(( Many distractions kept me from completing this, and much was just thrown around as notes here and there. However, it is now complete, and I can now begin on chapter 22. The job is not done yet, not even close. Anyway, enjoy chapter 21. ))
Divinity in Black and White
The war between the elves waged on for a handful of years. The combat between the three main groups weighed on all sides at first, yet as the war continued, the weight was felt more so by the Drow. Many considered Dinaer Dusksinger foolish to wage such a war by himself with no aide, while the forces of the other Elven sects were larger in number and seemed non-dwindling. In the end, a treaty was signed, as Dinaer called an end to the fight. Vasz’araen failed to see the reason for a cease fire. Dinaer’s actions had been inexcusable to him, and he felt the war should only end when Dinaer was dead. However, Astalder was the King, and he signed the treaty, calling the war to an end not wanting to waste any more lives, even if Dinaer seemed unwilling to change his ways, and rejoin the effort against Yami. “Focus must be put back on Yami” was his reasoning, and all negotiations and objections would be silenced, at least outwardly, with those words.
While the Elves warred, the Dwarves and Humans did as they told High King Astalder they would do. However, Yami’s actions involving the Trolls and Orcs had still been unheard of. Their actions to build up the port towns, and assemble attack forces took some time and on top of that, Yami waited to hear of Mire’s infiltration of the southern regions of the Eastern Continent, which included attempts to poison the mind of Dinaer Dusksinger himself. No one had yet heard of his presence in Riverside fighting against Kusuya Hogosha, or his venturing into the southern continent. While the Orcs and Trolls did their part, the humans of the southern lands of the Western Continent were bustling, re-establishing the port of Pinebrook Estuary. After the end of the Elven War, Astalder’s Elven forces were then able to move from the north down to the south to help Alek’s renegade forces deal with their trouble with the Onyx Guard. Due to such, Yami had to do something to get their forces spread out again. From the ports in the south of the Southern Continent, Yami sent the Orcish and Troll forces to attack from a point north of the Onyx Guard’s territory. Such a point, would be a harbor between the fork in the mountains which just so happened to be the territory of the solitary Gnomes who had up until now attempted to remain neutral in the endeavors. At the same time, Yami poured more of his power into his control over the Onyx Guard and his other servants. In doing so, a few Necromancers arose amidst the Onyx Guard, and began weaving the power of the Undead. Undead would scour the mountain passes, preventing more of the Elves and Dwarves from getting into the south to help Aleksander Zachery and his rebel forces. Onyx Guard soldiers would soon march into battle with the assistance of undead and even demonic forces.
Aleksander Zachery sent forces to the mountains, and the undead there would be dealt with. However, due to this new up rise of Undead now seemingly associated with the Onyx Guard, rather than an opposing force to them led Aleksander to look back in history. He searched through many historical references to see how the threat of the undead was dealt with in the past, even before his father’s time. He would read about how the town of Havenshire and Havenwood got their names. Digging into the annals of history of his land, he found that a great war had been waged against the Undead. People were disappearing, left and right, and in their place, the armies of the Undead would patrol the lands, taking over cities in matters of moments. What had brought them to this land was never known, but soon city after city was abandoned to them, and the people fled. All had seemed lost, and the remnant of their people found an abandoned church in the southern woods. They hid in the church to avoid the Undead as they too pushed south. One man, a guard for the refugees, perused the texts stored within the church and found himself inspired. Brandishing the words of the text, and a weapon he found within the back rooms of the church, he attacked the Undead that eventually caught up with them. He would proclaim that he found protection from some higher power when all seemed lost due to the overwhelming numbers of the Undead. Thus, the church was thought of as a sanctuary. The kingdom of the humans would be called Haven, and Havenshire was the capital city. The first town built just outside of the forest that the church was hidden in. The forest itself was named The Havenwood. The war against the Undead came to an end soon after, and the people lived in peace once more. Seeking these texts to see what would have inspired the man so, and perhaps what would have brought upon the protection of the mysterious higher power, Aleksander went to search the church. Alek would be accompanied by Julius and Marcus, even though he told them he didn’t need any escort.
Just as it was in years past, the church was secluded within the woods, and since the historical event involving it, had been left untouched, and used merely when giving reverence. Alek, Marcus, and Julius arrived in quiet, and entered the chapel, splitting up to inspect the different chambers within. Within the church was a grouping of small bed chambers, a kitchen in the back, and an expansive library, all in separate areas of the chapel surrounding the main altar room. Upon stained glass in the main chamber were images of the Fae. One window in particular had a flawless depiction of Seraphim. As Alek perused the library, and Julius browsed the bed chambers, Marcus stood in awe, staring at the window’s replication of Seraphim. As he stood there and stared, the light coming through the window seemed to get brighter and brighter. His face, once reflecting awe and amazement, changed to one of reverence, and finally to that of shame. With a howling cry, Marcus fell to his knees, and bowed his head to the floor. In a matter of moments, Alek and Julius would rush back to the altar, to find Marcus on his knees. They would go to his side, to seek to aide him, and find out what had gone wrong, but Marcus could not bring his head up. Alek eventually looked up to the window, to see the image of Seraphim, and widened his eyes.
