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The Fire of Yesterday

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Contest The Fire of Yesterday

Post by Sage May 15th 2023, 8:36 pm

The Fire of Yesterday Image

”Grieve not the dying of the star,
For its final flare ignites the spark of creation.
Mourn not the dimming of the day’s glow,
For darkness brings the rest before life’s reprieve.
Fear not the dread of unfettered death,
For the night is darkest before the dawn.”

Yorin recited the timeless words, knelt before the battlefield in front of him. Countless dead bodies littered a ruined meadow. His eyes were turned downwards, he couldn’t bring himself to look anymore. The remains of the foul beasts hadn’t been burned yet, so he couldn’t walk away. Just like every battle before, he was all that was left standing. The words he muttered to himself gave him strength, they reminded him of why he was doing this. Eugenia was a world of many creatures, and some of them were living nightmares.

Yorin stood up, and found the strength to look at the battlefield. Knight after knight had been slain to defend the nearby town from the Durlighs that had surfaced here. Their abhorrent bodies had been dismembered, despite Yorin instructing them at length to use puncturing weapons and not slashing ones. That mistake was the cause of at least a third of their deaths. They didn’t have enough time to take their armor off before the blood seeped between the cracks, and then they were outnumbered.

Yorin looked out at the night sky, and wondered how this could’ve gone better. They had won, but they all gave their lives for it. Behind the grate that made his helmet, Yorin’s golden eyes held nothing but grief. His armor gleamed shades of red and yellow, like steel in a furnace. Golden plates of metal extended into grates vents at the joints, where traces of fire flowed out. Much like the dead knights around him, his chest bore a symbol reminiscent of a coat of arms; A yellow bird with outstretched wings raining swords and spears down at a sun. On his back was a cape adorned with char-black fur and swirling patterns of gold that flickered the appearance of shields in the light. Flames caressed his shoulders, his cape and his boots, his eyes shone through the grate of his helmet like a pair of radiant stars against a black sky

He would have removed his helmet out of respect for the dead, if he were certain no one was watching him. Instead, he-

There was a gurgling, wet noise coming from one of the bodies. Like leather being ripped apart. One of the knights had been infected again, and his body clamored to its feet to face him.

An elven man, it seemed. He did not wear a helmet, and it showed with the sickly black patch of skin through which the blood took him. Where the dead soldier’s face had been, there was now a gaping hole, and Yorin could see the red slop of dissolved flesh spilling down into it. The man, now taken over as a full Durligh, shrieked and ran at Yorin with the intent of a predator, and the usual unstable gait of its kind. Yorin, however, did not move. Instead he put a hand out towards the creature. The red steel of his gauntlet began to glow yellow, and sparks escaped the creases between the metal, as a jet of fire was sent forward.

The young Durligh was engulfed in the flames. Its final scream caught in its void of a throat, and the armor it wore melted against its abhorrent flesh. In seconds, the miserable thing had become a pile of ash and smoking iron. Just for good measure, he sprayed the ashes with flames. And for the next hour, he did the same thing with every single body, of the knights he fought alongside, and the abysmal creatures they took down with him.

One could never be too careful when fighting Durlighs.

The sun had started to rise when Yorin was finished. He didn’t want to incinerate such a beautiful place, but the flowers and the grass had been tainted. He looked down at the town ahead of him, a place called Thistlegrove. Mostly toadsfolk and elves if the knights were local. The buildings he could see appeared to be made of wood, with a few brick buildings here or there. They likely knew about the attack by now, since Yorin could see some of them looking at the smoke coming from hills by now. He always feared this part of the day more than the casualties. But they deserved to know their loved ones were tended to.

Yorin walked to the town, and sure enough, demihuman toad people and elves looked at him with nervous curiosity. Some of them went back inside as he walked by, others whispered things he barely made out, beyond the mention of darkness and soldiers. His armored boots clanked against the brick road quietly. Yorin did his best to quell the flames slipping out of his armor. Most of the townsfolk, as far as he could tell, had lost someone last night. He knew the feeling all too well. He was stopped when an elf in an expensive-looking brigandine crossed his path. Half of his face was bandaged, and he was limping on a wooden crutch. His uniform was stained with blood.

”Thasalla Falen. Guard Captain.” He said.


Captain Falen eyed Yorin’s curious armor. If he could smell the ashes, he didn’t comment on it. ”I assume my men aren’t coming back.”

”The Dark took them. I gave them mercy.”

