(OOC: This is the abridged, abridged version. The story began many years ago, as a long history of role-play that I began collecting into a novel. Perhaps some day I’ll finish it.)
There have been many young adventurers lately interested in my story, and little time with which to tell it. Perhaps the only true way is to write it down, an endeavor I have take upon myself. I know not how much longer my spirit will remain upon this world, nor the future of our great city and those which call it home. Perhaps some will take knowledge from this, and hopefully, strength to carry on the great fight that defines our lives.
I was born in a place very far from the city you now stand in. You cannot find this place by traversing the tallest peak, nor by navigating the harshest of deserts. The great seas will not give way to this land. This is a place you can only learn about, for it was lost to me when I was very young. You must first understand the history of this place, to understand the history that I call my own.
Tahysien Mir was the creator, formed into a consciousness in ages past, overseeing the first world. From the first world he moved, across the cosmos, planting the seeds of life on other worlds, mirroring the first, yet different in certain ways. When he had created a handful of other worlds, he returned to the first. He returned to Arathnos.
My home resides not within this world, but far, far across the skies. Our world is known as Lylost, and life upon that world shares many similarities to life here. There are warriors, healers, magi and thieves. There is good, evil, hate and lust, greed, envy, war and balance. Well, we shall return to that shortly.
In the far northern kingdoms there was a village of elves known as Thanthian. I was born in the fall, year of the great snowstorm, to the head of the village: Jeraneth and Saluai Eleison. My brother Ethiylas was my elder ten winters, born to Jeraneth and Arlencia, whom died in the child bearing process. Ethiylas was a half-elf, for Jeraneth had fallen in love with a human traveler and married her, and together Jeraneth and Arlencia oversaw the life of the village. It was a simple way of life, harvesting the crops and preparing for the long harsh northern winters, yet my father was a great man, and his son Ethiylas, was destined to be even greater.
From a very early age Ethiylas began training in the ways of the sword. I remember him spending many hours after his daily work and schooling out in the far meadow, practicing with his wooden sword. I remember him growing strong. I, personally, never had the heart for warfare, taking more of an interest in political matters and studying the ways of diplomacy. When I was six, and my brother Ethiylas sixteen, Ethiylas was sent to the great central kingdom, a four days journey, to study the path of the Paladin. He left his home for two winters.
Spring, Year of the Black Water Floods
What happens from here on I fear cannot be well explained, for I lack the penmanship to give the story justice. The times were good for the sophisticated and peaceful kingdoms of the world. The mighty Guild of Paladins, having support from the clerics and fighters of the land, had won many great victories over the forces of darkness. Evil was washed from the lands gradually, giving rise to an era of peace and prosperity. The gods themselves looked down, favoring a balance of life, and attempted several times to intervene. They introduced many evil things, all of which soundly defeated by the forces of light.
The gods rethought their plan, deciding finally that the creation of many little pawns of evil would not work sufficiently in restoring balance. They next did something that changed the fate of tens of thousands of lives forever. Pouring a portion of each of their powers into a single being, the created an incarnate of malice and death. They poured their fears and cruelty into this being.
They poured in too much.
It began as it should, the defeat of several agents of good. Yet as the battles continued, the single creature began to grow further in its power. With every morsel of violence and death came greater power. The gods quickly lost control of their pet.
What happened next is far more terrifying than any tale told over fire or shared with ale in a pub. The creature turned upon the great central kingdoms, destroying them one by one.
Spring, Year of the Burning Star (Later named Year of the Great Catastrophe, of the Eternal Darkness.)
My brother came home one day, his guild in collapse, his friends slain. He stepped through the edge of the woods to find his village in ruins. Among the smoking wreckage he found two things: death and his brother.
I do not remember much after that time. I remember this being clearly… I remember my kin begging for their lives before him… calling his name. "Ven'Ganze." I remember him removing their intestines through their anuses before feeding it to them down their throats. I remember the fire, and him. I remember his eyes, his dead, cold, yellow eyes. How he played with the corpses, defiling them, mutilating them. And then he turned to me.
Blackness invaded my world. From what my brother told me at the time, I was discovered within the wreckage of my village, the sole survivor. Puzzling enough, I was unscathed. We’ll return to that later. For the time being, I’ll explain that I was taken from the decimation to live with my brother, the broken paladin, and his new wife. She was warm, inviting, and innocent in a world of death and darkness. She cared for me, alongside Ethiylas, for several months.
I remember hearing Ethiylas and his wife, Cashandria, speak of the horrors outside of the small cottage they had taken shelter within, far in the wilderness. He spoke of how few were left to oppose Ven’Ganze, and that he was now toying with his prey, slowly torturing and tormenting them. Several days later Ethiylas received word that the master of his great guild had fallen to the darkness. Ethiylas left to return to the kingdom and prepare burial for his fallen comrade. He was now the known last paladin.
