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PLEASE CRITIQUE!!!!!

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  • Kathy
    The synopsis that gives you a clearer insight of what the story is about, and the past events that led up to this moment in time is currently being written.
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 12, 2002
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      The synopsis that gives you a clearer insight of what the story is
      about, and the past events that led up to this moment in time is
      currently being written. It's real long and it's hard to explain the
      story in one sentence, but I'll try anyway. It's a story about two
      realms where in the first age a dark and powerful wizard with the
      desire for eternal immortality created an Arc that withheld
      incredible powers to rule and enslave people, and it's the good guys
      quest to destroy the Arc while the war continues in the Dark Ruins.
      (I HAVENT SCANED THE MAPS BUT WHEN I DO I'LL POST THEM UP IF ANYONE
      SHOWS ANY INTEREST, BASICALLY THE COUNTRY IS CALLED INCERIA, THE
      REALMS OF THE DARK LORD IS GORDSHAW AND THE REALMS OF THE (GOOD) KING
      IS CALLED CERIA.



      KEEPER OF THE ARC
      PART 1

      A fight for desire beyond human eyes
      Had turned to an evil and valiant war
      Bodies of the men who that night lost their lives
      Rest there in the ruins of Gordshaw.

      An army grew strong where the king took his fall
      Two rulers with power still neither had more
      Though one leader to rule them, to rule them all
      Long after the war of Gordshaw


      CHAPTER 1
      THE WAR OF GORDSHAW
      Achilles rode steadily against the howling winds of the dark world.
      The road in which he followed was creased with the lingering shadows
      of the parched birch trees that were wheeling over him. And the moon
      was nothing but a mere fluorescent sphere imbedded under the
      streaming grey clouds. The sprawling gloom of the Iron Barriers was
      silhouetted against the distant lights of his village. The night had
      been a long journey, for the roads of Glebe bared no atmosphere safe
      enough to rest for a short while as it had been miles that he
      travelled to deliver an imperative message from the ruthless people
      of Rhangor, a message that withheld the terrible fate of the King and
      his people. The pounding of hooves weaved the coiling sodden road and
      echoed throughout the forbidden realms of the eerie darkness as with
      each magnificent stride he had further left the smouldering villages
      that sheltered such evil. It had been a daring ride of perils and
      darkness since he had last set foot on homeland and strangled
      thoughts of dread and dismay started to devour his consciousness as
      he neared the end of the road that parted the mountains separating
      the barren realms of good and evil. He felt his thoughts cease as a
      welcoming light gleamed dimly ahead of his path revealing a
      semicircle of paved stones that stretched as far as the gap of the
      mountains and his horse had slowed for the first time eventually
      coming to a solid halt. Four young noble men fully clad in heavy
      armour bearing iron shields had barred their way and in their free
      hands two carried blazing torches of fire that weaken the thick fog.
      Though he was not aware of the men's voices as they approached him
      avidly with their swords drawn, he took out the scroll of paper in
      his side pouch and held it in front of their glowing faces. "I bring
      tidings to the King, and I fear so that the news isn't of good nature
      for what we dreaded has approached us so near, yet I have only just
      heard news of what comes and I journeyed so many miles to see my
      Lordship." Achilles voice didn't show any sign of alarm; instead it
      was as clear as it was obvious that he was proud to deliver a message
      of such importance to his ruler. "And you yield this information in
      your hand?" Said one of the soldiers who approached his horse with
      caution. "I not only hold the message that bears such fate upon us,
      but had trailed along the paths that show proof of tomorrows
      comings." The men looked apprehensively at each other then hastily
      held aside their swords and cleared the stone pavements for SkyEye.
      But the horse did not move forth for a second man tall and sturdy
      who's smooth face showed nothing less than middle age had stood in
      his path, his dark eyes analysing the solitude rider with his sword
      still drawn, "tell me of your tale and I will bestow your message to
      the King, as he is not of good health and he only wishes to see the
      men in which he had appointed for." Like the other brawny men he wore
      guards of silver, but apart from the three a dark cloak hung limply
      upon his back with a solitary foreign idiom embroidered onto it and
      was held together by a refined silver brooch. Achilles planted the
      scroll back into the pouch and gazed down at the familiar man in
      wonder and suspicion. "Step aside Reginald, for the King has awaited
      this message that I bear for a long time now, he would more than
      welcome me in his accompaniment, I am very much sure."
