A white haired man ducked under a slashing sword, bringing his own up and piercing his assailant through his black clad chest. He stepped back, letting the body slide off his sword as the sounds of battle once again registered in his mind. He looked around, seeing his allies almost completely surrounded by a mass of warriors completely covered in black armor, fighting fiercely in the near darkness.
A blast of fire ripped through the warriors, heading towards the man. He shielded his face from the flames and grimaced, withstanding the approaching flames until they were within inches of him.
"Cutting it a little close don't you think?"
A red haired man stepped out of the flames, closely followed by a green haired woman and smiled. "Don't I always?" His expression turned serious. "We aren't going to last for much longer."
The white haired man nodded. "Let's end this."
The trio turned toward the large palace that towered above the battle and began running, dodging the black warriors in their path.
"Move!" The woman commanded. The men dived to the side as the earth seemed to erupt in front of the woman, tossing the black warriors in the air and splitting the doors to the palace.
The three fighters ran into the palace, quickly diving for cover as a barrage of black arrows flew towards them. "Can't you do something about this?" The white haired man yelled to his companions.
"Working on it!" A ball of fire formed in the other man's hands, he stepped out and unleashed a wave of heat that incinerated everything in the corridor. "We're clear!"
"Right! Let's..." The man felt his voice falter as the green haired woman slumped against the wall, a black shafts protruding from here chest. "Oh no..." He reached down and broke the shaft of the arrow, preparing to push it through, but stopped as he felt a soft hand clutch his.
The woman looked up and smiled weakly. "Don't worry about me, I'll be fine. You go and finish what you started."
The white haired man nodded grimly, no longer having the capacity to mourn at the death of yet another friend. "I will."
With that he tucked the broken shaft inside his shirt, next to his heart and began sprinting down the now soot blackened hall without a look back as the woman's eyes closed forever.
The sound of another pair of feet joined his as the red haired man caught up to him. Both men race up through the palace, solely focused on their goal. Finally, they arrived at the throne room, hesitating when the saw that it was slightly ajar.
"Think it's a trap?" The white haired man said.
"No, I think it's an invitation." His friend said darkly. "Of all the..." He cut off as the sound of clanking metal filled the air and dozens of black clad guards began emerging from both ends of the corridor. "Go!"
"I'll hold them off! Just go!"
The white haired man shook his head and pushed open the door and quickly entered the room, closing the door securely behind him before turning around.
The only occupant of the room was the solitary figure sitting on the throne, a cloaked figure who began shaking slightly as the door closed and locked with a click that echoed through the large room. The white haired man took several cautious steps forward before realizing the figure was shaking from silent laughter.
"Is this the best they can send me?" The cloaked figure said in a low growl, seeming to be speaking to himself. "A lone white with a piece of metal?"
The white haired man felt his face burn with anger as the figure stood up and looked at him.
"Oh, wait, I know you. You're the leader of that ragtag group that is causing all that commotion in the courtyard right now. A pity they trampled all over my garden, but I'm sure it will grow back. After all, blood is a great fertilizer."
The white haired man had heard enough. With a loud roar he charged at the figure, sword aimed for the heart. And he fell as the room was plunged into sudden darkness and his foot tripped over thin air. He heard his sword go sliding into the corner of the room, clanging against the wall. He stood and tried to run after it, but received a sharp kick to the ribs that drove all the breath out of him.
He heard his tormenter chuckling in the darkness. "You're pitiful, you know that?" The man received a sharp blow to his face. "You go out and make all these promises about a better life," he felt his kneecap break under the force of a kick. "Preaching equality and peace," his nose caved in sending blood streaming down his face. "Gaining followers left and right," the fingers of his left hand were crushed by a booted foot. "And then you lead them to their deaths. It's almost depressing in a way." The man was lifted off the ground by his throat. "All those unnecessary deaths, all because of you."
The white haired man grinned in the darkness, knowing his opponent could see him. "Yes, so many deaths, all on my conscience. And you know what?"
"What?" The response came from the darkness, tinged with amusement.
"I think I could stand for one more!" The man shouted as he stabbed with the broken arrow shaft in the direction of the voice.
Immediately the darkness dissipated, showing just the figure, frantic hands clutching at its chest. Slowly the figure seemed to melt, becoming a shadow itself, until only the arrow shaft remained.
The white haired man clutched at the shaft with trembling hands, one thought resounding through his head as he slowly lost consciousness. We did it.
The man opened his eyes to bright sunlight and nearly cried as he looked at the sky, staring almost directly at the sun despite how it burned his darkness attuned eyes. The sounds of cheering and shouts rose from below him, and he looked down to see that he was on the roof of the palace, looking out over the filled courtyard where he could see hundred of his friends, companions, and followers all staring up at him.
"I'm thinking they want you to say a few words." The man turned around to see his red haired friend grinning behind him, several gashes in his clothes showing places where he had been wounded but magically healed.
"Yeah, I kind of guessed that." The man retorted with a smile, flexing his left hand and finding it likewise healed. He raised it above his head, waiting until the crowd had fallen silent.
"Friends! Today, we have struck the final blow against terror, against injustice, against the evil that has plagued our hearts and minds for centuries!" The man waited again as the cheering started anew. "No longer will we live in fear, no longer will our children be born into a world without light. We have won!" Another round of cheering commenced. "But this victory is not without a cost." The crowd fell silent. "Many loved ones died for this cause. Young, old, men, women, fathers, mothers, sons and daughters gave their lives for our freedom. And we will never forget them. We will not forget the sacrifice they made for us. From this day, we will ensure that that we never face the threat of enslavement ever again! We will not let it happen!" The man stepped back from the edge of the roof as he fingered the arrow shaft that had taken the life of both his greatest enemy and his greatest friend and whispered to himself as the cheering down below recommenced. "I will not let it happen."
Far away a seeming ordinary shadow moved across a dark room. Except ordinary shadows aren't supposed to move on their own. Or bleed. A soft laugh echoed through the room. "Those fools. So simplistic it's almost endearing." A hacking cough followed the words, splattering blood across the wall. "No matter, they will learn. It will be...fun." The shadow flitted along one of the corridors, returning to an unmoving body that sat in a small throne, staring off into the distance, waiting.
Author's Note: When the story was originally posted, this prologue was not part of it, instead the story started off from the first chapter. Just wanted to clear that up if anybody was confused by the new beginning.