“Sound the horn, let it begin” a large and bulky man dressed in a Petorian Commander uniform ordered a cadet. Quickly he raced down the hill, passing hundreds of thousands of perfectly lined soldiers along the way. Finally he came to a small wooden platform halfway down the hill and on it was a large War horn. The cadet blew hard and loud echoing out for miles around. Generals up and down the front line shouted out to their units to begin their march forward. Each man looking across the field at their enemy of 50,000 Guls, a race of barbarians bent on the full invasion of Petoria. Long have these two nations been at war, and now on these tattered plains of Oraan the last battle would be fought. The Guls began their war march as well, weapons and shields in hand. Towards the back of the ranks, large wooden frames wheeled forward primitive catapults loaded with flaming oil barrels. The Gul commander barked an order in their native tongue and the catapults launched, falling a few hundred yards short of the Petorian front lines. The Gul commander grunted in disappointment. Motioning with his hands, his warriors took hold of the catapults and began pushing them forward. “Commander Thayne, what are your orders?” a Petorian officer knelt down by the commander. “Show them how REAL artillery works. Ready the balistas” Thayne raised his right hand and from the forest emerged enormous cannons, the Petorian Balistas, their most prized weaponry. They were large magic powered cannons that would rain down a fiery barrage of hellish magic energy. A flick of the wrist was all it took for all thirty balistas to fire. They aimed high, decimating the back ranks of the Guls, also knocking out most of their catapults. “Primative beasts, send in the rest of the regiment, Full attack. Archers volley first, then continue the front line assault. Clean up with the cavalry. Bring me news of the our victory” Thayne turned and mounted his horse and began riding back to base camp. The Petorian front line began increasing the speed of their march, their light jog turned into a full sprint. Battle cries and war shouts bellowed out from the entire line. One soldier however, kept his reserve, running much further ahead of the line, closing the distance between him and the Guls’ front line much quicker than anyone else. He drew his sword at the last possible second, cutting down the first three Guls in front of him in a flash of steel, quickly followed up by jumping high over the next two rows of Guls. The initial front line, astonished by the soldiers’ jump, were distracted from the rest of the Petorians that collided with them seconds later. Bodies, swords, shields, and armor clashed together in one loud echo. The first two Gul lines were cut down instantly and the third line was falling quick as the Petorians pushed and cut their way through the Gul ranks. And right in the middle of it all was the lone soldier dressed in custom armor, showing no true allegiance to the Petorians other than cutting down Guls like they were weeds. His moves were graceful, his speed, stamina and agility were remarkable. Ten Guls fell, followed by five more, then more dropped. A quick parry followed by an undercut to the gut sent the next Gul to his bloody grave. The soldier, wasting no time, stepped on the hunched over body and launched himself into the air and landed right where he wanted to; in front of the Gul commander, a beast of a man renowned in Petoria and Gulvaria for his strength on the battlefield. The soldier stood slowly, his long black hair hung in his face, barely hiding his vicious smile. The Gul commander uttered a command in Gulvarian and his men spread out, surrounding their commander and the soldier challenging him. All knew this was a challenge and the rule on any battlefield is that no two warriors of great skill can be interrupted, no matter their rank. The Gul commander grunted and raised his axe high above his head, a massive and mighty weapon a regular soldier could never hope to wield. He took a giant step forward bringing his axe down with tremendous speed and force. For that brief second time stood still as all held their breath. The strike was so fast and powerful, no man could have escaped it. The impact shook the ground beneath their feet, kicking up a cloud of dust no eyes could penetrate. At the end of that second, when the sigh of relief was at their tongues, a blazing flash of steel shot through the dust with such speed, clearing it from the air and revealing the lone warrior’s position behind the Gul commander, sword outstretched to the side. Spoiler (Move your mouse to the spoiler area to reveal the content) Show Spoiler Hide Spoiler the beheading The soldier stood, sheathing his magnificent blade in a flash, then turned and began walking back towards the Petorians. The Guls, not knowing what else to do, stepped out of his way. The sudden sound of a body hitting the ground snapped them all back into focus and they turned their attention to the source of the noise, their great commander, beheaded and rotting in his own blood. The rest of the Petorians emerged and completely slaughtered the rest of the Guls. War cries turned into murderous shouts. Cries of fear and pain ended in blood gargled nonsense. The Guls were completely wiped out… ~~~~~3 Years Later~~~~~~ A hooded drifter gulps the last of his ale before setting his pint down on the