WHEN THE STARS HAVE FALLEN
4,000 years ago - the Amazon rainforest
Insects chattered, predators hunted, and the tribe awaited their mage - a powerful shaman with untold secrets. Through a cloud of mist he appeared; draining the life, it seemed, out of the air itself. Creases lined his aged face, and the white hair that fell to his shoulders contrasted greatly with his dark skin. He wore a colorful robe of animal skins; a necklace composed of polished beads and dagger-like teeth hung about his neck. The tribe looked on in silent awe, for the power of the shaman was great. "Tribesmen," he spoke in a low, tired voice, his hard amber eyes searching the crowd, "I have foreseen a dark future, 4,000 years from now. The stars will have fallen and danger will befall us."
4,000 years later - Europe
The Templar lord sat in silence, his eyes wide with shock. Messengers had just sent word of a forbidding force of danger that had gathered on the borders of his kingdom. Desperately hoping that this was merely an old wives tale, he turned his attention back to the reports, observing the figures that the scouts had scrawled onto the parchment. Trolls, wolves, orcs, dragons, and rabid animals of black magic were painted on the scroll and he could not contain his fear. Shuddering, he diverted his gaze, signaling the trumpeter the sound the alarm.
Commoners, soldiers, and nobles alike gathered at the foot of his palace. "Fellow humans, I have gathered you all to warn of an imminent danger," the lord began, "We are under attack from the creatures that have stemmed from dark magic! Trolls, dragons, and creatures alike are preparing to lay siege as we speak!" Commotion and chaos broke out throughout the crowd, the panicked murmurs and whispers spreading like a wildfire. "Silence!" the lord shouted, "I know this is difficult to believe but I require every male over fifteen years of age to ready themselves for battle. Women and children, leave for Dartcair and bring with you an escort of two-hundred men-at-arms. The remaining, prepare for battle!" The crowd surged away as trumpets sounded the battle call, knights leapt into position. When the clamor subsided, in the courtyard was a mighty force of five-thousand soldiers, armed to the teeth with swords, armor, battleaxes, spears, pikes, and shields.
General Lune Divine, clad in red mail, strode down the ranks, thoroughly inspecting the knights and ordering commands. His tall muscular form rippled through the layers of armor, and his curly, dark hair framed his deep blue eyes. "Today," he boomed, "We will not fight but train. If you would so please, enter the barracks and our knights will train each and every one of you in the art of battle." As the preparations continued, the dark force advanced quickly throughout the landscape, fire leaping into the sky as they burned their way to the castle and its battlements.
7 days later - Europe
The men, now fully trained, awaited their enemies. They twirled their weapons in preparation, and anticipation and fear hung heavily in the air. A sudden blast of a trumpet followed the approach of a courier from the intruding force. An orc strode forward, chin held high, shouting to the castle. "If you resist," he gurgled, "You shall all be destroyed. We outnumber you fifty to one!" Laughing, he continued to rant out numerous figures, effectively worrying the awaiting men. A deep commanding voice echoed throughout the field, interrupting his mocking speech. "You say we will be doomed. If so, let them come!" Divine shouted, signaling the army. A whistle of arrows sped from the ranks of men, assaulting the black ranks as they charged forward.
The siege of Cair Varendel had begun.