• Published 5th Mar 2017
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MLDC Origins: Gone, gone, the form of man... - Michael_Ravencroft

  • ...

The Fall

The Crystal Kingdom, a land filled with magic, where its people enjoyed many an advancements through the newly evolving study of science, and their already advanced knowledge of magic itself. However, this did not mean that their people weren’t at all unknown to war and violence. Indeed other kingdoms, as well as dark forces, sought to bring down the kingdom, wishing to snuff out the light of hope that it provided.

And currently those forces of darkness were endeavoring to bring that kingdom to its knees. The horizon was blackened with dark clouds, juggernauts made of black crystal marched on the Crystal Kingdom, their footsteps thunderous and determined. The amethyst spires that marked the borders of the kingdom began to shine with radiant light, and almost immediately a wall of azure crystal emerged, spanning many miles around to protect the kingdom from all angles of attack. From the center, the middle spire of the palace, a beam of aurora light shot up, and formed a energy field that protected the kingdom from aerial attacks.

On the wall, soldiers lined up, bringing forth specially made cannons that fired condensed magical energy equal to that of a lightning bolt. Rows upon rows of cannons fired off shots, sending magical ordinance flying through the skies and detonating against the juggernauts as they approached. Some were shattered on the spot, but others managed to reinforce their bodies before the shots hit them.

Despite being able to survive the shots, it was apparent that the blasts did create cracks on their bodies. However, it was not enough, and was more or less slowing them down. In response, the queen sent out her strongest protectors, those dubbed the Knights of Justice. Defenders made up talented mages and magi-warriors who dedicated their lives to defending the Crystal Kingdom, and among them, there were two that were considered the absolute duo.

And just like always, they were the first to enter the fray.

A man, about late twenties or so, charged in. His armor was a gleaming silver, emblazoned with the Crystal Kingdom emblem, his red cape flapping in the breeze as he propelled himself over the juggernauts. Arcane circles appeared in both of his hands, he then clapped both of them together and pulled away, in the wake a sword formed, made of ruby crystal. The weapon continued to elongate, forming a Bastard sword.

With one hand the man charged the blade with magical energy and cleaved the first juggernaut in half with a single stroke of the blade. One of the juggernauts spotted the destruction of its comrade and turned to attack the knight, but it wasn’t in time. The warrior turned his green eyes on the next juggernaut as his black, raven hair flowed from the sudden motion. But before he could unleash his fury, a beam of magical energy cut through the juggernaut and shattered it to pieces.

The magi-knight huffed and then smiled as he looked off to his left. “You know I hate it when you steal my prey from me, Radiant Hope.”

Above the magi-warrior floated a sorceress, her hair was azure blue, like starlight. Her purple skin tone matching it perfectly, as if the woman was a piece of the night sky given form. She wore a white mage’s cloak and hood, fitted with special armor around her legs, arms, and torso. The woman cast her eyes onto the dark skinned warrior and smiled coyly. “Sorry Sombra, but he was just screaming for me to blast him, an easy target.”

Sombra grinned cockily. “Well next time, try for a more challenging shot, something in the distance.” To this Sombra pointed his ruby sword towards the multitudes of black crystal juggernauts still marching from the distance. Radiant Hope shrugged and raised her staff, a piece of white oak, with the top of the staff curled into a spiral.

Caelum desursum iram tuam appello! Arcu Fulgur!

From Radiant Hope’s staff, a series of lightning bolts were fired off, all of which struck multiple juggernauts at once, some close by and others in the vast distance, utterly decimating them.

Sombra shrugged, impressed by her display of power. “Very good, your aim has gotten better. But perchance you might want to rethink your choice in attire when flying overhead.”

Radiant’s face became heated as she growled indignantly. “How about spending less time on looking up my robe and more time with the enemy around us!”

“Yes milady,” replied Sombra in a teasing tone.

Sombra twirled his ruby sword around and thrusted it into the ground, red light shined at the point of contact and almost immediately ruby crystal glaives jutted from the earth. They bolted forward, moving like a snake across the ground and impaling all juggernauts in their path.

Another juggernaut tried to attack Sombra, but the knight was quick. He jumped straight into the air, dispelling his ruby sword and in its stead, created an amethyst spear. Sombra spun once in the air and descended upon the juggernaut, piercing the constructs head all the way down into its abdomen. A surge of purple light ran through the spear, and burst of energy fired off, shattering the creature from the inside out.

