The rain poured mercilessly on the citizens of Gaia. It was rare for this part of the world to receive such heavy rain, but on this particular night it was different. The entire week had been different—storms came and went as they pleased, leaving the common people of the city to wonder if maybe more forces were at work, here in their great city. Monsoons, typhoons, hurricanes… it was just a bad season for weather at this point in time. However, despite the aggressive storm taking its toll on the city's people, there was an even more severe event going on that lead the people of the city in panic.
There were crowds among crowds of people who were lined up chaotically being transported to different locations that were leading to underground shelters that were built beneath the city's ground. The city of Gaia was one of the most famous and well revered in not just the country but across the globe. There weren't many places on the planet of Kaa that had more skyscrapers, tall buildings, and fortresses than this prestigious city. And within the forest of buildings that were littered throughout the city, there were the people of Gaia—all being forced hectically to underground bases by the members of the Country of Rasnan's military, one of the strongest military forces in the entire world.
"Hey! There is no need for everyone to push and shove! Our soldiers up above have placed a barrier above the city; Everyone will have an ample amount of time to reach the shelters down below! Follow our orders and everything will be fine."
One of the soldiers of Gaia's military was floating atop what looked to be a chrome black steel platform, a large spherical plate that was roughly 12 feet in diameter. The many soldiers who bordered the crowds of people all wore similar attire to this man; Hard black metal chest plates and armored gauntlets that stretched from their wrists to their elbows, all black pants and boots, along with gold and black helmets that had shaded visors. The current man in command floating on the platform had a red cape attached to armored shoulders pads that were colored gold. One of his soldiers floated up to him to speak, keeping his body upright and a hand rested on the left side of his chest.
"Sir," began the soldier, "roughly forty percent of the population has been secured, sir."
The man floating on the platform looked deep into the eyes of his fellow subordinate and then nodded. "Good work, Sergeant. From how things are looking though, we need to speed things up."
The caped man took a glance up above, passed the buildings, and even passed the transparent ceiling of energy that was supposed to blockade the city from any threat above. He kept his gaze up above as he spoke.
"It's hard to say how long it's going to take for our forces to capture that mad man Gorahn."
The soldier raised a brow, puzzled at the statement by his superior. The only threat at the moment was a single man, a former general by the name of Gorahn Zuu.
"Excuse my negligence sir… but isn't this 'Gorahn' just one man? I doubt it's going to take the entire armed forces to take him down."
The caped leader smirked, now bringing his eyes to level with the eyes of his subordinate. And for the first time in the soldier's life, he saw a look of complete uncertainty in the eyes of his leader.
"Son… this man is one of the most dangerous Mages to have ever graced this planet. If even half of our men come out of this alive, it would make this mission more than a success. To put it in terms you'll be able to understand, I declined the opportunity to fight and instead chose crowd control. Do you want to know why?"
The soldier stood quietly, providing no response.
"I have a family at home. A wife I've loved for fifteen years. A daughter who's in medical academy training and a newborn baby boy I've only gotten to see maybe once or twice. I've fought in many of the battles they've asked me to fight. I've lost. I've won. But most importantly, I've lived. In our line of work, it's never guaranteed when we'll ever get the chance to see our family, our friends, the people we love so much, no guarantee we get a chance to see them ever again.
"This man… since you have recently joined the military, I'll tell you. This man was once of the greatest soldiers in the army of Gaia. Unmatched fighting ability and he was a good leader. I've fought side by side with Gorahn and I'll tell you this. He's the last man on this planet you'd ever want to fight. There was a time where it was just him, me and a handful of soldiers versus over a thousand soldiers from Tyuan. If it wasn't for him, we'd all have been beaten, tortured and eventually killed. I owe my life to this man."
The man let out a sigh and for the first time ever in their two encounters, his eyes dropped from eye level to down toward the ground.
"The reason I chose crowd control is because I didn't want to die. Not out of cowardice. Not out of fear, but the cold, hard reality that we all have to face eventually in our lives. There are beings that exist in this world that you will not be able to defeat. Men capable of far more things you could ever imagine someone from Kaa being able to do. So my best advice to you is to pray that the soldiers up above can do something to contain this man Gorahn. Because if they can't, you will regret the day you enlisted to be a part of Gaia's forces. I'm almost certain many of the men today won't make it back to spend one last time with their families as most have been left ignorant of what Gorahn is truly capable of. But I preach to you my fellow soldier, brother, friend… pray that your fate isn't to help assist in battle up there."