Falen nodded solemnly. ”You’re that one they talk about. The knight with the flaming sword. As long as they don’t come back and take us with them, then I don’t care what you did.” There was disappointment in his words, but it wasn’t directed at Yorin. At least, he hoped it wasn’t.

”I did what I could. I will search for the hole they came from. It won’t be far from here, these people will need to stay indoors.”

The captain shook his head. ”If they’re still out there, then we’ll fight.”

”You are wounded, and your people must grieve in peace. If there is a mage among you, seek them for protection. Please, do not stand and fight again, captain.” He pleaded with the man, but deep down, he knew it likely wouldn’t happen.

”Don’t tell me what to do. You’re supposed to fight these things, but all my men are dead. You don’t come all the way out here and let half of the guard die and then act like you give orders.” The captain practically spat at Yorin.

I didn’t let anyone die. I warned them, and they ignored me. That was what Yorin wanted to say, but this man was still reeling. ”I… Am sorry. I cannot bring them back, but I can ensure more lives are not lost.”

”Then do it.”

Yorin nodded, and walked away. More people had begun to look outside their windows, and the looks of curiosity had become looks of disdain. They didn’t voice their thoughts, but Yorin knew what they were thinking. You’re supposed to be a hero. He couldn’t look them in the eyes as he walked by their homes. This was a battle he knew he could win, but how many lives would be lost in the process?

Just before Yorin left the outskirts of Thistlegrove, a young elf boy stopped him. He couldn’t have been any older than 13.

”You were there, right? Did you kill the monsters?”

”I did.”

”But… No one is coming home.”

Yorin felt the sting of their deaths again. ”…No. I’m sorry, but they gave their lives to save you all.”

”I know. It’s okay, they wanted to.”

Of all the things Yorin thought he would say, that wasn’t one of them. And it didn’t feel any easier knowing this child had felt so resigned about so much death.

”I will make sure their sacrifices were not for nothing. The Durlighs will pay.”

”…Durlighs? We just call ‘em monsters.”

”That is their name, yes. How long have you known about them?”

”Since yesterday. No one really knows what they are.”

”I can tell you. Durlighs are creatures that prey on people, and live in darkness. They are born underground, and travel to the surface to feed.”

”Why do they live underground?”

”Because there is no light or warmth underground. The Durlighs fear the sun, because it weakens them. They live in deep caves, abandoned mines, and anywhere else that is dark and cold. Durlighs thrive in these places, but they must hunt like any other animal.”

”They wanted to eat us…”

”Yes. They would have dragged you all into the Dark, and you would never be seen again. That is why I will root them out.”

”Why does it have to be you? Won’t they eat you?”

Yorin knelt down in front of the boy, and showed one of his gauntlets to him. ”There is nothing for them to eat.” He pulled the hand portion of the gauntlet off of its hinges, and revealed what was underneath. A hand in the shape of golden fire, where one’s flesh and bone should be.

Naturally, he was speechless.

”You’re a Pyrecoat.”

Yorin looked at the boy with a mix of surprise and confusion. ”…How do you know that name?”

”Cernik taught me about them. He’s the wizard who lives by the river.”

”I see…”

”I bet he can help you find where the monsters live! I’ll take you to him.”

”Yes, I would like to meet this person.” Yorin said, fixing his hand back in place. ”What is your name.”

”Ilisa, what’s yours?”

”Elder Paladin Yorin.”

Ilisa led Yorin to the other end of Thistlegrove, to a small house with a wooden fence. Smoke rose from a chimney. Outside the house, thick plots of mushrooms were growing in a garden. Very few seemed to have similar colors to one another. The front door was adorned with a wreath of flowers, which smelled of oil and salt.

Ilisa swing the door wide open, leading Yorin inside.

”Ilisa? Is that you?” A voice croaked.

”I brought someone. He’s a-“

”Yes… I see.” Suddenly, standing right in front of Yorin was a short, stubby toad-person in a brown robe. He held a gnarled walking stick in one hand, and a long pipe in the other. The wizard looked up at Yorin’s towering figure with curiosity. His yellow eyes studied his armor with intrigue and what could’ve been amusement in a different situation.

”I had thought your type was dead.”

Yorin wasn’t sure how to respond.

”This is Yorin! Yorin- this is Cernik, the cranky old wizard everyone knows and lives around here.”

Cernik blew a ring of pink smoke into the air, ”Pleasure meeting you. Now, boy, why have you brought this walking campfire into my home?”

”He’s looking for the Dola- The Delik- Um…”

Yorin and Cernik both said “The Durlighs,” at the same time.

