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The Young King of Meldre
The night was as shadowy and evil as the creature that followed him. The young king, Zeik; a man of seventeen years who was five foot three and not as muscular as most of his companions but had a greater will and stronger mind than all, ran as quickly as he could into the safety of his palace, his heart pounding with fear he felt as if he were dying a slow painful death. It was as if he were being torn in half slowly by the darkness. He ran stumbling on chairs in the dining hall to light the lantern on the wall. When it was lit he no longer felt the pounding of his heart or the unfamiliarity of his castle, he felt safe. Upon realizing this feeling he slept.
The next day he set out to discuss the matter with his most trusted comrade, Barak; a tall man of about six foot, one inch, who had the muscles of a hero who had been in almost a thousand wars and a beard of about two inches. When he arrived at the home of his friend he noticed that the door was standing wide open, this was something that was not common in the case of Barak. “Barak,” shouted Zeik, “are you here my old friend?”
“I am here my king,” replied an old crackled voice, “why have you come to visit me at such an early hour, is it already time for your daily training in the arts of magic?”
“It is indeed, but first I must ask you something of great importance,” said the king, “it is of the Shadow Lord, Zonde.”
“What happened this time Zeik?”
“I was hunting in the Great Forest after dark and I heard one of his spies following me so I ran to the castle and once inside I was exhausted from fear, so I slept.”
“It sounds as if he is once again after your head.”
“I was afraid you’d say that, every time that he tries he gets closer, and closer to succeeding.” “I know, and that is why we must be extremely cautious of the areas outside your castle. Well time for your training, are you ready?’
“Then, let’s begin, shall we?”
Zeik awoke happily for the Shadow Lord had given him absolutely no disturbances for the rest of that week. He was even more delighted when Falco, his brother’s messenger bird, brought news of his return to the kingdom of Meldre. He rushed down the stairway and out the palace doors and saw a wagon in the distance. It was an unfamiliar sight at first, but he waited a short while and noticed a marking carved into the front of the approaching wagon and noticed a familiar sight; it was the marking of Meldre and with it was the emblem of his courageous younger brother, Lefe. When the wagon arrived Zeik happily waited to see the face of his brother whom he had not laid eyes upon for three years. When the door finally opened Zeik violently shook hands with his brother and they both went into the castle and talked for nearly an hour about Lefe’s trip to the Westland Kingdom and about how much they sincerely missed each other and about heir long past childhood.
Nearing the end of their conversation they heard a thunderous crash and the terrified screams of the villagers. They rushed outside to see a dark shadow creeping across the land destroying all of the buildings and killing most of the people in its way, it was headed straight for the castle. In their heads they heard an unfamiliar voice saying “Foolish kings, your last attempt to stop me only made me stronger, now you will be the ones to suffer, parish in my shadows!” They both knew at once that it was the Shadow Lord that was causing all of this destruction. Zeik ran into the castle to grab his staff and Lefe to grab his sword, both were crafted using ancient lightcrystals made for the soul purpose of battle against the shadows, for both of these weapons wielded a blinding light, the light cast a bright aura around their users making it almost impossible for the Zonde to use his magic against them. They ran out of the castle and cast a blinding light across the kingdom of Meldre, warding off the shadows of Zonde. Their magic would unfortunately only make it so Zonde would not be able to enter the kingdom with shadows or in any form for another year.
The next day Zeik awoke to a loud ear-piercing screeching noise ringing through his head, it lasted about an hour before finally fading. Zeik went downstairs and suddenly Barak burst through the door scarred from head to toe looking as if he would bleed to death if he was not given immediate care, immediately Zeik rushed to aid his friend “What happened?” he asked.
“I was walking through the forest, and was attacked,” sputtered Barak, “by the Shadow lord.” Barak suddenly began coughing frantically. He sounded as if he were going to die as he was both coughing and choking blood from his mouth. Zeik thought about trying to heal his friend with magic and realized that it might kill Barak because healing was something that Zeik had only practiced once and was unsuccessful. He then realized that this might indeed be the only way he could save his dying friend as he noticed that he had unknowingly started to chant the magic words of healing. After he was finished he laid down Barak in one of the unused rooms of the castle, and when Barak awoke he was completely unfamiliar with his surroundings. Barak rose slowly and walked wearily down the chamber steps. Zeik immediately noticed his weakened companion approaching and rushed to his side and beckoning him to stay alive, full of worry by the fact that his friend might die.
“You’ll be alright,” said Zeik in a reassuring voice, “rest, regain your strength; I will try to heal your wounds.” Then as Barak slept, he began to chant the ancient words of elm, the words of heal; “eta az en zool,” he began, “raz gnek sej un vala.” A bright light suddenly began to shine from Zeik’s hand; he was astonished to find that it was working and continued. “Ila yel an zul eta rin zel te,” he said as he began to feel his energy draining yet still pushed himself and continued, “ez an teraza el inatu ren el ig qen alu zar tvet ril an ulu.” Then, with having so low of energy, his arm dropped for he had become too weak to hold it up and suddenly the room became dark; his head felt heavy and in an instant, he was unconscious.
When Zeik awoke he was resting peacefully in a warm and comfortable bed, he say up slowly still feeling a bit weak from what had happened. He then stood up almost falling over and walked slowly down the stairs. When he finally reached the bottom he noticed where he was, he was standing in Barda’s kitchen and saw his friend sitting in the center of the room “Come! Sit! Have a drink,” he yelled in a joyful and healthy manner, “I’m glad you and I are still alive; after all, last I knew I was near death; then I woke up here fit as a fiddle. So, I saw you lying there and carried you up to the bed to rest.”
