Meanwhile west of Argon, in the mountainous land surrounded by forests, sits the small tranquil village of the Darklands. Its large oak walls protected its people. The village itself was small, but practical. In its centre was a large marble statue of the wise monk. The wise old monk was the village’s keeper and ruler. The statue was surrounded by small thatched houses, built from redwood and straw.
A tower next to one of the wooden temples held a large metal bell that was used as a warning to inform the people of the village that they are under attack. The village was overshadowed by the frosty mountains; which were a remarkable sight. The magnificent white snow covering the mountain’s peak was a beautiful view. However, the largest of the mountains was the mountain of serenity and upon this mountain dwells the temple of serenity said to have been built by the creator. Only the most worthy and noblest of people are allowed to set foot in the temple.
The monks of the Darklands foretold an ancient prophecy that will befall upon Barerin. When the light rises from the abyss, harmony and peace will be restored and when she unites the shattered lands as one, the emperor of chaos shall fall at the hands of the guardian. The protector of all that is good, a new age will begin, the age of eternal light.
The village was full of life, the merchants selling their goods, the farmers harvesting their crops, the children running about, but in one of the temples all the monks gathered for group meditation. When they had finished, the wise old monk stepped forward, he was a small bald man dressed in a red cotton robe, with a yellow sash across his shoulder and torso. He then lit seven candles each a different colour from the previous, they represented the elements fire, water, air, earth, lightning, light and darkness.
The monks had gathered for an important ceremony, the ceremony of the first, in which the wise old monk will choose his successor. All the monks bowed and the wise old monk bowed back. He stepped even further forward and spoke “As we have all gathered in the house of the lord, it is time for me to name my successor. The one who be the guide to the non-believers and keeper of the children of the creator” he paused for a moment and looked across the hall, as if he was judging the quality of their souls. Then the old monk walked towards the monks, he placed his hand on one of the young monks. He looked up at the man, the young man wore a robe similar to the old monk but it was not as grand. He had short black hair and hazel eyes. The old monk spoke again and this time with a more joyful tone, “Stand Ishmael” and Ishmael did so, “You have been chosen to guide and teach our ways to others, do you accept this task” Ishmael looked back at the other monks, who were smiling. Then he gulped “Y-yes, I accept”. The old monk smiled then said “You are all dismissed”.
All the monks stood up and marched out the temple. Then the old monk pinched his fingers over the lit wicks of the candles, the flame was extinguished. Ishmael watched the old monk while he was leaving.
Outside the walls of the Darklands stood Marcus Davo’s mercenaries led by one of his most trusted assassins Keira, she was a tall slim figure; her eyes were apple green and had long blonde hair. Her armour was of fine leather, her belt was a brown cloth tied around her waist which had throwing knives attached. Her bracer had a small dagger hidden inside, and she had two silver daggers tied to her sides. She glanced at the wall that separated them from the monks, she signalled to her men.
Three of the men lit two large tree branches and crept down the hill. Then the three men spaced themselves along the wooden wall, and once again Keira signalled. The men launched the flaming sticks at the wall and ran back to Keira and the others, they watched as the blazing wall fell apart.
The monks looked in horror at the wall; one of the monks ran up the stairs to the tower. He didn’t look back. He climbed into the tower and hit the bell with a metal poll, the sound echoed around every inch of the Darklands.
Keira and the mercenaries rushed through the burnt remains of the wall. The village folk armed themselves with anything they could find. The monks grabbed the staffs and started to fight back.
One of the mercenaries chased two monks, he threw two throwing knives, and they hit both monks. One in the head and other in the arm, the monk who had been hit in the arm fell to the ground; he looked back at the huge armed man that was approaching him.
The monk pulled himself with his good arm over to the steps of the temple; the mercenary drew his long sword and rushed to finish the monk. The mercenary raised his blade and hit down, but his blade was met by a spear, a clash of steel could be heard, it was the wise old monk.
The mercenary now furious at the old monk for intervening, turned his attention on him, the old monk stabbed at him, but he jumped out of the way. The mercenary threw one of his throwing knives; it hit the old monk in the leg. He yelled in pain, his leg now red with blood. The monk lifted his spear high and jabbed at the man a second time, only this time he landed a hit.
The spear was now hanging out of the mercenary’s chest, the old monk pushed hard down on it with all his strength, the spear was now forced through him. The old monk fell backwards from exhaustion. In addition, the mercenary collapsed dead. The old monk limped over to the wounded monk; he bent down and looked at the wound. The wounded monk screamed in agony the old monk spoke “Please brother, be still”. The old monk helped him to his feet and they both inched themselves to the infirmary.
Meanwhile on the other side of the Darklands, Keira was cutting her way through the villagers; she stabbed a villager with her concealed dagger that hit him in the neck. Ishmael raced over to her, and brought out his staff. She laughed “Well isn’t that a nice walking stick, you have there” She said in a sarcastic tone.
