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By @duskfall_warrior

Nightfall (prologue)

Tanris hated all storms. But this one he decided would be reserved for a special level of hate. The wind tore the leaves off the branches and branches from the trees. But the druid had said he’d have to wait outside during his daughter’s birth. So he would wait. The rain beat at him, unrelenting, soaking through his cloak and robes and those of his guard. His guard moved around frenzied, while making camp and failing to make a fire. Every creak of the ancient trees made him turn around looking for a unseen enemy. He wondered how much longer before he could see his child.

Then lightning flashed, illuminating a demonic form in the distance. As the whole world seemed to crack and sway, Tanris tried to squint into the darkness as he looked once again for the shadow. Crack! Another bolt of Tenok’s claw flashed through the forest and once again Tanris saw the shape. But this time, it was closer. All of the forest held still as once more as a bolt of lightning brought day to the world for another moment. This time the shape was right on the edge of the clearing, holding still, waiting for darkness to conceal it once again. Tanris grimaced and unsheathed his blade, prepared to meet whatever monstrosity would seek him at this time.

Suddenly a blue dome enveloped the peasant’s hut in which his wife was giving birth. The guards around him started for their weapons upon seeing the runework, not knowing whether it was benign or malevolent. Tanris, however, knew that it was one of the clever defenses of the druid to shield all within the dome. Then whatever frenzy the guards were engaged in increased as they saw the host on the other side of the shield. 

The host comprised demons that only exist in a man’s smallest thoughts and his forgotten dreams. Chief among them was a large draconic demon consisting of barbed iron, guttering flame, and jagged bones. Two huge wings extended from the brute’s back as a muscular tale adorned with many bones from creatures long forgotten thrashed back and forth in anticipation of the bloodshed to come. Its six eyes looked lazily at the humans below. 

“I am Thol’guth breaker of men, general of the Trennathmari,” it growled. ”And know this, Tanris Silverleaf: All blood spilled on this ground will be because of your status for without noble blood there is no bloodshed.”

The demon host growled and tore through the druid’s blue dome, which had previously held them at bay. They proceeded to tear through the defenders like a blade of nightmares and steel. Tanris himself battled a demon of gnarled brambles and dark, smoking brands. The creature lashed at him with its thorny vines, each one attempting to tear off his armor. But for each vine it sent forward he cut back with his blade, until he noticed Thol’guth heading unopposed towards the cottage. 

Tanris turned back to his foe to finish it but he was almost to late. The demon grabbed his neck with a jagged vine and lifted Tanris into the air. As he felt the thorns dig into his neck, he fumbled around for his sword but found it was beyond his reach. His neck was now ragged as the thorns tore through it, and he wished he had worn a bigger helmet. As air was fading from him, he tried one last thing, even though he knew this thing would someday end his life. Right now it would save it. Tanris lifted his right arm and willed the last of his strength to wither the demon choking him. He fell to the ground with a clang and felt the wound around his neck. He grimaced at the blood on his dark hand when he pulled it away.

Tanris’ foe had survived the attack. Tanris grabbed his sword from where it lay on the ground and with one thrust pierced the demon through. Thol’guth was almost at the hut now and all the guards around him were dead. Tanris grimaced, a demon gorged on blood was a more difficult foe than one who had not. He saw the druid come out of the hut and start casting against the demon.

Tanris knew the demon would only be held by the druid for only so long. So in order to save his daughter’s and wife’s lives, he ran to the entrance of the hut, away from the battle outside, much to his later regret. Then, with a crack of Tenok’s roar, the hut split into many shards as a blade of heaven lanced through it. Darkness closed in on Tanris.

When Tanris stood again,, all he saw was carnage. He knew he was too late for his wife and child. Even as part of him was mourning a loss that can never be replaced, the rest of his mind was aflame with thoughts, after all the Silverleafs were minor merchant nobles so they could not be the only targets of the attack. Others had to have been harmed by similar attacks if he was, so this might be a blessing in disguise. since nature abhors a vacuum which was surely created after this attack.

Leaders had fallen, yes that was true. But new ones would rise from the dust. A new dawn was coming to the world.

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