Three more surrounded Sombra, but they made the mistake of assuming he was alone. Despite still attacking the distant black crystal juggernauts, Radiant Hope still had the perception to know what Sombra was doing at all times during the fight. Noticing that he was out numbered, Radiant Hope focused her magic and summoned three magic circles to her right. “Percutite eos; Magicae telum! (Strike them down! Magic bolt!)”

From the center of the magic circles, beams of yellow light shot forth and struck all three juggernauts at once, cracking their reinforced bodies. Sombra took advantage of this, using his own combat magic to encase his right fist in a ruby crystal gauntlet, with the fist end of the gauntlet sporting a five inch spike at the end of it. Sombra struck the first juggernaut at the center of its chest, the gauntlet flashed and sent a surge of magical energy into the tip and burst, shattering the first juggernaut.

The second came from behind and backhanded Sombra, the Knight of Justice quickly created an amethyst shield on his left forearm, and turned to block the attack. Unfortunately, he was not able to get a proper stance planted as the blow impacted against the shield, shattering it and sending the knight rolling to the ground.

“SOMBRA!” Radiant Hope shouted. “Rogamus vos et terra deorsum –!”

One of the juggernauts pointed its right hand at Radiant Hope, fingers retracted into the arm, and in its place were dozens upon dozens of sharpened black crystal shards. The juggernaut then fired a barrage of black crystal shards, flying like arrows at the young mage. Radiant Hope quickly threw up a barrier to defend herself, each shard impacted against the side of the barrier with resounding force, infused with dark magic.

Another juggernaut came up next to the first and fired a barrage as well, a third joined them and soon a trio of juggernauts were pelting Radiant’s barrier with shards. She quickly looked down to see Sombra, his left arm did not move much, indicating that it might’ve been broken from the harsh blow from the construct.

Despite this, Sombra still stared down the juggernaut, switching his amethyst spear for his ruby sword, preparing to fight even with a broken arm.

However, before his valiant battle could begin, it was ended when a jet of hellfire washed over the juggernaut and burned the black crystal construct to ashes. Sombra jumped back, not wanting to get swallowed up by the inferno. Before Sombra knew it, something descended from the sky and smashed against the ground, sending a plume of dust into the air.

From the plume, a broadsword pierced through the cloud and slashed the third juggernaut before it had time to even react, shattering on the spot. That one swing was powerful enough to make the dust cloud dissipate, revealing Sombra’s savior.

The being stood about five feet, his muscular arms covered in scars from battles past. The creature had claws, garbed in a crimson tunic, and armor that covered most of his legs, along with shoulder pauldrons. Clasped around his neck was a long violet cape that flapped in the wind from the movement of his sword stroke earlier. The creature’s face was, for lack of better term, horrifying. Pale yellow skin, where its ears would be, were bat wing-like frills, two small horns, black ashen shadows surrounding his eyes, and his eyes themselves were orange, as if the fires of hell burned behind them.

This creature, this demon, Sombra knew it well. This was the familiar demon under his mentor, Starswirl’s, control. The demon, Etrigan.

“What are you doing here demon?” Sombra asked.

“To battle I have been commanded, to slay the invaders is what Starswirl has demanded,” Etrigan replied.

“Of course he did, next time watch where you’re aiming those flames!”

Etrigan chuckled as he glared at Sombra. “Your tongue I suggest you watch, lest I make you mewl like a little b –!”

A juggernaut appeared before them, deciding to take advantage of their argument. However, the construct soon discovered that that was a mistake. Etrigan and Sombra brandished their swords and in almost perfect synchronicity, slashed the black crystal juggernaut apart. Sombra and Etrigan glanced to each other and snorted, if there was one thing that they could respect about each other, it was each other’s skill with a blade.

“Perhaps we’ll finish this conversation another time?” Sombra asked.

“Indeed we can, for now we stick to the plan!”

Etrigan dashed forth with inhuman speed, charging straight for the juggernauts that were attacking Radiant Hope. The demon threw his sword at the middle juggernaut, the blade whirled as it cut through the air and lodged itself right in the juggernaut’s chest, making it fumble backwards from the impact of the blade.