bar top. His hand clenched the handle, then slowly let go. His hand reached into his cloak and grabbed a coin bag but stopped as he felt something pressing against the back of his head. “That’s it, nice and slow, put it on the counter. Drifters don’t belong here, yet here you are. Guess you didn’t know this is my town, and here you pay me to pass through, that doesn’t help your chances with my trigger finger here though” the cocky and rough voice spoke. The drifter slowly puled out his coin bag and placed it on the bar, then slowly turned his head. “That’s a gun, is it not?” he spoke in a gruff and cold voice, but there was something else behind it, something terrible and dark. The gunman was speechless, wondering why he was so frightened by mere words. But his thoughts were quickly interrupted by a quick flash followed by an enormous amount of pain in his arm that held the gun. His mind began to focus and he saw the drifter glaring back at him with eyes that could kill a demon. The gunman was so terrified, he didn’t even realize the drifter was holding half of his arm, and it still clutched the gun with the finger poised over the trigger. His eyes drifted down and saw a sword sheathed at the drifter’s side. Shaking from the pain and fear, the gunman slowly looked up and saw he was staring down the barrel of his own gun, still in his severed arm. “The arm is severed but can still function if controlled in the right pressure points.” The drifter adjusted his fingers and positioned them near the inside wrist of the severed arm. “But for the life of me I can’t remember which point works for which finger…” The gunman was wrought with fear, his eyes said it all. The drifter flexed his small finger, and the arm’s small finger flexed. Next he flexed the ring finger. “Hmm….doing good so far don’t you think?” the middle finger twitched next and as he began to flex his index, the gunman broke down and fell to his knees bursting in tears. “Please! I beg you, no more! I’m sorry! I….I’m’’ the drifter reached down and grabbed the gunman by the throat with his free hand and raised him back to his feet. “I’m not finished” he spoke softly, but it hit the gunman’s ears like a knife. The drifter slowly began flexing his index finger, the bar folk looked on, utterly speechless and seemingly holding their breath. The drifter fully flexed his finger and….nothing happened. He quickly dropped the man and his arm to the floor. “Three out of four….not bad. Guess I need to refresh my memory. Looks like it’s your lucky day” The drifter reached over and grabbed his coin bag still sitting on the bar top, leaving 3 coins in its place. “S…si…sir, the drink was only a coin, this is too much, please” the innkeeper babbled on clutching his towel. “One coin for this man’s drink and the other is for the mess. See to it he gets medical attention quickly.” The drifter turned and headed out into the city streets. The blinding sun hung high in above Desla, one of the largest trade cities on the main continent. The drifter lowered his head and adjusted his hood as he disappeared into the crowd. It wasn’t long before he veered off into an alley and leaned against the wall. He looked out into the crowd then at the ground. “You’re not very good at sneaking up on people, better at commanding them….Thayne.” A tall man, muscular and proud in stature stepped out from around the corner. “You’re a hard man to follow Ando” Thayne smirked as he walked forward. “Apparently not that hard since even you were able to do it. So then, what’s this all about? I know you’re not here to reminisce about the ‘good ol’ days’ are you. So out with it, what do you want that you’d have to put so much effort into following me?” Thayne paused a moment scratching his chin then folded his arms and leaned against the opposite wall of Ando. “King Aberdan was slain four moons ago. Drake, the war council’s most powerful sorcerer betrayed us all and has began summoning the Ancient Fiends to bring this world to hell. I was stripped of my command and cast out of the kingdom, my own men couldn’t follow me and now they’re stuck under that bastard’s command…” Thayne clenched his fist then relaxed again. “Ancient Fiends eh? That’s an old children’s tale to keep them from getting into trouble. Demon Gods that would send their minions to terrorize children in their sleep. Don’t bother me with this nonsense Thayne!” “I speak the truth!” Thayne shot back at Ando with great intensity, his eyes showing no lies. “I have seen them Ando…and they are very real and are after more than children’s dreams. All of Vaan will be pulled into their dark nightmare.” Thayne lowered his head in the disbelief of his own words but knowing full well they were true. He felt a hand on his shoulder and looked up into Ando’s eyes. “Then we can’t let that happen, can we?” Ando smirked. He saw the truth in Thayne’s eyes and he knew this new threat was very real, and Ando was itching for a good challenge as his warrior spirit longed for one for so long. “So what now?” Ando stepped towards the entrance of the alley, looking through the crowd. “We recruit. We very well can’t do this on our own can we? We’ll have to find the best warriors of the land and convince them that the times to come are more than just dark, it will be the end of us all…” Ando looked back at Thayne. “I see…well then, let’s get going” and the two merged in with the crowd.