      "You have been summoned?" Reginald didn't take any notice of what
      Achilles had said and undoubtedly wasn't bothered about the journey
      he had conquered, for he had no objection in biding their time to
      keep warrior and his horse back. "Nay, but I have served this country
      well and have the utter most respect of my lordship. I cannot speak
      for him for his words are of great wisdom but he would not see to
      kindly upon you barring my way with questions that serve no purpose."
      Reginald strode forward off the pavement and onto the dirt road and
      stood beside SkyEye seizing his reins firmly to hinder them, his dark
      boots of dragon hide sinking into the soaking black mud, his sword
      had not moved from position and he glared distastefully at Achilles
      and spat in a horse whisper so only he could hear, "I stand here to
      guard these walls to protect my lordship, I will see to it I have no
      responsibility for what ever actions the King takes to your futile
      information, you bear the name of a hero in this village, but no
      matter how many perils you see to, you are anything but a great
      warrior, for it takes only one arrow to slay the greatest of men."
      Achilles straightened and frowned down at Reginald's threatening
      stare in disgust as SkyEye pulled free of Reginalds hold neighing
      impatiently but in a tone of importance, as he wanted to move forth
      on his journey. "Step aside servant."
      Reginalds face looked a disgusting mess in the flickering fires of
      the torches at these words, but with nothing ado he made way for
      Achilles the great warrior and his horse. As they marched past the
      towering barriers of stone Reginald gaze of pure hatred followed and
      as Achilles was far from sight of the men, he again rode at great
      speed toward the town of Brakendale. As SkyEye loped on toward the
      quite villages it seemed as though someone was closely following him
      and it wasn't until a fair twenty-five minutes that he had made it to
      the solitude working-class villages of Brunfor on the outer skirts of
      Brackendale. The result of the weather the night before could be
      clearly seen now, for the wells had almost flooded and the streets
      reflected the tin linings tarnished with rust on the roofs of the
      wooden dwellings that were home to a small population of villages who
      seemed to be still fast asleep. As he left the small gloomy town of
      Brunfor the lands parted to reveal a placid creek and a small stone
      overpass saw him to the dimly lit cobble road of Hollowsworth that
      stretched far over a vast emerald mountainous valley. The day was
      fine and Orchards that beared withered autumn leaves of rich green
      and scarlet-orange sprawled shifting webbed shadows over his path as
      the sun peered over the peaks of the Iron Barriers far behind him.
      The road that glowed yellow from the suns morning rays was more
      pleasant that any other he had come across in his journey yet. To his
      far south and west the mountains of Hailsfure and Arhomb marched past
      him concealing the lands of raw untamed beauty. The fresh breeze
      rippled the moist pastures whipped stinging sands against their
      faces. But they did now slow for they had to see the King well before
      daybreak to prepare for the comings that very night. They rode south
      west of Brakendale and into the higher-class villages of The Priory,
      in which crowded establishments hampered dwellings that were made of
      dark stone including a vast tower in which a heavy mist formed at the
      very top secreting the morning bells that sounded throughout the
      empty streets. Nonetheless everything was pleasingly well maintained
      as its people took great pride in looking after their parish. The
      road had broken out into a tangle of white stone trails and SkyEye
      trotted briskly into a narrow winding path. The dwellings of stone
      were now far behind him and here the orchards grew few and the
      mountains soon diminished. The rich fields of Romira where few men
      were working were tamed but all the same eye-catching as the fields
      of Hollowsworth. The lands were dotted with small torrents from the
      rains and the land was wrought with luscious hillsides full of fruit
      baring trees and farm animals primarily of horses and sheep. If the
      fields of Hollowsworth and Romira looked anything of impression it
      was nothing compared to what lay ahead on the wide road of Ferdinand.
      The dwellings were built either of pure white or grey stone, and had
      many glassless windows over looking the luscious fields behind them.
      The marble pavements were gleaming and there were already children
      playing in the streets. As SkyEye slowed to a delicate trot under the
      winding shadows of the great verdant gardens with towering stone
      fountains of dragons, a few children caught eye of the two strangers
      who were covered in grime and battle wounds. Many people who lived
      here had ever rarely travelled by horse for the village roads were
      narrow and winding. It was a small dark-haired child who whispered
      word in another's ear and without delay ran up to the horse closely
      followed by the others. "You must be Achilles the greatest warrior of
      the Cerian army!" Achilles did not stop nor slow his trot but glanced
      down at the boy who eyes of bottle green marvelled at him and a
      familiar face narrow and thin suppressed a wide grin." You must be
      Gusto's son Brimorel am I right?"
