Author's Note: I cannot take credit for this entire story. Miakoda originated in an online website I made for the purpose of roleplaying with other players and creating a story. Various characters were created by different people and all these people contributed to the story. Once we completed the website, I gathered all the posts we made and organized them and edited them so it would make sense as a story. Because of this, there are a lot of characters with a lot of things going on and it could get a little confusing.
(If you want to see the website it's s9./miakoda. You won't be able to do anything because it's closed but you can look around to see what I'm talking about.)
Neverthless, I hope you enjoy Miakoda!
Please please please read and review!
ON THE HORIZON
Elita Lithrandier barely made a sound as she made her way along the stone wall surrounding Castle Greywind. Her castle. The sun was setting and as it did, it bathed the world of Eastern Miakoda in crimson light. The elven queen stopped at the edge of the wall and clasped her hands behind her back, gazing out into the heavens. Sunsets this beautiful would ordinarily calm Elita's nerves, but the colorful display the sky provided this dusk failed to provide any solace whatsoever.
Slowly, the queen's gaze traveled down, away from the sky and toward the horizon and what lay beyond. Gray eyes caught the red of the sunset, giving Elita an almost eerie look as she surveyed her kingdom. Pale blond hair danced as the wind whipped across the battlements. The queen smoothly placed a hand on the walls of the castle, wondering how strong it would be; how strong she would be. The feel of the cool stone against her hand settled her nerves somewhat.
Her keen elven ears picked up a sudden sound off to her far right. Subconsciously and instinctively, Elita analyzed the footfalls. Boots…a rather tall…female, judging by the way she's walking. Wearing armor, well built…Of course, I believe it is my dear friend Kakomei. The queen craned her head and peered through the waning light to see if her presumption had been truthful, and a smile flickered on her face. She was right every time.
Kakomei Lycoris stood at the edge of the lower wall, her eyes at ease as they swept the land. The sun set in the western horizon and she could not detect even a hint of threat in the wind's words. The warm glow of the sun felt good on her skin and she sighed. She could see the face of her queen on the wall above her by the light of the waning sun. Elita looks anxious again...If only she would loosen up before she worries herself to death, Kakomei thought as she began to move toward her queen. It must be hard to have this war resting on her shoulders...If only I could help her.
The walls stood tall and sturdy, a great advantage in the case of battle. However, they were cracked with age in a few areas and this perturbed Mei. All was tranquil as she climbed the steps, and she could only hear the echo of her footsteps. Mei stood still for a moment, her silhouette flickering on the castle walls, then rested her hand upon Elita's shoulder.
Elita savored one last glance of the tranquility of the scene before them, then turned to her closest companion. "Mei," said the queen with a faraway look. "The sunset is beautiful. Don't you agree?" Though she spoke lightly, Elita's gray eyes were flecked with sadness and worry, which she knew Mei could read all too well.
"That it is," Mei said in a monotonous tone and with fake enthusiasm. She knew the queen was trying to avoid questions at the moment. "I do love the sweet perfume of the wild flowers!" There was a rustle in the bushes far below and Kakomei tensed. Fortunately, only a small rabbit was breaking branches off of a berry bush. She returned to her state of tranquility and looked at the flourishing colors of the sky. It was odd, how the world could put on such a masquerade, when there were foul deeds being performed wherever anyone cared to look. She stared into her friend's eyes, hoping to offer at least some hope. "Not to worry, Elita...we will win this war..."
Elita in turn smiled at her best friend who was always there to encourage her. Mei was right, Elita was sure of it. They would either fight until they were free from Malador's malice, or die trying. Resolution gleaming in her eyes now, Elita placed her hand on the hilt of her sword, which was strapped to her waist.
A sudden call from the ramparts below caused both beholders of the sunset to turn their heads downward. A soldier, clad in the default armor of Castle Greywind bowed as he looked up at his queen. "My queen," he called out. "There is a figure approaching. He appears to be alone and is clad in a cloak. Would you like to address him yourself?" The soldier's helm was decorated with the symbol of the castle under which he served: two gray wings. In his hand was a spear, a weapon he seemed a bit too eager to use.
Elita gave the solider an affirmative nod then headed swiftly toward the stairs of the wall with Kakomei following close behind. They quickly made their way down the stairs to where the soldier stood on watch, just above the main gate. Of course, there were other soldiers on guard that could be summoned with as much as a finger twitch. Castle Greywind was known for its impenetrable defense. The young soldier gestured toward the spotted figure that was making its way towards the castle. Elita's eyes narrowed. She felt something odd stir within her veins, beckoning her to be cautious. When it reached a few yards from the main gate, the figure halted. For a moment, there was silence.
