There are few evils as insidious as Zarukai, or monstrous as Litchlore in the world of Jacmus-Prime. The shadow darkened over Venuso when these two powers came together; the young and ambitious Zarukai, and the ancient and demonic being Litchlore, the father of the dark races. Zarukai’s ascent was fast and merciless, his power frightening to behold. The night thickened over Finaru the day the first dead awoke, risen from their graves at the beckon of their necromancer master. All would have been lost but for the might of IteoR in the North, and the stronghold of Southern Finaru around the Hunters’ Lodge region.
Rhydovich, an experienced and wise man had the foresight to warn Dalmuros of the coming darkness, and through their words few were caught at unawares. Many wars were waged across Finaru, the great heroes gathering their strength to repel the legions of undead that came in wave after relentless wave.
The elves of Sargaso lead by Darkstar and the garrison of IteoR, serving their young King Jarek Lost, rallied the strength in the North, keeping hope alive against a darkness that threatened to turn the world inside out, to bring death to all those living and raise them again as mindless, subservient minions of Zarukai.
Then the day came when the South rose up and road to the North; Dalmuros leading an army of elves, Rucktar beside him with two score dwarves of the Sons of Moria, Mystletoe, Rayinara, Rengie and Tools, and the full might of the Lotuvira garrison in tow.
And then they were gathered, the heroes of the South with those of the North. To the shores they road, a hundred ships and more readied to bare them away to the frozen plains of Venuso where the vast and treacherous fortress of their enemies lay.
They sailed past the besieged city of Arydus, cheers and song erupting from the beleaguered folk that hope had at last come, that the darkness might well recede before all was lost.
It was an ill fated day for both good and evil, when the stench of death was nauseatingly thick upon the air, the moat filled with the corpses of orcs, men, elves, dwarves, and the skeletal remains of the undead. Catapults and archers loosed flaming pitch and arrows on both sides till the sky was scorched and corpses lay charred in ruins along the battlefield.
They stood on the brink of oblivion. To fail was to see all come to ruin, the world fade into a complete darkness where all souls were damned to an eternity of pain and suffering. They fought with the knowledge that death was but a small price to pay for the greater good, that there could be no retreat.
The tales of valor were too many to recount, those deeds that will be sang of for centuries to come will be told now. As Zarukai’s elite soldiers descended upon the fair warriors of IteoR, the boy King Jarek Lost unleashed his full wrath, an inferno unlocked from within to devastate and incinerate the foul minions of the necromancer.
The dwarves sang the loudest, their hammers and axes never tiring, the steadfast folk more than willing to drive first into the ranks of the trolls and orcs, to clear the way for their less stout allies.
The gates were won at the cost of countless lives, every goodly race of Jacmus-Prime suffering a horrible toll. And then there stood Litchlore, wreathed in demonic hellfire, his skeletal frame thickened, and orbs of fiery crimson portending brutal death to any who drew near.
Dalmuros and Darkstar advanced first, the two Noldorin elves, friends of old, marching before the servant of death to vanquish it and free the way for their comrades. Through acts of selfless heroism the two warriors brought the powerful foe to its knees, though Dalmuros’s body was horribly scorched, and Darkstar’s broken beneath its terrible weight.
And then Dayne, whose power had been displayed already against the death dragon summoned by Zarukai, charged in to his kin’s aid, crushing the wounded Litchlore with a critical strike. And then the dwarves, elves, and men rained through the gate, storming the doomed city to exact their vengeance for the plague their homelands had endured.
The three elves limped arm and arm from the devastation, their bodies and spirits broken by the day’s tragedies, but their inner strength forcing them to endure.
Mystletoe tended to Jarek’s grievous wound, the boy’s body torn open from ribs to thigh. Rucktar Ironbraid, a jovial and rugged dwarf on all accounts, lost his innocence that day, having lost many friends of a hundred years and more. He, like many others, wept shamelessly, the harshness of cold reality tearing at his heart.
The Necromancer, unwilling to depart without destroying the lives of all those who had taken his dark dreams, caused his power to reach its zenith and beyond, till he exploded in a devastating shockwave that took with it the remnants of the fortress, and thousands of the soldiers still trapped within.
Hundreds of Rocs flew the survivors across the sea to the South where they might rest their wearied limbs and hearts, hoping for the tides of time to erode the anguish of their losses.
The day was won, but the lands of Jacmus-Prime suffered from yet another war, one that will influence the future of Finaru and beyond. Thousands are dead, heroes such as the Paladin Margesti, and the dwarf Babadoo slain, but through it the men and woman grow stronger and harden their hearts against evil.
Zarukai and Litchlore are gone and the dark clouds recede from the lands, the first rays of the sun offering a glimmer of hope that tomorrow will bring peace, and with it prosperity and growth. Now, to the hope of every true heart, begins a long and deserved reprieve from the shadow.