This is the first of an ongoing series, which I hope someday to work into a novel. It was originally envisioned as a series of episodic JRPG games, in the style of the SNES classics. Alas, I proved to not have the skill nor the patience for game design. I still find the story compelling, though, so I am delivering it in the form I know best.
This is the story of a young woman named Celestine, who becomes the Scion–the worldly emissary–of Ione (ee-oh-nay), Goddess of Law. Ione orders her scion to confront the Dark King of Vratis, a man rumored to be under the influence of powerful demons. Join Celestine and her unlikely allies, as they confront dark forces in the name of justice.
Gerard looked down from the battlements at the ships being anchored just off shore. Men were filling the landing boats, preparing to storm the shore.
There must have been hundreds of ships in the water. More than enough men to smash through the little fortress that now offered Gerard his only protection. There was no running from this fight; the enemy had brought their horses, too.
Gerard did what little he could to raise the fighting spirit of the men around him. He also made sure they had enough arrows on hand to put a decent dent in that dark army. He checked the tips of his longbow to make sure the string was secure and unfrayed.
Long landing boats cycled back from shore to ship and back again, bringing thousands of armored fighters to the hard brown sand of the beach. They howled and bellowed, the devilish noise increasing its rancorous chorus with each new group’s arrival.
Then Gerard noticed a landing ship that was different from the rest. It was wider, and had a large dragon head at its front. This one did not return from the shore; it waited as its passengers slowly walked ashore on wide wooded planks provided by other soldiers.
There he was, in his midnight black armor, passing through the assembly like a shark through a school of fish. Adrix, the scourge. Adrix the Black Hand, fallen servant of Ione. His reputation preceded him.
Adrix was a commander in the army of the Dark King of Vratis, the creature who sought to conquer his neighbors. This, of course, included the Kingdom of Ciston, where this unfortunate fortress was located. Adrix had been born near this very spot, but had been stolen away by promises of dark power. His homecoming would soon become a bloodbath.
The men on beach assembled into a rigid formation and began to march up towards the keep. Gerard called to his men, commanding them to their places along the battlements. He raised his bow, and the others followed.
In the distance, he saw Adrix call a halt to the march. The black-clad man’s head turned upward until it seemed as though he was looking directly at Gerard. It sent shivers down the old soldier’s spine. Adrix raised a hand, glowing purple fire gathering around it. The fire rocketed towards the wall, exploding on the merlons mere feet from where Gerard stood. It sent stone and dust crashing into the waiting men.
“Fire!” Gerard commanded, rising to his feet.
The battle had commenced.