Author Topic: The Darkest Hour  (Read 386 times)

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The Darkest Hour
« on: December 14, 2016, 05:42:38 AM »
Ladies and gentlemen, riftrunners everywhere, I present to you the latest in my writing projects: The Darkest Hour. Set during the opening of the rifts (roughly concurrent with the beginning of Into the Fray), The Darkest Hour chronicles how things went down Reish-side from the point of view of the Descendants of the Dragon. Interspersed throughout each chapter are interludes that relay information from the rest of the infinite realms.

Note: The Darkest Hour is unofficial fanfiction. While I attempt to keep it as close to the lore as possible--lore plausible is the term I use--occasionally I will make a mistake or choose to go down a different path than the official lore. I'm not getting paid for this--I'm doing this for fun and for your enjoyment as readers.

Want to help out? Please comment and let me know what you think of the story! If you're interested in contributing art, let me know and I'll add it to the chapters.

Table of Contents
Prologue--scroll down the page!
Chapter 1--just a little bit farther down the page!
Chapter 2--http://forum.lightmare.com.au/index.php?topic=66848.0
Chapter 3--http://forum.lightmare.com.au/index.php?topic=66857.0
Chapter 4--http://forum.lightmare.com.au/index.php?topic=66873.0
Chapter 5--http://forum.lightmare.com.au/index.php?topic=66878.0
Chapter 6 and Epilogue--http://forum.lightmare.com.au/index.php?topic=66898.0

Note: The story is not yet finished and will be released in installments, but this is the current chapter structure I have planned.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2017, 04:25:41 PM by Benionin »
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Re: The Darkest Hour
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2016, 05:42:50 AM »
The Darkest Hour
A Story of Infinity Wars
Benionin

