Nightfall, The Journal of Caden

March 23, 2009
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This is the first time that I have written in this journal. Let me Introduce myself, my name is Caden Starfall. I am the Son of the Nightfall watch Lord Leon Starfall. This Parchment will tell my story to mortal ears, it being my last bit of humanity sent to the living world. That me, my memory and my families’ memory will serve as our proper epitaph. With nothing more of who I am let me tell you who I was, the rest will come in time. Time, yes time the year was 1346 my father watched over a castle west of Dover. All our family followed after his Combatant tendencies, even my sister fights alongside us. Our Castle sets on the foothills of the English mountainside, with its walls broken and repaired over time again, our battlements and cold stone terraces. Surrounding our Halls Keep with its many towers and balconies where our men of old tongued secrets stand watch over the land.

I do not understand why my father took such interest in the old men whom see shadows in crystal balls, foolish. But still we always held firm when forces came, small groups of men attempting to pillage waning Forts. Our hunting party took them off guard many a time and Sprang from the land itself to Ensnare and Slay the fiends. For we were under our own personal War with another Lord that sought to Claim our keep his own, this motif was not uncommon. For King Edward III was busy on his own gallivants with the French king. So few marshals are around to keep the peace. Most our worries are of our own safety not as much as the French invading our mountainside. Moss covered rocks and Blood soaked forest that surround the dirt roads. Few towns are near with their cobblestone alleyways and taverns of dark and pale shingle roofs. The sun is setting, Time for my watch duty.
The sky under the clouds outside the window overlooked the hills below. As the torches start to burn along the walls. I fastened my hauberk and velvet tunic. I took up my daggers and sword to make way to the courtyard. Pulling my cloak over as I left the armory. My knights and Uncle in their own dim suits of armor common to the time. While my sister in her lighter silver plate over her blue robes, an carved recurve bow in her hand and a satchel of chiming throwing knifes in her other. Her hood not yet drawn over her pale skin with her beautiful mid length black hair to frame her face. At her side Phoenix with his massive two-handed crow shaped mace he carried over his back. We set off west chasing the horizon into the earth. Hal sent out many bandit militias against our town. We would trek the forest for campfire that would serve as our beacons to guide our wrath. That night as we ambushed a sect of solider sent to build towers along our roads to stop any of our attempts to travel them. They had only one raised; colliding with berserkers and blades atop the single tower was my sister and me. My Knights burned the spiked barricades. We returned home after for news of my Father. He had been sent deeper into the wilderness to hunt Hal’s elite enforcers. At our keep his guard was missing.

This did not sit well with me and I wanted answers. The last that Leon was seen him and Idenz had taken down several party’s of Hal’s guard by themselves. See, Leon and Idenz are master huntsmen skilled with bow and blade alike. They run from tree to tree away and toward slowly but undoubtedly able to dismantle any large number force over a short time. The Guard at Idenz side was elite themselves. And yet, they are now missing! Immediately I took action of sending backup to their last location that would Include My sister, Uncle, a handful of knights and, myself.

The mage of our keep kept speaking to me of rubbish talks of darkness of dead walking the fields in the night stealing the souls of fallen. They were all mad! But they spoke of seeing my Father so I listened to what I could find value in. Setting in motion the chain of events that will separate this story from any other. Almost prophetic the ways I could picture what had happened in my head the fear that gripped me and pulled my men and me out the heavy doors once more towards the horizon. That in his advances him and Idenz cleared many of the wretches from the land making their way far north into the mountain passes burning out the cowardly foxes from their holes. Arrows reaching into the enemy’s ranks and Idenz massive axe falling the heads of those foolish enough to get close enough for him to. Leon’s lance glowed white under the moon. Snow seemed to fall around its blue-silver edges. They must have encountered something large. Some amassed force or some sort of war machine. Well I was hell-bent to go and Burn whatever held them down to ash. But I wandered. What truth was inside these dark figures I saw in those visions? They fought shadows not humans they took forms and shapes of humans but moved much to deathly. The slinking figures in numbers that I did not know Hal possessed. Fighting even mortally wounded, blood pouring silhouettes and armless ghost chasing Leon as he would jump, spin and launch his arrows into the masse.