With great agility, Etrigan jumped into the air and descended rapidly, landing on the shoulders of the left juggernaut, and forcing it to the ground and cease its attack. The demonic warrior gripped the head of the juggernaut and with his incredible strength ripped the construct’s head off. He then chucked the head at the right juggernaut, heading it in the head and cracking it.

Etrigan got off the beheaded juggernaut and dug his claws into the construct, hefting it over his head. Roaring loudly, the demon threw the juggernaut at the same target, causing both to slam into each other and fall to the ground. Etrigan then inhaled and released a stream of hellfire onto both of them, burning them that not even ashes were left.

While he was busy with that, the juggernaut that still had Etrigan’s sword in its chest rose back up and formed a black crystal blade from its left arm. The juggernaut thrusted forward. The construct managed to impale the demon in the gut, red blood pouring from the wound. Etrigan looked down at the blade through his gut, and then back to the juggernaut. With wicked glee he grinned, twisting his body quickly to snap the juggernaut’s crystal blade off its arm.

Etrigan removed the broken blade from his gut, coughing up blood as he did so. When he removed the blade, wound healed almost instantly, leaving no trace that he was ever stabbed. Using his demon speed, Etrigan closed the gap and reached out with his right claw, grabbing his sword and removing it from the juggernaut, he then replaced it with the juggernaut’s blade, slamming it into the same place his sword was. The demon then energized his sword with hellfire and gave one overhead slash.

The result created cutting fire crescent that sliced the juggernaut down the middle and continued onward cutting several others until it stopped, hitting a hill in the distance.

While Etrigan was making short work of the juggernauts, Radiant Hope flew down to Sombra and looked over his left arm. “I can heal it, but proper way would take at least an hour’s time, but there’s also the fast which would…”

“Hope, just do it, we’re in the middle of battle,” said Sombra.

“I warned you. Celeri sanitatem!

With a sickening snap Sombra’s broken arm righted itself and mended almost instantly. Unfortunately, an accelerated healing spell more often than not is painful since the process is instant rather than gradual. Sombra bit his bottom, a small amount of blood trickling down his chin as growled from the pain that emanated from this left arm.

Radiant Hope sighed as she placed her staff against his pained arm. “Iustorum sustentatur dolor!

The pain in Sombra’s arm began to lessen quickly, allowing him to flex digits and make a clenched fist. The young knight stood tall and nodded to his friend. “Thanks Radiant.”

“Sombra, you must really pay more attention when in battle, next time I might not be around to help you, nor might Etrigan,” said Radiant.

Sombra rolled his eyes, not really liking the idea that he owed the demon. Radiant jabbed the stubborn man in his armored ribs, giving him a scolding look that made Sombra sigh in defeat. “Very well, but let us finish this business!”


The battle was long fought, but eventually the black crystal juggernauts were either shattered or sent on the retreat. For many this would be the time to celebrate a victory, but that would be so if this was the first siege. This was but one of many other sieges, all of which were thankfully pushed back and thwarted time and again, however, the signs that this was wearing on the Knights of Justice and the soldiers was showing. It came to the point that citizenry were wondering if they could safely venture outside the protective walls of the Crystal Kingdom at all?

Queen Amore could see this worry and fear reflected in the Crystal Heart, the greatest source of magical energy in the land, fueled by love and hope, its power both repelled and attracted the darkness, wanting to snuff it out, but unable to get near due to its radiant and divine power.

The queen had called a meeting of her trusted knights and the sorcerer supreme, Starswirl. Queen Amore, with her alabaster skin and long flowing crimson hair, sat upon her seat amongst round table, looking each of her realms protector’s in the eye.

Starting from her left was War Hammer, a man of great physical stature, with white short hair and dark brown skin. Despite his name his main specialty rested in fisted combat, his weapon of choice were two heavily armored gauntlets that channeled his immense physical and magical energies, making his blows strong enough to blast a hole through solid rock.

Up next was Swift Sparrow, a female knight with goldenrod hair and a blue-green complexion, whose power lied in her speed. It was unclear if her speed came from magic or some otherworldly source, but it had proved its effectiveness in battle countless times over.

