|The First Hero and an Unknown Evil
Despite the unbalance the Fall of the Gods would bring upon the land, it was a necessary evil. They were once shapers of the world, tasked with creating everything inside of it, and building upon their creations to give them life and complexity. Over the years, rising discourse and anger over how to lead and create gave way to disputes and wars with immeasurable casualties. The Fall of the Gods has brought forth a time of celebration and healing, along with some much-needed rest for you, who has slumbered away peacefully since the Gods’ defeat.
The Capital of Melvor has been a place of peace and jubilant festivities, with hardly an idle hour in the streets since the heroes returned. Joyous laughter and elaborate parties continued while a sinister threat gathered on the horizon, unseen by all.
You finally rouse from your slumber and depart from the simple, yet cozy tavern you had stayed in for the past few days. Wiping the sleep from your eyes, you ponder at the sudden, eerie stillness Melvor has been plunged into overnight. A blanket of thick, onyx mist chokes the sky with ghostly tendrils of an inky black substance weaving in and out of windows, doorframes, and the like. Despite your peering into shops and scouring the streets, there wasn’t a person in sight, with stalls, games, and food left suddenly and without apparent reason.
You continue on, headed towards the main gates of the Capital. The closer you get to those looming gates, the more people you could see gathered all around, seemingly frozen in place in front of the wide-open gateway. You call out, yet no noise can be heard from your throat. You try to run but find yourself unable to. It feels as if ice has clawed its way into your body, leaving you raw and cold. After trudging along slowly for what feels like hours, the citizens are within reach, each with twisted expressions of horror and fear, looking out past the gates.
You push through the silent crowd and follow their gaze to the horizon, locking your eyes upon a ruined tower in the distance. The windows and cracks of the pillar seep black mist, which continues to pour out at a frightening pace despite the seemingly frozen state of everything else. You reach out towards the tower and see your hand quickly become engulfed. Your feet follow quickly after, despite repeated attempts to kick the substance away. The mist locks you in place and creeps up your body, pulling you into the ground. It floods into your mouth, filling your lungs as you try to cry out. Things become so... incredibly cold. Every bit of heat is sapped from your body, leaving a bitter chill that freezes you to your core. Despite your struggles, it quickly consumes you, pulling you into the frozen earth.
With a sudden snap, light flickers back, and the cold recedes from your body, almost as quickly as it had come. Despite feeling warm, you still feel… tainted. Sick, in a way. You look around and see a high vaulted ceiling and dark cobbled stone. Starlight filters into the room, illuminating great illustrations of gold-clad warriors and an ancient throne. Four smaller thrones are dotted throughout the room, though they currently sit empty and seemingly have for ages. From the main throne, you hear a hearty chuckle, followed by a couple of short, raspy coughs.
“It’s been awhile since a Vorloran has managed to make their way into my tower. I presume you came to strike me down, no?”
You begin to speak, but a sputtering cough rattles out instead as remnants of dark mist are expelled from your lungs. “Who are you?” You croak.
“I am a being far beyond your comprehension. Simply put, I may be your undoing, though time is yet to tell. As it currently stands though, it simply doesn’t matter who I am.”
You move to draw your weapon but are quickly restrained by black mist that floods into the room. “There’s no need for that. One shouldn’t enter a home and threaten the owner. They could quickly find themselves… incapacitated.” A sick, toothy grin creeps across the being’s face. The cloaked figure shakes their head and continues. “Defeating the Gods was impressive, but your true test still lays ahead. The girl must be stopped.”
The cloaked figure extends an open palm towards you. “Now, begone.” You hear them quietly whisper, “Ret Nni Iwm Ete Ami Its Lu The” before they close their hand. You blink, and find yourself far, far from Melvor. People rush past you, nearly knocking you over. Time seems to have returned to normal.
“What’s going on? Where are you all off to?” You ask a staring passerby.
“It’s all over. Grab what you can and run as far as possible. Do not let the mist catch you.” They quickly take off, random bits and belongings tumbling out of their arms as they run along.
Confused, you approach a woman, huddled into a corner and heavily sobbing. “She’s gone! We’re all doomed! There’s no hope left!”
“Who is it? Who’s gone?”
“Ahrenia… our hero. She ventured into the mist… and never returned.”
You back up, even more confused. As your situation settles in, mist starts to trickle over the eastern wall of the city as a crowd frantically runs by. A thought creeps into your mind. Is this… truly the end?