"Name yourself," Elita commanded. Something about this figure seemed ominous. Kakomei noticed as well and cast an uneasy glance to her queen. As Elita's words faded away and the moments passed, the tension began to mount.
"Lady Lithrandier," the figure spoke with a smooth voice. "Why do you sound so suspicious?" Very slowly, it reached up to its hood and pulled it back. As the hood fell away from its face, Elita instantly recognized who was standing before the gates of Greywind. The figure was a man with bright red skin that matched the color of the lit sky behind him. Long black hair was combed back neatly from his face while two black eyes watched Elita eerily. This was not a man. This was a demon, a red-death demon that could make those weak of mind feel do whatever he commanded with only his words. His mouth slowly curled into a smirk as he turned his head up to the sentinels and their queen.
Eyes narrowing as she sensed her queen's distress, Kakomei pulled an arrow from its quiver and settled it against her bow. With a well-trained eye she aimed the weapon down at the newcomer, a menacing air about her, and called down, "Stand back and heed the queen's orders, demon!" Elita held her hand up warningly to Kakomei and gave her a side-glance. The demon had not made any move yet, and she did not want trouble to come faster than need be. Kakomei closed one eye, refraining from lowering her weapon. The soldier flanking Elita raised his spear as well, excited that he was seeing action on a seemingly boring day.
"You do not have to answer my question. Just get out of my sight or I'll have the whole might of Greywind at your back, Ryothine Jaquora." Elita said this calmly but with a strict commanding air about her. She knew that her bodyguard and soldiers were unpredictable, and they would shoot if the demon provoked the queen any further. Mei, especially, was a very good shot.
Ryothine chuckled, revealing pointed teeth and continued to speak, ignoring the threats he was receiving. "There's no need for such hostilities, Queen of Eastern Miakoda. I am merely here to deliver a message." Ryothine stopped speaking and looked away for a moment, tauntingly. "A message from the Lord Darkhand."
Elita's eyes grew wide when she heard this. Both Kakomei and the other guard suppressed gasps at the mention of the Dark Lord. "Malador..." Elita whispered quietly to herself, and her eyes were somewhere else as she clenched the edge of the wall tightly. "De'cona..." the queen muttered a curse to herself in elvish as she closed her eyes. She knew the calm through all these years could not last. No…of course it could not…She should have been expecting this.
Disregarding the reaction that followed his report, Ryothine continued. Elita listened to the demon with bated breath. Her knuckles were turning white from holding onto the wall so hard.
"Lord Malador would like to let you know that his next strike will come soon. Gather your army, do as you must. There is nothing you can do to stop his next attack. He is going to kill you. He is going to take Miakoda and all under your rule will die for their treachery."
WHIZ! THUD! Kakomei gritted her teeth and reloaded another arrow. "Damn! Wretched demon…faster than he looks…" On the sound of an arrow being released, soldiers began to stream into the ramparts, ready to defend their queen against any attack. "Wait!" Elita held out her hand and all activity halted momentarily.
Ryothine glanced unconcernedly at the arrow by his feet which he had managed to avoid. The demon gave Kakomei a penetrating look with his dark eyes. "I can say I am quite unimpressed with your bodyguard's aim, Elita." Then he turned his gaze to the queen and grinned. His face looked like a skull of blood as he spoke, almost disarmingly. "Surrender, while you have the chance."
Suddenly, Ryothine snapped his hands open and powder flew from them. They floated in the air for a moment, almost peacefully, then-BANG! Shards of fire shot towards those on the bridge and the ground was instantly aflame. Birds and squirrels madly dashed to escape from the flames as they quickly ate up anything in their way and headed toward the castle walls. The silhouette of Ryothine could be seen behind the smoke for a moment before it faded away into nothingness.
Kakomei immediately took action, manning the lines. She ordered the guards to fetch water and recruit scouts to survey the castle boundaries for any undetected advances. Greywind was in pandemonium as the flames licked at the stone walls, and the soldiers bustled about, shouting orders. "Curse that demon! Curse him! Come on men, pull yourselves together. It's only a fire, it's only a fire!"
Kakomei turned and said, "Elita, we must get you indoors, in case of a surprise attack!" She ran to the doors and forced them open, motioning for Elita to get into the hallway. Elita glanced at her friend with a sly smile, despite the circumstances. "You underestimate the power of your queen." She walked to the edge of the wall and held her hands out above the fire, palms outward and she closed her eyes. Elita muttered incantations under her breath, her brow creased in concentration. Her hands began to glow with a warm light that danced toward the roaring fire. The light surrounded the flames and began to constrict them in a twisting mass. There was a loud roaring sound before the fire was vanished with a prolonged hiss. Steam rose from the ground and faded into the night sky. The queen opened her eyes then slid to the ground, her back against the wall. She was staring straight ahead and her hands were clenched. "Kakomei..." she faltered and looked up at her friend. "His message..." She faltered then broke off and placed her head in her hands.
