Age Of The Red Demons
Age Of The Red Demons
Author: Sher Reev
The Wake of the Red King

It was on the seventh day of the second fortnight in the month of blood that hell was let loose.

Daella happened to find herself at the mouth of a mysterious cave which was carved out of the earth like a hole in the mouth of a demon.

Inside the cave was blackness.

She sensed an eerie feeling, warning her of the dangers that might lie in that darkness. It could be a beast who tears one into shreds or a ghostly demon who possesses one's soul and takes charge of their body.

But the princess feared no man, not even her own father.

What else could be waiting beneath all this darkness that could be worse than a man? Such were the thoughts that shaded her reasoning.

So she headed into the cave. An action that would bring forth the fulfilment of a prophecy. A great prophecy which had eluded fulfilment for more than two hundred years.

In the hall of prophecies, on the isle of witches far beyond the white mountains, written by the hands of the gods with the ink of destiny, plain for all to see:

"The enemy of Albane, the enemy of men, the one by whose hands waste shall be made of all that thrives shall be freed by the one who bears a crown.”

As she walked into the cave, it was lit by its own walls with each light appearing at every step she took.

In the deeper parts of the cave, she found a round pool. It contained a boiling substance.

It was a thick liquid of extreme cohesiveness, with a colour which seemed to be a combination of red and yellow shades, boiling with a loud breath as though it was somehow alive.

As she moved closer to the pool to observe it better, suddenly, she stepped on something.

In the moment of a twinkle, arrows shot out from within the walls of the cave, flying in her direction.

But they could not harm her.

She was protected by the armour she wore on that day. The very armour she had sworn to hate. The armour of Queen Meredith.

At this point, she looked around cautiously and studied her surroundings.

The boiling sera, as it would be called, had attracted her initially, drawing her towards itself and making her oblivious of what surrounded her.

So now she paid attention.

The place was indeed a lair crafted out of great skill and mastery, with intelligence and brilliance and of course, sorcery.

Round as it was, sculptures of heads of lions hung out from its walls. The stone lions had their mouth wide open as if they were ready to feast on an unfortunate prey.

On their heads stood the lanterns that illuminated the cave, and from their mouth shot the arrows.

The princess was only lucky that the arrows could not pierce through the ancient armour she wore, no matter how many times she triggered their release.

When she returned her gaze to the boiling pool, it was surrounded by a visible line of ash which was dark and shiny. It looked quite ordinary, like a person could just cross over it, but it was a different test.

Sorcery is always a different test.

Deceptive, destructive and intoxicating, those are the power of sorcery.

None of these descriptions that forged the pride of sorcery would elude the princess Daella, daughter of Morrys II, and princess to the throne of Meredith who made her way to cross the magical boundary which bordered the sera that boiled from the rest of the natural world.

Once she tried to cross, voices and noises, terrifying shouts of men, covered her eardrums as if telling her not to.

But she would not budge, she felt so drawn to the sera and whatever lay inside of it that she kept on trying to cross. The line surrounding her beacon blocked her path as if it was raised to form a barrier, and deprived her the same way a wall deprives an invader.

By common reasoning, she would have understood that sorcery was at work here, but following what had happened to her earlier tonight, and due to the anger and frustration in her, she decided not to back down.

But one does not duel with magic, or it consumes like it did Daella.

After a short-lived mystical struggle with the magical protective barrier, it brought her into unconsciousness, throwing her down to the ground.

Did the line serve its purpose? Protecting mankind from the evil it held captive?

No! It was Daella who lost, who had won in the end. A victory she would curse in times to come.

While struggling against the magic of the great barrier, she had bled and her blood had touched the ashes that made up the line.

The blood of an Arnold, blood of great magical history.

The great family whose blood had sealed Zathryon, the Red King, against his will. That same blood made him free again, two hundred years after it was prophesied.

While the princess lay down unconscious, the Red King rose in his dark might, after the multitudes of birds that rose before him from the depths of the boiling sera to announce his resurrection.

Black birds, all once mortal bats. But as the years had passed, their souls had boiled with that of their master and now together, their souls boiled with evil.

All of mankind would curse this day. The day when the mightiest evil was let upon the surface of the earth. The day when the blood of men becomes a delicacy, to be feasted upon. The day when his presence is felt again.

For he is back, the red king of Albane, and his little red party.

Higher and higher, the bats flew into the night, to every corner of Meredith, to be seen by the lowborn and the nobles, the lords and the saes, children and adults, men and women, and even the witches and wizards from the isle and the reach.

Flapping their wings in unison. Parading the skies of Meredith. Echoing the sounds of hell. And announcing the dawn of a new age - An age of terror.

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