From there was Radiant Hope, her mastery of the mystical arts was second only to Starswirl, her mentor and teacher. It was Starswirl who recognized Radiant’s potential for the mystic arts and brought her into his tutelage.

And last but not least, there was Sombra. The only other condition of her studying under Starswirl was if Sombra could come with her, thankfully, the Queen recognized Sombra’s talents in combative arts and eventually promoted both to the status of Knights of Justice.

Queen Amore regarded her Knights once more before speaking. “As you all well know, this marks the tenth attack within the year. And with each attack our unknown enemy continues to develop newer ways to attack us.”

“That’s putting it mildly, your highness,” said Swift Sparrow. “These buggers are changing form each attack, makes it hard for us to counterattack them, and it’s always with black crystals.”

War Hammer nodded. “On top of that this last batch were particularly resilient, I dread what the next siege will bring.”

“Exactly, which is why I would like to propose an expedition to investigate where this evil is coming from, and if possible, eradicate it,” said Queen Amore.

Swift Sparrow, War Hammer, Sombra, Radiant Hope, and Starswirl began talk amongst themselves, it was a daring plan to attack the evil directly, and effective. However, to this date they have yet to determine if this was the work of a man or a monster, walking in blindly to unknown enemy could be suicide.

“Your highness,” Sombra spoke, “is this purely a search and destroy mission, or is it merely a scouting mission?”

“If possible I would like for you to rid us of the evil, but I am not a fool. My main concern is putting a face to the faceless evil, to know thy enemy is to better know how to face them. If all you are able to bring me back is a name and description of our enemy, then I’ll be satisfied with that, I have no need for you to risk your lives in a battle now when you may be needed for the war ahead.”

Queen Amore rose from her seat and clapped her hands together, she then pressed them against the table and immediately rune markings began to glow. At the center of the table an object appeared, it was a ghostly image of the source of all the kingdom’s wondrous magic. “The Crystal Heart must never fall into evil hands, love and hope can quickly be turned into hate and despair, a darkness that can cover the world. We must not let this happen.”

Sombra stood from his chair and place his right fist over his heart. “Your highness, I personally volunteer to go on this expedition to find our foe.”

Another chair scooted out and eyes now fell on Swift Sparrow. “I would like to volunteer as well. My speed and Sombra’s skills, we can make short work of any enemies, and get back with haste if necessary.”

Queen Amore regarded the two Knights and nodded. “Very well, Sparrow, Sombra, you are both to head out as soon as you are able. Head north, the Crystal Heart senses a concentration of darkness near the mountains, Starswirl, provide them with all they will need to ward them from the evil and hazards they may encounter. War Hammer and Radiant Hope, you two are to coordinate with the other Knights of Justice to figure out proper countermeasures.”

“Yes, your majesty!” War Hammer and Radiant Hope acknowledged.

With that done the Knights of Justice left the room, save for Starswirl the Bearded. The old wizard walked up beside his Queen and looked upon her wearily. “My Queen, do you believe this to be the best course of action? Provided Sparrow and Sombra are quite skilled, but we have yet to understand what this evil is. A simple scouting party would have sufficed.”

Queen Amore smiled tiredly as she and Starswirl walked out of the meeting hall and into the throne room. “I’ve seen visions in the Crystal Heart, some are of futures where we triumph, and others are of the fall of our Kingdom. At the heart of those visions I see young Sombra.”

Starswirl raised a bushy eyebrow at that. “Knowing this, and yet you still send him to face this evil?”

“It cannot be helped, the Crystal Heart shows me what may happen if the course is not altered. Many years of continuous battle, our people and warriors worn and battle weary, and eventually we fall. At this point old friend, we either suffer now or suffer later, as we are now we’ll be worn out by endless battle and the darkness growing stronger from each one. Unless a change is made, unless a stone is thrown to disrupt the pond, we will fall.”

Starswirl did not like to play games with the future, many a time he had peered into it himself, and often times he discovered that those wishing to change their fate often meet that fate by trying to do so. This was a gambit that Queen Amore was taking, one that Starswirl was not sure of. “I will trust in your guidance and clarity, my Queen.”

Amore nodded to the old wizard. “Pray for our Knights, Starswirl, pray for the future.”