      "Right you are sir. My father is running errands for the king, he is
      well trusted by him I can tell you, sir, one of the very few men he
      trusts in fact. He is wise and noble and also a very talented bow
      man."
      "Indeed he is." Achilles tried conceal his grim expression and gave a
      weak smile.
      "The king couldn't appoint a worthier man for the job." He
      continued. "His service to this country has been of great value to
      many of its people including myself, may you learn the best from him
      and perhaps one day you will take your fathers place. But I myself am
      on duty to deliver an important message, I wish you well, but now I
      must move forth." And with those words his path was cleared and the
      children watched him in admiration as he set of at a swift gallop. It
      wasn't long until the road turned into another that read Normere and
      five men, dressed in the same garbs as the guards of the Iron
      Barriers, stood tall by two massive marble-white stonewalls that had
      a wide gap that must have been ten meters apart. The giant walls had
      concealed a thick shadow over an astounding garden that lay behind
      them. Stone statues of horse's fully clad in blankets of armour, like
      that of SkyEye's, towered over striking fountains of crystal waters,
      and marble pavements that twisted and turned into the depths of the
      gardens reflected the green, yellow and orange foliage that drifted
      down from the fruitful orchards. There were glorious rock pools that
      gleamed within the undergrowth for not a nook or cranny in the
      gardens went bare. And beyond the beauty was a stunning building of
      the same white stone that was made from the impressive walls that
      bordered the structure. Two radiant marble pillars that stood high on
      either end of the porch gave way to a grand flight of marble stairs
      that led down to the grass and were decorated with small stone
      dragons bearing crystals on each step. And two huge marble dragons
      stood over the entrance where another two guards stood. Surprisingly
      the front of the building had fewer windows than that of the
      dwellings on the road of Ferdinand. And soon enough Achilles
      attention was directed back at the palace walls. "Halt! Halt! Who
      rides there?" One of the guards had noticed the arrival of Achilles
      and he immediately drew his sword. It appeared that he was about just
      as tall as Achilles and rather good looking, his hair shined brightly
      in the morning sun and his eyes stood out a rare clear shade, which
      meant that unlike Achilles whose race was Idarian the guard was a
      Vinarctá. Achilles grasped the scroll out and stepped off SkyEye, his
      heart dwelled with satisfaction for it had been a long time since he
      had set foot on solid ground for eleven miles. The sight of Achilles
      instantly made the soldier retreat his sword back to his side and the
      two embraced like old friends. "You have made it back with nothing
      more than a few cuts, we were worried that you might've taken fall,
      but the king had faith that you'd return, great one."
      "My time is far from near Saguaro, I might have sworn I left you with
      more confidence in myself than anyone else on these borders, yet I
      have returned to find that you doubt me?"
      "The way your mind works Achilles, you take the paths that the
      bravest of men dare not, you had many people wondering."
      "Well I'm glad to see you once again in good spirit and good health,
      but the sun is high and I haven't time to spare. I must see the king
      at once if you would kindly lead the way." Saguaro turned his head
      toward SkyEye, sweat streamed down the horses flank and legs but he
      showed no sign of fatigue in his eyes.
      "Birham, see to it that this horse is well fed and gets plenty of
      rest as his journey was a long one, but he is to be treated with more
      respect than any other of his kind, for he is as honourable as his
      rider." Then Saguaro turned to Achilles with a warming smile, "now I
      believe that the King awaits you, great one."