“Uncle Seraphim?” he questioned, raising to his feet, and moving to the window. This remark finally brought Marcus’s head up, as he would then stare at Alek. Alek touched the window, then looked back down to Marcus, and cracked a small smile.
“Marcus, this is Seraphim, the Prime Fae of Light, he has been regarded as ‘Uncle’ for before I knew of the Fae, He referred to himself as a relative of my mother. They spoke as close family, and so I assumed he was her brother, even though he appeared much older each time I saw him. He looked old enough to be her father. The truth, however, he is even older than that. He and my Mother taught me Fae magic. But, Fae magic is so diverse that learning Fae magic is merely a discipline to prepare you for finding out what your own inner magic is.”
“The light coming from his face was … I don’t know how to describe it. I could not maintain the strength to keep myself on my feet.”
Alek nodded, and moved to the window once more. This time, his eyes narrowed, as he spotted a book on the windowsill, beneath the painted glass image of Seraphim. He grasped the book, now coated in dust since its presence on the shelf had long been forgotten. Alek started flipping through the pages, and finally grinned.
“This is the book I was looking for.”
“How do you know, sir?” asked Julius.
“I can feel it. The presence of holy power and some faint connection to he who held this book before me.” Alek grinned as he stared at the pages, flipping through and looking the words over. Marcus and Julius looked on in wonder. Alek would eventually stop searching the pages, and held the book by the spine in one hand, while elevating his other hand before him, over the altar. He uttered some words, in a melodious tone, yet incomprehensible to Marcus or Julius. Before their eyes, the image of a warrior would appear before them in the light shining upon the alter. “The first King of Havenshire, William Bennett.”
The eyes of the image in the light, looked around, from one to the other, till his were on Alek, and the book he held. “I see you found the book,” he said. “Does this mean the Undead have risen again?”
Alek, at first, was taken by surprise. For a moment, he was silent, before he nodded, and then shook his head.
“What do you mean, boy?”
“The dangers this kingdom now face does not pertain directly to the undead, for I think the presence of the undead are merely a tool of a larger force. A demon threatens our people, and uses our own people.”
“A demon. You might find at some time that even he is controlled by a larger power. Till then, this book can help you. You must study it, and decipher from it what is merely teaching of philosophy, and what is truly the power that you will be able to wield within this world to fight this demon.”
“Can you tell us more about what happened in your own struggle? Perhaps there is something in your past, that can help our future.”
“Very well, young one; stay for a while, and listen to the tale of Haven’s past.”
The three remained and listened to the tale. The spirit of William Bennett would tell them of the earlier years, before the Undead came. There was a malevolent force at will. His name was Erebh, and he was the Prime Fae of Darkness, the polar opposite of Seraphim. As was his dominion, he ruled over the other plane, and watched over the connections between the demonic realm, the realm of the afterlife, and the realm of the living. Of course, it wasn’t his job to escort the dead to their proper place, that was another’s task. However, he so loved to decide where people would end up before their death ever occurred. He twisted the minds of many of the townspeople, those that had special powers. He would bring them over to his ways, and formed a cult amidst their numbers. They began calling back the dead, but the dead were fickle creatures, and didn’t obey the weaker beings. Instead, they were killed, and joined the numbers of the Undead, and set upon their warpath against the world of humans.
William Bennett was a member of the guard, a soldier of the noble class. Daniel Bennett, William’s brother, was a spy who loved his drink. Daniel had his disagreements with the government, and left the cities before the trouble began. He pleaded with his brother to do the same, but William was bound by his own code of honor to protect the people. Daniel couldn’t find fault with it, but he would still try. When the Undead came, Daniel was away, but he tried many times afterwards, to return to the cities, and see if his brother was ok. However, he could never find him. William restored the people when he defended them at the secluded church, and Daniel went from town to town, purging what he could of the undead taint. William sent many searches as well for his brother, in hopes that he survived the undead taint on their world, but he couldn’t find him either.
“Erebh had been known to use his connection with the demon world to bring other horrors to the battle, other than just undead soldiers. It is possible that this demon you speak of is nothing more than another servant to Erebh.”
“How can we fight something on the same level as Seraphim?” questioned Julius.
Alek was silent, as he thought on it all. Marcus would remain quiet too, but Julius wasn’t understanding, and the silence merely set him more ill at ease. It would be the spirit of William himself that quieted the younger boy, as his eyes remained on Alek.
“What will you do?”
Alek didn’t respond. Instead, he sat back against the wall, and opened the book that had ushered in the spirit of their First King. If William had found an answer in the book, than so would he.