Hope sat on the stable bench, watching as Sombra loaded up his steed with saddle bags full of supplies for the journey ahead. Sombra took note of his friend’s subtle distress and sighed. “I know you worry for me, Hope, but I am not the weak boy from years ago.”

The blue haired woman grunted. “I know that, Sombra, but I was the one taking care of you, watching over you, and you me! I…I don’t know if I like you going on such a mission without me…”

Sombra smirked as he halted his loading. “Now is it more that you cannot watch my back or because you are a bit jealous of Dame Swift Sparrow?”

Hope’s face became red as she turned her face away. “Oh do not be ridiculous, why would I be jealous of Dame Swift Sparrow?”

“Well, she does have a svelter frame, which is quite alluring in its own right, not to mention that mix between her girlish and boyish tendencies, and she does have a rather cute smile when she’s –”Sombra was interrupted when a magic bolt fired off towards him, but Sombra managed to dodge it, half expecting a reaction of that sort.

Radiant Hope’s left index finger was pointed at him, a few sparks of mana energy still flickering at the tip. “I see, so I have lost my charm have I? Am I not the young girl you once professed attraction to when we were but fourteen so you have found one younger?!”

Sombra smirked, then flicked his hand towards Hope, making some sapphire crystals form behind her to push the young woman up off her seat and towards Sombra, where he waited and grabbed hold of her by the waist with one arm, bringing the both of them close together. Hope blushed and tried to remain indifferent despite the smoldering look in her best friend’s eyes.

“I-If you are trying to seduce me, I-I’m afraid you are failing,” said Hope as she blushed.

Sombra smiled and rested his hand gently brought his left hand to Hope’s right cheek, ever so slightly turning her head so that her blue eyes met his emerald green eyes. “Am I now? Maybe I should try harder?”

The crystal warrior planted a gentle kiss upon the sorceress’ lips, a kiss that was returned in kind. Both Knights allowing to lose themselves in this moment. Ever since they were young Radiant Hope and Sombra had been together. Sombra was but an orphan child found on the outskirts of the Crystal Kingdom and was taken in. Many of the children mocked him for being an outsider, and were even suspicious of his being in the Kingdom.

However, Radiant Hope was different. She was drawn to Sombra, she saw not an outsider but just another kid who was shunned for no reason. Sombra had gotten deathly ill one day, and thanks to Radiant Hope’s magical abilities, she was shielded from the disease and was able to take care of him. From there their friendship blossomed, eventually becoming Knights of Justice, a station that only strengthened their bond, and from there it deepened into romantic feelings.

Radiant separated her lips from Sombra’s and rested her forehead against his. “I wish you would not go. Not without me to watch you, you can be so reckless sometimes…”

Sombra held her close, rubbing her back soothingly. “Have faith, Hope, I will return. If I am lucky, the darkness will be snuffed out and we’ll be able to live the rest of our days in the Crystal Kingdom in peace. And…well…”

The crystal warrior released Radiant Hope and took a step back. He then presented his open right palm to her, and at the center something formed. Magical energy spiraled until it manifested in the form of a sapphire ring to match her eyes. “I know it isn’t a proper ring…but, if you allow me time after I return I can find you a better one.”

Radiant Hope felt tears welling in her eyes as she took the ring and slipped it one, she then rushed towards Sombra and hugged him tight. “You had better return, I’m keeping this ring, but I also expect a proper engagement ring upon your return! Damn it all you have the worst timing…”

“I know, things left unsaid and all that,” said Sombra.

Suddenly there was a knock at the stable door. “Sombra, it’s time head out. I have some men ready to accompany us as well.” Sparrow raised an eyebrow as she looked upon the tender scene. “If you want, I can delay the expedition so the two of you can snog, or perhaps I may join you?”

Radiant fired a magical bolt at Swift Sparrow, and just as soon as she did, the blonde haired Knight disappeared in a flash of lightning. Radiant yelped when she felt something touch her rear, she looked back and spotted a faint remnant of lightning energy. When she looked back, Swift Sparrow was back in the same place, only this time she shot a coy smile towards Hope before disappearing again in a flash.

“Now you know why you have nothing to fear about my loyalty towards you,” said Sombra.

“How so?”

“Let us just say, Sparrow tends to lean towards the fairer for romantic relationships.”

