Enter the Sands

Prologue

The neighboring countries of Seshin, Metsinui, and Bah have been perpetually locked in eternal battle with each other since their creation following the dawn of time. Cuardin, leader of Seshin, was always known for his battle tactics against his opponents. Haitic presided over the land of Metsinui and was a clever adversary who believed in a great deal of variety. Datio, ruler of Bah, had his own policy consisting of the implementation of brute force in order to gain the upper hand in battle. These three kings fought against each other endlessly until one fateful day. Datio of Bah used trickery to sign a treaty with Cuardin of Seshin. This agreement united the two against Haitic. Haitic was seen as a great threat in both battle and society; it was in each other's best interest to eliminate him before he could do anything too serious.

It was nearing the end of summer; all was quiet at the magnificent castle of Metsinui. It was at this very moment that the United Forcesi chose to make their move against the Empireii of Haitic. The UF assembled their Armies of death on the horizons. From their current placement, the stone fortress of Haitic towered over the surrounding desert. At the command of the officer, the troops proceeded steadily forward. Each one knew his part in the death of King Haitic. They neared the castle and braced themselves and charged the gates of the fortress. "Faster!" Saltus ordered. The men moved ever more swiftly as they ran toward the gates of the castle. Saltus, on horseback, had to thunderously whip his horse in order to keep up with the front wave of fighters.

Seeing the enemy troops quickly advancing, Commander Sental reported, "There is not much time left. The castle will soon be under attack. We must do something quickly. My Queen, if we are attacked, we can hold out only with the aid of your magic. Have you thought of a plan of action if such a thing should happen?" He looked out the window once more; the troops of Seshin and Bah marched through the marble gates of the fortress. As wife of the king, it was Drucinda's responsibility to protect her husband at all costs. She rushed to the door only to be greeted by one of her Paladins, "My Queen, I'm sorry to inform you that King Haitic has been assassinated. The men came in, sliced his head clean off his shoulder, and left immediately afterward. I'm afraid I was not able to get the head for your collection." Drucinda flew into a rage, spouting evils from within herself; she erupted in mass chaos. "Will you ever forgive me?" the man asked. "Forgive you? Ha! You are pathetic and a disgrace to the country. You have failed for the last time. Your time is up," she pointed her finger at his chest, "so die." An immense discharge was released from her hand and obliterated his body beyond recognition. "Today's paladins are such fun to humiliate." She threw the remaining shreds of flesh from her chamber and flung them from her window to the streets below. A shrill scream shortly followed. Drucinda laughed and said, "Some scoundrel killed my wretched husband. Oh well, I never really liked him anyway. How will I ever run the country by myself; what if they come back to finish the job?! Surely there must be some hope for my beloved land. I will not allow the evil of this world takeover our home so easily! I swear this in the body of Haitic, King of Metsinui."

Drucinda, Dark Queen of Metsinui, in her most desperate hour, studied the magical crystal ball, closed her eyes, and beheld an extraordinary vision of the future. It was at this time that she discerned the vague image of a young boy. She looked into his eyes and saw great dormant powers ready to burst from inside of him. She stroked his short, shiny, silvery hair. The vision ended abruptly and she thought to herself, "Perhaps there is hope after all. I'm not going to be around forever, and I will need someone to carry on our legacy when the time comes. I must watch for this one; he has been officially selected." She rose from the table holding the crystal ball and walked over to the window. She gazed out onto the path far below and said, "All I must do now is wait for him." Then came the question, "What should we do if this one boy does not come in time?" Drucinda answered adamantly, "He will come…I know it."

Seshin's Secret Finally Revealed

In the neighboring country of Seshin, Cuardin, the wicked ruler of the people, enacted many laws and practices that were thought to be ridiculous in the eyes of the public. Many of these acts increased the training of individuals in covert operations. "If we are to win this war completely, we must secretive in our movements and actions," he would always tell the people when questioned. Cuardin was always a very crafty and mysterious person. Even though he had been in power for thirty years, still not much was known about his true personality and intentions. His palace was too expansive to be toured in a single day; not much was known of its contents. His servants described him as a reclusive person who withdrew from all others during his most stressful times. He rarely told them anything of his desires and plans for the future of the country. This was most likely to be attributed to the possibility that he was afraid he would be betrayed or that he might not even have known where he was planning on going with his country.

