his is the way the world ends. The kingdoms of Illius to the north and Blythe to the south have been gridlocked in a war that has lasted centuries, neither country coming to fair conclusions and riddling the battlefield with deception and cheats. The two sides stopped at nothing to gain the upper hand, constantly defying the will of the gods to smite the other side, until the Great Truce of Neutrality. The two sides met and agreed to end the bloodshed on the basis that neither side would cross borders or interact with each other until the end of time. This greatly effected trade routes from neighboring countries and launched the lands into a cold war, all politics and arranged marriages and trade allies, no more bloodshed. But that was what the people wanted, was it not? Perhaps. Until the plague smothered Blythe in its grip. A great curse has taken over much of the southern kingdom, leaving a measly three-percent unexposed. A magical plague, the darkness fills the hearts of those it comes into contact with and turns them completely beserk and bloodthirsty. After nearly two-hundred years of peace on the battlefield between Blythe and Illius, war was sparked again so carelessly by the diseased southern king, and all has plunged into chaos. King Roylan de'Illius remains oblivious to the claims of a plague, convinced that the southerners are evil brutes showing their true colors and must be immediately dealt with. The world of Terralenn is so hopelessly bathing in its own demise, and Princess Evelyn of Blythe sees it. Clutching the few papers of prophecy and tokens of proof for her claim, she rides north to the harsh colds of the northern Illius to beg pardon for her diseased people. Will King Roylan listen, or will the world end the way prophecy deems it should? King Roylan de'Illius, #004c82 The bitter winds of a winter morning clung to his skin, desperate to settle in its warmth. The gentle flakes of snowfall nestled across the stone courtyards, on treetops and castle walls, on the shoulders of his tunic and the soft waves of ebony hair clinging to his royal head. King Royal de'Illius was not a man to sit and admire nature's beauty; he much preferred the thrill of the hunt or drawing over battle plans, enacting laws meeting the people's demand with an iron grip. But today, however, could be quite the exception. Snow blanketed everything the eye could see, bringing with it a series of icy breezes that lightly shifted the branches of smothered trees, glittering under the light of a hidden sun. It was beautiful and terribly intimidating all at once. Roylan found himself questioning if the properties of snow could be applied to the field of battle, garrison upon garrison stacking one upon the other until his enemies were flooded and choked with defeat. He would taste a lie to say the idea was not a tempting one. If only soldiers were frozen rain, he thought, and Blythe was the earth. I could smother it and this bloodshed could be over. However, it would also be untrue to say he didn't enjoy warfare. Roylan was a hard man of few convictions, loved by those who craved wealth and status in the kingdom of Illius, hated by those who barely had enough money to feed their starving families. The harvest had not been plentiful this year, and due to bad trade relations with Lanistra in the west he had partially given up on the endeavor to find a replacement for his kingdom's foul luck in the fields. He had suffered several months with promises of rebellion and internal strife within Illius, but what was there to do about it? These were times of war. They're such an impatient lot. Can't they see I'm a bit preoccupied? "Your majesty?" came a voice from the threshold of the arched entranceway. Roylan turned, a look of general frustration about him as he never liked being disturbed when he was deep in thought atop the balcony to his personal chambers, but his butler wouldn't summon him unless it was absolutely important. "What is it, Laurence? Make it quick." "A rider in the night," he said breathlessly. "A woman." "A woman?" Roylan chuckled. "How brave. What did she want?" "She claims to have urgent business with you, Your Grace. A matter of utmost importance." "Did she say what it was?" "No, majesty." "Hmph. Interesting." Roylan stroked the stubble on his jaw in thought. It wouldn't be the first time someone had marched up to the royal guard and claimed to have some issue with the king and his decrees, and he had more than enough of random paupers bombarding him with accusations and rude remarks, but clearly this case was different. Laurence would not have bothered him if he hadn't thought it was a matter worth wasting time on. Passively, he waved a hand to dismiss the butler and his message. "Bring her to the throne room. I'll see her in ten minute's time." "At once, Your Grace." The man disappeared behind curtains of indigo and black, and after several more minutes of silent contemplation King Roylan quickly followed suit. He snatched the crown of gold and onyx from his bedside table and placed it upon his head, clasping a kingly cape about his shoulders and taking a long swig from a goblet of brandy he'd left on his desk the night before. He never liked facing the people, never enjoyed hearing of their insignificant plights and problems, but he supposed it was better to get it over with sooner rather than later. There were battles to plan. There were enemies to crush. There was a war to rage, and Roylan would be damned if anyone got in his way. He exited his chambers on the high of initiative, confident he could face whatever foolish challenges a woman could bring.