Prologue: The Darkest Land/The Finest Flower

     Reish.
     A land misused by magic. A wasteland. A place so dark and terrible, even demons felt the need to lighten it up. A twisted and corrupted world, where the skies flicker with unnatural storms and men are driven insane by the food they eat and water they drink. A land so lost to hope that even the arrival of the greatest threat ever known was but a minor event.
     My home.
     And even in that terrible land, that cesspool of sorcery and madness, blooms a flower: Jinhai. The shining beacon, bringing light in the darkness. A note of hope in a tragedy of discord. The one growing place in all that death, the one bright spot that makes Reish worthwhile. The one spot worth saving. The flower that blooms in adversity, surrounded by death and decay.
     Such beauty was coveted by others, by those who would consume or destroy it. The greed of immortals and madness of the corrupted would tear up Reish's flower by the roots. So our flower must be nurtured and protected from harm, cultivated so that it might continue for generations to come, as it has already continued for generations. The defenders would have to be mighty to keep the darkness at bay, and disciplined that no corruption would seep into their own hearts. For the most beautiful of flowers, the most stalwart of defenders are required. Any less would see Reish lost completely to the darkness. The very thought of it breaks my heart.
     From Discipline cometh Strength. From Strength cometh Honor. Discipline, Strength, and Honor. The Jinhai way.
     For generations the Great Wall of Jinhai has stood against the fell magics of the Verore and the twisted madness of the Exiles. Generations of my ancestors stood firm, no matter what unholy creature crept through the eternal night surrounding our walls. And now I stand there in their stead, protecting the unblemished heartland. May their spirits guide and aid me, that I may do them honor.
     Reish may be the darkest land, but it is home to the finest flower known to man.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2016, 05:49:02 AM by Benionin »
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Re: The Darkest Hour
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2016, 05:43:05 AM »
Chapter 1.1: Overrun/Unyielding
     My apologies, reader. Introductions are in order--even overdue. My name is Wen, and I serve as assistant and scribe to Gao Han, the Stalwart. The Stalwart has command of one hundred soldiers of the Wall, and it is my job not only to keep track of them but to convey Gao Han's will to the Council of Sages, and to receive their correspondence in turn. I have served the Stalwart for three years in this capacity.
     With that out of the way, let us return to the tale at hand. Dark were the days in Reish, as per usual, when word reached our ears of strange occurrences to the west of our position. When I received the scroll from the courier, I immediately went in search of my commander.
     "Sir," I said, walking into his command tent. Gao Han looked up from the map he was surveying as I entered, frowning.
     "Yes?"
     "News from Captain Hyeon to the west. She's located some sort of otherworldly portal and has set up rudimentary defenses around it. She writes that a few beasts have stumbled through the unstable portal, but her main worry is the Cult. She requests that we reinforce her position."
     Gao Han stroked his chin, then glanced down at the map. "Show me where," he said finally.
      I strode forward, looked at the letter, and looked back at the map of the Great Wall of Jinhai. Hesitantly, I pointed to a location a day's journey away, to the east and the south. "I believe it is here, sir."
     Gao Han frowned. "That's far from the Wall." I nodded. "Well then, she'll need all the help we can give her. Tell the men to form up. We're going." He glanced at the map again and paused. "It's a day's march away. We'll need to make it in half that time."
     "Why?"
     He pointed at a figurine of carved amethyst on the map. "The Sorceress is nearby." Then, turning, he began to pack up his equipment. I can tell when I've been dismissed, especially after three years serving with him, so I left quickly and began to spread the news.
     "Xu," I said, exasperated with my friend, "for once in your life do something quickly! The Stalwart wants us to march the entire way at double pace."
     He smiled and slowly rolled up his gear before hoisting it onto his shoulders. "My friend, you rush too much. Remember, when you're in a hurry--"
    "That's when accidents happen, yes, I know. Remember to tell the others," I said, already moving on.