Mei was awestruck. She had always known that the queen's powers were unmistakably greater then that of all Miakoda, but she hadn't thought that included putting out blazing brush fires! She hurried to her friend's side and took note of her words. "Are you alright, Elita?" she asked, worry reflected in her green eyes.
"I'm fine…" Elita replied quietly then looked up at her friend. "I think we must discuss something urgent. Not in the open, in my private quarters."
Kakomei nodded, her face grim, then helped her queen up off the floor. As the two made their way inside into the nearest doorway, Mei continued informing the soldiers to make sure the premise was dampened in case of any chance of the fire returning, and to continue tightening the watch of the castle walls for particular signs of Malador's advance.
Elita and her bodyguard walked side by side down the hallways of Castle Greywind. Kakomei's footsteps echoed off the glistening marble walls, while Elita's barely made any noise at all. Eventually, they had passed enough winding corridors and they reached Elita's personal quarters. Such important matters could only be discussed here, or in the war room. Both rooms had a protective barrier to prevent spies and unwanted listeners from overhearing any important information.
When the door had been carefully locked and guards placed in the hallway, Elita rested easy. The fire had caused more pandemonium than it should have. Tensions had been mounting at Castle Greywind ever since war was declared between the East and the West. When Ryothine had delivered his message, his words were the cause of her fear, not the fire. But why would the Dark Lord tell Elita Lithrandier that he was going to make an attack soon? Elita's eyes darkened as she realized the answer. To simply install fear into the hearts of her soldiers and herself as they had seen just a few moments earlier. Malador ruled over fear.
Kakomei watched her queen with unease, and clenched her fists as she thought about the red-death demon that started the fire. Ryothine…that was his name. I'm going to kill you one day. Kakomei thought bitterly. I swear it, you cowardly demon! As she watched Elita pace back and forth, Mei waited patiently for her friend to stem her flow of thoughts and begin talking.
"I knew the demon, Kakomei." The queen began quite abruptly. The bodyguard took a seat in the corner and watched Elita with growing apprehension. "His name is Ryothine Jaquora. He is Malador's right hand man. A mage skilled in all manner of fire. I promised you that I would tell you of the battles and the history of this war one day, and I believe today should be that day. There are many different versions I'm sure you have heard from citizens and enemies, but this is the truth which I tell you now."
"Nearly a century ago, my father passed away and so I was appointed the queen of Miakoda. I was still young then, and my knowledge of the world was too limited to successfully perform my political tasks. Therefore, several men were appointed to be my counsel and assist me through my first years."
"Eventually, they deemed me worthy enough to rule Miakoda myself and they left me to my own affairs. However, it was not a few weeks later that one of my counsel was dragged into the main hall. His name was Malador. The soldiers had caught him just after he had committed a murder. Malador begged me to let him go; pleaded for his freedom but I sent him to jail. Although he was one of my former counsel, a murder is a murder.
"Years passed. I don't know how many or how long Malador was confined in the dungeons of Greywind or what exactly happened to his twisted mind, but he managed to escape. At first, we did not dwell much on it and merely put up signs and warnings regarding an escaped murderer. Unfortunately, we underestimated the hate in his heart. Single-handedly, Malador snuck into present day Hunlin Town and slaughtered all the citizens there before burning the entire town to the ground. The soldiers were killed as well, and by the time reinforcements arrived, Malador was gone."
"Now his presence was a notorious threat. For him to have destroyed the entire town alone he would have to be in control of great and terrible magic. Bounties were placed, man hunts initiated, but all were fruitless. We never bothered to search the wilderness…Fools that we were…"
"It was a year after the destruction of Hunlin town, and we were in the process of rebuilding the homes and the lives that had been destroyed. Malador was still at large, but he remained invisible. And then, he appeared. He marched right through the streets of Hunlin town, staring straight ahead, ignoring the screams of terror following him. He even allowed the soldiers to arrest him and bring him to Greywind. These were my best soldiers, mind you. None to be taken lightly. They brought him before me, yet this time he did not beg for his life. He only smiled. Then, with an incantation, he summoned a wave of dark magic and every one of my soldiers was killed in an instant."
