventlina asked her father. Marē couldn't be a noble. If she was, then she wasn't taught any manners or how to be noble at all.
"Who she is isn't important right now. All you need to know is that she is your new friend or whatever," Her father responded flippantly.
Sventlina looked at Marē who was giving her an energetic and friendly look, and Sventlina could see the brown dog ears and dog tail on the girl.
"Are you sure she isn't a dog?" Sventlina asked before she could stop herself.
Her father suddenly burst out laughing. Marē didn't looked offended. In fact, she looked confused. She cocked her head but remained silent, deciding that if she were to not say anything she would get an explanation to what is so funny.
"Ah! You're right in more ways than one. The sad part is that you don't even get what's so dark about what you just said," King Aden said after he calmed down enough to talk.
"Now I have some business to attend to so you're free to do what you want."
"Wait! When are the Dark Knights coming?" Sventlina asked her father who was getting up out of his throne.
"They already arrived. They went to the palace first through a secret passage to avoid attention," King Aden explained before he left the throne room, leaving the two girls alone.
"So, do you want to meet the Dark Knights?"
Sventlina looked at Marē who was still leaning forward.
"D-do...do you know where they are?" Sventlina asked.
"Yep! I know where they are all located," Marē confirmed.
Sventlina thought about it before she remembered what Ruby told her before.
"On second thought, I'd rather not," Sventlina told Marē, not willing to take any chance.
Marē shrugged before standing up straight.
"So, what now?" Marē asked, though somehow Sventlina had a strong feeling that Marē was talking to herself.
"For now just follow me," Sventlina told Marē.
"Oh! Okay then!" Marē said, closing her eyes and showing Sventlina an even brighter smile, this time not showing her sharp teeth.
'How am I going to explain this one to Ruby?' Sventlina thought, looking at Marē who was now talking to herself.
Demon: A large race with many different kind of families and species. Demons are mainly known for four things. Their strength, their magic, their many mental issues, and how savage and diverse they can be. Some can be very kind while others are as cruel as can be. The demons aren't seen around much. When talking to a demon it is important, especially for the humanoid ones, that their cheerfulness doesn't mean they like you. Demons develop mental issues and, as such, are taught to always be cheerful to hide their issues. In other words, most of them always appear to be happy.
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