So here is the first of my early drafts based on an idea from the ideas page which can be found here: Sword of God. Just want to make a note here that this is an early draft I started last year. It is incomplete, and I can certainly guarantee there will be changes by the time the story is complete and ready for upload, but I believe it’s worth a share and shows other stories I can write. Let me know what you think in the comments!
The light of truth, the sun’s blaze: reach toward either in ignorance and you will fall prey to the fire. Such warnings need not apply to mortal man alone, as all sentience must stand vigil against the arrogance buried within.
In the ages old, there existed a more divine race. Ancient, winged beings that ruled the heavens and earth, the Nephilim. Their might and power were without equal, but not without weakness. Their minds, much like that of men, were susceptible to the vile poisons and, as if caused by plague, none could resist it. Dripping in conceit and greed, they sought that which could never be attained, true godhood. Their outstretched hands caught flame.
All burned, none survived. Save but one.
Where others fell, he rose. Was it a greater resolve, or perhaps the backs of fallen comrades gave greater reach? Much like his name, how this feat was managed has been forgotten by all save fabled few. The sole, surviving Nephilim. His old name unsuitable for newly found divinity, was cast aside. He was now Revahn, the Lord of Ash. A man become god, he brought the world to its knees and mankind to heel. The world was corrupted by the Nephilim’s desire for power. Now all dwell below, lest they be devoured by the monstrous abominations scouring the world. It is said that all that remained of the surface was a barren wasteland where the only site left to behold was a tower that pierced the heavens. But none alive could say for sure.
Centuries passed since the Nephilim broke the world. Rebellions rose and fell: the tyranny of Revahn endured. But war was bloody, tiresome. So Revahn devised a new method to squelch rebellion. He offered all who dared defy him the Rite of Challenge. Any who dared could challenge Revahn to single combat. Should they be able to best or even wound him, they would be given anything they so desired. Should they fail, their fate would lie in Revahn’s hands.
Despite slim odds, countless brave mortals accepted this challenge throughout the ages. To this day, none have succeeded, but still they come. The hope of freedom was enough, no matter how vain or foolish. Each one thinking that they might be the one to defeat Revahn, and thereby end his reign once and for all. After all, no man was truly all powerful, right?
The walls, the floor, the ceiling: writhed in shadow. A voice echoed in the void.
“Did you really think you could win?”
“Did you really think you could run?”
In that moment, panic became palpable.
Against Revahn, fight is impossible. There is only, inevitably, flight. If only I learned this sooner. A heavy force slammed into the man’s torso, sending him careening into the far wall of the chamber with a metallic crash. His armor had taken the impact, but steel was not hard enough to defend against the arms of a demon. The wind had been knocked from him. Attempting to reclaim its vestiges, he winced in pain. It was likely the strike that sent him reeling had shattered a few ribs. Unable to recapture air quickly, what little strength remained ebbed from him limbs.
Desperate, he struggled to his feet, using the wall as support. Slowly, he moved along the wall, hopeful he might find some means of escape. The room, once lit with an unnatural luminescence was now consumed by the dark. The wall seemed to pulse and shiver under his fingertips, as though some living thing struggled against the boundaries seeking asylum in the mortal world. It was as though Revahn had summoned the pits of hell into his throne room.
A gloved hand, appearing from the blackness, wrapped round his throat. No time to react as his body was slammed against the wall. Eyes black as the void met his own.
“You have lost, child.”
The voice, so close now, seemed to reverberate within the confines of his skull. With unearthly strength, he slid up the wall as Revahn lifted him off the ground.
“Your life is now forfeit..”
As soon as the words left his lips, something crawled up his arm and over the man’s body. It was cool to the touch, and soft against his skin. It covered his torso, then pierced his chest. As it began twisting through his innards, the man fought in vain to break free from Revahn’s grip. All the while his voice called out, screaming in agony.
“ACCEPT YOUR FATE. No one alive can save you now.”
The pain was unbearable, something was pulled out of him. His screams were suddenly silenced as the object was left his body. The man’s lifeless body dropped to the floor with a dull thud. Slowly, the darkness fade, and the world once again returned to light. Revahn had what he wanted, but remained motionless. He crouched beside the fallen body. As he stared deep into the sockets of the man’s skull.
The body then dissolved into dust, leaving nothing but the faded armor of an aged warrior.
A few hours later Revahn returned to the throne room to find the servants busying themselves cleansing the room from the aftereffects of the ritual.
All that really remained was the warrior’s armor, charred around the fist sized hole through the chest and back. It was still dangerous to the touch, as the metal had yet to cool.
Without a moment’s notice, the older man spun on his feet with a youth surprising for one his age and gave a flourishing bow, “Ah, Lord Revahn. Terribly sorry we have yet to finish cleaning. I expected you to remain in the Vault until morning.”
“It’s fine, Ptolemy. This one was…flexible shall we say.” He responded delicately.
Ptolemy nodded, “Yes, of course, sir. Is there anything else you require?”
Revahn thought for a moment, then clicked his tongue, “It’s early, but start the day’s schedule. The anniversary is approaching; there is much to prepare.”
“As you wish my lord, I will see to it personally.” Ptolemy gave another bow, then hurried off to make the arrangements and rouse anyone yet to wake.
What followed was the usual cavalcade of meetings and impositions regarding the rule of law. The nation could be ruled without his direct intervention, but Revahn held it as necessity to maintain a firm grasp on things, lest corruption slip by his notice. The kings under his rule were accustomed to his nature and ensured he knew the ins and outs of their domains beyond his tower. There was also much to discuss regarding the increased presence of Cinders on the tower limits. Patrols kept them at bay for the time being, but the tower required a considerable garrison to maintain watch each night for assaults by the more daring packs.
The day passed quickly and soon the skies darkened to a somber grey. Taking his leave, Revahn returned to his quarters at the peak. Revahn’s body had no need for sleep, but his mind required time for reflection, so the night was a time for meditation and solitude.
The space Revahn called his own was the entirety of the last three floors. Most of the rooms were empty, as Revahn cared little for luxury. The main reason that was his allotted space was the glass atrium that connected all three floors and overlooked the grayed horizon. Upon arriving at his quarters, he snapped his fingers. The clothes he was wearing were gone, now replaced with his meditation garb.
Revahn, now properly equipped, moved into the atrium and knelt on the carpet, surrounded by over a dozen candles of incense, at the center closest to the glass wall. He lit each candle by hand, though it was possible for him to light them all at once with his power. The golden flames danced in the darkness as a soft breeze came as the sun finally dipped below the horizon. Revahn took a deep breath, and closed his eyes. His mind returned into the void.
For once, there was no renewed agony. The night was peaceful.
To be continued…
And that is all for now! While I do have more, I don’t believe it’s ready for sharing at this time. Hope you guys enjoyed, and just a reminder this was just an early draft. I’ll likely make a lot of changes when I return to this chapter and write it in full. Let me know what you think about the story so far!