by Brett Ultimus

Let us have thanks and praise for the glorious coming of time... or have sorrow and pain for it... Whether you are a noble paladin with a heart of gold, or an evil ogre with no other purpose but to destroy everything, time will continue to flow forward, with the consequences placed.

"Sir! The troops move forward!" A paladin shouted, "And they have knocked out another platoon!"

A tall man in commoner clothes, but a tarnished crown hidden away behind his messy brown hair turned forward to the paladin; his armor stained by the blood of war, as the rest of the golden armor was warn off, and such, "Damn... how far will she go before she achieves such... and who is leading the strike?"

"Rumors speak a traitor is amongst us, Lord Gran." The paladin spoke; a tone of fear placed in his voice.

"I will speak this with General Rashidi... indeed; he shall know what has happened..." Gran responded; a tone of fear also placed in his voice.

Gran looked up into the dark, nightly sky, and at that moment, he wished for bravery and victory for his army. He looked forward once more to see below the hills that him and his stronghold was on, the corpses of thousands of men and woman: warriors, whether they were his own troops, or of the troops of the Zetegenia, it didnít matter to him anymore. He wanted the war to be over. Gran sighed, as he turned around, and headed straight inside his stronghold.

Gran walked through the halls of the stronghold; knights standing guard against the walls of the stronghold, as they salute to the king when he walked passed them. King Gran ignored such, as plenty was already on his mind, as he walked over into the strategic room placed right in the middle of his stronghold. There, he was met with Rashidi, and several of his advisors.

"King Gran! How goes this night of peril?" Rashidi asked with a tone of concern.

"How else should a night of peril be? It looks like fresh corpses were thrown out of their graves out there!" Gran shouted, as his fists pounded the wooden table in the middle of the room.

Gran looked up to Rashidi, who was indeed taller then he. Rashidiís measurements were said to be around eight feet; the man was indeed a titan. With his red and golden robes specially made for him, starting from up his neck, to down his feet. He also worn golden, light gloves that helped him tone his power. Rumors say that Rashidi was over three hundred years old, however, when Gran looked into Rashidiís face, all he saw was that of someone who was forty-five.

"What am I going to do Rashidi? Empress Endora will not let her forces down... Zenobia cannot end here... what is to become of my kingdom, my followers... my... son..." Gran said silently, as he looked back down the wooden table. He then announced, "also, rumor told, there is a traitor amongst us."

"A... a traitor? Who ever do you think it is old friend?" Rashidi asked with a shocked expression on his face.

"I donít know... but I suppose if we can retreat from this battle, and interrogation should proceed afterwards." Gran said to his followers.

"Retreat? Weíve worked so hard, and you want to retreat?" Rashidi asked, his shocked expression soon turned to anger.

"Rashidi, we have no other choice! If we keep this up, our men shall fall! More lives have been wasted tonight, then ever before!" Gran said, standing straight up now.

"Excuse me, sire, but that is what war is about! Lives will be lost, and..."

"Silence, Rashidi! I canít believe you would say such things! One who believes in peace like yourself! Old friend, this is not like you..."

"Iím sorry..." Rashidi said in a saddened tone, "I suppose this war is getting to me... as well..."

Gran gave a small smile, before it turned serious again, "Understood, Rashidi...this war changes many of men..."

Gran turned around, and began to walk outside the room, "I shall issue the retreat, then the interrogation shall begin."

Rashidi gave a small grin, his lips formed sharp points around his cheeks, as words spoke out, "Yes sir... the fallen king of Zenobia...!"

Before Gran could even respond, Rashidi held out his hands, as a dark plague emerged from the very fingertips of his gloves. Shouts of the lost souls from the pits of hell emerged forth, as the soldiers and followers of Rashidi fell to the ground; their skin turning pale, before it eventually sunk into their dead, rotting skeletal remains. Rashidi held his hands up, and then moved them down as the room set ablaze; a firewall emerging around the room, where Gran could not easily walk out. This all happened in a matter of seconds...

" Rashidi! Why?" Gran asked in shock, while still yelling at him.

"Empress Endora will be happy now that the king is dead..."

"What happened... my friend... did that witch brainwash you?!" "Foolish king... you let the power go to your head... this is of my own... intentions." Rashidi said, his grin growing wider, as his expression stroke fear into Granís heart, "you shall fall, then your son... will... follow..."

Gran smiled, as he unsheathed his blade from the golden sheath it existed into, "Nay, old friend, once I gained word of the traitor, I took Tristan to an old friend, and Iím pretty sure sheíll take care of him... sorry, Rashidi... your plan for domination failed..."

"No it didnít... such a plan never existed..." Rashidi said silently, as he held his right hand up; Granís sword was quickly pulled out of his hand, and stabbed into his own body, straight into the heart. Gran gasped for air, as his eyes shot open. He then fell onto the ground, still gasping for air... until he gave one last gasp, and plummeted off the mortal coil.

"Go, my minions, find the son of King Gran Zenobia, the fallen king!!" Rashidi shouted, holding up both arms. Portals of darkness opened up, as demons and imps flew out into the nightly sky, screeching in horror as they were risen. After realizing such an order, they flew forward, searching for the one thing Rashidi wanted...

"Wait... how do you know all of this?"


"Prince Tristan, how do you know all of this?" A young, valiant figure said, as he sat down across a table from the person telling the story.

"Why, Destin, I never left that area.. I unfortunately had to witness the entire event..." Tristan said, pulling back his long blonde hair.

Tristan was indeed grown now, his blonde hair moved down his back onto his sky blue light armor. He continued to shine his sword, preparing for a next assault, while telling his story to Destin.

Destin wore a red helmet that covered over part his forehead, but not his blonde hair that went down to his ears. Destin had leather armor that covered his chest and back, and also down above his knees. Both men looked to be in their teen years, as they continued to swap stories.

"And... you escaped, Prince Tristan?" Destin asked.

"Indeed... how else could you be able to see me hear? ... by the way, howís Rauny?" Tristan asked, a little bit concerned.

"Sheís fine, but tell me the rest of this tale? So this is how it happened..." Destin said, scratching at his chin.

"Iím glad you find the merciless slaughter of my father Ďamusingí, Destin..." Tristan said in an irritated fashion.

"No! No, Prince Tristan, I didnít mean it in that way!"

Tristan gave a small chuckle, "Destin, you indeed talk to much, sometimes... why donít you tell me of YOUR story?"

"My story?" Destin asked the prince.

"Yes... your story. You know, how you joined the rebels, perhaps?" Tristan asked him.

"Oh yes... that seemed so long ago... it all started in the slums of Sharom." Destin said, starting right away into his story.

End of Part 1

Part 2