      So Achilles followed Saguaro up the marble stair way and into the
      massive stone structure. The sight of the palace marvelled Achilles
      for it was the first time he had ever stood foot in the royal
      residence, there were many doorways and twice as many marble stairs
      and for almost every room and hall he had passed a marble fountain
      stood high in the centre. Their footsteps echoed off the walls as
      they passed wide halls of paintings and more luminous stone
      structures of horses and dragons. Tall arc shaped windows of stained
      glass told stories of the battlefields, of past kings and forgotten
      wars, and priceless ornaments of ancient weaponry shone high on
      golden mantelpieces. It seemed as though the curtains were made of
      nothing but diamonds because they caught the light at every angle
      they turned, they blew elegantly in the cool breeze and shone a
      dazzling rays of white-blue that reflected like a pool of water onto
      the high ceilings. They passed one more narrow hall and the room that
      followed contained the largest fountain that stood in the structure
      of a galloping horse. The water that fell upon it gathered a dreamy
      mist that rose no higher that its knees, a small garden littered with
      beautiful flowers that only existed in the deep forests of Fir wood
      also accompanied the striking formation. The horse seemed somewhat
      like SkyEye; tall, slender with the appearance of magnificent pride
      and strength, the finest horse that ever rode the earth, who had
      lasted more battles than that of any other of his kind, `a true
      warriors' horse so he was named by the king and not an argument arose
      from those words. And in the same room he was led to a great ivory
      door, with the same horse engraved onto it and gold symbols written
      below. Saguaro opened the door and beckoned Achilles in, "May your
      news be of good will for the king is not well, though I'm sure you
      will have quite a tale to enlighten him." Achilles doubted that the
      king would look forward to his arrival when he told him of the burden
      that he carried, but forced a weak smile as Saguaro swept passed him
      closing the door. The room was entirely decorated in white and grey
      silk, arched windows were much plentiful and the surroundings were
      open and very welcoming. A large ivory balcony shadowed with glorious
      statues and exotic plants and flowers bloomed in the magnificent
      orange sun. The balcony overlooked the Great Lake that ran along to
      the forbidden realms of Gordshaw via the main river of Sheirdor. Back
      inside the weaving tapestry of a crimson carpet boarded with silver
      trimmings led to a grand throne imbedded with gold and jewels. And
      before him was the King of Ceria. And indeed Saguaro was right, as
      the king seemed terribly ill. He was tall and more slender than
      Achilles had remembered him before, and his bright eyes seemed dreamy
      and out of focus. Though he greeted Achilles welcoming and his thin
      lips were forced into a smile. He looked down jubilantly at Achilles
      from his throne and embraced his arms, as he was a joyous
      sight. "Achilles, what a pleasure it is to see you once again, for I
      feared that my time would be through before I ever got to see you
      again." His eyes trailed around the room and to the closed door. "I
      believe that you had left in duty to find my messenger who had failed
      to return with the message from the people of Rhangor in time. Do you
      know of his whereabouts?" A silent gloom fell upon Achilles as he
      wished he could tell the king good news of Brimorel's father. But the
      king has sensed the sorrow and raised his head slightly to get a
      better look Achilles, "his service was faithful and his courage was
      great, he was a man of word."
      "And he kept his word that this message be sent to you directly, he
      gave it to me as he passed on and I am here on his behalf my
      lordship." The king had somehow lifted spirits with these words and
      spoke softly in little more than a whisper, "Gusto's passing will not
      go unnoticed, the bells in every tower will be sounded before the sun
      sets west and dawn has peeked. Have you happened to meet his son on
      your way here?" It was these words that Achilles had dreaded the
      most, and he nodded his head solemnly, "Yes, yes I have. But I
      couldn't tell him of his father's fall, for the boy showed great
      pride in the words he spoke of his father." The king looked
      disapprovingly at him and he grasped his hands together and drew a
      breath, "It is best that one knows that it takes great courage to die
      for your people. I'm sure his son would be proud of his father for
      making that sacrifice; I'm sure even more so that it would make him
      understand why our people fight everyday to rid this country of such
      evil. Like everyone else, he will find out at dusk." His small eyes
      fixed themselves on the scroll Achilles was carrying for the first
      time and looked back up at him studying his face closely, "You seemed
      troubled, I believe that your journey wasn't exactly a smooth road,
      perhaps you should sit and tell me of your ride." It was as if he had
      just forgotten of the news of Gusto's death because after those words
      he clapped his hands and immediately several tall servants dressed in
      silver cloaks their hair shining in the golden sun came in with
      platters of teacakes, muffins and drinks and lay it between the two
      on a little white table. Another servant dragged a marble stool
      beneath Achilles and he sat down but didn't take his eyes of the king
      as the servants had left. "Now," the king said, his words almost
      trembling as if every breath he took, took him great effort. "You
      carry good tidings to the kingdom I gather?" He looked hopefully at
      Achilles nodding toward the scroll but his smile gradually diminished
      as he noticed the look of dismay in Achilles beaten eyes. Although
      Achilles was so hungry and tired for his hours sleep had not been
      nearly enough and all he wanted to do was eat the teacakes and go
      home to rest, both of his hands clutched the scroll tightly and he
      stood up gravely, swallowed hard and cleared his throat as he
      unravelled the message drawing a shaky breath.

      "Our people bring tidings to the King, for the calling of war has
      come before us,
      The realms in which you dwell will fall to the Dark Lord,
      For he who bears the Arc, has the power to vanquish.