     Jiro was already packed and at the ready when I showed up to tell him. "I see you're ready," I said, starting to pack up my own belongings. Numerous quills and blank sheaves of parchment had to be gently rolled up and stowed in my writing case, along with my copy of Ao Shun's treatise on proper narrative form. I regret to tell you, reader, that the Dragon Sage does not approve of my use of first person. Nor of the manner in which I am directly addressing you. Likewise my copy of Kung Ji's The Art of Defense had to be properly protected against the elements, lest it be damaged.
     Being a scribe, I have noted more than once, leads to carrying around a great deal of fragile equipment that is easily ruined. It makes travelling at a moment's notice very difficult.
     "You need any help?" Jiro asked, and I shook my head.
     "Just keep spreading the word. The commander wants us ready to move in fifteen minutes. Probably less."
     Jiro raised an eyebrow and grinned. "What's got the Stalwart all in a hurry?"
     "You know that I can't say," I shot back, and he shrugged.
     "This has the smell of battle around it," he said--he always says that--"I'm looking forward to gutting some Exiles."
     "You'll have to do a better job of fishing for information than that," I said, checking that all of my quills were safely stowed without being crushed and that my inks weren't in danger of spilling everywhere.
     Fifteen minutes later we were gathered along the top of the Great Wall of Jinhai. Gao Han stood before our one hundred strong force, nodding to himself. "Warriors of Jinhai," he said, not bothering to raise his voice, "today we march. Captain Hyeon has requested our aid, and so we shall give it to her. From Discipline cometh Strength!"
     "From Strength cometh Honor!" we replied, and set off at a march.
     Jeong-Ho worked his way through the ranks to march by my side. "The Stalwart was less than clear in his speech," he noted, and I nodded.
     "He tells us what he tells us," I said. "Come, you should know better than to try to weasel anything out of me, Jeong."
     He laughed. "Maybe so, but it's always worth a try."
     "You've been spending too much time listening to Jiro if you think that," I said. "My mouth is sealed by oath and honor. May my ancestors cut me down if I spill a single word."
     He clapped me on the shoulder. "You're taking your job too seriously, you know that, right? After three years they're not going to dismiss you just for sharing a little information."
     I shook my head. "What the Stalwart tells us, he tells us. What he does not, he does not."
     Cryptic, seemingly profound, but really an obvious statement that says nothing. My favorite evasive tactic. I suspect that my friends will never give up trying to get information from me until they actually succeed. Not that I can let them. I took an oath, after all.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2016, 09:25:57 AM by Benionin »
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Re: The Darkest Hour
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2016, 05:43:13 AM »
Interlude--Captain Hyeon
     Darkness shrouded her vision. The attack had been sudden and overwhelming. Death magic had rained from the skies upon her warriors and even the spirits could not save them. She took a ragged breath through cracked lips, then wet them. Slowly, she took stock of her situation.
     Her hands were bound to something at the wrists. Her ankles were tied together, but were otherwise free. There was a pounding in her head and a general ache all throughout her body, but otherwise she felt no pain. She opened her eyes.
     She was in a cage, each hand bound to a different bar. It swayed with the motion of her kidnapper's gait. Hyeon's eyes flitted around, taking in every detail she could. They were in some sort of procession, purple-robed cultists marching along through a vividly green landscape.
     Wait, green?
     They'd gone through the portal. Somehow the witches had stabilized it and gone through--more of their dark sorcery, no doubt. And they had brought her with. And not just her. Nine other cages bobbed in the sunlight. Nine other soldiers were bound and confined. Hyeon concentrated, summoning the spirits of her ancestors to her aid. Her eyes glowed a bright blue for a moment and the ropes holding her dissolved. Striking out quickly, she kicked through the bars with her ancestors' strength and leaped free, dashing for the undergrowth.
     The prison of dark magic froze her midair.
     "Well, well, well," said a voice, delighting in her frustration as she struggled against the magic binding. "Trying to escape? Rita, remind me to kill her captor for his negligence when we return."
     "Yes, mistress," said another voice.
     "Now, where was I?" said the first voice. "Ah, yes." She snapped her fingers and pain wracked its way through Hyeon's body, the magical torture causing her to spasm uncontrollably.

