◈ The Last Champion of Sylvia
The Kamasylve, the tree of life for the inhabitants of Kamasylvia, was weeping. The daughters of Sylvia were turning on each other. The Ganelle and the Vedir were slaughtering each other relentlessly. Yet, according to some, the Ahib, a faction of the Vedir, had grand plans for the future. They were said to have tasted the sweet nectar of power from the Kamasylve and were looking to take over Kamasylvia and bend nature to their will. There was just one possible roadblock. The Kamasylve had a near-forgotten defense force that protected the roots of the tree. These incredible warriors so far away could hamper their plans, and so the Ahib had placed a sealing spell on the roots to cut any possible interference.
Whereas Ganelle and Vedir were the daughters of the goddess Sylvia, the Luthraghon were the sons. Believed to be buried deep under the roots of Kamasylve, they kept watching with minimal contact of the world above. In the darkness, they built the fortress Adùir, a monumental fortress entwined with the Kamasylve, the deceased tree of light.
Yet at the root of the tree the Goddess’ voice rang clear. It echoed through the roots and comforted them. They knew that if the voice of their mother could be heard, then the surface world still stood. One day, the voice faded. Much like the Ganelle, their power was drawn from the goddess, and when the voice faded, they lost what minimal contact they had with the other realm.
Without contact, the Luthraghon were beginning to feel lost. An elder of the Luthraghon stood up. A veteran of Adùir who was present when the first foundations of the fortress were laid stood up to reassure them.
“Although something has happened up there, now is the time we must trust our sisters. Our faith that they can deal with any issues must remain, as we must remain here to protect the roots! They will stand strong, as we must stand strong! We must remain here, with the light of Sylvia in our hearts, to pierce the everlasting darkness!”
Many years passed. The contact had not been reestablished, nor could they hear the voice of their goddess. The silence was deafening. With each day that passed, each day their light felt dimmer as if the darkness was creeping into their core.
One day, the lookouts of Adùir noticed something in the distance. An ominous dark cloud rolled towards them. A horn blew in the distance and then was quickly extinguished. The scout had spent his dying breath on warning Adùir. A second and third horn blew and were quickly snuffed out. The Luthraghon in Adùir wasted no time in mobilizing. As they manned the ramparts, the horror of their enemy became apparent.
A gargantuan rolling cloud of darkness was rushing towards them. The darkness roared, a discordant cacophony of sound. Wails and screeches, cries of pain and pleasure and of harmonic and dissonant tones. A maddening symphony that could drive fear into any warrior's heart.
Yet the Luthraghon stood their ground as the cloud rolled nearer. The generals ordered their soldiers to nock their arrows and aim towards the cloud. Adùir was in silence except for the calls from the generals. Even with the approaching wall of sound, the soldiers were quiet, listening for the commands to release. The darkness was just 1000 ft away, then 700 ft, and then suddenly 500 ft. The generals ordered the release of the arrows which soared through the air and rained down on the encroaching enemy, yet the billowing wall of darkness seemed unaffected. They nocked again, this time the release call was instant, but again ineffective. The wall of darkness was now 100ft from Adùir. The Luthraghon manning the walls were ready for a fight. The tsunami of darkness towered over the walls and crashed down upon them. Almost instantly many lives were lost, yet those who could still fight were hanging on.
Suddenly the dark spirits became mesmerized by a bright light that appeared from the center of Adùir. Those spirits that saw the light moved towards it, and they shattered as the light touched their darkness.
A young Luthraghon was the first to notice. The blood of his fallen comrades was pooling around his feet. There was no hope left in Adùir, and he wanted to believe that the light was a beacon of hope. He broke what little rank was left and dashed across the battlefield heading for the light. “You coward! How dare you turn your back on the will of our Mother! Defend the lines!” the elder of the fortress screamed out to him.
In a fleeting second, the young Luthraghon hesitated, remembering his pledge.
I am the arrow that shatters darkness,
I am the watcher of the roots.
My life is pledged to the walls of Adùir.
He wanted to stop, to return to the fight, yet something was calling him. Then he felt warmth. A bright light surrounded him, comforting him, begging him to follow. He could feel that this was Sylvia’s will, perhaps the last of her energy. He screamed back at the elder, “Step aside, elder. Mother’s will is pulling me through this rift!”, and with a flash, he was gone.