      You will unite armies or you will endure the fate of your people.
      The trumpets of war will summon those to the Dark Realms of Gordshaw,
      For those who resist, will parish."

      Achilles had taken his eyes of the parchment and met the king's
      swollen gaze. His eyes were no longer bright and warm and it was hard
      to tell if he was looking into the same cheerful face, but he simply
      ordered his servants back to remove the untouched treats from the
      table and leave the room. The king got up of his jewelled throne and
      ambled down towards Achilles supporting himself on an ivory walking
      stick. "I am sorry my lordship." Achilles gave a short bow then
      returned to stand stood face to face, but the king hardly moved his
      lips as his next words left his mouth, "The calling of war has come
      before us. Let us go to war, but I will be of no value to you for I
      am weak and growing weaker still, but I only ask that you see to it
      that this battle will see through to the fall of Gordshaw." Achilles
      put the scroll on the table and turned earnestly to the king, "The
      palace walls will be on high alert my lordship, no one will pass into
      the borders of Ceria, and I will make sure of that."
      "No," The king said abruptly, "There is no need to stand here and
      protect me, I wouldn't want my greatest warrior standing helpless
      besides the fields of battle, you will fight Achilles, see to it that
      the Arc of Thoron is destroyed. From the moment the Arc was created,
      realms from all over this country tried to yield it for its power is
      beyond ones mind. Cities have fallen to its power and if it is opened
      before it is destroyed Thoron himself will obliterate every living
      morsel that resists. The Arc must be destroyed."
      "Off course my lord ship, I-" and at that moment the giant doors of
      the room swung open and a man came marching up to the king, the same
      look of pure hatred that the soldier guarding the Iron Barriers have
      given Achilles just last night. "Ah, Reginald." The king said looking
      down at the man who forcefully bowed that seemed more like a
      irritable jerk of his head and returned to meet the twos gaze. "My
      lord ship, I simply came to see to your well being. Last night one of
      your…faithful," and he looked at Achilles in disgust, "hero's marched
      through the barriers convincing the guards that he had news of
      importance to you, off course I knew I wouldn't send anyone to you
      unless you have summoned them as a result of your sickness, but I-"
      "All is well" The king had waved his hand in the air and broke
      Reginalds menacing gaze, "his news is of benefit to this whole
      village, you did right to let him pass, now if you don't mind…"
      "No, off course not your honour. I had a feeling his news was of your
      value, I knew how much you respected him, so with no delay, I let him
      pass." Reginalds look of disgust turned to total loathing, but his
      gaze once again was broken by the king. "I want you to gather all of
      our strongest men, notify Lotharlo that the calling of war is upon us
      and tonight we shall set foot in the dark ruins." It seemed that
      Reginald forgot that Achilles was there and had turned pale at the
      king's words, "war?" he questioned, "tonight? But we haven't hardly
      had any notice of it!"
      "Well I'm notifying you now, we haven't time to loose, I will inspect
      the representatives of my army before the palace court at midday."
      With a last glare of detestation at Achilles, Reginald set of through
      the doors and out of sight. "Now," the king said his words barely a
      whisper, "the time has come. War has approached us and the Dark
      Talins won't be to far away. The sounding of the horns of war will
      summon them, for they are no longer at our end of the battlefields
      and their souls belong to the Arc now. They will kill beyond believe
      for no one could destroy them, stay away from them, there is no use
      trying to fight them for their immortality is like none other.
      Remember they were once us, now just spirits forever searching for
      their souls." Achilles followed the king out onto the porch that
      overlooked the central courtyard and the Great Lake. The sun was well
      above them now and the day was bright. Forests led off toward the
      shadows of Sabik. Mist hung over the lake where several swans
      gracefully sailed the waters. "On my journey, just after the war of
      Rhangor they say that one of our men, one of the Dark Talens, had
      turned toward the dark side and retrieved his body back form the Dark
      Lord in his appreciation. He is now the most faithful of servants,
      having given up his soul to serve his lordship." The king hadn't
      taken his gaze of the horizon where soon enough, five thousand
      enemies would be marching over to take down his kingdom. "He will be
      awarded with more than his body in time. By earning the respect of
      Enghor, the Dark Lord, he has also earned the respect of Lord Thoron
      himself. And soon enough it would be his time in using the power the
      Arc withholds." The faint shadows of the birch trees lingered over
      them and the white stone of the palace was bleached a warm yellow and
      Achilles had turned resolutely to the King, "If the Arc is destroyed
      the Dark Talins would fall with the Dark Lord, but if we could yield
      it-"
      But before Achilles could finish the king interrupted. "It cannot be
      yielded for the very existence of Thoron lives within it. He who
      knows his enemies and his followers cannot be fooled. I feel it would
      be a long time until the Arc is destroyed. For when the Arc is opened
      by his servant, who is the Dark Lord in ruling, before it is
      destroyed Thorons powers would be at their greatest height and every
      city would fall under his command. You must stop the Talins from
      opening the Arc, they are as greedy for their souls back as they were
      for their eternal immortality, which they got, at a great cost."