The soldier's eyes were as wide as he was confused. Never would he have expected for the captain to sound so… defeated, without even involving himself in the battle. The soldier bowed and went on his way, hovering above the common people as he gazed up above. There was a faint ceiling of greenish light up above the city, and through the pouring rain it was hard to see anything beyond it.
Far above the city itself, several kilometers into the sky among the clouds, was mass gathering of bodies. Soldiers littered the sky, hundreds—maybe even thousands—as they all surrounded just one man. He was a large bulky man, a dark skinned fellow with long, thick dread locks that draped his shoulders and went down his back. He wore a much thicker version of the chrome black armored chest plate that the common soldiers wore. Equipped with the plate, were bulky spiked shoulder pads, and a red cape that was attached along the shoulders that was flinging like a flag as the combination of rain and wind blew on it. The man had small spiked black gauntlets on his forearms, and long black pants equipped with red boots. His arms were folded over his chest as he seemed to harbor a smirk that never left.
Directly several feet in front of him was another man in similar attire, minus the spiked pads and his cape was blue. His hair was long and white, as his flowed down his back. He stood straight up while floating in the sky as he glared at the man across from him. A bolt of lightning flashed in the sky a good distance away and seconds later the sound of thunder boomed across the sky. A few of the surrounding soldiers shuddered—it was dangerous to be up so high with a thunder storm going on.
"Is all this really necessary Jovan?" asked the dread headed warlord. The man across from him didn't change his expression at all.
"I'm having a hard time figuring out whether you have selective memory or if you just decided that you'd completely disobey the terms of your banishment. I gave you a chance three years ago Gorahn. You should have never returned here."
Gorahn chuckled. "Come now Jovan, you as well as I know what I'm here for. I didn't think my presence would stir so much trouble. You know who I've come for. Let me see her and I will be on my way."
"It's my duty to protect the people of Gaia. All the people of Gaia. You were warned about coming back here. I'm giving you one last chance Gorahn. Leave now and we can resolve this peacefully. If you decide to ignore me, you will leave me no choice but to imprison you."
Gorahn unfolded his arms and pointed his finger at Jovan.
"If you think I'm afraid of these little worms you call your 'soldiers', you must be sadly mistaken. I didn't come here to bargain with you Commander. I came here to get what's mine. And if I have to run through you and your army to do it, I will. I'm not leaving here until I see Saryah. If she isn't what you offer me, this negotiation is dead."
Jovan sighed and closed his eyes. He knew it would come to this. That was the whole point of shutting down the city and bringing as many armed forces as he could. It was inevitable that Gorahn would deny any chance to peacefully resolve this. He raised his hand above his head and began to shout as loud as he could, over the sound of the heavy rain.
"So be it! Warriors of the militia of Gaia! Attack!"
Gorahn took a few seconds to look around at the body of men who all were charging at him from surrounding angles. He sighed, although his grin never left.
"So be it indeed…"
Without even a whisper, Gorahn's body vanished from the sight of the front line of soldiers. Before one of the soldiers even realized he was gone, a large fist smashed into his face, sending his body sailing into a large group of them. Before many of them could even blink, one by one, each one was being pounded in the face and being sent flying all around the sky. Gorahn was maneuvering faster than many of the soldiers could even follow. Two soldiers wield halberds came soaring from two opposite sides as they were attempting to sandwich Gorahn between the tip of their blades when he became visible. In an instant, he vanished right before them and they impaled each other. Gorahn reappeared, delivering a vicious kick to the both of them, each to the opposing men's temples as the blades of their halberds ripped out both of their bodies.
Gorahn's eyes averted above him and there was a mob of soldiers all rushing toward him, each individual in control of either a weapon such as a sword, spear, or staff, while others hands and bodies were glowing with mana as they were preparing a special attack. Gorahn let out a resounding laugh that echoed throughout the sky.
"Is this all Jovan? Is this your army that you're so proud of?"
Gorahn raised his right palm above his head as he took a glance back at the stationary Jovan, who was observing the scene with a peculiar calm to him.
"Pathetic." In a matter of seconds, a ball of black energy that was formed from a spiral of black particles formed in the center of his palm. When the mob of soldiers was right above his head, the energy was released into a massive bolt of black lightning that pierced through and fried the center of the group. The men who managed to avoid the initial blast were all caught by the traveling electricity that spread after the fired shot. They were all being electrocuted and after they died their limp bodies would fall like the rain back down to the city, where their bodies would land on the barrier, cold and dead carcasses would sprinkle the roof of it.
"It was unwise for your men to pick a fight with me in this weather Jovan. After all, you should be aware of all my skills, are you not?"
