Chapter 1:

The Holy Knights, Adio, and Anger

Cursed Blade

Blood spilt by the gallon.

Families torn apart in moments.

Young lives cut short by the dozens.

Women brutally defiled for sport.

Churches are crumbling from the inferno.

The inferno of hell on Earth.

• • •

These are not merely metaphoric parables. They are facts of life that every man, woman, and child must come to terms with. For we live in a world where hell invades our land, it’s demons mercilessly slaughtering every living being they come across. Our world is not kind, nor is it simply neutral. It is wholly cruel. It is full of spite, malice, and hatred.

This world’s malice seemed untamable. Most of humanity had given up. That was until God had gifted humanity with the means to defeat the demons: the Sanctus Blades. However, there was a catch. There were only a select few that could wield the blades. Those born without a single drop of malice, no ambition other than to serve their god, and no grudge against their fellow man. Those that gladly accept all that the world throws at them, so that perhaps they can teach the world kindness through their example. Those that are known as Saints.

In a small, non-descriptive village in the outskirts of the Holy Kingdom, one such child was born. Unlike other children, they did not close their eyes and cry during their birth. Instead, they observed their world with crystal blue eyes. The child wished to cry, but somehow, before it had even interacted with another human being, it tried to put the wishes of others above it’s own.

This occurrence was common among saints, so the village knew of his holy status from birth. He was named Adio, one who walks a path of righteousness. The Holy Knights, those who wield the Sanctus Blades, came to enlist him at the age of 12. He accepted willingly, ready to serve his god.

Adio trained intensively in the art of swordsmanship for the next five years before stepping onto the battlefield. In that time, many observed that he may be the most talented Saint of his generation. He also met another prodigal Saint, a girl named Royse.

Under normal circumstances, she was a sweet and kind person. Whenever you spoke to her, the gaze of her chocolate brown eyes seemed to try and deep into your soul so that it may comfort it and gain a greater understanding. But once she had a blade in her hands, her gaze began to sharpen with determination and tenacity. It was these gazes that earned her the nickname “The Graceful Valkyrie”. Adio found both these gazes profoundly beautiful. And as it turned out, Royse saw something similar in him.

As they spent time together, the beauty they saw in each other only seemed to brighten. They bled, cried, smiled, celebrated, and they did it all together. Soon they pledged themselves to each other. It wasn’t long before they heard the words “‘till death do us part”. You may think that a Saint should be above such things, but that is not the case. Besides, what could be more holy than eternal matrimony? Nothing, except creating more of God’s children.

By the time Adio and Royse stepped on the battlefield, they had executed that most holy task. Another set of silent, observant eyes was brought into the world, and along with them the feet that would follow their parents’ footsteps. The two Saints named their child Col, though in their hearts they knew him as something different:

He was their reason to come back alive.

And because of that, the two stepped onto the battlefield with something that few Holy Knights have; they had personal ambition. Because of that, they were able to galvanize themselves as the two greatest Holy Knights of their time. They slated demon after demon, determined to destroy them before the demons would have a chance to take them away from Col. Soon, the names of Adio and Royse the Graceful Valkyrie were spread across the Holy Kingdom.

However, not all was well. The two of them found themselves opposed to the beliefs of the Holy Knight’s leadership. The warrior-bishop, commander in-chief of the Holy Knights, claimed himself to be a direct servant of God, and as such, his word was the word of God himself. However, he had often prioritized mass extermination of demons over the protection of small villages. Adio and Royse, along with a few other Saints, were doubtful of the warrior-bishop. However nobody voiced this opinion, for they knew that they would lose the ability to serve the Holy Knights if they disobeyed the higher ups.

That was until Adio spoke up. He knew he wasn’t alone in his beliefs, so he felt he could rely on the collective support of his comrades to keep him in the Holy Knight. However, when he made his opinion known, nobody, not even his wife, showed their support, even though many agreed with him. He was alone and singled out. However, due to his renown, he wasn’t publicly cast out of the Holy Knights. Instead, the warrior-bishop made secret orders to deal with Adio.

On a stormy Easter Sunday night, Adio was making his way back home. Many of the higher ranking Holy Knights were called back from the front for the holiday. They weren’t without work however, as they had a strategy meeting to attend, which Adio was making his way back from. Royse had left the meeting early to take care of Col. This left Adio all alone on his walk back home. As he gradually got closer to his home, he noticed that there was a lack of civilians.