     Discipline, Strength, and Honor, she thought, forcing her mind to focus and grounding herself back in reality. "I won't give up that easily," she growled.
     The voice laughed. "I wouldn't have it any other way." Then the magical cage moved, forcing her back into the prison she had just broken out of. Another snap of immortal fingers and the cage repaired itself, stronger than before. "Toys are no fun if they don't play along."
     Hyeon kicked the cage bars again, but to no avail. They were reinforced by magic. Grimly, she sat down on the cage and waited as the procession started up again.
We'll see who's laughing when this is over, Sorceress.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2016, 05:51:10 AM by Benionin »
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Re: The Darkest Hour
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2016, 05:43:22 AM »
1.2
     Finding the rift was easy. In the wastes of Reish, anything that stands too tall is easily noticeable. So when we left the Wall behind in search of Hyeon's fortifications, we didn't have to search for long. Even if we hadn't seen the shattered remains of the defenses she had set up, the twenty-foot tall rift would have given its position away. That and the plume of smoke.
     Beside me, Jeong-Ho frowned. "Who did this?"
     The Sorceress. For generations the noble soldiers of the Descendants of the Dragon have defended Jinhai against the greed and hatred of the Cult of Verore. And for generations the immortal sorceress named Aleta has led them against us, time and time again. We have always been prepared, and we have always held. But Captain Hyeon hadn't had the time to properly craft her defenses and to ward them from the Verorians' destructive magic.
     Stone pulled from the earth by sages was cracked or even shattered by dark spells. Bodies lay around the Rift, scarred beyond all recognition. I knelt next to a monk who had taken a death ray through his chest.
     Spirits of the ancestors, guide this warrior's soul that he may continue his work defending Jinhai. I rose and walked over to another body, repeating the process. All around the ruined fort, other monks from our group were doing the same.
     Gao Han glanced around the fort. He scooped up a handful of dust and sniffed it before tossing it away, shaking his head. "They built on corrupted ground," he said, before turning his attention to the rift.
     "What's that?" I heard Jiro ask, as eager and impatient as ever.
     The rift swirled, its edges like those of a whirlpool. Through it, we saw a lush green world, full of trees and life. Birds flitted about in the sky--one even passed through the portal, only to choke and die on the polluted air of Reish's wastes. The world lurched suddenly and the rift started to collapse in on itself, only for purple lightning to crackle around the edges and force it back open.
     "The Sorceress went through," Gao Han said, and then I noticed the trail of destruction among the trees. "Wen," he said, snapping his fingers and walking to the side. When we were away from the rest of the soldiers, the Stalwart looked at me. "I need to speak with the Sages now," he said, his voice unwavering.
     I started. "Now? I can send a letter..." my voice trailed off as he shook his head.
     "Now," he repeated, and I gulped before nodding.
     I sat down carefully and centered myself, preparing to work the magic that demanded all scribes be spirit-speakers as well (Note: the term "spirit speaker" does not translate well. Another translation is "who honors the dead," but "dead-honorers" lacks the feel and carries different connotations in our language than "spirit-speaker," and ultimately the translator takes this small license for lack of a better term).
     "Honored ancestors," I began, my eyes already glowing a faint blue, "we ask of thee a boon: covey our words to the Council of Sages, and their words to us. The hour is dire and the need is great, or we would not ask."
     I paused, then repeated the invocation. After a second pause and a third repetition, three translucent blue orbs took shape in the air. Right on cue, I smiled.
     "Honored Sages," Gao Han began, "I received news from Captain Hyeon that her force had located and begun fortifying an anomaly in the wastes. She requested my assistance in crafting and manning the defenses until a permanent garrison could be assigned. I took my force and marched hard and fast, but arrived too late. The fort she built had fallen."
     A voice crackled through one of the orbs. "What is it that she found?"
     "It appears to be a rift to another world, honored sage. I have seen through it and witnessed a vibrant, fertile landscape full of life. A bird even passed through it, only to die in the wastes within moments."
     Another voice: "Who attacked Captain Hyeon's position? Are there any survivors?"
     Gao Han shook his head. "This was the work of the Sorceress, honored sage. We have not found any survivors, but a number of bodies are missing. It is possible that they took prisoners. It would not be unheard of for the Cult to do so."