”And I suppose you need my help, hm?”

”Ilisa wanted to introduce me to you. Your offer is appreciated, but I can find them myself.”

”Conveniently, I was just about to go and destroy their breeding grounds myself.”

”You… What?”

”Oh, don’t be ridiculous. They crawled out of an old fortress not far from here. It was written in the sky long before it occurred.”

”He means he used magic to tell the future.”

Cernik chuckled. ”This one might replace me, one day. Run along, boy. The adults have business to discuss.”

”Okay. Bye, Yorin.”


Ilisa quickly scampered out of the house and closed the door behind him. Cernik tapped his stick against Yorin’s armor. ”Do you have the wings?”

”I-Yes… Yes, but how do you-“

”I know many things, Yorin. I know you are an oddity in these days, I know your soul is heavy with grief and the passage of time. I know you were a High Paladin.”

”Elder Paladin.”

”I was just making sure you were paying attention.” He jabbed, ”I know you’re an Elder Paladin because of your cape.”

”Then you should know that we kept secrets for a reason.” Yorin remarked.

”Kept. Not keep. Besides, any hedge wizard with a mirror could single you out.”

Yorin fixed a look at Cernik. ”The Durlighs…”

Cernik’s eyes widened slightly, as if he forgot something. ”Ah- Yes. My book. Let me fetch it and we’ll be on our way.”

”Tell me where they are, and I will go myself.”

”Nonsense! I won’t stand idly by while more faceless imitations of life prevent me from harvesting my mushrooms.”

Cernik hobbled away and up the stairs of the house. The inside looked cramped. There was a fireplace with a rocking chair in one corner, a bookshelf against the wall, and a table. Footsteps and the sound of clattering noises could be heard from upstairs. Yorin took a few steps across the floor, and something made a crashing sound upstairs, followed by nonsensical jabbering from Cernik.

He was… Certainly a character.

Eventually, the wizard came back down the stairs, holding a small, leather bound book adorned with gemstones and a decorative magic circle design. Cernik held it open with one hand and held his walking stick with the other. He scanned the page and stomped the stick against the floor, causing a mote of pink light to form at its end.

”Follow this little sprite, it will take you to their nest,” Cernik instructed, You will want to fly, there is a rather deep river between here and the fortress.”

”And you?”

”Oh, I’m not that old. I’ll be there.”

”Very well.” Yorin said, as the front door magically opened, and the light floated outwards.

Yorin followed it outside, and watched it float high into the air and towards a distant thicket of trees. Yorin’s ashen cape began to glow a brilliant yellow-orange color, and it split apart down the middle. Strands of coarse fur became roaring flames that rolled off of his shoulders almost like water. The flames spread outwards over his shoulders, and formed a set of wings.

He stretched them further outwards, until the front lawn of Cernik’s home was showered in a golden glow, and he took to the skies like a bird. The mote of light led him over dense patches of trees, some of which were beginning to turn brown with the changing of the seasons. By now, the Eugenian sun had risen high overhead. The Durlighs and their spawn would now likely be hidden underground, expecting their brethren to return with food. It made his task easier, doing this in broad daylight where the entire brood would be in one place… Relatively speaking.

After half an hour of flying through the sky, Cernik’s light led Yorin to an empty field of grass, where walls of stone stood in the distance. A tower of gray brick stretched up into the air, and Yorin could see the remains of a ballista between the crenellations. Tattered and faded banners fluttered in the wind. They depicted phoenixes wielding swords and spears, striking at a moon overhead. It was remarkably similar to the imagery adorning Yorin’s armor.

Along the ground, there were large swathes of grass that appeared to be dead and turning black. Barren soil was exposed, no longer fertile enough to sustain life. That was a sign of Durlighs taking up refuge below.

The glowing light began to glow brighter in front of Yorin, to a point that it was blinding. When the light faded, Cernik was standing in its place, no longer holding the book, but his pipe instead.

”I told you I would be here.”

”Impressive. You were right, they’ve taken hold of this stronghold.”

”Of course I’m right. I suspect they’ll be in the equivalent of an inner sanctum, or the deepest part of the structure they can get to. You know exactly where that should be, I take it.”

Cernik still eluded Yorin ”Before we enter this place, you will explain to me why you know as much as you do.”

Yorin elicited a laugh from Cernik. ”Have care with how you speak to your elders, boy.”

”You know more than you let on, so you should already know that I am far older than you.”