Just as his suspicion was raised, Adio was surrounded by men in cloaks. Though he couldn’t see their faces, he knew exactly who they were, each and every one of them. Just as the figures began to move in, Adio began to draw his blade. The event that ensued could not be described as a battle. It was nothing more than loss of life.

• • •

Steel clashing with steel.

Steel tearing through cloth.

Steel ripping through flesh.

Steel dripping with blood.

• • •

Tears began to roll down Adio’s face as he looked down at the bodies of his former comrades.They intensified as he observed his own unscathed body. The tears flowed and flowed, slowly changing Adio with every drop. His anguish never subsided, not for a second. Instead, his anguish itself transformed. What began as sadness for the comrades he had no choice but to cut down, became anger towards the organization that led them to this.

It only took three minutes of grieving for Adio to make this change. As soon as every drop of anguish had transformed, Adio turned around. He realized that he was no longer a Saint, and that he was no longer fit to be a Holy Knight. Without a second thought, Adio walked away from the capital city, not once turning back. But even as he walked away, his anger did not subside. Instead, he let it guide his path. For a whole week, Adio continuously walked without rest, going wherever he felt his anger led him. He ventured deep into the wilderness, not stopping once for water, food, or rest.

After eight days, Adio collapsed in the middle of a circle made of thirty black stones. It was in the clearing of a thicket that he had been walking in for the last four days. As he laid in the middle of the circle, his death only moments away, he began to hear a voice. A beautiful voice.

“I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a Saint guided by anger,” the voice said, “that said, a Saint guided by anger is exactly what I need”.

Adio questioned the voice internally, but lacked the strength to look around and confirm it’s existence.

“If you wish to give your anger direction and power, then I can provide it. I can turn your anger into power. The power to shape the world as you see fit”.

Adio responded to these words, and began to get up with all his might. After what seemed like an eternity, Adio manage to get on to his knees and set his posture straight. As he opened his eyes, he began to see a figure before him. As Adio’s sight gradually lost it’s blur, he realized what was before him. A tall, humanoid creature with white wings stood before him.

“Are you... an angel?” Adio asked, his voice in much better shape than the rest of him.

“I am,” the angel smiled, “but I am not a holy angel”.

As he said this, Adio realized something was missing. This angel’s presence was not of innocence and divinity. Instead, it felt dangerous and deceptive. The angel did not have a halo over it’s head. Adio realized what this meant.

“Then you’re the fallen angel,” Adio began to tremble, “Satan?”

“Not quite,” The cursed angel gestured towards it’s chest “I am the son of the fallen angel you speak of”.

Adio suddenly felt on edge. He knew he couldn’t defeat this thing in his current state. But as he anguished his current situation, the son of Satan, the Antichrist, continued.

“I have a proposition for you,” the Antichrist’s expression turned serious, “you can accept power from me, allowing your anger to change the world, or you can die here along with your anger”.

The answer should have been simple for Adio. As a man of god, he should deny any offers made to him by demons. It was the most basic yet most important rule he had followed his whole life. And yet... he somehow couldn’t stop himself from wanting to say yes. Adio began to agonize over this, wondering what was wrong with him, until it finally dawned on him.

He wanted to say yes because God was no longer the most important thing in his life. Ever since that day, he’s been a man completely devoted to his anger. That was why he was before this fallen angel. Because his anger led him here, led him to the Antichrist, so that it may become powerful.

“What do I...” Adio felt a strange surge of strength as he began to speak, “have to give you for your power?”

“To gain my power, you must shed all ties with your god,” the fallen angel leaned in closer to Adio, “and entrust them to the one closest to you”.

Adio began to stand, brushing his pale blonde hair away from his face.

“If that’s all it takes,” Adio looked the fallen angel in the eyes with a look of determination, “then I’ll gladly accept your offer”.

The Antichrist reached towards Adio’s blade, smiling, and touched it with a single finger. The sword’s holy aura began to fade, and was replaced by an oppressive presence. If one looked closely and squinted, they might see a faint black smoke coming from it. The sword’s gleaming silver blade turned to a shade as dark as a moonless night. At the same time, Adio felt like something had left him, but was soon replaced by something much heavier.

“Your blade is no longer one of the Sanctus Blades. It is now a vessel of your anger, of your vendetta,” the fallen angel returned his hand to his side, “and now that your anger has been focused into this blade, you must now determine where you want to direct this anger”.

“I already know the answer to that,” Adio spoke with extreme confidence, his earlier fatigue gone, “I’m going to kill the warrior-bishop and everyone that truly sided with him!”

Adio’s revenge was set in motion.