Wind howled through the icy night as a cloaked figure silently strode through the aphotic forest. An aura of cold malice radiated from his soul, leaving a trail of death and decay behind him. Stopping for a brief moment, he lifted his head to smell the crisp air around him. Yes, he was close. He could taste the terror and anguish already. Quickening his pace, he continued through the brush. An owl screeched overhead, breaking the silence. Dimly lit lanterns could be seen up ahead; the time was near.
Reaching the edge of the forest, the man crouched behind the cover of the trees, peering at the village that was before him. It was late. Most of the villagers had already gone to bed, and the remaining few stayed on guard. The locals, for the majority, were not trained combatants. They carried their weapons with disregard, lacking the style and finesse of a warrior.
“This won’t even be a challenge,” he snarled under his breath. Pushing back his cloak, the man stepped into the moonlight, his skull armor gleaming as he gripped the hilt of his great sword strapped across his back. His silvery, long hair cascaded over his shoulders as he unsheathed his blade and whispered an incantation into the air.
As soon as the words left his mouth, the lanterns flickered and the flames vanished. Darkness enveloped the village, the stench of horror thickening. Incoherent yelling suddenly filled the silence as the guards tried to gather their forces together. Too little, too late. The man had perfect eyesight in the darkness, watching for a moment as his helpless prey scrambled to find each other. His lip curled in disgust. Without further hesitation, he gripped his sword with both hands and ran into the village.
Upon entering the fray, he came to a group of three guards hopelessly groping like blind beggars. Sneering, he taunted the sentries, daring them to strike him. One of the guards pathetically lunged with his weapon towards the unholy knight but to no avail. The demon quickly sidestepped and raised his sword, thrusting his blade into the side of the sentinel. The man bellowed in pain, writhing towards the ground. With lightning reflexes, the assailant withdrew his weapon and pierced the remaining two men. The speed at which he struck was inhuman. The three guards crumpled to the ground, a fine mist of scarlet still lingering in the air behind them. By this time, the rest of the guards had formed a defensive stance and were staring at the man in the moonlight who had just dispatched several of their friends. A sick bellow of laughter escaped the silver-headed fiend as he slowly approached the trembling barricade.
“Who . . . Who are you?” one of the guards stuttered, his hands shaking. The man continued to walk towards the small formation of guards, his eyes shining a pale gray in the cold air. He smirked, watching the men cower beneath his might. Closer and closer he walked, taking pleasure in stalling and observing the fear emitted from the guards.
The horrid wait was torture. The villagers, paralyzed by dread, violently shook in their places. One of the men snapped, his nerves shattered as he turned from his group and ran from his inevitable doom. Stopping, the death-bringer smiled. Focusing his thoughts, he locked his eyes on the retreating guard. A sickening, twisting noise echoed through the village as the cowardly figure fell to the ground, his limbs severely broken and mangled.
“Enough!” one guard yelled as he stepped forward. “I will not let you destroy our village, our home. I will cast you back into the abyss where you belong!” Holding a sword in one hand and a shield in the other, the courageous man stood between his fellow villagers and the demonic presence.
Mocking laughter rose in the death knight’s throat as he looked over the opposition. “Feeling like a hero, are we? Well, what are you waiting for?” With a loud battle cry, the guard sprang forward, slinging his sword towards the armored fiend. Easily sidestepping, the intruder retaliated with his own blow, connecting against the soldier’s shield. Cautiously advancing upon the death knight again, the guard rushed forward with his shield raised, ready to slam into the figure with hopes of disorienting him. Again, as if this was nothing more than child’s play, the attack was unsuccessful. “If this is all you have, I’m going to be quite disappointed.”
“Shut up! I will do whatever it takes to protect this village! These are my people, my family and friends. I will not stand idle while you obliterate everything I love!” the guard screamed, his determination solid and values pure.
“How touching,” the death knight sneered. “I must admit, though, you have surprised me with your resolve. Not many can stand toe to toe with the likes of me. You have spirit, but spirit won’t save your life today.” With a quick, fluid motion, the unholy knight strode forward, his blade sweeping the man across the chest. In an instant, the once intrepid man lay lifeless on the ground, a growing pool of crimson surrounding his body.
Cries broke loose among the remaining novice warriors. Several dropped their weapons while others fell to their knees and wept. The fun was over. They knew their fate. The fire within them died out, and an empty void filled their spirits. The end was upon the village, and there was no stopping this demon. Taking one last look at the defeated men, the death knight closed his eyes and began to chant. The earth around the fiend began to tremble and slowly expand in area, engulfing the entire village in a ring of pestilence. Every living creature perished, the life force sucked straight out. Channeling the energy into his body, the death knight reared his head back and roared, strength coursing through his body.
Another village destroyed. He glanced around at the decayed ruins, content, but he knew his job was not over. There were many more villages that required his attention. Sheathing his sword across his back, he pulled his cloak over himself and left the remains of the settlement.
Unbeknownst to the devilish fiend, however, a god was watching from a distance. Donned in golden plate and chain mail, a ring of glowing light softly embraced the god as he walked into the decimated village. Each step brought life back into the surround flora.
Impressed by the valor of the young man who stood against such opposition, the god knelt down and poured his holy presence over the man’s body. The wounds closed and color began to flush back into the man’s flesh. Slowly, his eyes opened once more.
“Rise, Trynal. I have been watching you for quite some time. I am Kustom, highlord and god of a holy order of knights. You are my chosen one. You will receive my blessings. Do not fear for I am with you. If you falter in battle, do not despair. Your journey is a long and difficult one, but there are friends along the way to help. Seek out the Knights who say Ni as they will be paramount to your success. Go now. Go and travel the world so that you may gain allies, increase your strength, and ultimately defeat that which is plaguing this world.”
And this is how the hero Trynal began his journey to become a beacon of light and hope for those in need. Of course, he has sidetracked to the bar on more occasions than he can count, but that is to be expected.