The moon was high in the sky, lighting up Kamasylvia with a beautiful pale white light. The young Luthraghon stood in front of the sacred tree, taking in its spectacular luminescent glow. His mind raced as he was searching for direction. He was suffocating in this new open space, but more than that he was drowning in his mind. Where should he go from here? How could he continue to follow Mother’s will? The wind brushed against his face as it blew a leaf from the tree from the branches. He stared at the leaf intent, looking for an answer to his million questions.
His purpose was clear before. He was born to protect the roots of the sacred tree. In darkness he found comfort, and now in the light of the world he was out of sorts. This world was foreign to him.
Yet he tried to consume knowledge about the world around him. He discovered books that told of the war between his sisters. Their violent conflicts, the death and rebirth of the Kamasylve. All these things were not known to him before. Yet one paragraph caught his attention. He learned that the Vedir had placed an enchantment on the roots of the tree, yet the author was not sure why. It dawned on the young Luthraghon that it was they who sealed the connection between the realms. A new feeling overcame him, something he had never experienced before. Rage.
Why is there bloodshed between the sisters? How could they lock away their brothers? They are all there from Sylvia’s will, they are all made due to her love and affection. Why do they not share in the joy that is life?
Lost in the rage that bubbled within, he heard leaves rustle in the distance. He felt a presence watching him. As he turned, the figure vanished leaving behind black smoke. He didn’t need to see who it was, as he instantly knew it was one of his Vedir sisters, the ones who had sealed the sacred tree.
He dashed through the forest chasing the trail of black smoke. He ran as fast as he could but he could not close the gap. The crossbow he was wielding was good for short range, but aiming accurately through the trees was impossible. He stopped to catch his breath, drawing the massive greatbow off his back.
He steadied himself, nocked his arrow and pulled back the giant bowstring. Time seemed to stop around him as he waited to release the arrow. He could see the wind's trajectory around the forest, and adjusted his aim. His target entered his sights and he released the arrow. The leaves of the trees around the arrow rustled as this massive arrow made its way towards the target. The arrow seemed to roar as it thundered through the trees.
The young Luthraghon walked the path the arrow took through the trees. He was confident that the arrow channeled his determination through the wind to connect to his target. Yet he found the arrow lodged into a tree; he had missed his target. As he pulled the arrow from the tree, a voice reached out to him from behind.
“Do you think you could hit me with that sluggish arrow? Go back to Adùir and protect the roots, watcher! You should not be in this realm.”
As the Luthraghon turned to the direction of the voice he saw a powerful spellbound Kriegsmesser dig into the ground. A dark energy erupted from the ground, causing the young Lutrhaghon to get knocked down. The pain in his body was excruciating. His insides felt as though they were being ripped apart from the impact. The young Luthraghon summoned the last of his strength and stabbed the Vedir with his arrow.
Once the ground settled around him, the Luthraghon looked around him. The Vedir was gone, however a trail of blood gave away the location of his enemy. He tried to get up to follow the trail, yet his body was still weakened from the blast. He got to his feet and steadied himself on a tree. He felt the pain course through his body and every inch of his being was crying out in agony. The arrow that he stabbed the Vedir with was broken, and as he held it in his hand he whispered.
“Mother, I am doubtful that I will be able to fulfill the purpose you have bestowed upon me.”
He gripped the broken arrow tighter. He was bitter and resented the fact that he could not chase his target. Suddenly a brilliantly radiant light entered his body. He thought he was hallucinating at first because of the blood loss, but the warm feeling that comforted him felt familiar. It was then that he spotted a Sylvian Wolf heading towards him.
The wolf walked closer, pacing around the young Luthraghon in a circle. It was the first time he had laid eyes on such a wolf, yet it felt familiar. His confusion continued to grow until he realized the greatbow on his back was resonating with the Sylvian Wolf. Although not sure, he assumed that the wolf was a projection of the bow. Stoic yet powerful. He was convinced it was a gift from Mother.
Mother Sylvia had to know everything that would transpire. This was her way of safeguarding his life, so that he may fulfill his purpose. He reached and put his hand on the wolf's head. It let out a long and piercing howl as it dispersed into light, becoming one with the Luthraghon.
“Your destiny is in your hands. Walk the path you believe in. Be sure that any step you take leads you to fulfill your purpose.”
The Luthraghon could not tell who the voice belonged to, yet it didn’t matter. His mind had cleared of all confusion, his pains were relieved. He was no longer hesitant to venture out into the world.
“This is the path that I choose, this is my destiny.”