”Where is your sense of humor? Oh, it doesn’t matter. I’ve studied your people extensively. You aren’t the only one gifted with an exceptionally long life, after all. I have pulled back the curtains of horizons that know no bounds. I have wandered realms with names neither you nor I could pronounce. As we speak, there are beings who chronicle our deeds in the river of all that ever was, and all that will ever be. There are few things I do not grasp, He proclaimed with all the brazen confidence of a true wizard. ”Least of all the history of a relic such as yourself.”

Yorin considered Cernik’s “explanation” quietly. He seemed to be a madman in one light, and a truly powerful individual in another. When Yorin didn’t immediately respond, Cernik added, ”For what it is worth, I vow to tread this ground with respect, and to treat this place as sacred. You have my word.”

”I believe you. Now, we have work to do. Follow me. All of the strongholds were built in a similar fashion. In all of them, there is a hidden chamber that only the Paladins could open.”

”Of course.”

The two of them walked towards the gate, looked atop the battlements and the inner walls for any signs of life in the fortress’s perimeter. The base of the tower was built in a similar manner to a cathedral. With large wooden doors and ornate stained glass windows, which had long since been destroyed completely. There were faint traces of foliage covering the walls of the fortress, but that was long rotted away due to the presence of darkness. Barren dirt covered in thick clumps of dead, black plants littered the grounds outside the doors, which opened with a loud, echoing groan.

Inside the fortress was… Nothing.

They walked for a brief time, until they came to a large antechamber shaped like a semicircle, enough to house a hundred soldiers. The ceiling stretched for hundreds of feet into the air, and let in enough sunlight to light the entire chamber. Upon the floor was an elaborate mural of a flaming bird, with rays of sun spearing outwards to the walls. There were six recesses in the walls of the room, each with a brazier. Dust and dead leaves littered the floor, marred with chips and cracks that made the imagery barely recognizable. Yorin could see the balconies that lead to second floors in the dim light, but there were no entryways behind them. Directly across from them both, on the opposite end of the chamber, was a rectangular monolith adorned with patterns that resembled a written language.

The architecture was impossibly different compared to the utilitarian bricklaid structures outside.

”This was a sacred place, once.”

”Even cold ash allows life to grow again.”

”Cold ashes will not bring them back.” Yorin snapped his metal fingers, and fires erupted in the braziers on the walls. Cernik observed curiously, noting the distinct lack of an echo following the fires being lit.

”Temple undercroft. Eleventh crypt, Sire’s Rite.” Yorin declared, in a raised voice, and the stone monolith’s carving began to glow yellow. A door opened on its nearest left.

”Follow me.”

They descended down into an unfathomably deep region of the stronghold, down a spiraling hallway of black stone, and black stairs. Cobwebs and creeping mold lined the walls, and only grew thicker as they went further down. Lit only by a flame from Yorin, the passageway was barely wide enough for one person to travel.

”I see comfort was not a consideration in this structure’s making.” Cernik joked quietly, stifling a cough at the smell of mildew.

”We worked in solitude.”

”I know the stories. Sacred warriors pushing back the boundless tide of the darkness. Quite poetic… And tragic, might I add.”

Their voices echoed down the oppressive hallways for what may have been thousands of feet deep. The air was stale from an unknowable time without being disturbed. Cernik smelled the scent of decay.

”I did not meet your brothers in arms, but I would have been honored to. They made this world a safer place.”

Yorin did not say it aloud, but he appreciated Cernik’s kind words.

Silence stretched out between them, save for the echo of footsteps and the tapping of Cernik’s staff. Minutes passed, and Yorin took solace in knowing this place would be made a bit more sacred before the day was done.

”Tell me… Why did you survive, where they did not?”

The question made Yorin tense up under his armor. He hesitated, ”I was… in the right place at the right time.”

”Interesting,” He mused. ”I am surprised that none other than you were. I had always assumed the Pyrecoats disappeared… Willingly.”

”And I had assumed we were all forgotten.”

”Nothing is ever forgotten, boy. It is as your lord would have said. The path of yesterday-“

”-Paves the road to tomorrow. Yes… He always knew how to lift our spirits.” Yorin stopped, and looked over his shoulder after letting it sink in.

”…You knew him.”

Cernik appeared to be caught off guard. Then he let out a loud, throaty laugh. ”Smart as a whip, I see. Yes, Ralanos and I were… Old friends. You could say I am much older than I look, thanks to him.”

”You, and Ralanos? I don’t believe it.” They continued walking.

”He was the type to keep secrets, Yorin. He spoke highly of you long ago.”

