This is the story that is replacing The Dark Blight. It takes place in the same world as the latter.
A time of chaos was upon the land. The six powerful nations of O'Thaniel, Auckbluff, Kotaria, Rigel, Flisbos, and Crepuscolo turned against one another, kingdoms torn asunder, and all by the order of the powerful unholy King Mallehan Grandeen of the Flisbos Kingdom. Bodies were scattered across the battlefield, which grew larger with each passing day. Day by day, more and more towns and cities were engulfed in the horror that was war. Only the cities on the farthest corners of the land were safe from war, but even there all was not right, as we are about to see in the following story.
The city of Mattina was the center of the Crepuscolo Kingdom, ruled by King Fuoco Rosa. A city with architecture that could make even the greatest artist dumbfounded at the beauty of it is what it was. Arched doorways, spiral staircases, and expertly sculpted buildings were abundant in the city. Crepuscolo was one of the less involved kingdoms in the war, but it still had its fair share of excitement.
17-year-old Cremisi Witha ran hurriedly through the emptying evening streets to her home, carrying home many canvases and paints for her father's workshop. Cremisi's father was a failing artist working out of his home like many now did, and even though very few were interested in his work, he continued to paint and paint in hope that someone would find his work worth buying. Or maybe it was just an obsession. Ever since Cremisi's mother was murdered in an attack by the Auckbluff Kingdom last spring, her father had been in a deep depression. Her mother had died trying to protect Cremisi from the Auckbluff soldiers. Had she not done so, Cremisi would have likely been killed in her place.
The sun was setting quickly, and Cremisi had to quickly arrive back at home before dark lest she be scolded for being so foolish as to stay out after sunset. She kept at a steady pace as she ran through the streets, being careful to avoid running into anyone else who might be out and about at this time. Because she wasn't paying attention, she tripped over a small stone on the ground and went tumbling to the ground, dropping the canvases and paints in the process. A few of the glasses of paint were shattered.
"Really?" she muttered unhappily. She hastily picked up the supplies and stood back up. Before she could begin towards home again, a chill went up her spine. Something was wrong. She turned around and, sure enough, in the distance there was a cloaked figure staring at her. She couldn't see the person's face, but she could feel the evil emanating off of the person. The person stood completely motionless, and when Cremisi finally blinked, the person disappeared into thin air.
Her heart was pounding. She had never felt this terrified in her life. She ran as fast as she could home, ignoring the fatigue that eventually set in from the running. She slammed the door shut and made certain that it was locked tightly.
"Are you okay?" asked Cremisi's younger brother of 13 years, Braffin. He was grinning stupidly, as he loved to see his sister do stupid things or get scared.
"I, uh, I'm fine. I just, um, ran home really quickly because, uh..." Cremisi stammered.
"You're afraid of the dark! Ha ha!" remarked Braffin.
"I am not, you little runt!" Cremisi shouted in response.
"Are too!" countered Braffin.
"Children! Stop with the arguing. It's getting late and other people are probably trying to sleep, and we don't want to wake anyone up." Cremisi's father said as he suddenly walked into the room.
Cremisi gave Braffin a dirty look and then looked to her father.
"I got the art stuff that you asked for!" she said, holding out the canvases and paints. Her father walked over and took the canvases and paints out of her hands.
"Thank you." her father said. Surprisingly, he had nothing to say about her arriving home after dark. Cremisi ate a quick dinner of bean soup and went upstairs to her room to watch out the window to see if she could spot the mysterious stranger again. She sat down on a stool and stared to the streets below but saw nothing out of the ordinary. After a few minutes of watching pointlessly, she finally pushed the stranger out of her mind and decided to go to sleep.
Cremisi awoke to a loud crashing sound. She thrust herself out of her bed immediately and listened closely for anything else. There was nothing, but a few seconds later she heard footsteps. Louder. Closer. Louder. Closer. She was terrified, especially because she was likely on her own to defend herself should the need arise, since her father and brother were heavy sleepers and weren't likely to be awakened by the loud crashing sound. The footsteps came closer ever so slowly, as if only to frighten her more. She had to hide. She instinctively hid under her bed. There was another loud footstep and then the creaking sound of the bedroom door opening. The person crept into the room slowly. She knew he was searching for her. The stranger walked around her room and rummaged through her belongings.
All but suddenly a hand reached under the bed and grabbed a hold of Cremisi's arm, causing her to scream loudly. The hand pulled her out from under the bed, and once she was in the open, she was met with the same stranger she saw earlier. Before she could scream again, the stranger put his other hand over her mouth to silence her. The man pulled a length of rope out of a pocket in his cloak and pushed Cremisi against the wall and tied her hands behind her back and shoved a rag into her mouth. He began to pull her out of the room when another stranger dressed in formal Kotaria Kingdom armor leaped through the doorway and tackled the cloaked man.
"Run!" the other stranger commanded.
Cremisi nodded and fled the scene. She ran down the stairs unthinkingly and ran out the front door and onto the streets below. All of a sudden the two strangers who were up in her room came tumbling out of the now shattered window and landed on the streets below. The cloaked man's hood was now down, revealing a pale face with sunken eyes and a thick scar running down the left side of his face. The man's eyes were filled with agony and hatred, giving him the appearance of some sort of demonic entity. The assumed Kotaria soldier withdrew a sword at the exact same moment that the cloaked man raised his hands into the air as a ball of fire materialized in each hand. The soldier swung at the evil man, but the cloaked man leaped out of the way and hurled a fireball in the soldier's direction. The soldier skillfully deflected the fireball with his sword and sent the fireball ricocheting back at the man, connecting perfectly with his chest and sending him flying backwards.
The evil man stood up and brushed himself off angrily. Cremisi watched helplessly as the situation unfolded in front of her, her hands still bound and her mouth still gagged.
"I will not fail Mallehan Grandeen. I will accomplish the task of bringing back the girl to him." the man said in a horrible voice before a black vortex erupted from the ground below him and engulfed him before disappearing completely. There was a short pause before anything else happened.
"Let me get you untied." said the soldier as he untied Cremisi and pulled the rag out of her mouth.
"What's going on?! Who are you?! Who was that man?!" Cremisi screamed immediately.
"Calm down. I'm Maeneus, and I'm a Kotaria solider, as you may have noticed from my armor. And you are?" he introduced himself.
"I'm Cremisi... what did that man want?" Cremisi asked.
"Allow me to explain why I am here first. I was sent to spy on the Flisbos Kingdom and their followers by Queen Lormia April of the Kotaria Kingdom. I was able to make my way to Amidtark -- the Flisbos Kingdom capital -- and I discovered the fellow that attacked you. I eavesdropped on a conversation between him and King Grandeen. I didn't catch all of it, but from what I heard, Grandeen plans to destroy the world by opening a portal to Helus and summoning all of the evil beings there and recreate the world to his liking -- a world controlled by a corrupted ruler.
"He is gifted with the power of Mahj, the magic force driving all life, which makes him capable of opening a portal. Even more so since he controls Dharc Mahj. He sent out that man who attacked you to eliminate any threats to his plans, meaning he perceived you as a threat."
Cremisi stood silently, trying to understand all of this. How was she a threat? How? She was just an ordinary girl living in Mattina...
"So what do you want me to do?" asked Cremisi.
"There is only one thing you can do. You have to come with me to Amidtark to stop Grandeen." Maeneus said.