Last updated on August 7th, 2015
I step forward, into the stillness of past regrets. Nothing’s changed here, nothing has been touched in ages. Everything sits, eerily waiting for its savior. One can tell the history was made here, some event, which has since been lost to time, occurred at this very place.
The sky is blotted out by the vast cloud cover, giving the land a melancholy coloring. A structure lies in the distance, a very large structure which, at a time, must have been a grand spectacle. But now, it lies in ruin. A thick layer of soot hides the true ground from view, and the ash’s lay suggests that nothing sentient has enteres this land in a long time. Did some great fire abuse this land, causing this large volume of ash? Possibly. Pillars have been erected in uniform positions, eventually leading up to the structure in the distance. Lying over the pillars, and everything protruding out of the ashen ground, are strange, hardened ash spikes, pointing east, as if some grand wind came from the west, devastating all which wasn’t previously destroyed by the fire. Was it this grand wind that extinguished the great fire? Another possibility.
Despite not wanting to alter this immortal landscape, I moved onward, for I had a mission.
About five meters in front of me, a pillar lies on the ground, toppled from the unknown disasters of the past. As I pass by it, I see a threat. A humanoid structure, standing a meter taller than my own height, wielding a large, blackened sword. It was wearing armor, also blackened by what must have been flame. Its helm’s slits still glowed with heat, and the top of the helm had unnatural horns protruding towards the equally unnatural hue of the sky.
When I entered its range, it gained newfound purpose. It charged me, sword in hand. I dashed out of the way of his harrowing sword. He re-positions himself, entering a swordsman’s stance. He must have been a knight before, a very honourable creature. Sadly, he has lost his purpose; only to kill, as the others have tried to before him.
I looked down at my own sword. Long, slender, illustrious. Thin, but sharp. A stark contrast to the thick, blackened sword of my adversary. I draw my sword, looking for chinks in his armor. Whatever battles this cratures has fought has left many, and I exploit those chinks, killing it. It falls, turning to ash with its dying breath. Only his sword remained. I looked onward, to the structure in the distance. Will there be more? How many will I find on my path?
I thought back to those who have helped lead me to this place. Where would I be without them? The comrade which I never had the chance to thank, or to save? The warrior, who, despite having lost his own battle, and had no desire to continue, aided me in mine? The saint who, despite having a strange fixation, was extremely valuable in times innumerable? And lastly, the serpent, who cast a light on my true destiny? Would I have made it this far? Who could say? This is a journey I’ve made alone, and one that only I can complete.
Another knight lied ahead, with a sword that must have been the length of my body. I ended his suffering, and moved forward. Shortly thereafter, I found a metal platform standing out of the ash. On this platform, one of the pillars stood tall, suggesting that all the pillars in the area have their own metal platforms. From here, I can more closely examine the pillar. The metal is mostly black, but on one side, it is comprised of many different colors and hues. The great fire that moved through here must have been hot enough to melt metal…in which case, what could cause so hot a flame over so large area?
The platform moves outward, towards other pillars and platforms, eventually reaching the structure in the distance. Despite its decrepit appearance, the platform holds as I onto it, finally leaving that ash land behind. On one particularly damaged strut, another knight stood waiting, protecting the forward passage. The fight proved difficult on the small space, but I defeated the knight, continuing onward.
The pillars, and their connected platforms, led to a broken down section of the structure, allowing me passage inside. The structure must have been a Colosseum or a grand gathering point at some instance in time. I am currently on a set of stairs leading downward to the structure’s base; rubble prevents my journey upward. At the base, an arena type area can be seen, which has many claw shaped protrusions sticking out, pointing towards the arena’s middle. At this middle, there are three more claws, point towards the center, and the ash here is darker in color, is formed in a circular shape, and about a half meter deeper than the surrounding ash. What is this place’s pertinence?
I moved downward, carefully testing the unstable steps, eventually making it to the base. A milky white fog covered the doorway, leading to the arena. When I touched it, I realized it can be passed through, giving away as it comes into contact with my hand. And so, I braved the mist, feeling a pleasant coolness as it comes into contact with my skin.
On the other side lied terror. A humanoid figure sat against on of the claws, dormant. Its clothes were ragged, and its beard is uneven, wirey, and in some places singed. In its hands rested a terrible sword, two times the length of the creature itself. The sword was nicked in many places, and couldn’t do any substantial damage by means of cutting. Lastly, a crown rested on the beast’s head, dull and without purpose. Whatever the creature was revered for, it has been too long since then. He has lost his pride, his honor.