      "They know better than to leer over to our side now. There is no hope
      for them but to fight for Lord Enghor, as then they'd have a chance
      of retaining their bodies back like the fifth rider, but I know
      Enghor does not forget those who once turned against him. I know that
      the Dark Talins want anything more than to come back onto our
      grounds, but they fight for their souls to be men again and to get
      them back would be by means of opening the Arc. But it must be
      destroyed, at the cost of Lord Thoron and the Dark Talins, for the
      people of Ceria." The king looked up at Achilles and rested his palm
      on his shoulder and said in a tone of finality, "Your service has
      indeed been admirable, you are the greatest warrior that ever set
      foot in this country, I have told the prince all about you and though
      he is young of age he can understand your dedication to destroy the
      Arc and he will gratefully help you in doing so. Now I ask for you to
      ride to the ruins of Arbindore and ask for a wizard by the name of
      Geraldo, he is a dear friend of mine and with no doubt he will lend
      his men to me. May the rest of your journey bring you no harm, and
      your journey to destroy the Arc see you through victory."
      ***
      Back outside the palace walls Achilles found Saguaro looking solemn
      with a strange obscurity in his face holding the reins of SkyEye who
      looked well fed and rested, it was clear that he had already been
      told about the comings of war. He drew a deep breath and beckoned
      SkyEye toward Achilles and smiled grimly, "you best get plenty of
      rest and eat, you must regain your strength for tonight. We are to
      meet again at the palace walls by midday until then I bid you
      farewell." Achilles climbed onto SkyEye and without further word they
      continued at a gallop along the palace road Normere and turned west
      into Bormiles. The road that they followed wasn't as smooth as those
      of the other villages but he had to reach the parish of Arbindore
      before noon. The lands grew more barren and serrated as fields turned
      into rocky ravines and further down mountainous valleys. It wasn't
      until the peaks of Gorhandor came clear into view and the canyons
      opposite blocked out the sun that he noticed the small establishment
      of Arbindore. Arbindore was the small rural magical community that
      fought for their rights and freedom from the Dark Lord in the war of
      Rhangor. Early in the first age magical beings were feared because
      their supernatural powers. They once shared the same villages with
      the people of Rhangor, where they first evolved, to Dunroamin, New
      Heam and the mountains of Adhara, Gailmere and the Taygeta Range.
      Those who choose not to turn to the dark side and fight with Enghor
      as their ruler, fought with the aid of the Idarians for their
      equality and their freedom from slavery against their own kind. It
      wasn't until their loss in the war of Rhangor that they had fled
      their villages from all over the north and south of Gordshaw and
      settled in the uncivilized ruins of Arbindore, a vast mountainous
      canyon otherwise known as the realms of Gorhandor. There the King of
      Ceria had accepted them as outcasts and let them set up their
      establishment. From this day none of the people of Ceria or Gordshaw
      know of their whereabouts and to some they are either thought of as
      having all died out or those who had turned to the dark side. The
      community was poorer than those of the other villages, small
      campfires burned under the shadows of the mountains and creatures of
      all shapes and sizes roamed freely in the open realms. Chants from
      mourning voices echoed in the eeriness and horses tied outside shabby
      tents tossed their tangled manes and bared their pointed teeth, their
      eyes gleaming a bloodshot red. Achilles eyes traced along the hustles
      of people who soon noticed him. The whispers spread between each
      other were in a different language, a language offcourse that
      Achilles had understood and finally a tall wizard dressed in a grey
      shawl with a black cloak that was held together by a silver moon
      brooch had spoken, " Be you friend or foe stranger?" The chanting had
      stoped and more wizards and witches had arrived to see what everyone
      was looking at. "Friend," Achilles had answered but another voice
      shrieked out of the darkness, "Then tell us your name and your
      haste!" Achilles dismounted SkyEye and cleared his throat, "my name
      is Achilles, warrior of the Cerian army, I bring word to Geraldo if
      one of you would-"
      "Achilles you say?" A tall wizard emerged from the gathering crowd
      and yet another silence fell upon everyone. A path was created for a
      tall and thin wizard ambled toward him his eyes an icy blue glinted
      under his grey hood his long grey beard grew just past his chest. He
      removed his swathe to reveal his aging fair face and his smile
      widened. "Yes, yes we have heard all about you. We have already heard
      of the news but still wont you join me and some dear friends of
      mine." And he narrowed his brow studying Achilles very carefully as
      though reading his mind, "it wont take long, I'm sure you will be