“For that I thank you,” Zeik replied giving a slight smile, “by the way, do you have anything to eat? I feel starved.”
“I do indeed,” he replied, “sit; we shall feast upon the joy of our well being.”
As they began to eat and enjoy their meal they were suddenly interrupted by a loud crash in the living room; they went immediately to see what had made all the commotion and weren’t pleased by what they saw. Standing in front of them was a messenger. He began to speak, “I ring a message,” said he, “from the shadow lord.”
“Well……..” Zeik replied, “What does it say?” The messenger handed Zeik the letter, and he began to read. As he read he did not like what he saw, the letter read:
I will be sending a man to you at the time of the next moon to request something. If the requested item is not given by sunset, your village will be obliterated.
“This isn’t good,” Zeik said, “he says that he will send a messenger to get something at the next moon, and if it is not given by sunset; our village will be wiped out.”
“Oh, well that’s just three days time,” barked Barak in a harsh voice; clenching his fists with his face as red as fire, “we must defend ourselves at all costs! And expect the worst. Just in case we cannot give what is demanded by Zonde.”
So they began to prepare the village, setting up massive barriers of stone and log, assembling the archers using ancient strategic methods that had never been beaten before, arming the nights, and bringing their most trusted and strongest warriors into battle: the Gladiators. These men were trained to the max, put in strong armor that was also incredibly light. All were broad, and intelligent; with extreme reactions to anything. They were only on occasion, able to dodge the fastest shots of the Zonde’s ballista; the shots which were infused with magic and supposed to defy the laws of speed. They then brought out the mages, men of magic, able to control all of the elements and manipulate them at will; being able to heal, and destroy all being loyal to none other than Zeik, their lord.
Zonde’s messenger arrived exactly when expected, giving a note to Zeik in a harsh sort of way saying, “Here read it! My lord, the supreme ruler, demands that you do and obey its contents!”
Just then Barak felt as though he were about to burst for he was swelling with anger and rage because of the messenger’s impoliteness. “Calm down Barak,” Zeik said in a reassuring voice lightly touching his friend on the shoulder, “it is fine, we mustn’t get overwhelmed from something as simple as his being impolite.”
“Yes, Zeik if you wish I shall try to remain calm,” Barak replied still wanting to crush the skull of this unwanted visitor, “for now”
With that said Zeik decided to open the letter and he did it with a slow moving fearing that the requested would be too important to his people. The letter said:
The requested item is: The Ring of Aszme.
“Oh,” Zeik said suddenly in a raspy voice making a slight groaning noise, “he wants the ring, The Ring of Aszme.”
Barak then made a noise that sounded like he had just had his foot stomped on and said in reply, “Well hell with that! I’d rather die!”
“I know that,” Zeik replied in a reassuring voice soothing enough to calm the most savage beast as he began to crack a slight smile, “and fight we will!” They then began to wait, gamble, have fun, and in the midst of all of it they prepared for the worst. Three days passed.
Zonde came then, his massive army of over 3,000,000 soldiers advancing slowly, archers in the back, foot soldiers in front of them, cavalry next, then in the front, the baricans; the worst of all warriors to walk the earth. The baricans were knits of Zeik once, corrupted by the full power of hatred and evil; they were heartless, merciless, and within a state of the blood rage, a force of evil that corrupts the mind like a virus making its host feel as though they hated all who wished to destroy evil. The baricans were the true warriors of evil; they would destroy all that was good if the were not stopped.
Zeik’s army, the Guardians, of twice as much men as Zonde’s (but less brutal) then charged, yelling and screaming the shouts of war loud enough to make the deaf hear, and loud enough to deafen their enemies.
They ran with hope and faith, things that Zonde knew nothing of, having these were what made Zeik’s army so dangerous to the shadow lord; he feared them, was afraid that they would corrupt him as he had so willingly let evil do thousands of years before.
Zeik ran ferociously, charging like a madman. As they collided with their enemies, Zeik jabbed his sword, which he had coated with a magic flame, into one of the baricans, killing it instantly. An enemy came from behind him unknowingly and out of pure reaction he ducked, dodging the fierce blade, and in the same motion, severing the beast with his sword. He then saw the perfect opportunity to go, he ran as fast as he could then, breathing heavily, his heart racing and pounding, his destination in sight. As he drew nearer to his target he noticed that the time was right and he thrust his sword, sending it through the air, the sun shining on the sword creating an effect making it seem like a flaming lightning bolt shooting through the air. The sword flew and within two seconds, it hit its target, the leader of Zonde’s army, rendering them almost completely defenseless and having no one to give them commands so they would know what they were to do.
The army of the shadow lord then fell into a state of panic, swiftly bringing them defeat. Then a thunderous roar of joy and relief arose from the Guardians, with many approaching Zeik with compliments of congratulation, the men patting him and other’s shoulders.
Afterwards the army celebrated in the great hall of the castle, giving compliments, sharing stories, and mourning the loss of their friends whom were killed in the war. In parts of the town you could hear women crying for the loss of their husbands and children. Zeik sat at the head of the feasting table, remaining silent and not saying a word to anyone, for only he knew what was to come, another army would be sent by Zonde to once again try to annihilate the Kingdome of Meldre; an army much worse, of a size almost six times bigger than the last. The previously sent army wiped out almost half of the Guardians, and the army that was to come could possibly send them to the brink of destruction. Zeik had only one thing that he could do, pray, pray that they would survive and continue life; for if they were to win this upcoming war, Zonde would be forced to stop sending his many brigades of troops and that opportunity would give both enemies a chance to rebuild their defenses.
Only fate would decide what was to come, and for that they would wait.