Before receiving a response from the Commander, four men who were cloaked in white robes that were trimmed in gold at the cuffs near the wrists with gold metal masks that covered their faces appeared above Gorahn, forming a square-like formation all around him. Seconds later, they each held out both of their palms forward, and a gigantic green pillar of light formed around Gorahn. In the midst of the particles forming around him, soldiers would enter from down below, speeding up the pillar of light to where Gorahn was trapped. The warlord decided he would rather be the one to greet them, so he soared at incredible speed below to meet with the first soldier. He delivered a right hook too fast for the soldier to react to, which sent the poor man flying into two others behind him. A soldier appeared to the left of Gorahn, but he was greeted swiftly with an elbow to the sternum, the sheer force of the blow crushing the chest plated armor. Gorahn proceeded to slap his hands together, sandwiching the soldier's head in between and clenched his fists together, double axing the man down below.
The group of soldiers who followed saw it coming, so they spread out to avoid being hit by their ally. In that time, Gorahn was already in the center of the group. Gorahn delivered elbows to the men right behind him, catching them both at the bridge of their noses. He would whirl his body around, extending his leg as he caught both their heads, sending them colliding into the pillar barrier walls. Taking this time to strike him, another soldier with his fist enveloped in a purple flame took a swing at the warlord. Gorahn, without even looking, caught the fist and applied pressure to it, forcing the soldier to cry out in pain. Grabbing onto the man's wrist with his other hand, he spun around a couple of times and then flung the soldier at two more oncoming soldiers, sending them back into the pillar walls to then tumble down below. When Gorahn decided to look down, he saw a massive amount of men still charging up from the bottom of the pillar. His snickered as he began to, one by one, knock each man around in the pillar, crashing their bodies into the pillar barrier walls. He bouncing himself off the walls after each blow he delivered, pin-balling down the pillar as he was knocking bodies left and right, up and down, all around the confined space in the barrier. From the outside, Jovan surveyed the scene for a few minutes before letting out a sigh. There was no way he could continue to let this go on.
I didn't want to… but it looks like I'm going to have to get my hands dirty.
A blinding white glow emanated from his body as he screamed the name of the aggressor destroying his soldiers.
"Gorahn! I will not allow this madness to continue any longer!"
Jovan's voice boomed, with even the sounds of the battle and falling rain being swallowed up within his divine voice. Gorahn, who was just done grabbing a soldier by the head and smashing into the barrier, took his gaze overhead and sneered. He spotted the white glow above and before departing; he spun his body around and formed a diamond shape with his index fingers and thumbs connecting both hands side by side. An enormous stream of black lightning completely wiped the soldiers below him, most of them being incinerated. The soldiers near the bare bottom were fried to the point where their skin was char-black.
Gorahn shot up the barrier, all the way to the point where he originally was, not far away from Jovan. He spread out his arms to either side and let out a scream and within a matter of moments, the barrier pillar of green light was shattered around him. The four mages who constructed the barrier, shielded themselves from the millions of shards, and within the time of a blink, Gorahn was already face to face with a now furious Jovan.
"Madness? You say stop the madness, Jovan? Do you realize you're to blame for all these deaths? You are to blame for the many men who will no longer be able to see their women, their children… Their fathers, mother, brothers, sisters! It's all your fault! And it's only because you had too much pride to do what was right! I hope you—"
Before he could finish his blurb, Jovan's right fist pounded the lower left side of his jaw. Gorahn was sent sailing through the rain, but managed to regain himself after a few seconds after being knocked away. As soon as he stopped himself, the moment he was steadied there was knee there that met him in his abdomen. Even through his armor he could feel it. He gasped briefly, as Jovan pulled his leg back, he did what he could to recapture some of the wind lost from his pipes. Before he could finish, Jovan delivered a swift kick to his head that turned his body in the air horizontal. Jovan followed with an elbow that shot Gorahn down toward the city. His body was descending at a high speed near the barrier above the city. He halted himself in the air and before he could react, Jovan was there again and deliver an uppercut that sent him right back up in the air. Following the blow, Gorahn was able to ignore the pain and narrowly evaded another kick that was sent for his head by flying back a few feet. Blood trickled down his lip and chin, as he wiped it off with his thumb and smiled.
"I see," started Gorahn, "you're not playing anymore, hmm?"
"This isn't a game Gorahn! I will punish you for the havoc you've caused. I'm going to do what I should have done years ago. I hope you've accomplished all you have ever wanted to do. Your life ends here."
