War. It was all Xavier Shardae knew, and as such, he reveled in it. As prince of the Kingdom of Larigothien, Xavier had been born into royalty, and born into war. This age-old struggle with Acaedia, which had been going on long before Xavier came into the world, seemed to be without end. The kingdoms were quite clearly evenly matched, and not a day went by when blood wasn’t spilled on both sides – another father who would never return to his children, another mother burying her son before his time. The roots of this war were ancient in origin. The Acaedians were responsible for the destruction of dozens of races, and the endangerment of dozens more. The Larigoths had been spared the fate of massacre only because of their magical abilities; were it not for witchcraft, there was no doubt that they, too, would have been consigned to the proverbial dustbin of history. All Larigoths were sorcerers, and it had been these powers that allowed them to go head-to-head with their Acaedian aggressors. Who were the real aggressors now, so long into the war, was no longer obvious. Since birth, Xavier had been taught that he Acaedians were evil – that they were not to be trusted, that they would go to any end to destroy someone who was different. And since he could walk and talk, Xavier was trained in the art of sorcery. While by no means the most powerful sorcerer in the kingdom, his stature as prince had brought him to the head of the army; he led his battalion of troops into battle every single day, and every night he returned home a victor, more casualties under his belt. He loved war: loved seeing the look in a soldier’s eyes as he used his magic to drain the life out of him, or freeze him in place, or cause his blood to boil. Bright green eyes – which might seem unusual to an outsider but which were quite frequent amongst Larigoths – gleaned with sickening delight as he watched a victim take his last breath. The young man – nineteen years old, entering the prime of his life – stood at a tall six feet, broad-shouldered with pale skin and dark hair. His look was ravishing and intimidating. With all of these powers, one might assume the Larigoths were unstoppable. But not so: for a sorcerer of that race could only use so much spiritual energy before becoming weak. At that point, he was forced to retreat, completely defenseless until he had ‘recharged.’ With training, one could become stronger, could conduct more sorcery before needing to recharge, but nobody was immune to exhaustion. Eventually, even the strongest, most powerful of Larigoths needed to rest, and that was when he was in the greatest danger. It was during one of these times that Xavier found himself in the middle of the Forest of Rardothiel – the large, wooded stretch of land that lay between Larigothien and Acaedia where most of the warfare took place – having sunk to the ground by a large tree. He was drenched in sweat, having pushed himself to the limit and taken several lives in doing so; black bangs fell in front of his eyes, which were closed tightly as he concentrated on his meditation. He wore the colors of his race – black with traces of purple and green. He had left the company of his men to find a quiet place to recharge; this was foolish, but Xavier was headstrong and refused to believe that a weakling Acaedian could best him in battle, even when he was exhausted. He sat cross-legged, chest rising and falling heavily, hands placed on his knees as he focused on recapturing his spiritual energy. Were his father to find out he was alone right now, he would be absolutely furious. But his father was off doing battle with his own men, leaving Xavier to his own devices.