It took a moment for Radiant Hope to catch on, but once she did the young woman placed her hands on her rear and blushed indignantly. “She – She – Then I – does that mean – how long have you known?!”

“Are you asking how long she’s been ogling you from a distance, or how many times she’s swiftly made a grab for your ample assets and –”

All that could be heard after that were several crackles of lightning, and a lot of painful yelping, along with threats of bodily harm to a certain speedster Knight.


Swift Sparrow and Sombra had tracked over many miles, the Crystal Kingdom was already a distant speck on the horizon, against the looming mountains that laid ahead of them. Many a laugh was had at Sombra’s expense, when the crystal warrior left the stables and was covered in soot, with this long black hair frizzled from the electrical discharge of Radiant Hope’s lightning spells.

Despite their two day ride, it remained the subject of much bemusement throughout, especially from Swift Sparrow. “It seems that Dame Hope’s already fitted into the role of berating her husband for his shortcomings.”

“You know Dame Sparrow, much of this was started by you, so do not expect you are exempt from Hope’s wrath upon our return,” said Sombra with a bit of glee.

“S-She knows I jest! All in good fun…she is a rather attractive woman…” Sparrow saw the raised eyebrow of Sombra. “I would not – nor shall I ever – be the kind of woman who steals another’s happiness, I swear on Crystal Heart!”

Sombra smiled kindly at Sparrow, waving his hand as to dismiss her worries. “I know you are more honorable than that, Dame Sparrow. But to be honest, I’m sure you would not have a shortage of…ahem, admirers who would throw down the gauntlet just to have a chance to court you.”

Sparrow chuckled. “You think highly of me Sir – do you mind if we skip the formalities, it will get tedious if we have to continue using our honor names.”

“I don’t mind,” said Sombra.

“Well, as I said, you think highly of me. However…I fear that some don’t take to my tendencies as well as you and some of the other Knights. I also seem to find a lack of prospective woman who would like to enter into a…prolonged relationship. They enjoy the courting, but when I have lay bare my feelings…”

Sombra walked closer to Sparrow and clasped her on the shoulder. “Fear not, one day you will find the one, or they will find you.”

A cocky smile appeared on Sparrow’s face. “Or I could always play the part of a dual mistress between you two, I certainly don’t mind sharing.”

Sombra groaned. “We were having a nice moment, and then you say things like that.”

“It’s me, Sombra, what can I say?”

Suddenly, both Sombra and Swift Sparrow stopped in their tracks. Both Knights of Justice held up a fist, signaling the rest of their contingent to halt. The horses neighed restlessly, snorting and braying at some source of agitation.

“Can you feel that?” Sombra asked.

“I can, we’re definitely not alone…” Sparrow answered.

There was some rustling in the foliage up ahead, as well as more coming from the sides. The soldiers drew their swords and notched their arrows into their drawstrings, preparing for what was to come. Sombra’s green eyes met those of Sparrows teal eyes, and in an instant they set to work.

Swift Sparrow’s body released golden lightning as she zipped away, everything moved in slow motion as creature jumped out of the bushes for one of their soldiers. It looked like a man, or was one. Its flesh was torn, with black crystals rising up from under the skin as some sort of corruption or disease was taking control of them. Their faces were mangled by the black crystal, beyond recognition, more akin to monster now than the man it once was.

The black crystal creeper reached out with its long black claws, preparing to rip the rider and horse apart. However, Swift Sparrow raised her right fist, vibrated it to supersonic speeds and smashed that fist right through the creeper, shattering its form into dust. The soldier had blinked for a moment before realizing that he was attacked and subsequently saved by Dame Sparrow.

At the same time, two creepers popped out of the bushes and charged for Sombra. The crystal warrior slammed both hands against the ground, causing crystal pillars to shoot out from the ground and strike the creepers in the chest, sending both flying backwards until they hit the rock face of the mountain.

Another creeper tried to descend from the trees in a sneak attack on Sombra, however, the Knight of Justice whirled around. Raising his fist in an uppercut, Sombra channeled his magic and formed a ruby crystal blade that extended upward and pierced the head of the creeper.

More creepers began to appear from the bushes and trees, surrounding the team and preparing to strike. The soldiers raised their spears, swords and shields, prepared to fight against the creatures.