Jovan dashed to Gorahn, throwing another straight right. Gorahn parried the blow with his left and uprooted a knee under Jovan's chin. The blow sent the glowing white man through the air and back. When he recovered, he rapidly ducked under a vicious left and shot two quick jabs to Gorahn's midsection. The warlord was forced back and just barely was able to throw his arms up to block a front kick that was aimed at his face. The force of the blow sent the male drifting through the air and rain. Jovan clapped his hands together and the ominous glow enveloping his body was transferred to his hands clasped together. After a few seconds of the light swirling around his hands, he undid his hands and shot them forward, as several blades of light went sifting through the air, charging for Gorahn. The warlord grunted as he pounded his fists together, a giant burst of lightning came down above, shielding him from the assembly of glowing snow white blades that were sent to pierce him, dispersing of each blade that struck into the stream.
"That isn't enough, old friend."
Gorahn's eyes shot wide as he turned and his face was struck by Jovan's glowing white fist. He went spinning through the air uncontrollably and Jovan flew over to where he was at an unbelievable speed, serving the man another blow sending him flying all the way down, slamming into the barrier above the city. He was sprawled out on his back as Jovan hammered down on top of him, planting both feet in his chest, sending a shockwave through the barrier, causing a massive ripple effect. The soldiers and people alike under the barrier let out cries, not knowing what could have made such an impact on the barrier. Jovan stepped off his body and began to calmly circle his foe. Gorahn was staring back up at the sky, as the rain kept falling and falling. He closed his eyes as if to calm himself as his enemy walking around him spoke.
"You were… are arguably the best warrior to ever grace these lands. I admired everything about you at one point. All the way back to when we were just infantry soldiers, I always knew that you'd end up being a great warrior. A great leader of men, someone who would lead us and our people to countless victories in battle. And you did just that Gorahn. We fought side by side on many occasions, bled together, tasted the grains of victory together… and here we are, battling to the death as enemies.
"Where did it all go wrong? Why… why did you betray us? Our country… me? All for some woman? What happened to you?"
Gorahn didn't speak a word, somberly staring above still allowing the tumbling rain to soothe his soul. He could hear his former friend speak, but couldn't acknowledge anything he was saying.
"None of that matters now, Commander," he said as he turned over on all fours, slowly rising to his feet. By now, he was staring face to face into the eyes of his former leader… friend. "There are things that, even if I explained them to you, you'd never understand. Unlike you, I'm no longer a slave to his city… to this country… to this life. We were never allowed to do anything other than what was planned for us. I decided to create my own path. Carve my own legacy. I chose to do everything I've done because this is the freedom we fought for and both deserve!
"But I'm done with all this chatter. This is battle, no more words need to be spoken. As a matter of fact, I'm done messing around. I've allowed this to carry on far too long. It's time that we finish this. I'm no longer amused… now I fight you for real."
Jovan sighed as he closed his eyes, shaking his head.
"You always were stubborn, Goro. Seems like the only way to peacefully resolve this is to sever your head from your body.
"You leave me no choice." Jovan's snow white glow illuminated from around his body again as he steadily ascended back up in the sky. Gorahn watched him as he soared upward and closed his eyes. When he reopened them, the white of his eyes was now black and the iris was yellow. Black markings began spreading all through his body, the shifting tattoes creeping up on his neck, arms and legs, although all that was truly visible were the markings swirling on the skin of his face. He floated up at high speed to meet Jovan where he stopped.
"Today is the day you die Jovan, and I will take back what is mine!"
"Sorry Goro… I'll make sure, despite all that has happened, that they honor you after you die. You are a big part of where Gaia is today and that won't be forgotten. I'll make sure the people of generations after will regard you as a hero. This is the best I can do for you, old friend."
"Enough!" shrieked Gorahn.
From below, a few of the remaining soldiers were watching from what they believed would be a safe distance. They watched as they saw the two light of energies—the white and black—collide. The force of impact was so powerful, a giant field of water formed in the midst of the rain, where there was only in the field and the two men fighting. The light emitting from them shined so bright that it engulfed even them, not knowing whether they were caught in the crossfire or if this was just the after effect of a collision between the two most powerful men in the country…
19 Years Later
Standing on top of one of the giant trees in the Forest of Ren, was a young man tiptoeing on one of the higher branches. He wore a tattered and torn black hooded cloak as he drink the last bit of water from his gray canteen. He wiped his lips with his gauntlet covered forearm as he sighed. From where he was, there was a village a few miles up ahead, passed the rest of the forest. There maybe he would find…
"That has to be it. The Village of Bronge. Maybe there I'll be able to find… that man."
He tucked his canteen in the breast pocket of his cloak and plopped down back into the forest, disappearing in the lush greenery below the trees. He would make a stop at the village, hoping he could find answers for the man he was in search for…