That wasn’t much of a surprise to Yorin, he was an Elder Paladin for a reason, after all. ”He did often conceal things from us. Yes… I never blamed him for it, though. Lord Ralanos carried a great burden, more than the rest of us.”

”Hard times create strong wills.”

”Now you truly sound like him,” Yorin remarked.

”No, no,” Cernik corrected, ”Ralanos sounded like me-“

Yorin threw a hand up to catch Cernik’s attention, and stopped dead in his tracks. ”Listen-“

In the distance, scraping noises could be heard. Like stone being chipped away at with a chisel. Footsteps dragged across the floor, loud and erratic The footsteps were many in numbers, some overlapping by the sounds. Hundreds of movements all at once. Warm skin against stone.

If they listened closely enough, they could hear the thrum of heart, beating to the rhythm of the abyss.

”That sound… They have a Mother.” Yorin whispered.

”That complicates this. Ralanos and I exchanged many secrets during our time together. Many of which involved the secrets of incinerating things with magic. If you can expose its heart, I can-“

The heartbeat grew nearer. The walls carried its vibrations.

Yorin put a finger to his helmet, gesturing for Cernik to keep quiet.

”Heart. Burn it.”

Cernik nodded, and they crept down the remaining stairs as slowly and quietly as possible. Cernik prepared a spell between his fingers as they came to the bottom.

Before them was another stone wall and brazier. The wall was identical to the monolith in the antechamber. By now, the walls were shaking with the Mother’s heartbeat. Yorin looked at Cernik, who nodded, and opened the doorway.

What they saw was complete nothing.

Not a lack of something, not an empty room. Complete, unfettered, nothing. Black as an endless night, the undercroft was simply gone. Before them stood the boundless void, the breeding ground of the Durlighs. They crossed the threshold quickly, Cernik raised an arm into the air and filled the undercroft with a pale rose light.

Black figures writhed and contorted under the light, they screeched and wailed in agony, while Yorin and Cernik unleaded volleys of fire at them. The Durlighs flung themselves forward with all the ravenous of a million famished beasts. They clamored over one another in a frenzy of countless bodies. Yorin cut them down in droves with his cape aflame, in his hand he held a blazing sword that passed through them like paper. Cernik conjured circles of flame around them both, and from the circles, bolts of flame struck the abominations down. Every flick of his wrist sent a flaming explosion into clusters of the horde.

The feral shrieks were drowned out stone shattered against the force of their spells. The two of them trudged over ashen bodies. Rot and smoke filled the air until they could hardly breathe, and yet the Durlighs still crawled over each other in desperation to feed on the intruders. Inch by inch, they made their way towards the center of the brood.

For what could’ve been an hour or longer, they slaughtered the dark vermin. Black sludge flowed up to their ankles, and ripples in small waves at the pulse of the Mother’s heartbeat. Their warpath stopped at the chamber, much like the one they entered the fortress through, lined with rectangular coffins. They were broken open, armor was scattered across the floor. Cernik filled the chamber with light, and they laid eyes upon her.

A gigantic figure of black, gelatinous matter coming together in massive strands. Its lower body melded into the stone floor, along with the barren armor of Yorin’s long-dead comrades. Spikes jutted out through its massive torso, and across its gangly arms. In the center of its chest, there was a pit holding a heart. It beat with enough force to shake the ground they walked upon. The Mother’s face was made of several metal helmets, all twisting into the visage of a skull, with pieces of twisted metal wrapping downwards like teeth. Its hollow eyes stared through them, into their souls.

The heart thrummed in their ears, loud enough to shake Cernik’s bones. It stared at them for what felt like an eternity, while its skin began to bulge outwards and rupture.

Black hands exploded outwards from the Mother’s lower body, as sounds of wheezing and cracking bone filled the room. It was attempting to create more children to defend itself.

”Aim for the heart, we can kill it befor-“

Cernik fell to one knee. His body felt weak, and he leaned heavily on his staff just to keep upright. He looked up at Yorin, and his eyes had gone from yellow to pure black.

”I… Cannot go on.”

He was infected.

”No… You are a wizard. Use your magic! Fight it!”

Cernik laughed, weak from the heat and the sickness. ”There is no time, boy. It’s watching you, waiting for you to let your guard down. You can-“ He wheezed.

”-You can still destroy it. You need only tear out its heart.”

All the fight had been taken out of Yorin by now. He rushed over to Cernik’s side, and put a hand on him to steady the old man.