     The first voice: "We must assume all defenders to be lost. Captain Hyeon's brave attempt to protect this portal will be noted and her family notified. You are to report back to your post on the Great Wall and await further orders."
     "Honored sage, with all due respect, I have reason to believe that the Sorceress passed through the portal into this untamed world."
     A third voice spoke. "Is that so?"
     Gao Han nodded vehemently even though they couldn't see him. But when he spoke, he spoke with zeal and fire. "She's gone to claim and destroy another world. A vibrant place without the blight of her magic. She seeks to destroy its beauty, just as she seeks to destroy the beauty of Jinhai." He took a deep breath. "However, she is vulnerable. She only has a few cultists with her and is cut off from receiving aid. If we go after her--"
     The second voice cut him off. "Absolutely not, commander. You will not leave your post."
     "But honored sage, this is the Sorceress! If we could kill or imprison her, the attacks on our own lands would--"
     "No, commander," repeated the voice.
     "I will not let the Sorceress corrupt and destroy another world," Gao Han said stubbornly. "I swore to fight off her assaults on the unblemished heartland of Jinhai. I will not let her besmirch this innocent world."
     There was a pause, and then the third voice spoke. "Commander, you are dangerously out of line. However, you are correct about the advantages of preventing the Sorceress from returning to our world. You are to hold the rift until such a time as it closes or can be made to close. You are also free to return to your post on the Wall." There was another pause, and I could feel the tension in the air. Gao Han's fists were clenched and I could hear his controlled, steady breathing. Too controlled. Too steady. He was trying too hard to stay calm.
     "Know that if you venture through that portal you will be considered a deserter and cast out from Jinhai," the second voice said. "Discipline, Strength, and Honor, commander."
     Gao Han's fist thudded to his chest. "Discipline, Strength, and Honor," he repeated.
     "Honored spirits," I whispered, "a thousand thanks for your aid today." The spell faded.
     The Stalwart looked over his shoulder at the rift, then looked back at me. "Wen, I'm going to send the Council a letter."
     "But sir--"
     "In it," he continued, "I will detail all of the reasons why we shouldn't waste any time pursuing the Sorceress through the rift and hunting her down." He clenched his fists. "I have not dedicated my life to fighting her only to watch her pervert another world to her twisted will." He took a deep breath. "End the letter with a request to authorize a hunt." As I took out my writing materials, he walked away. "I will tell the men to prepare the defenses. We won't let anyone else break through."
« Last Edit: December 14, 2016, 05:56:13 AM by Benionin »
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Re: The Darkest Hour
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2016, 05:43:28 AM »
Interlude--Vasir
     The Demon Prince strained against his bonds. "That vile [redacted]," he swore--not for the first time and certainly not for the last. "Luring me in, then binding me and exacting powers and promises." He snarled and wrenched his arm against the magical chains that kept him in check. They held.
     Spitting acid, Vasir fumed. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn't break free. Not for the past hundred years. No matter how hard he tried, that lying Sorceress always kept him in check. Not that it ever stopped him.
     He tried to extend his wings, but the chains bound those too. Tight, cramped, and stiff from a century of imprisonment, Vasir unleashed a string of curses that would curdle the liver of the most seasoned sailor.
     "I will not be toyed with," he insisted, even though he knew deep down that he was well and truly caught. He wrenched his arm again, more from habit than hope of actually achieving anything.
     It budged.
     This was new. Vasir stared at his arm intently, wondering what had changed. Probing with his powers, he noticed a general weakening in the restrictive magics that bound him to this wretched dungeon. Then he saw that his acidic saliva had eaten away a corner of a rune carved into the ground in front of him. Normally it would make no difference, and without a doubt that immortal [heavily redacted for the sake of the children] would return and repair the bindings before he could wrest anything out of the small advantage anyway. Vasir cast about with his powers, wondering where she even was.
     He could sense the entirety of the Lone Keep, all of its dungeons and pits, all of its spires and occult chambers. No Aleta.
     He could sense all the way around the crater left by the Calamity--did she even remember, he wondered with delicious irony, why she had done it?--but no Aleta. Not even at the Hellmouth, and she most certainly was not in his realm. He would have known that right away, and devoured her soul without a moment's hesitation. After all, he was the Demon Prince. Even so far from Torment, he could exercise absolute power--or something very near to it--over that dark plane. But she wasn't there.
