Shadow of Dular
The Shadow Lands: a world of eternal night, territory of monsters and demons, home of the Vampire King. It is said that none who have entered have ever returned...
For many years the people of Dular have lived in fear of the night, hiding within their walled cities, unaware that a war is coming...
The time of peace is drawing to an end, and Light and Shadow will once again battle for the fate of the world, but it is said that in the darkest hour hope will shine its brightest.
The real question is... when the dust settles, will the dawn rise over a new day, or will the night reign supreme?
For as long as he could remember he had fought against the Darkness. As a child he had never seen the sun, hidden by the Shadow. And then he had been called; called to fight against impossible odds. How many years had it been now, since he had taken up the sword against evil, fighting tooth and nail, battle after battle, until the tide had turned? He remembered the first time he had seen the dawn. None had doubted Ehyeh after that day, but the war was far from over and finally it had come to this, the final battle.
The fortress of Argentia stood like a shining beacon in the night, assaulted on all sides by a seemingly endless horde of monsters. Archers and ballistae fired continually from the walls, but he knew they couldn’t hold back the enemy forever. It was only by the grace of Ehyeh they had come this far, and by His grace only would they live to see the dawn once again, though the man knew many would not.
A great commotion rose up, and he knew the second wall had fallen. His swords rang with an almost musical quality as he drew them from their scabbards, glinting silvery in the torchlight. They just needed a little more time.
The defenses on the third and final wall began raining death down on the enemy, buying as much time as possible for the men in the courtyard. He looked toward the Command Center and the men standing ready by the doors, but they gave no signal. It wasn’t ready yet.
Just a little more time…
But they were out of time…
The wall exploded inward, and the men nearest the blast cried out as they were knocked off their feet and showered by a deadly hail of stone. Vampires poured out of the hole and his men charged with a deafening battle cry, and he could feel it flowing, the power of Ehyeh, as they cut their foes down.
And then he saw them, leaping up onto the wall, gathering like flies on a corpse. The Deathless Order, Azeon’s elite warriors. He darted forward but it was too late. The Deathless fell on the men and the line was broken. Then he was in the thick of the battle.
His first opponent burst into flames as his silver sword cut the monster in half at the waist. His sword swept up and caught the second one just below the eyes, easily slicing through the skull. He ducked under a swinging blade and cut the third one off at the knees before rising and severing its neck. A fourth vampire leapt high into the air and hurled a dagger at him as it passed over. His hand darted into the folds of his tunic and whipped out, sending a silver knife streaking toward the vampire’s heart as he jumped to the left. The vampire's dagger missed, but he didn’t, and the burning body hit the ground several feet behind him, exploding in a billowing cloud of gray ash. As he was still in mid jump, his sword impaled a fifth vampire through the belly, and the wound blazed with fire. He pulled the weapon free and rolled under the counter slash. The vampire clutched his wound as the flames died away, leaving a gaping hole.
I’m getting sloppy, he thought as he flung a small silver blade into his enemy’s forehead. The vampire’s head burst into flames that spread throughout its body, which slowly dissolved into a heap of burning ash.
Then he saw the dark shape approaching through the dust and smoke of battle, its great wings unfurled menacingly, dragging a massive sword along the ground. The Vampire King had arrived.
The man gripped his swords tighter, preparing to charge, but then he heard the screams from behind, and whirled.
A small group of Deathless had penetrated their lines and the last of them was slipping into the Command Center. He dashed for the squat building, cutting down vampires left and right. Hearing a scream, he glanced in the direction of a tall blond elf, clad in black, silver-plated leather, carving his way through a group of vampires with a skill that exceeded his own. A flash pulled his eyes across to the other side of the battlefield, where, launching waves of light in all directions, a woman was blasting the enemy into ash. He only wished they had more such warriors as powerful as these. But there were just too many of them. Soon they would be overrun.
Curse Azeon! He thought bitterly.
He finally reached the Command Center and plunged through the open doors, cutting down the surprised sentries before running down the main hall. Two vampires were in the control room, and they too fell beneath his silver blades.
He sheathed one sword then touched the black control stone, causing glowing white symbols to appear across its smooth surface. He tapped a few, resulting in a brilliant flash of purplish-blue light throughout the Command Center, followed by the dying screams of the enemies in the halls.
He flexed his fingers in hesitation. It wasn’t ready.
He tapped several more symbols, turning them a bright blue.
I’m sorry Tarshailya, but I have no choice…. We’re out of time.
He touched one last symbol, turning it red, and numeric signs appeared, rapidly counting down to zero. The floor in the center of the room opened and a golden dome with a bowl cut into the top rose up as four curved beams curled over the surface like a giant claw, locking it into place. In the power rooms he heard the pillars charging, and finally the ceiling above the dome began to open as well.
“Hello, Kygnos,” a deep voice said from down the hall.
He whirled and what he saw drained the blood from his face. There stood Azeon, his large bat-like wings retracting and folding about him like a cape. The vampire king smiled wickedly, unharmed by the ultraviolet light. A huge, bloody sword rested in the demon’s left hand, and two trickles of blood ran from the sides of his mouth.