One night, at a very late hour, Cuardin opened a secret vault safely hidden behind one of his sword walls. This vault led to a spiral stairwell made of this finest granite in all of Seshin. He walked slowly down the stairs allowing the vault door to close behind him. He walked around the turns effortlessly since he had ventured into the depths of the chasm so many times before. When the stairs finally ended, he was faced with a solid steel door with only one extremely narrow, barred window just above eye-level. This door led directly into the palace dungeon. He opened the door to reveal the living quarters of the young boy. The boy had dark hair, frightened eyes, and a weak smile. The only person who had ever been near him at all was Cuardin, his father. Despite his visits to see the boy, Cuardin could not bring himself to love his own son. "Kagi, this is your chance to prove yourself." Kagi looked up, "Why. Father? Why must I be the one to complete the family's mission?" Cuardin's face grew stern, and he yelled, "We've been over this again and again! Why are you so stupid? This will be the final time you hear this! Do you understand me?" Kagi had lowered his head and was now sitting in the corner of the stone cage with his hands folded over his head as though to protect himself. He sat quietly without looking at his father while he wept quietly; his father often told Kagi openly that he hated him with undying spirit. In spite of his son's obvious sadness, Cuardin continued, "Now listen this time, you stupid brat! When you were born, a key was placed inside your body. It is where your name stems from. That key is used to open the border to the other world. In all of history, there has never been anyone who has ever possessed such a precious object. That is why I have never allowed you to leave this room. There is not a single person on this planet that would not kill you to obtain the key itself. If that were to happen, there would be no hope of ever accomplishing the family dream. Now, try and act your age! This is your moment to shine. No one will ever know who you are! Do you understand? No one! So don't try and make any friends. If you do anything to compromise this mission, I will hunt you down and kill you myself! Try nothing stupid!" Kagi had grasped his father's message but had crushed himself further into the corner as if to escape from his father's immense hatred of him. Cuardin slammed the cell gate and marched off leaving Kagi to cry his eyes out in the darkness of the prison. His tears splashed on his hands as he leaned still against the wall, "Why me? Why does Father hate me so much? Everyone else must hate me, too." His heart was broken by the thought of pure sadness outside the door. "Have I done something wrong to deserve this punishment? I have so many questions…but I'll never get a single answer so long as I exist in this world. I must open the border to escape this sadness." He crawled over the door and realized it had not been locked. "I am truly worthless…there is no point in living anymore. I wish no one would hate me as much as Father does. I must find a way to escape from this sadness. It's been five years since I was born. He's been this way for my entire life." He still rested his head on his knees crying, "It is too much for anyone to stand, no matter how strong they might be."

Two hours passed slowly by, and Kagi remained in the prison cell alone. Most of his days were spent in darkness, silence, and solitude. His father's ten Za-nurses would tell Cuardin that his wretched son was worthless. Sometimes though, a nurse named Za-Beth would come visit him secretly without his father's knowledge. They had grown close for she was the only one who ever accepted Kagi for who he really was. Beth was a pure woman with a beautiful face and a kind heart. Beth was the only person he could trust at all, but some days, she wouldn't come at all. Kagi's condition had been worsening everyday of his life. The solitude had damaged his brain beyond repair. He had developed an alternate personality much different from his own; sometimes, the force inside him would emerge and take control of his senses. This occurrence drive the boy to the brink of insanity until he truly believed there was no one in the world who could ever love a 'beast'. Then, Beth came into Kagi's life and forever changed him. She would cuddle with him, tell him stories, and above all, she loved him with all her heart. She shared with him everything she knew that he asked about. Since Kagi had never seen anything beyond the door, he had many questions and depended on her for answers. Over four years, the two were very close. Beth was the sole reason he had not killed himself and the only one he honestly loved.