     He explored the demon wastes, but to no avail. While his mind wandered the area he gave a group of corrupted devils a maddening vision, just to watch them writhe in a mixture of pain and ecstasy. Moving on, he noticed something most peculiar.
     A rift to the Old World? Very curious indeed.
     Back beneath Veroria, still bound by humiliating chains, Vasir smiled. Then he spat again, and stretched his wings just a
liiiiiittle bit more.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2016, 05:59:03 AM by Benionin »
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Re: The Darkest Hour
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2016, 05:43:41 AM »
1.3
     I watched Xu rebuild the fortifications that the cultists had destroyed, his eyes glowing green as he called stone from the ground. He was building the southeastern corner of the fort, a watchtower rising beneath his feet as he shaped the earth. Other stone-callers [Note: see the comment on "spirit-speakers" and the difficulty of translating certain words and phrases] were likewise rebuilding the walls, towers, and gates of the fortress. With his tower finished, Xu dusted off his hands and walked down the steps.
     "The ground here is corrupted," he said, an unpleasant expression on his face. "I doubt these defenses will hold up to much without ritual purification."
     I nodded. "I'll add that to our next report."
     "Still, earth is earth. Stone is stone. No matter how much corruption runs through this land, it cannot pervert the ground's nature, only sap its strength. These walls will serve, for now at least." He walked away slowly, casually strolling towards his tent to rest after the magic. As he did so, Jiro ran past us and sprinted up the stairs of the watchtower, closely followed by Jeong-Ho. I turned and watched them race, then, shaking my head with a smile, followed them.
     The tower was twenty feet tall, just like the swirling portal. Purple lightning continued to crackle around the rift's edges, keeping it open. At the top of the tower was a roofed observation platform with stone battlements. I scratched at one of the pillars holding the roof and noted the pink dust that came off of it.
     "Xu was right," I noted. "It's no wonder the Verorians tore apart this place so easily."
     Jeong-Ho laughed. "Of course he was right. Just as much as I would expect you to be right in matters concerning the ancestors, spirit-speaker. And as much I as I would expect Jiro here to be wrong about, well, anything."
     "Hey!" Jiro said, and we all laughed.
     We turned to examine the wastes outside of the quickly assembled fortress. "What a sad place," I said. "The air itself is heavy with despair." A stormcloud rumbled in the distance. "Hmph. Just what we needed. Rain."
     The storm arrived an hour later, toxic rain eating into the stone of the defenses. Unable to do anything but wait, each of us fell into old habits. Jiro ran through weapons forms, Jeong-Ho oiled his bow, and I wrote.
     Jeong-Ho glanced out at the wastes, stood up, and fired a single shot. In the distance, I heard the howling of a beast through the rain. He grinned. "Just a devil."
     "Was it alone?" I asked, and he nodded.
     "Wandering out in the rain like a mad fool." He shrugged and started counting his arrows.
     As the rain continued to eat through the roof of the watchtower, I summoned a shield of spirit armor to protect it. After another hour, the storm passed and the camp seemed to awake from a deep slumber. Stone-callers went back to work, repairing damaged walls. Other monks began to patrol the perimeter, watching out for cultists and devils. We fell back into our routines. Gao Han summoned me and finished his letter to the Council. Summoning a spirit, I sent the letter to the fortress of Xia Han as darkness fell.
     All around the fort, torches flared to life, providing an orange counterpoint to the purple lightning holding the rift open. As I walked past towards the watchtower on the southeastern corner, I noticed that the sun was setting in that other world as well. I remember noting that our day cycle must be identical. At night, the rift blended in with the rest of the sky. Even the constellations were the same.
     Even the constellations were the same.
     I rushed back to the command tent. "Sir," I said, "is it possible that the portal leads to a parallel universe?"
     Gao Han looked at me, surprised. "What makes you say that?"
     "The sunset coincided with our own, but that could be coincidence. But when the constellations are the same..."
     "I see." He stroked his chin. "An interesting possibility, but it changes nothing. The Sorceress must be hunted down and imprisoned, even if she cannot be slain." There was a crash outside and he paused. Then there was another crash and a shout of alarm. "To your post," he said, and suddenly he was flying out of the tent towards the sounds.
     I followed Gao Han out, but immediately stopped in my tracks. Fires had spread out of control along the south wall, and the southern gate was being frantically reinforced by two monks. There was a thud as something pounded on the gate and the monks were thrown back. Then there was another.