”Be still.” Yorin’s hand ignited with flames, which changed color to a sunflower yellow. Yorin spread the flames over the black veins that were forming on Cernik’s body. He watched them recede by inches, but in other places, they seemed to spread faster.

Yorin engulfed Cernik in the cleansing flames. They did not burn him, but they did not remove the Darkness from his flesh, so Yorin intensified the blaze. He felt desperation to save someone, anyone at all from this. Cernik remained still, and looked upon Yorin with empathy in his corrupted eyes.

”You… Are a kind man, Yorin. But even you must learn that death comes for us all.” Cernik said, his voice softer than before.

”I can save you! I can purge it from you, just stay strong!“

”You know, better than any alive today, that there is no going back once the plague sets in... Save your strength.”

Of course he knew. How could he forget? How could he have forgotten the countless deaths over the centuries of work he had done to render these abominations extinct in the absence of companionship?

How could he just let one more die?

”You must be so very tired after all this time. I am… I am sorry- It- It could have been different, I know. The survivors always dream of a second chance, don’t we?”

His words were like daggers to Yorin. He told himself for countless years that he would never let someone else fall to the Darkness if he had the chance to save them. But that was a solemn vow he could never fulfill.

”I can’t let you die. I can’t! I let everyone else die, every other time. I won’t let you be the next!”

Even when Cernik burned in Yorin’s fire like the sun, it could only slow the spread of black veins across his face.

”You- You will live on. You will tell your story to all those who would listen, when you are ready. Yorin… You came here because you have a deep, profound love of all life. But you must understand something.“ Cernik wearily reached into his robes, and tossed something to Yorin’s feet.

”Love is not burning alive just to keep others warm. Love is not bleeding your heart dry to water the gardens of others. That, Yorin, is sacrifice… You have made enough sacrifices.”

Cernik’s skin was more black than green by now.

”You… You truly were his friend in another time.”

”Indeed I was. Now- Now let it be done.” The old wizard looked up through the abyss that plagued him, and there was only a smile on his face.

”Ralanos will be proud of you when I tell him about this.”

Yorin nodded, and the flames that radiated around Cernik changed color, from yellow to blinding gold.

”Go now, undarkened soul, into the silence of the Day. Be at peace, and rejoin the Earth at last.”

Darkness once again filled the undercroft. There were only ashes where Cernik was. For precious seconds, there was only silence.

Silence, and grief.

Yorin heard bones snapping behind him. The Mother’s Durlighs were free. They shrieked at the smell of their dead siblings. He knelt down to pick up what Cernik had left for him. It was too dark to see, but he held onto it.

Yorin turned and faced the Darkness once again, and he set fire to everything that moved. Monsters fell in his wake as he purged them with a blazing sword of holy flame. Stones in the floor were melted to slag with every passing movement. Yorin’s armor glowed like raw steel in a forge, lighting the chamber as though he was carrying the very sun to this once hallowed ground.

In the end, the Mother was left to burn in the flames. Above ground, the cathedral trembled. The earth opened wide, down to the very bottom where Yorin stood. The sun was setting as he flew out of the abyss and into the open sky, where he rained down a hail of burning spears.

The fortress burned to ash and dust. The infestation was no more. The last thing anyone could have seen or heard was a streak of golden light flying across the evening sky. Yorin’s path took him far away from Thistlegrove, to a secluded stretch of mountains where he could be alone with his thoughts.

As the moon rose into the sky, Yorin rested on a cliff. His mind was heavy with the loss of someone who did not need to die. He had only known Cernik for a few hours, and yet the old man’s death haunted him. Who had he been before now? Was Ilisa an apprentice of his? Had Cernik told the entire town the stories of the knights who wielded the sun?

Those were questions he could very well have found answers for, had he only gone back. But Yorin knew that captain Falen and Ilisa wouldn’t forgive him. They would blame him for Cernik’s death. Everyone blamed him for the deaths of those that the Durlighs claimed. He looked up at the faint stars and wondered if Cernik was watching him now. He claimed to have seen everything, after all.

His last words stuck with Yorin. Love is not burning alive just to keep others warm. Love is not bleeding your heart dry to water the gardens of others.

He looked down at the parting gift Cernik left him. It was an amulet made of tarnished gold. On its surface was a depiction of a bird, holding a spear in one claw and a ball of fire in the other. He turned it over, and read the engravings on its back.


You have made enough sacrifices.


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Number of posts : 60
Location : The Shattered Throne
Job : Techeun of the Reef
Registration date : 2023-01-25

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