However, Za-Beth came to visit him on this particular night. She crept into the chamber, closed the door, and flipped on the lights. Kagi immediately closed his eyes and looked to down so he wouldn't go blind. He was overjoyed just because he knew it was the only person that cared for him who had come to visit. She walked over and sat next to him, "Hello, Kagi," she said with her glorious voice, "How have you been this past week?" Kagi looked up at her with tears flowing down his face. "Kagi, what's wrong?" she asked. Kagi looked down at the floor, "Beth, why…does father hate me so much?" Beth, in pain, looked away from Kagi. "You see," she began, "Cuardin never wanted a son, but when your mother became pregnant and feel ill, he had no choice but to keep you. You are very special to him, Kagi. You are unique in all the world." Kagi's eyes grew angry, "He just wants to use me to finish his dream using my key! He doesn't care about me at all!" Beth patted him on the back, "There, there. Your father may hate you and wish you would die, the world may despise you and try to kill you, but I will always genuinely love you until the day I die." Kagi looked at her and saw she was crying as well. "Help me, Beth. I feel like I'm dying inside. I wish father loved me for who I am." Beth held him close. "I know," she whispered, "I know. But he does not love you because he cannot love you. You are nothing but a key he has been searching for all of his life. Now that he has it, he doesn't see you as a person but just a key he has found. He hates you because your mother wanted you, but he came to hate her, too. That's why she…" Kagi touched Beth's hand, "Promise me we'll always be together." Beth held him tightly to her, "Kagi…" then her breath left her, and her arms went limp. He looked up at her face, "Beth, what is this red liquid and wood with feathers coming out of your face?" Beth's eyes simply stared at him with her beautiful eyes. "Beth? Beth! Please say something," Kagi pleaded with her lifeless body to respond. The lights soon turned out, but Kagi pleaded with her to wake up all night long. After finally realizing what had happened to his beloved Beth, he cursed himself for her loss and blamed himself, above all others, for her tragic demise. Swearing revenge, he crept from the depths of the chamber and into a vast, new world.

The Heart of Seshin

Kagi ran out of the tunnel only to confront a massive group of citizens, who had obviously gathered for a common reason. For Kagi, however, that reason was unknown. The group stood around a large fountain with clear, crisp water tumbling softly over the rocky surface of each tier. Nearby, one man stood on a platform, higher than the crowd itself. "I formally announce to you all that King Cuardin is unbearably corrupt; we also have reason to believe that the demon Shariifiat has possessed him!" The crowd turned toward themselves and away from the speaker as they mumbled and discussed ideas and schemes of their own. The speaker heightened his voice to unrivaled force, "We must do two things. First, we must destroy Shariifiat and his hold on the king's mind, body, and/or spirit, depending on if it still exists at this phase. I believe you all know what we must do to stop him from corrupting the populace. Secondly, we must also eliminate the king's place in power. Then we shall find the perfect leader to takeover his place in this crumbling society of Seshin." When his speech concluded, the speakers faded from the grounds, and the people, once again, turned to chat amongst themselves. One voice came, "That beast has been around for ages now. Can we not just annihilate him?"