      And then the gate was smashed open, revealing an immense, twisted abomination. Reaching into the fort, it snatched up one of the two monks and ate him, screaming, in two giant bites. Then it forced its way through the gate and reached for the other helpless monk.
     Gao Han darted forward, planting himself between the devil and the unconscious monk and swatting away its monstrous arm. Snarling, the devil swiped at the Stalwart with scything claws. There was a flash of bright blue and I was reminded once again of why the commander and I got along so well.
     He, too, was a spirit-speaker. Calling upon the honored ancestors of Jinhai, Gao Han crafted a shield that the devil's claws bounced off of. He struck out with one arm and the spirits flowed forward, overwhelming the monster and forcing it out of the gate. Striding forward, the Stalwart summoned the ancestors back to his side, crafting spectral armor around himself. The monster snarled once again. Gao Han roared in answer and beat his chest.
     The devil charged forward, a twisted juggernaut. But its unstoppable force met the immovable object that is my commander, and its own corrupted physiology failed, crushing itself on his wall of spirits. Galvanized back into action, I ran towards the watchtower where my friends were embroiled fighting smaller devils. In the flickering light of the spreading fires, I saw a winged devil leap over the wall, only to be shot down by an arrow. Jeong-Ho's work.
     I took the stairs two at a time, spells already forming on my lips as I reached the top. I saw Jiro facing off against a devil with two large horns sprouting from its head, its corrupted physiology swelled to twice the size it had been as a human. Jiro stabbed it in the shoulder with his three-bladed spear, tearing into muscle and calling forth a spurt of purple blood. When the beast swung at him with its other arm, I spoke and spectral armor blocked the blow. Jiro took the opportunity to eviscerate the devil and throw it back into the darkness of the night, then turned to me and nodded.
     Jeong-Ho's bow twanged as he took another shot. "How nice of you to join us, Wen," he said, as cheerful as ever. "I was afraid that you would miss the party."
     I couldn't help grinning. "And let you two die gloriously? Someone's got to keep you alive."      Another corrupted devil climbed over the battlements and I summoned a spectral warrior to fight it off, allowing Jeong-Ho to concentrate on dealing with any flying demons or devils. After killing another devil, Jiro helped the spirit finish of its adversary.
     "I told you this had the smell of battle," Jiro said, his eyes flickering in the firelight as he turned to face another opponent--a scrawny devil with a swollen and hairless head. Jiro's spear darted forward and the devil was knocked off of the watchtower, its head liberated from its body. A few moments later, the watchtower was clear of foes.
     I took stock of how the rest of our garrison was doing. Although we had been attacked by night, we had not been taken by surprise. After initially overwhelming our defenses, the Exiles had been beaten back--and beaten hard. Twisted corpses littered the walls.
     At the southern gate, Gao Han continued to face off against the larger devils, those that couldn't climb the defenses and were forced to attack on the ground. His shining spirit armor absorbed blows that would level buildings while he dealt out attacks in kind. Nothing intimidated him. Nothing fazed him. Nothing would stop him from defending the rift, defending the unblemished world beyond. For his unyielding determination, Gao Han had ever been called the Stalwart. That night, he proved himself worthy of the title yet again.
     Discipline, Strength, and Honor. The Jinhai way.



Well, there you have it: Chapter 1. What do you think? Let me know and I may just incorporate your feedback into the story as it develops.

Also, my 1500th post!
« Last Edit: December 14, 2016, 06:24:08 AM by Benionin »
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Offline TameRlane

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Re: The Darkest Hour
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2016, 09:12:00 AM »
Great work Ben! This was cool to read. I like the interludes mixing the stories of three factions together. I'm excited to find out what happens with Captain Hyeon! And to hear of Vasir's escape.  ooo is he the one who, using demon trickery or promises of power, turns Rita and Candit against each other while he slips away to capture Aleta?

 8) 8) 8)
« Last Edit: December 15, 2016, 07:53:16 PM by TameRlane »
MAY ALL YOUR PENTA PACKS HAVE LEGENDS AND MAY ALL YOUR RIFT RUNS BE REWARDING!
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Online Benionin

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Re: The Darkest Hour
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2016, 09:27:22 AM »
Thanks for that catch, TameRlane! Fixed the spelling error. I'll get the next chapter up today/tomorrow.
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Offline belial12

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Re: The Darkest Hour
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2016, 09:42:07 PM »
SO HYPED!