Chapter One – Gates of Hell

The landscape was arid and baron. Life sucked from the land long ago. An unseen force blew gales of wind across the terrain causing small dust storms to be constantly on the move. The sky was clear and blue as like most days with not a cloud in the sky that might permit the land a lifeline in the form of life giving rain. The sun bore down with a relentless might baking all that stood in its path, this desert land was its domain and it's to rule alone, no life would be sustained here.

The ground was cracked and pitted from the lack of moister. Leaving large cracks throughout the planes and giving making it seem as if the land was being torn apart. Some of these cracks were as long as four or five meters and as much as a meter or so wide the bottoms invisible unless the sun was directly overhead.

It was at the bottom of one such crevasse that a skeletal body lay at rest in its everlasting tomb of baked earth, scraps of cloth the only remains of the once sturdy traveling cloak and scattered rusted flakes the only reminisce of a once exquisite broadsword. There could almost be an expression of terror on the skull, the jaw lying lifelessly agape.

The final moments of the traveler's life were to remain a mystery for eternity, or at least until the end of the world. And that was closer than most would like to admit.

In the distance, away from the crevasse, upon a hill, a small fire burned. A fire that brought warmth to the seven weary souls that lay resting in an outcrop of rocks that dominated the hilltop.

Their eyes echoed the dying faces of hundreds of men and their faces were etched with the lines of people who had seen to much war, to much killing, to much madness.

He looked around himself, into the eyes of the six men with him, and couldn't help wondering if this would be the last time he saw them. He pushed the thought aside, it was irrelevant. They were going to battle and thoughts like that weren't going to help keep him alive.

He stood up and donned his amour, which consisted of plates of toughened steel overlapping each other, not decreasing his dexterity but giving very strong protection. The steel was colored dark crimson red with gilded edging, the amour of a true warrior.

He rotated his arms around in a windmill fashion to loosen him self up and picked up his sheathed sword. The sword was around three feet long in length and two and a half inches wide on the blade; it was sharp on both edges and tapered into a point at the end. A dangerous weapon in the right hands, and even more deadly to those who knew its true potential.

The blade itself was charred black as night and had glowing red runes along it which read "Vesica Ova Haud Reverto" Meaning "The Blade of No Return". He attached the sheath to his amour and turned to face his men.

"You all know why we are here, you each bear a burden more than that any man should have to, you have all been selected because of your incredible skill and unfathomable faith. I am your captain, your are my soldiers and we are death to our enemies!" a year rose from the lips of his fellow soldiers.

"We ride for the camp of the Katos; we ride for Retribution, for Justice, for Honor! we will destroy the Katos and we shall bath in the glory of Heaven! Now to arms soldiers, mount your steeds, we ride to the gates of Hell!" he turned towards the rising crimson sun and charged down the slope to what, he was sure would be the most important battle of his life, and probably the end of it.