-Innocence & Corruption-

Prologue: Through Raging Flames

. . .

From raging flames, forth comes life,
Purely of Innocence, no Corruption or strife.
This Magenta Flame of Innocence, for Shalua she stands,
Never conceding to the shadows' dark demands.
Traversing the villages, fast and true,
Thus unifying them, through and through.
With fiery trail blazing, together comes the land,
A Tribal from each village offering their hand.
Together, Tana, Tribals, and Magicians unite,
Revealing the path to Innocence's final fight.
Upon the tolling of this, the darkest hour,
Therein lays the secret to her power.

. . .

A tall, masked, blonde male stepped out of his hut and looked towards the sky, rain sprinkling his face lightly. Looks like a big storm's on its way..., he thought. I better get a move on. Don't want to be late.

In the next village over, a family of four sat around a small table, talking and laughing joyfully, drowning out the faint patter of rain against the roof of their hut. The father leaned back, a smile spanning his features. "As soon as Léo arrives, we can begin our celebration!" He turned his attention to his children, a boy and a girl. "I'm sure you're both excited, right Resilience? Patience?"

The boy, Resilience, grinned at Patience. "Of course I am! It's not every day your little sister turns three!"

His sister beamed back at him. "Yeah! I can't wait!" She glanced at her father. "When's Léo supposed to get here, Papa?"

He hummed thoughtfully, running his fingers through his bright red hair. "Knowing him, I'm certain he'll be late. But, it shouldn't be too long, my dear."

She giggled. "Okaaaaayy~ I guess I can wait, then."

Her mother smiled, patting her head softly. "That's my girl. I am sure Léo's just as excited as the rest of us. So, hopefully he won't be as behind schedule as he usually is."

Resilience laughed. "As if that would ever happen, Mother. Maybe we should change his title from 'Tana of Light' to 'Tana of Tardiness'."

Their father chuckled loudly. "I don't know about that, my son. It may be a little too accurate for his liking, haha!"

His wife punched his shoulder lightly. "You're terrible, Kalron."

He grinned again. "Come now, love. There's no shame in embracing each other's flaws!"

She shook her head, smirking. "Is that what you and Léo refer to it as now?"

"Certainly, haha!"

Just then, a loud knock sounded from the front door. Kalron stood up from the table, stepping towards it. "That must be him now." He slid the door open, only to reveal a small, black-haired boy, who appeared to be drenched from head to toe.

His wife stood up from the table. "Why hello there, young one. What brings you here, at this time?"

The boy simply gazed up at them blankly, his hair dripping with rain, before a wild grin creased his face, his orange eyes glowing eerily.

A look of panic etched itself on Kalron's features. He turned back to his children, opening his mouth to say something, but, unfortunately, wasn't quick enough.

In the blink of an eye, the black-haired boy was swallowed up by the shadows around him, his body morphing into the form of an utterly terrifying monster. With one swipe from his clawed hand, he knocked Kalron and his wife away, his eyes glowering down menacingly at their children.

Resilience grabbed his sister's hand, booking it towards the back of the house, trying to escape the shadow creature. That only seemed to irritate the boy-turned-monster, however, as he angrily spat molten flames after them, catching their surroundings on fire.

Refusing to look back, Resilience ran until he reached their room, ducking Patience down under her bed. "Stay here," he whispered. "Don't come out, until I say so."

And, with that, he ran back out of the room to confront the monster. Resilience glared up at him, the jewel embedded in the belt he wore glowing a bright red, as he raised his hands, flames erupting from his palms. "Get out of here, Corrupted!" he yelled, his fire making contact.

The shadow creature simply roared in anger, swatting the flames away, as if they were merely a fly. Resilience didn't care. He dodged attack after attack from the monster, continuously aiming his fire at him, refusing to give in.

Try as he might, though, his attacks seemed to have little to no effect on the creature at all. And, even worse than that, he couldn't seem to see his parents anywhere. Th… this is bad… What… what am I going to do?!

Resilience glanced around frantically, trying desperately to find a way out of this mess. To his dismay, however, the voice of his sister called from the hallway entrance, "Resilience! Wh-what's going on? What is that thing?"

Her brother's gaze widened in horror. "P-Patience?! Get out of here! NOW!"

A guttural growl emanated from the shadow creature's mouth, aiming a blast towards Patience. Just as he did, though, Resilience landed a kick on his side, knocking his aim off course. The monster roared furiously, batting the boy away irately.

Resilience smashed into the wall with a sickening thud, and the creature turned his attention back to Patience, stepping closer to her slowly. She gazed up at him, tears welling in her emerald eyes, as she took a step backward, unable to look away.

Thunder bellowed in the distance, as the monster prepared another blast of molten flame, stepping even closer to the frightened child.

"Not so fast, Corrupted!" a voice familiar to Patience shouted, a concentrated beam of pure light searing into the back of the shadow creature.

He hissed in pain, as the blonde male from before front-flipped over him, grabbing Patience. "Léo!" she cried, holding onto him tightly.

"I'm here for you," he told her. "There's nothing to be afraid of."

The monster reared back, launching several molten blasts towards them, only for Léo's blue-green eyes to glow brightly, a shield of yellow energy materializing around them and successfully diverting the flames away. Léo hoisted Patience up onto his back, as he turned towards the creature again, the yellow gem in his belt flaring to life with power.

He raised his arms, an orb of light growing between his palms, until it engulfed the shadow creature completely, the monster's shrieks of agony filling the air.

The light eventually faded, as the creature's cries died down. The shadows dissipated, revealing the unconscious body of the black-haired boy in their wake. Léo crouched down, placing energy cuffs on the boy's wrists.

Nodding in approval, he looked back at the still-terrified Patience, offering her a gentle smile. "Let's go to see Elder Taharus, young one."

Important Character(s) Introduced: Patience, Tana Léo
Side Character(s) Introduced: Kalron, Valah (Patience's Mom), Resilience, not-yet-named Corrupted boy (will be named later)

A/N: Hi, everyone~!
This here is a story I started writing in February of 2017 and finished in December of the same year. It's also the first book I've ever completed!
I really, truly hope all who decide to read this enjoy it as much as I did writing it!
(I also have links to artwork, sketches, concepts, and world-building for this story and its series on my profile! Just copy and paste them.)