Chapter One

Sword

The small army made their way through the tangled undergrowth, around twenty of them, using long knives to hack a path through the thick vines that barred their way. Their plain grey armour and the swords at their waists marked them out as fighters, the fanatical gleam in their eyes said they were willing to give their lives for their cause. The hot, humid forest air meant that beneath their helms, their faces were dripping with sweat, yet still they trudged onward.

They were led by two men, neither wearing armour. One has a thick mane of dark hair and two feathered wings protruded from his shoulder blades through two neat slits in his sweat stained white shirt, each the colour of coal. The other man glanced over at the winged man. "We are almost there, Raven. The Sword and Shield are within my grasp." In a rare show of emotion, a smile curled the man's lips. Soon he would possess the two most powerful objects in existence. He absent-mindedly batted away a mosquito, forgetting the droning buzz of the swarm of flies that had pursued them all through the forest, forgetting the sickly-sweet smell of the pale pink orchids that hung off every vine. He was snapped out of his reverie when Raven touched him lightly on the shoulder. "Sir, we are here." They stood at the mouth of a cave, wide enough and tall enough for a horse to pass through. The blue-tinged rocks and the murky darkness looked out of place amongst the vibrant colours of the forest.

Once they were all inside the cave, Raven gave the soldiers a speech about 'the glory of death'. The man didn't pay attention. He knew that he was sending his warriors to their deaths, but he didn't care. They were only a distraction for the Guardian of the Sword and Shield, nothing more. He hadn't bothered learning any of their names. He walked beside Raven behind the soldiers. He raised his arm and a small flame appeared in his palm, warm orange light illuminating their surroundings. They entered a wide cavern, the size of a small town. At the centre of the cavern, a raised altar of stone stood. On top of the altar lay a sword the colour of moonlight. It's hilt was as red as blood and was adorned with a single clear gem. The Sword.

Only then did he notice the hulking figure standing in front of the altar. He was huge, his legs like twin tree trunks, his arms thicker than most men's thighs. The Guardian. His eyes were two disks that glowed in an eerie shade of green. "Attack." The man murmured softly. "ATTACK!" Raven roared, echoing his master's command. The soldiers charged forward to engage the titan, bellowing in an attempt to hide their fear. There was only one way this could end.

The Guardian hurled a stream of dazzling green light at two of them, sending their corpses hurtling to the ground. He attacked them with fists like sledgehammers, sending them into the afterlife one by one. The man dashed past the fierce brawl and stood at the altar. Reverently, he lay his hands on the Sword. It practically hummed with power in his hands. It was a long blade, but it didn't feel heavy in his grip. His triumphant smile turned to a frown, though, when he looked down at the altar. He had the Sword, but where was the Shield? This was an unforeseen complication that needed to be sorted out. But he could think about it later.

"Raven." He called out and in an instant the seraph appeared by his side. "We're leaving". Raven didn't seem worried by the fact that his master didn't have the Shield, but then Raven wasn't the type of man who worried. He placed his hand on the man's shoulder.

The Guardian dispatched the last soldier with a pulse of energy into the fighter's chest, just in time to see the seraph and the man standing side by side. The man gave him one last mocking wave and then vanished. The Guardian leapt forward but connected with thin air. They were gone. They had the Sword.