Kagi stood aghast at the scene he had only just witnessed, "Father, the demon isn't in you. I am the demon everyone hates. I do not deserve to live in such a world as this." He wandered past the growing mob and toward the main street; however, as he passed, a strange voice leapt over all others at him. "Hey, boy! What are you doing out here!?" Kagi turned with a solemn look on his face, his arms still folded across his chest casually. The man knelt to position himself at eye-level with the youngster. Also, he took note that the boy's eyes were sad, but kind. He began with a smile, "How old are you?" Kagi looked down at the ground as though he wished to be somewhere else, "My name is Kagi; I am five years old today. I am leaving this wretched country to escape my father, and I would suggest you stay out of my way." He smiled, "My name is Quardo Etcon, and I'm a self-proclaimed psychic as of two weeks ago. I could have told you all of that. However, you cannot leave your father or Seshin, especially not at you age! Now let's get you straight home." Quardo grabbed at Kagi's arms, but almost instantaneously, Kagi moved far beyond his reach. Quardo grew tense inside at his failure to capture such a young child. "This kid is trying to escape!: he yelled, "Everyone, help me catch him before he escapes this city!" The crowd abandoned their original intent to decide how to eliminate the king and his demon. Instead, they now focused their attention, and their weapons, on the "fugitive" Quardo was ranting about. With the mob nearing the boy from the left, right, and behind, Quardo closed in from the front. Kagi shouted in pure agony and held his head in his own hands; all the citizens, watching him closely, ceased their footsteps for a moment. Thus, the one known as Kagi was launched into the darkness of possession, allowing the demonic beast lurking deep within to seize control of the body and the surrounding areas. Shortly thereafter, Kagi looked up and around at those who had encircled him; there were several hundred people in this single area alone. His eyes had grown drastically darker and were undoubtedly tainted with supreme malice. He stated with desperation engrained in his voice, "Get away from this place immediately. There is no…" his voice suddenly became much more sinister in mid-sentence, "other option. Obey me, or face severe consequences!" The men and women glanced at each other then began their advance at high speed. He placed both his arms across his chest casually once more, "I warned you, pathetic fools! You chose not to heed my warning." Stones, pebbles, and bricks from nearby areas surrounded him, moving in a constant, circular, clockwise stream about him. He stood with that villainous glint in his eyes, begging them to come for him. The men and women did not even look back at those around them, nor did they rethink their actions. Instead, they charged into the area where the boy stood calmly; not once did they question their hasty judgment. The debris circled faster and faster into a formidable wall of unparalleled defense power. The mob's first wave launched their onslaught against Kagi and his force field. The result: all participants were met with a vicious counterattack that was unnoted outside of the bodies. Inside, however, the seven major organs had been obliterated simultaneously, instantaneously at the time of contact with the shield. Quardo formed his seal, and the shield slowly began to weaken. Kagi snatched his head backward with a look of extreme pleasure on his face. He shifted his demonic gaze toward the fountain; the large, tone, lion monuments surrounding the base, one by one, entered his absolute defensive orb. When it came time for the last one to enter, the gargantuan statue pivoted until its eyes faced Quardo's own eyes. Then Kagi uttered a single syllable from his lips, "Die." Then the enormous monument struck Quardo from above and dashed into oblivion! Blood was scattered onto the ground in puddles. He positioned his hand in direct alignment with the Quardo's blood. Hereupon, the blood rushed from the ground and was quickly absorbed into Kagi's own body for what he called his "ultimate energy source" for magical purposes. Kagi laughed wildly with hatred emanating from deep within his unnatural voice. The force field suddenly began pulsing with immense magical energies radiating from Kagi's power deep inside the core of the spherical shield. Blue energy chains now bound all smaller pebbles into large boulders in revolving lines for ultimate destruction. One man yelled, "I think he's weakening! Let's attack again now." Several of the others looked at each other before throwing him into the shield themselves. This time, he was immediately incinerated on contact with the sphere. All women in the group rushed past men to the back of the crowd. Several men readied their spears and prepared to charge; however, after some counseling from their wives, they changed their minds and began begging Kagi for peace. "You want peace?!" he laughed, "Fine. Stay out of my way as I suggested to you before." All of them laid down their weapons, slowly turned, and walked down the narrow street. Once they had all turned their backs on him, Kagi released the shield and placed his hands facing outward in front of him. Then he activated his power and everyone stopped concurrently and directly. "Foolish mortals!" he shouted, "Have you not learned that you should never trust a demon?! For this I shall torture you," he whispered, "I will drain all traces of life from the vast corners inside each of your bodies, then your blood will be mine. This I shall continue to perform, until nothing remains…" Then his voice faded from their ears…

Nobody was ever left alive after a confrontation in the presence of the terrible, demonic spirit!

i References the temporary alliance of Seshin and Bah against Metsinui – also "UF"

ii Name given to the government, society, economy, and military forces of Metsinui