We rode many miles into the Ruin of Hal’s Kingdom. My father’s warrior’s tracks where everywhere. Crumbling walls and Burning forts. We attacked wounded enemy ranks that had returned to the ruins. We made our way to a more intact castle. The stone was different then any I’ve seen. Black obsidian laid in patterns that seemed too perfect for any peasant to lay and too in order to have stood as long as the castles age. I felt a watchful presence and decided to stop here to regain our strength the knights bared the doors behind and Phoenix set the campfires. Alice was enchanted with the beauty of the keep. I followed as she drifted towards its doors. Both of us ready for ambush but pressed on in awe. Through the corridors stood Statues of figures we knew not their names, of large animals real and mythical, owls with emerald eyes the size of three stallions. Old robed figures of great looking mages wearing jewelry that seemed itself to be as mystical as their deep ruby eyes. We wanted to know whom resided here if they had not fled.
In the tower is where we found Him. A robe of crimson red with golden gilding, He spoke in a reverent tongue. He knew of the Shadows I spoke of, but he too seemed insane. He knew of my father. He had stopped at the keep too. But the difference is he knew him longer then his recent visit. Apparently my father was fond of this decayed Archmage. He spoke of a city near here that lay in ruins from an older time. That its walls once more were lit with firelight in the nighttime, that the graves below it had become hallow and shadows now crept its walls. I figured it a superstitious story. Ill go there myself. Those shadows must be George’s elite forces that have been hidden for so long. The Hallow graves merely his newfound coffers that he’s robbed.
The new day was almost spent as we rode through overgrown paths barely beaten by trodden footsteps. It was Nightfall when we realized we were being followed. The night was dark the moon was shrouded in cloud. They danced around us in the tree line, what the hell was this? We heard no advance and my Knights have keen ears. They did not look focused they were scattered and scurrying around yellow eyes dotted the limbs and near the trunks of trees. My solders were baffled as we closed our rank and formed a crescent to defend these foes. The only one of us not unsettled was Phoenix. As if he knew something we did not but as long as he was not fearful neither will I be. I roared and Alice wailed as we stood challenging this beast. In an instant there was an Cling one of my knights was jumped on his flank the figure was in worn cloth mud covered and rotting, I would of thought they had meat wagons if it did not all of the sudden jump to the circle! We turned on it as many more rushed at us. We fought; they gnawed and clawed at us. Severing arm and limb they rarely fell for long. Their nails scratched patterns into our armor we burned those we could. When finished we accessed what had just happened and waited. A few of us had fallen. But the steady gleam of Phoenix’s Mace shone like a star as we listened. Now hearing the footfalls of advancement.
One of the last things we knew was the laughter. The hallow laughter coming from the rogues lifeless body. He stepped from the woods, two blades in hand clad in blackened leather with a dark shroud covering his decayed face as the yellow eyes glowed. Our party struggled as the figure danced between us slicing friend here and beheading my knights there. The blood covered their armor reminded me of the fire that shown only now a permanent dim red of death. Sister and her fan throws of knifes into his body did little, my daggers collided with his. His skill was incredible as he twisted the blades from my hands in a lighting reflexive riposte straight into my heart. In the hallow dark the light faded from our minds and our death began.

Who knows how many nights later it was but whenever it was I woke back up. Not a dream, no. I was inside a crypt, a very large crypt. The dark stone walls the smell of an apothecary. Across the room was a robed figure lingering over my sister’s corpse his hands outstretched glowed a feint green? Shadows danced under her body as I saw her head turn again to look at me. Her eyes the same yellow as the figure that cut us down. It was a while after that that I began getting my bearings to where I was. We had been moved to the Ruined city the Archmage spoke of. And we had in fact been resurrected by these dark figures. Alice and me stumbled through they should have been pitch-black corridors the floors and walls gave their own light off as we could see quite normally. Our physical abilities had increased dramatically we could walk faster then some run. After talking to the robed figures I understood a lot more. My Father had come seeking George as before when he came across them and attempted to slay their master Sir Kael’Theran. A Legendary Warlock with many minions. The old Archmage that spoke to me was Vaal, An exile of their order. They said my father knew of my failing. So I took as much of their secrets as I could before He showed up. I learned as much as possible.

As I suspected he came for me. Their castle became a matchbox as the walls exploded in flames of blue and purple. Robed figures cast down spells onto the hillside as loud pounding crept at the gates. We took the passageways to the upper levels and Flooded into the courtyard as Leon’s spear came into view sticking through the limp body of a necromancer. There was a massive battle as him, Idenz, and a youthful druid female named Pyretta, took down the castles battlements. Two figures appeared their robes with large skulls hanging from their spiked Amices. A fourth voice cried through the doorway. Vaal had shown up in his dim red robes, glowing as he hovered into the yard with two massive red orbs of blazing fire in his palms. He called out to the two figures by their names. Vinnik and Demi, The two fought against Vaal. He seemed to wound Vinnik many times but Demi kept casting dark rituals that rejuvenated the scorched and incinerated parts that Vaal blew off him. Idenz and Leon were busy with a Warlock called Mysnomancer as he cast out terrifying howls that sent those near him fleeing. Mysnomancer tossed seething orbs of shadows into my now ghastly figured friends. This time Alice and myself fought, stood our ground against these ghouls, these hearts of endless night and by sunrise we had won. The remaining shadows ran for the forest in fear of the sun.
We walked into the now vacant city to rest in darkness. My Father told us how they had already taken the head of George and Zarkulian themselves. And they encountered a betrayer named Nurf who sent in his own enjoyment two rogues named Deathweaver and Darkedge. That it was them who together took the lives Leon and his Mortal Knights only after did Nurf chase the two off himself to drag my fathers and Idenz’s corpse to Vaal to be resurrected. The next night we returned home, Hal’s keep fell fast, and forever after, we have to define a new chapter. That was our return from death itself, our reclaim of our land and now in shadows here we are to remain what new world of trails awaits us I do not know for certain but this is the end of my journal entry’s for now. -Caden

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