There is a great spot of darkness here in my memory. Shadows and dust swirling... "Get away from the windows! He’s coming..." And then nothing. Nothing until my brother’s return to find his shelter desecrated. The woman he loved, heavy with his child, strewn across the floor in a pool of blood. His unborn child ripped from its womb, dancing a lifeless dance magically upon the table. His younger brother held within the grasp of the dark one before him. Ven’Ganze gripped me tight, looking deep into my eyes with those burning orbs of yellow and orange, exhaling a black tarry mist into my throat. The mist burned a course down to my core, the pain excruciating. Yet I did not cry. I remember Ven'Ganze telling my brother of how he had infected me, sewn a seed of himself within my mortal coil, and of how Ethiylas would have to live watching me slowly die before him as the demon matured inside. Finally, I would be torn apart, and a new Ven'Ganze would be born.
What happened next is difficult to say, for it all happened so quickly. Nearest I can remember, my brother was upon Ven’Ganze instantly, his sword drawn. Yet the demon of godly stature merely toyed with his blows, disappearing and instantly appearing within different sections of the room many times. My brother was finally struck, a deep yet not mortal wound, and fell to the floor. I remember the look within his deep, powerful blue eyes as he rose once more. Then, suddenly, everything changed. The room was washed in a blue light, as the gods themselves look down at their last chance to reclaim their world. As Ethiylas lunged towards his foe, the hand of the very immortals forced the two into one, Ven’Ganze trapped within my brothers body. Ethiylas fell still upon the floor. Everything went black.
In my memories, I remember there being voices at this point. They spoke and argued, in a tongue not fit for this world, nor any other. Yet I somehow understood portions of this conversation, of its purpose. The gods sought to retake their world, and the only way possible would be for the two vessels now carrying the demon within to be banished to the other worlds. The gods did not care that this would mean the sure destruction of those worlds, they cared only of their own. The black invaded my memories again here, patchy for many years. Until I awoke.
The world I awoke in was very different from the world I knew. Cities, clans, friends, families. None of them mine. I wandered for a while, discovering this new place, this new me. The demon within had changed my form with its energies, before lying dormant inside. My shape externally now twisted into that of a vampire, I wandered aimlessly, pointlessly. Confused… Until my brother arrived to make things better.
He came to this world to give me purpose. Together Ethiylas and I formed a clan to battle our newfound enemies. Together we took the ashes of the dead clan ‘Wolf’ and transformed it into a pure outlet of our newfound anger. Acerbus Ira was born, bearing the meaning of ‘The Dark Anger’ in ancient tongues. I was Number One, my brother the Leader. We began warring with all those who would oppose us. Suddenly, my brother vanished. I came to understand why much later, for its meaning eluded me for many years. My “brother” as I had come to know him was a lie. A fabrication of existence created by the seed of evil within to give me purpose, control, and a reason to become violent against any who would oppose. Secretly, the demon had begun the process of feeding from this violence, and growing slowly within.
Memories fade, coming back from time to time, battles and places, and a dark presence within slowly growing in secret of all, including myself. It took many generations for things to become clear to me. It happened during a great and epic war.
I had again become a wanderer, taken in by the houses Fawson, Lordrum and Vehenemance. Although the demon inside was now gaining incredible amounts of power, I still remained myself, unaware of his presence. As a high ranking member of the Sword of Night, I was upon the front lines, fighting with my friends and honor kin as an equal. Many lives were lost within the battles, and I began to feel changed. I would have periods of unexplained blackouts. Finally, during a heated battle with the demigod Thor, Alucard Vehenemance, friend and kin, witnessed a minor transformation of mine during a blackout. I searched my thoughts and feelings, and discovered the truth about many things while locked away in that tower.
Now I began hearing whispers within my mind, the voice all too familiar to me, for it had echoed within my nightmares for many stale sleepless nights. I saw those eyes once more, as I hid within the shadowy recesses of the towers residing within Sword of Night’s clan hall. I began to know what was happening, for I could feel myself losing control. I could feel him preparing for his birth in this world, lusting for the chaos and death that would follow his release. He was too strong for me, fight as I may; I finally lost my great battle. I was not strong enough.
I searched my thoughts back, to the day when I had been banished to this new world, and remembered that I had come here with two things: the necklace of my family, and a strange blue crystal. This crystal was sharpened to a killing point, and had forever been a mystery to me: until now. In the shadows of the tower I scrawled out a final letter by candlelight:
My Lady Magyana,
I pray this letter reaches you in time, for I fear I have failed.
I can feel the dark one inside me. I can feel his strength growing.
He smells the fresh blood of the battlefield, m’lady.
I have failed m’lady, I have failed.
In these last moments I pray that this not be in vain.
I cannot let him win.
I leave to you this necklace, hold it always.
This crystal must be shattered. Its pieces scattered across the known world.
I beg an honorable burial.
I can feel my strength leaving me, I have failed.
I only hope I am not too late, although too soon I shall know.
For forever is a long time.
Tell them I died fighting...
Count Seph Eleison Vehenemance Lordrum Fawson.
And once more, darkness invaded my world. I cannot explain by what means, for it is unknown to me, yet my spirit remained. Many years was it not present, but slowly it began gathering back in the place it had created. My ghost haunted the forests of Acerbus Ira for some time, sporadically. Yet slowly I began forming more clearly, my being pulled together little by little, until finally, when the city was under dire siege, I returned.
Now I remain, a ghost of former self, a shadow of glory. I humbly hold the post of Number One, Acerbus Ira. I have vowed to forever uphold the glory of Xantheus and the Ira, and to protect the innocent, for I have seen enough suffering in my day.
I thank you for your time, young ones.
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