“It might be, but it will take you down”
“Oh is that so, I mean look around young monk, tell me what you see” Ishmael looked at all the dead bodies that lay silently upon the ground
“I see friends and kin lie slain in their own home, I see what you have done, but the creator is a forgiving god and you can atone”
“Hah, I don’t think so, time to die little monk”
“Fine, then make peace with the maker. For you, will be the one joining him”
“Fighting words lets end this” and with that, Keira ran at Ishmael with her daggers in hand, Ishmael swung his staff and hit her on her leg. She growled with rage. She ran at him again, with such a speed, he couldn’t focus on where she was. She lashed at him with her right dagger that cut into his face. He touched his face and felt the small gash across his face; he then shot a cold glance at Keira. She laughed back at him; he then smashed his staff across her stomach. She fell to her knees holding her stomach in anguish. Ishmael paced over to her.
She grabbed his leg and tripped him to the ground; she then picked up her dagger and crawled over to him. He kicked the dagger out of her hand and punched her in the face. He stumbled to his feet and grabbed the dagger; he looked into her cruel eyes and plunged the dagger into her heart, she laid there motionless and cold. Ishmael placed the dagger into his pocket and ran to help the others.
Ishmael stopped in the middle of the village and stared at all the destruction; he then considered what if all the monks and villagers are dead? What will happen? What if everything I ever cared about are gone? He then run up to the infirmary where he was met by the wise old monk whose leg was now bandaged, he looked pleased to see Ishmael in one piece. Ishmael raced over to the old monk and hugged him tightly, the old monk spoke “I am glad you’re safe Ishmael, are all the mercenaries dead?”
“Yes, but why did they attack” Ishmael replied, the old monk limped over to the steps and sat down.
“They attacked us under Barerin’s orders, that I am sure, Barerin has never been a man of god”
“But why would they attack monks? We are but simple folk; we are not an army to be feared”
“I believe that those mercenaries were of Marcus Davo”
“He is a hired assassin and leader of the mercenaries, he made his fortune by hiring himself out to all the important lords, and he also has favour with the emperor and is an ally of his”
“So the emperor hired this man to kill us, why?”
“I will explain everything to everyone in time; first we must rebuild and bury our dead”
“Of course brother” Ishmael bowed to the old monk and the old monk did the same.
The Darklands was not entirely destroyed during the assault, but it had seen better days. Many people perished during the conflict, families prayed for others to recover. Those who survived helped care for the sick and the wounded. Others volunteered helping those who have lost so much, giving them their basic needs to continue living. The village was broken and many people mourned the loss of family members praying to god to give them a safe passage from the darkness and the nothingness, to see the light and to be saved from this nightmare.
The rebuilding began, Ishmael called the monks to help, they were split into different groups, each with a task to do, group one travelled to the school, which had been dreadfully burnt.
They first gathered planks of wood from old oak trees, just outside the Darklands and began restoring the school to its former glory. When it was finished, it looked astonishing, it had pine doors that were huge and the oak walls gave the school a remarkable finish, also the red wood gave the newly built school character. The frames were made of iron; it made the structure strong and gave shape to the school.
The second group was in tasked with the responsibility of reconstructing the village walls; they collected a variety of woods and metals, first they made the frames for the walls using tin and iron. Then assembled it with the elm planks, then for extra support they put more oak behind it.
The walls were solid, sturdy and durable; they were pleased with their work. Groups 3 and 4 were assigned to rebuild the houses and infirmary. They worked together, first they fixed the infirmary, which wasn’t as badly damaged as the rest of the village, and most of the walls were still standing, but had to be taken down just to be safe. Oak walls replaced the aspen and the copper doors made the doors stronger than the wooden ones, inside there were wooden beds attached to tables, on the windows had iron bars across the frame.
The houses took a long time to reconstruct but it was worth it, the houses were now made out of ebony, and redwood. Each had a number attached to the door, which had been made out of copper. They looked impressive compared to the old ones. The villagers cheered in what they had accomplished.
The wise old monk summoned all the monks to one of the temples; they all sat quietly in front of the old monk. “I am going to tell you a tale” he began. “A tale of my past confrontation with the emperor, it all began some time ago. I was sent to free some prisoners. Which Barerin had imprisoned, only because they dared for freedom and peace. When I got there, the dungeons were easy to find, when I finally freed them. The alarm sounded, and I ran from the east side of the dungeon to the west. There had been an exit through a small hole, which had been made from previous attempts to breakout. Nevertheless, when I got out Barerin was waiting with his large broadsword, he chased me to a chasm, I remembered how Barerin made the prisoners beg and made them kiss the ground he walked on. He relished in how he made them beg for mercy and then he would slaughter them like cattle”. The monk suddenly became enraged, his fists became clenched at the memory, he continued “then I remembered what happened at the chasm, Barerin had cornered me, I had nowhere to go, I stood there quietly and accepted my fate. Barerin marched up to me and shouted in an irritated tone, you are worthless, you are scum, how dare you undermine me” as he marched. I just stood there Barerin continued bellowing, “answer me you worm”. Still I stood there in silence; Barerin raised his sword to my neck and whispered into my ear. “Maybe this will loosen your tongue” I replied “you know no honour, you are a tyrant and you will fall” the sword’s hilt cut my chest; I felt a sudden sharp pain as I fell upon the harsh rocky ground as I felt the darkness take me. I was certain I would perish”.
The old monk opened his robe, revealing a large crooked scar, all the monks gasped at the sight. The old monk spoke again “Barerin has always been an enemy of us, and the day the light returns, will be his last, you are all dismissed” All the monks leaped up and paced out of the temple in all directions, they were all chattering about the story the old monk had told.
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