      back by the palace walls by midday." And so Achilles was led toward a
      campfire that flickered dimly under a ledge that broke out form the
      mountains. On the rocks around him sat four wizards and five horses,
      one of them SkyEye who spent this time to his value and decided to
      rest though many people gawked at the sight of him for he was much
      more well groomed than most of the horses, and people. The wizards
      were all of the same height that must have been over a few feet
      taller than Achilles himself. And their cloaks were of jet black each
      pinned together by a silver brooch. The names of the other three
      wizards who were strangers to him, who he had found soon after, were
      Sordoro, Eldridge and Arnoldo. "Please eat, your journey was a long
      one and we'd like to hear all about it." Achilles took the bread
      before him and they all sat and talked of his journey. It wasn't
      until an hour later when all the food and beverages were finished
      that Eldridge spoke, "Well I believe that our strongest men are
      already well on their way to the Dark Realms." There was a pregnant
      pause and Achilles was the first to rise, "I have lost track of time
      and the king awaits my arrival. We shall ride onward to my kingdom."
      With that they walked over to the campsites and each mounted their
      horses. Sordoro's horse Garlio was a slender white-grey horse and
      taller than the rest, Eldridge rode a horse by the name Mandoro who
      was a pure black stallion like SkyEye but not as tall, Arnoldo's
      horse Garmere was almost like Geraldo's horse Garnet but instead of
      pure white he was a dirty brown but all the same, they stood shoulder
      to shoulder and seemed to have the same features, as it had turned
      out they were both brothers. After they said their farewells to their
      people Achilles led the way out of Arbindore and back up the road of
      Bormiles. And soon enough when they had reached the road of Normere
      the sun was high over the palace walls and the courtyard was crowded
      with horses and their riders and many villagers from Ferdinand and
      other towns close by. There was a clearing at the bottom of the
      stairs of the palace where two men stood horseless; one of them shot
      Achilles a look of abhorrence, which was no doubt Reginald, the other
      who did not turn his head at all, was Lotharlo who was tall well
      built and his face carried a somewhat hollow expression. People
      within sight of Achilles had stepped aside staring as though of pure
      hatred yet surprised of the four wizards who followed closely behind
      him. Achilles had taken his place next to Lotharlo but Reginalds gaze
      was now rested on the King who stood on the top of the staircase and
      next to him stood tall his son, Prince Equuleus. Like Saguaro he was
      a Vinarctá, as he had the same clear eyes that always seemed to
      glimmer, his hair was light and his fair face was broad and fetching.
      The kings pale face was luminous in the heat of the sun but a
      sweeping gesture of his frail hands and silenced the murmurs of
      soldiers and citizens. "As you have heard the calling of war has come
      before us. And while I stand here to speak to you, armies from the
      outer most regions of Ceria have united and are now on their way to
      the ruins of Gordshaw. But before I move on, I must announce the
      passing of one of my very loyal men, Gusto Norlear." At these words
      there was a stir in the crowd and Achilles peered back to see a
      circle of villagers trying to comfort a women holding a small boy
      who's gaze of disbelief was unmistakeably set at Achilles. Though
      they were well concealed within the restless crowd it had been clear
      that this was Brimorel and his mother. Achilles turned his head back
      toward the king who had hushed them once again. "My utter most
      respect is given to his family, and every bell within palace walls
      will be sounded in his honour. But nonetheless there is still a war
      to be attended to, and I call you all before this assembly to
      announce that the Arc of Thoron-" the moment that the name had left
      the Kings mouth the crowd was a blaring mass of gasps and fuming
      shouts from the outraged villagers below. The King had ignored their
      reaction and continued and every word was firm, slow and
      ruthless, "The Arc of Thoron will be destroyed." The people had
      quietened, the King looked down at their puzzled expressions for
      nobody had ever attempted to destroy the Arc, and his gaze had met
      that of the magical community. "No matter what your differences may
      be, you will fight together or you will fall to your fate. A
      community that has broken from our monarchy so long ago has rejoined
      us here today, together we fight at the very breaking of dusk. And
      before I move on, I will advise you of the circumstances that are to
      be followed on the fields of battle." A messenger had handed a scroll
      to the King in which he unravelled and read aloud in a firm tone. "No
      arms are to be taken up against any other united realm on or off the
      battlefields. All differences will be that of the past and the
      actions of ones failing to do this will result in severe punishment.