Swift Sparrow sped out, already striking down several with her super speed, the soldiers followed behind Sombra as he summoned twin ruby swords, slicing through one creeper after the other. The soldiers would protect him from the sides, preventing a creeper from blindsiding Sombra while he cut a path through open space to allow them some better offensive options. Once they made it to the clearing, Sombra and the soldiers were able to attack the creepers more efficiently. Meanwhile, Sparrow was quickly speed blitzing each creeper that dared to get her in path.

One of the creeper’s black crystal spikes managed to lodge it itself in Sparrow’s left leg, making her tumble about until she came to a stop before Sombra’s feet. The creeper chased after her and prepared to kill its prey, but Sombra formed his amethyst spear and impaled the thing before it got close. At the same time another creeper tried to attack Sombra from behind, however, Sparrow managed to get to her feet fast enough to strike it with a vibrating spear hand thrust, shattering it to pieces.

For well over ten minutes the group fought off the creepers until all that was left were black crystal shards. A chorus of panting and tired huffing could be heard from everyone; Sombra got down one knee and looked over Swift Sparrow’s injury. “How is it? I know some healing magic, but…”

Sparrow waved off his concern. “It’s fine, my wound is already healing. I don’t just run fast, I heal fast too. But I will need some nourishment afterwards to get my strength back.”

Sombra nodded. “We’ll find some high ground and make camp.” The crystal warrior surveyed the battlefield and narrowed his gaze. “We must be getting closer for the darkness to send its minions after us.”


Sombra and Sparrow had continued their journey after resting up, Sombra felt as if he would not eat for a while after seeing witnessing how much food Sparrow could shovel down her gullet in just a short period of time. Sparrow had explained it was due to her speed that in exchange for it she must consume a lot more food to make up for the energy she lost. At first Sombra had thought she’d over packed on the food, planning it to be for everyone. But in reality, it was for her and her alone.

Another day’s ride had put them further from the Crystal Kingdom, now a faint speck on the horizon. But now, their destination was coming closer, the dark chasms of the northern mountains, the biting cold that always permeated the area made it hard for a normal person to hide. However, if you were an entity of darkness, it wouldn’t pose a problem at all.

Even as they moved through the rough path through the mountains, all were on edge. Sombra had already summoned his ruby broadsword, topaz shield, ready at a moment’s notice to spring into action. Sparrow was already set to attack, her speed gave her the edge in being able to attack straight away. In the meantime she kept her senses sharp, looking for any hint of their enemy. Their men were scanning the walls of the chasm, as well as keeping a close watch on their rear. After facing the creepers, they were eager to keep a 360 degree view of their surroundings.

The further in they went, the colder it got, as if the very evil they came to find was doing its best to make them turn back. If nothing else it was a sign that they were getting closer to their prize. After a few minutes of walking, the Knights spotted a cave up ahead, with icicles that hung from the mouth of the cave that threatened to come down and impale any would be adventurers.

“What do you think, shall we dare?!” Sombra asked over the noise of the blizzard.

“We don’t have much of a choice, freeze out here or risk what’s in there!” Sparrow replied.

With the decision made, the group entered the cave. However, upon doing so, the horses immediately began to neigh and snort, fear was in their eyes, a primal fear that went beyond just good sense. The horses bucked off their riders and turned tail quickly out of the cave. Two of the men hurried after them, only to have all the commotion rattle the icicles above. All of icicles fell and impaled the two soldiers in horrific ways that made the others avert their eyes.

“No turning back now, we press forward,” said Sombra.

With that said they continued onward, flinching at the echoing sounds within the cave as it seemed to on and on. The faint light of the entrance was growing dimmer, prompting them to light torches before going further. The shadows danced as the torch flames flickered in the damp cave, with water dripping and rocks shifting every other minute.

Suddenly, Sombra threw up his fist to halt. Sparrow walked up beside him and asked, “What is the matter? Do you hear something?”

“No, and that’s the problem.”

I know what it is you seek…

The band of warriors grouped into a circle upon hearing the voice that echoed from every direction.

You come to end the threat to the Kingdom, you come only to your deaths…

“We have come to end you!” Proclaimed Sombra.

You protect the Heart, the light. I will see its power made mine, and my dream made into reality…

“What dream does an evil like you want so badly that it would snuff out the light of the Crystal Heart?!” Sparrow demanded.

