Eternity

Once there was a beautiful and magical kingdom on an island in the vast ocean. This kingdom was ruled by a king, who was beloved by his people as both strong and kind. His royal city was the jewel of the world, fit for even the gods. They worshipped the gods you all know. Balthazar, Melandru, Dwayna and Grenth. Not Kormir, as this story is ancient compared even to the order our Goddess of Secrets hailed from before her ascension. Now, some of you might have noticed that there is one missing god. Or goddess. Lyssa was also worshipped in this kingdom, but by its king, she was worshipped above all. When asked why, he would answer that in every facet of his beatiful city, he saw a facet of the twin goddess.

Now, the king was not without counsellors. Generals, advisors and various masters of invocation and illusion. His master-of-mesmers was also the kingdom’s high wizard, as well as the king’s brother-by-blood. Those of you who wish to be priests yourselves should note the duality at play here. This mesmer, we will call him the Wizard. Now, in this tale, this wizard is not simply an advisor. Suffice to say, as a mesmer he also venerated Lyssa above the rest of the Six, in the traditional mesmer fashion of illusions and duality. His role in this tale will soon become apparent.

Now, the king was not one to seek war often or without cause. But he also had a good understanding of the differences between his own nation and his neighbors. And his northwestern neighbor was heavily occupied with an invasion of charr, and so the king saw an opportunity to expand his realm beyond his island. His counsel applauded the idea, with one exception. The wizard agreed that they should send the army north, to their neighbour. But not to conquer their lands. He said that the human nations should always stand together against the charr, to stop any attempts by the brutal warrior-beasts to expand their territories. As though roused by the wizards appeal, half the king’s counsel changed sides. One half agreed with the wizard that they should fight the charr, the other half following the king. Voices were raised and the council chamber quickly filled with shouting. With a swift thump on the table, the king silenced the chamber. Ultimately, he reminded them, the counsel advised the king, but they did not decide his actions. So the king dismissed his brothers concerns, saying that humans need not be worried about their bestial neighbours, but in the meantime, he would help himself to their coastline.

Preparations were quickly set underway. The army was brought forth, ships were loaded and the king took one quite personal preparation. He had a sword made, and paid the best craftsmen in his kingdom to do it. The hand-guard was gilded and shaped in the style of feathered wings, the handle inlaid with ivory and gold. On the pommel rested a curious crystal of the purest red, but the blade was the true magic of this weapon. When it was crafted, the enchantments hid any ornamentation the smiths could have put on it. For the spells in the blade caused it to reflect images of the daytime sky, with either a golden or blue hue, depending on the time of day. The finished weapon was the size of a grown man, and was the envy of all the warriors in the kingdom. The king called it Sunrise.

Being the kingdom’s high wizard, the Wizard was involved in the majority of the work to create the blade. Skilled though they were at their crafts, the craftspeople involved all learned many new skills and tricks during the work, and these discoveries were also put to use elsewhere. For the Wizard employed them all in the secret to create a twin to the king’s Sunrise. But where Sunrise shone with the light of day, this sword emitted no light, and the darksteel hilt shaped like bats wings. The blade was like a shard of the night sky, and on it’s ivory-and-darksteel handle rested a twin to Sunrise’s crimson crystal. This was not a warrior’s blade, and so it was enchanted as to weigh less than a feather.

With his own weapon in tow, the Wizard left the royal palace without a word. This in itself did not cause a stir, as he had done so before to stay at a house to the south to study magic in isolation. But this time he went north. And he did not leave alone. 2 generals went north with him, each with a small number of troops. As the army was readying to also march north, this raised questions in court, but with the Wizard away, the court respectfully turned to the king. His answer was that his brother was merely going on ahead to the northern border forts, to prepare them for the main army’s arrival. But he too knew nothing of his brother’s actual purpose, and wondered at the goal of the trip north.

Despite missing the presence of both the high wizard and a third of its generals, the army began the march north. The journey north was uneventful, but they heard no word from neither the wizard nor the 2 generals. The land was otherwise peaceful, and the King’s army was greeted by merry villagers in all the towns they passed on the road north.

One night, as the army had set up camp and darkness was falling, the King sat alone in his tent, generals and advisors dismissed. As he sat down in his chair, he found his brother sitting next to him. Immediately calling for the guards, he stood and reached for his sword, only to find it missing. Pink butterflies flittered about inside the tent, obscuring his vision and befuddling his senses. The guards had not answered his call, and he could see no means of defending himself. The Wizard explained that he had not come to fight, but to give the King the chance to surrender before the Wizard’s rebel army arrived. The King refused. He was their king, he said, and they would give up their rebellious ways or be crushed. The wizard sighed, and vanished from the King’s sight, leaving a single purple butterfly behind. Bursting from his tent in a fury, the king ordered the whole army to search the camp, but the wizard was nowhere to be found. The next day dawned and the king’s scouts quickly discovered an army to their north. Identical to their own in size, and clearly led by the wizard and the 2 missing generals. Mobilizing his forces, the King intended to catch the rebels unprepared. However, they found the Wizard’s forces well prepared. The following battle lasted well into the night, and the night too was fraught with fights and skirmishes as both armies sought to outwit the other. Whenever one army looked to be breaking, the commander would appear and spur the soldiers on.

As the sun was slowly appearing from beneath the horizon, the brothers met each other on the field of battle, each still wielding their magical blades. Each had nothing to say to the other, and there was but a moment of silence before they attacked. Twilight and Sunrise hummed through the air between them. The first sliver of the sun appeared over the horizon, and the two swords struck each other. A flash of magic enveloped half the battlefield, giving all combatants pause. All eyes on the battlefield were on the vortex still encircling the two generals, as bands of brilliant sunlight and deepest twilight raged around them. Breaths were held, until finally the vortex subsided, revealing both king and wizard alive and as well as could be expected.

Twilight and Sunrise, however, were gone. In their place was a single double-edged sword of similar design, but its blade flowed instantly between scenes of day and night, its cross-guard was at once both brilliant gold and ominous dark iron. And on its pommel, a brilliantly shining jewel was fastened, clear as the purest water.

The entire battlefield rumbled and shook, as the magic unleashed by the clash between the 2 swords had started a terrible catastrophe. The island kingdom was sinking below the waves. But even as their world was collapsing around them, the armies continued their fighting, and the 2 generals battled over the new sword. Such they continued until the ocean had claimed them all.

Such ends the story of the Sunrise King. But there is one more part that is not commonly told. Why? I suspect the looming spectre of Zhaitan would put a damper on a story featuring undead. But I don’t think the dragon can hear us in here, so here’s the last part of the tale.

If one could find the remnants of this lost kingdom, they would find an army dead on the field, their remains covering the ocean floor for miles. And a king, defeated on the field. For the last untold part is that the wizard won that last struggle, by tricking the king with his illusion magic. Only he remains, guarding the ruins of the royal city, his undead hands clutching that magical blade. And that is the end to the story of the High Wizard of Twilight.

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