      Secondly, resources and information is to be shared between both
      parties, as we are all now of equal status and rights. Last of all, I
      must warn everyone that the Dark Talens roam unnoticed on borderless
      territory, it is my warning to you to stay away from them for they
      cannot be killed and they will destroy those who show action or word
      toward the destruction of the Arc." The palace court seemed empty for
      not a sound broke the air. The King had passed the scroll to the
      servant and looked up again at the crowd. "I have appointed five of
      whom I found to be most worthy to take on the perilous task of
      destroying the Arc. It has not been attempted before for the fear of
      many innocent lives. But the circumstances are final to free my
      people from the Dark Lord and rid this country of such evil. He had
      turned to his son and embraced his arms to the horde, so without
      further ado I announce Prince Equuleus to represent the Kingdom of
      Ferdinand." There was an enormous applause and the king directed his
      gaze to the three men who stood in the clearance. "To represent the
      soldiers of Damshere, Reginald Feirden." All the same there was a
      great applause and Reginald marched boldly up the stairs to the great
      palace doors nodded his head to the King and took his place next to
      the prince who's gaze was set onto the roaring crowd. "On behalf of
      the magical community of Arbindore and the village of Mellows Spring,
      Geraldo Merldo." The applause was immense but over powered by those
      of the magical community and like Reginald the wizard made his way
      proudly up onto the balcony gave a honourable bow before the King and
      stood beside Reginald. "Lotharlo Delaer will represent the people of
      the mountains of Gailmere." As he made his way up the stairs, yet
      another applause went off and chanting and song came from villager's
      clothed in brown shawls lined with thick fur, as the mountains of
      Gailmere sustained harsh and cold climates as that of any other
      mountains besides those of Gorhandor. "And last of all Achilles
      Gailterá to represent the Cerian Army." The applause had erupted like
      a rolling wind and Achilles climbed up the marble staircase who bowed
      gracefully with his eyes on the king who smiled appreciatively and
      for the first time the prince had taken his eyes of the crowd and
      watched Achilles stand beside Lotharlo. The King put his hands
      together and the crowd once again cheered harder than ever before,
      the atmosphere was immense with the echoing of song from those of the
      mountains of Gailmere and those of the magical community as well.
      Through the bellowing crowd three wizards followed by their horses
      paced toward the palace stairway towering over citizens who no longer
      looked at them in hatred but in gratitude and pride. Sordoro's words
      were clear over the strident chanting and melody as he addressed the
      King. "Our people are forever grateful for your kindness that you
      have endowed us with after our fall in the war of Rhangor. We can
      only hope that our part on the battlefields is of your value, though
      all but one of your company stands horseless." He looked above to the
      prince and swept his arms in a warm gesture as he bowed, "please
      accept our finest horses for they have survived perils that only one
      other horse could surmount." And by this he clearly meant SkyEye. The
      prince nodded in acceptance and spoke for the first time, "we shall
      all see the fall of the dark realms, for we five are respectably clad
      in the full pride of my people and we shan't fail them." And as the
      five warriors marched single file down the marble stairs to their
      horses and as the crowd erupted once again in applause, the evening
      was starting to grow heavy and dust hung low in the air turning the
      sun to a blazing red fireball. A vast shadow leered across the
      palace. The hour was growing nearer and the soldiers of the magical
      and non-magical community's had mounted their own horses and had
      begun to take the long road to the Dark Realms of Gordshaw to reunite
      with their armies. Villagers marched proudly along side them cheering
      and chanting and through the dust ridden air as the horses strode
      forth the magical community from the villages of Arbindore broke into
      melodious song:

      `Through bitter sweet the air, we sing
      Hear the calling to our king,
      Our people haft seen the lands re-new,
      For then our men grew strong but few.
      Yet nothing half be as strong and fair,
      Than the words we sing, canst com-pare;
      Long live the people of Mellows Spring,
      And most of all long live the King!'

      And their voices disappeared over the shadows of the dark realms.
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