Tambelon…My grand city, my kingdom, returned to this world to once again rule it! But I do not wish to snuff out the Heart, I need it…!

Sombra’s crimson ruby sword glowed in the growing darkness as he channeled his magic. “We will stop you, demon! AAAAAH!!!” The Knight of Justice slammed down the blade of his sword, sending an arc wave of crimson light straight ahead.

The light wave continued until it smashed against something, a wall of made of shadows that barely registered the hit.

Hmm, you have strength, and pride. Such aggression buried down in that heart…And the girl, such vices you wish to indulge in.

Both Knights glanced to each other, worry in their eyes.

That worry was enough for the darkness to grow, a symbol formed in the shadows, formed from dark violet light. Its malevolent rays shined over all in the cave, drowning out the world around them and bringing visions to their eyes.

Sombra, you are a great warrior and a loyal knight. But deep down, you have greater ambition…You want to rule, you want control. I can see you ruling over a grander kingdom, you can make the Crystal Kingdom even greater than it is now! No one, wielding magic or might, will dare to challenge your rule or the sovereignty of your kingdom!

As the voice spoke this, Sombra’s eyes were blinded with a vision of himself, sitting upon the throne of the Crystal Kingdom. At his side was Radiant Hope, as his queen, and their subjects who regarded them with reverence and loyalty.

Swift Sparrow, you too are a loyal and quite the capable Knight of Justice. But this is not all that you want…No, you seek pleasure. You seek the things that were denied to you upon the granting of your status. Wanting to love the fairer, but afraid to open your heart. I see you soon drowned in it, you will not have one but many lovers, all unto you and you alone shall they give you the love you seek. Something that I can make happen…

Sparrow saw herself, a vision of a large mansion, with the women she longed to be with could not, all of whom adored her and showered her in praise and love, to which she returned in kind, a serene life for herself, the life she wanted.

Tambelon calls to you all, but only the worthy can have what they want…who among you is worthy?

Sparrow looked at Sombra, her hand vibrating at super speed in preparation to kill her fellow Knight. But something inside told her this was wrong, the image of Radiant Hope came to mind, and of Sombra’s proposal to her. She couldn’t, she swore she would end another happiness, and Sparrow would be damned if she was going to be the cause of Radiant Hope’s.

The speedster managed to snap herself out of it, only to witness the soldiers they brought with them begin to fight each other to the death, whites of their eyes were green, with shadowy wisps coming from the corners of their eyes. The color of their irises had changed as well, all of them were now red as blood. Sparrow went to Sombra and shook the Knight to help snap him out of it.

“Sombra, listen me, we’re being bewitched by that demon! Whatever you’re seeing, whatever it’s whispering to you, remember Radiant Hope! She awaits you back home!”

Sombra’s eyes were closed for a moment, but in the next, Sparrow felt something. Without realizing it, a black crystal blade had run her through, blood began to pour from the wound as her body became cold. Sparrow looked back up to Sombra, who opened his eyes and revealed the color had changed to red, with the same shadow wisps coming from the corners of his eyes.


“What’s the matter, Sparrow? Feeling cold? I noticed that you don’t seem to move as fast when it’s cold, so stygian black crystal is chilled from darkest pits that not even sun nor flames can reach.”

Sparrow’s complexion began to turn from its blue-green shade, to just plain blue. Her lips became chapped as the cold spread through her body, numbing the pain and everything else at the same time. “S-Sombra…Please…”

“Shhhh, go to sleep little Sparrow.”

With those word said, Sparrow’s body had become ice cold. Sombra removed the blade, raising it overhead, and slashing downward. The strike did not cut Sparrow, but shattered her like fragile glass. The pieces of the former Knight of Justice scattered about, garnering the attention of soldiers who were previously busy trying to kill each other.

“Now then…” Sombra called forth a black crystal sword to his right hand, and to his left he created a battle ax. “Who’s next?”

Author's Note:

Spell List:

Caelum desursum iram tuam appello! Arcu Fulgur! (Wrath of the heavens, hear my call! Lightning Arc!)

Celeri sanitatem! (Rapid healing!)

Iustorum sustentatur dolor! (Relieve the pain!)”