It noticed my presence. It turned, looking at me, which in turn allowed me to see its face. It’s dead. Rotten. A mere husk of whatever it used to be. It stood up, disturbing the dust which has long since settled into its skin.
It advanced on the circle, and I saw something there that I didn’t see previously. An ancient sword jutted outward from a substance I have seen many times in my travels. They are bones, bones of a human who was ailed by an unnatural affliction; a curse. These bones have been ground up, and given an unnatural ability by those who have placed them here. They can produce fire, and this particular fire has only one ember left; but even from this distance, the fire’s heat demands to be felt, suggesting that this is no ordinary flame.
The beast approaches it, movements calm, yet jagged. He slowly places his sword into the pit and the effects were immediate. The small ember engulfed the sword in flame, casting an intense light over the arena. The flames were so hot, smoke billowed upward from the sword, obstructing much of my forward view. No ordinary flame, indeed.
The flame brought new life to this hallowed beast, enraging it. It turned to me, and immediately began its attack.
It was a remarkable distance away, but it closed that distance quickly. There must have been 15 meters separating us, but he crossed said distance with one jump. He kicked into the air, disrupting the surrounding ash and dust, and prepared his sword. In a thrusting motion, he careened toward me, and I rolled beneath him as he swung his blade horizontally across the arena.
He had recognized his mistake, and he floated away before I could plunge my sword into his back. He advanced, swinging with immense speed, as if the sword has no weight. It’s range was too much, and he threw me back with the weight of the blade. The blade’s flames were brutal, burning with an intensity one would associate with Hell itself. Strange that the flames burn so intensely, even without a fuel source. No ordinary flame, indeed.
His attacks were unending, his aggression unceasing. I was weak, but I had to face him if I wished to survive. I readied myself for his next attack, bringing my shield into play. It is not a pretty weapon, but it will serve my needs.
He advances, running up with a swing from the left. I held my shield in both hands, and pushed against his blade with all my strength. The blade rebounded off my shield successfully, leaving him open for attack. I drew my sword, and threw my sword through his robes, and then his flesh.
He fell to the ground, obviously shocked, but shows no emotion on his face. Despite the devastating blow, he began to rise, using the sword for stability. I used the pause to drink from my flask.
This flask: it is of an emerald hue, and it contained a golden liquid, which shined through the emerald. It was a gift, given to me by a man who died seconds after he gave me this flask. This liquid has healing properties, and has saved me time innumerable in battle. I can never thank the man for this precious, precious gift, but I am incredibly grateful for his actions.
I drank a small amount of the golden liquid, immediately feeling its effects. The beast was up now, continuing its assault; now at all showing the effects of the newly created hole in its chest. The only real strategy was back. Back. Wait for an opening. Strike. Back.
We were nearing the end of our duel. Its face told no story, but its body shutters with strained breathing. I myself have no more golden liquid in my flask, and I have burns over much of my body. The fight, whoever the victor, would soon reach its conclusion. He took two commanding steps forward, bringing the sword down hard to the right. I dove down his right side, feeling the intense heat as the sword roared above my head. I regained my footing, and finally delivered my sword to its final resting place.
He fell to his knees, dropping the sword, whose flame extinguished as it hit the ground. His body began dematerializing, wisps of white mass and smoke escaping his body. As he slowly crept towards death, his face created its first emotion in what must have been years: relief. He threw his head skyward, letting out a roar (Or, perhaps, a sigh?) which caused an explosion of white wisps to escape his body. Finally, somebody has delivered this once great warrior, from himself.
When the wisps had subsided, he was no more; but a powerful object stood in his place. A substance, which burned like fire, but was cool enough to hold. As I held it, I could see into the mind and body of the item’s previous holder. This must have been that poor creature’s soul. It’s old, withered, and far less powerful that it was in its prime, but even through all of its trials and tribulations, it’s still a powerful thing, indeed.
I set forth for my destiny. I moved forward, with the souls of the Fallen in hand, to where I’ve been heading all along. And where is that? Whether forward or behind, it does not matter. No matter the decision, I shall change the course of history, until inevitably, unceasingly, the cycle repeats itself again.
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