"Horror and shock overwhelming me, I fought him with as much strength as I could. Keep in mind, I was less skilled in combat than I am today. We fought bitterly for many hours in the Main Hall, until Talath Rhunin, another of my former counsel, arrived with mage reinforcements and had Malador cornered. That was when he opened a portal, and leapt inside. It sealed up behind him, and we could only guess at where the portal lead."
"In the days following we were all apprehensive. Greywind's defense was doubled. Watches were kept nightly. No one dared to breath. It was as though we all knew what Malador's next plan of action would be."
"It was a poor farmer that first saw the demons. Many thought he was insane when he told us tales of horrors he had seen travelling through his woods at night. Shadows, wraiths, lowers, hellhounds, every terror imaginable. Clerics told me they were demons summoned from the pits of hell itself. Even humanoids, doomed to wander through the fires of hell had agreed to return to the surface in order to serve their summoner. It took little insight to realize who was behind this heinous act."
"It wasn't long before the demons began to try and pass through our borders. They were not too difficult to hold off, as long as they didn't charge in swarms. Blacksmiths were called upon to forge weapons and armor for soldiers, soldiers that would be needed soon."
"I cannot tell you what the sight of Malador's army of demons looked like as they headed to our border from the wilderness. Just the sight of the army crushed the sprits of Miakoda. The battle was terrible. Many threw themselves over the walls rather than face the jaws of the demons. I tried to order my troops with wisdom and use strategy to force the dark army back, but they were too powerful. There were demons that could fly they and dropped huge chunks of steel on the wall. Eventually, the battered walls and soldiers gave way, and the demons stormed every city in the west of Miakoda. Before Malador would claim any city, he would offer the citizens their life if they would be loyal to him. Many complied, many fled, many died."
"I had fallen back to Greywind and was despairing that Miakoda would be lost when a winged woman appeared before me. She told me her name was Zephyros. She told me three words that changed everything. Flood the river. At first, when I related my plan, many were doubtful. If they broke loose the dam, it was skeptical whether or not the water would reach the western army on time before they traveled too far east, but I was confident. When the signal was given out and the demons were riding forward, the water of the Bousterous River broke loose."
"It was a miracle. Every demon that touched the water evaporated instantly and many men who had joined the army were swept away in its unnaturally violent tide. We thought we had won, but then we saw Malador fall back with many demons still remaining. We chased him all the way back west, where we let them nurse their wounds while we tended ours."
"There was much damage that needed fixing. Walls were rebuilt using the quickest methods available and the wounded were healed as speedily as possible. We had lost the West which soon fell to Malador's power. We could see dark towers being erected in the distance. There was his dark domain, lying across a barren stretch of land that had been burnt to nothingness during the battles. We knew Malador wouldn't strike again. Not until he had gathered more. It would take years. And it would take years for us to rebuild as well. We built a single wall around the entire East to ward off demons and Malador. Through dreams he would talk to me, cursing me and taunting me. He introduced me to all his advisors and best warriors, hoping to frighten me. I had to find more strength in myself in order to make the dreams go away. There were skirmishes in the years that followed the war which we now know as The Massacre of the West. However, these skirmishes were not troublesome. Seven years passed in this way. And now Malador is up to something. And we need to find out what."
Presently, Elita stopped talking. Throughout her whole story, she had been looking out the window, one hand resting on the windowsill. In the silence that followed, Mei was shocked. She had never heard the story of the Massacre of the West told as Elita did. Mei watched as her queen shifted and slowly turned away from the window.
"Malador could not frighten me in my dreams anymore so he sent Ryothine here. What he said was an act of war. We will have to prepare for battle once more, after all these years. What scheme could he have, what plan more terrifying than the demons?" she asked Kakomei, who in turn sighed and looked down before replying.
"This is grave news, indeed. We will need strong warriors to fight in our army. We'll need spies to find out what that pompous warlord is up to."
Elita nodded at her friend's words and crossed to the door of her chamber. She reached out for the latch, then paused, gray eyes dull. Mei stood up and strode to her queen's side, her eyes hard. "Do not despair, my lady. Demons will not prevail this time. I promise that I will follow you 'til death, not only because it is my duty, but because you are my friend."
Elita smiled, and the words did provide her with some comfort. If she were to die in this war, it would be alongside her comrades, fighting for their freedom against evil. As she opened the door and strode into the corridor, Elita's eyes darkened.
This time, Malador, victory will not be so easy. We will see who triumphs this time…we will see…
Phew! This is a long chapter! This is only the beginning...it's more like a prologue than the first chapter. Elita and Kakomei are not majorly reacurring characters so we won't be seeing much of them for a while.
I would absolutely adore some reviews...if you were brave enough to read that whole thing.