Sunrise Part 1.
Vaesilokh Erastil stood atop the battlements of Aeredos as the sun set. His scout vessels had all reported the same thing, a massive horde of the dead were massed in the Sea of Mists, slowly making their way to the City of Lights, last true bastion of the Anaetyne. Such a horde had not been heard of since the first days of the Nur M’hada, and Erastil’s people, usually so stoic about their fates, were afraid. His people had also reported that they were dragging something with them along the sea floor, something massive, and pulsing with dark energy. The Vaesilokh had demanded answers from his Symvoul (Council) but no one had answers to what this was, or the threat it posed. Erastil, not knowing what would be needed to throw this new threat back into the depths, had mustered everyone. The walls were lined with mages, archers, ballistas, anyone who could hurl anything that could cause damage to the damned. The full might of Anaetyr’s soldiers and cavalry were in formation outside the southern gate, preparing for the dead to stride from the sea and lay seige to the city.
As the sun began to set, Erastil sent his advisors to their positions, and all but two of his guards to take position with the soldiers. He was staring blankly out across the sea of Elves and metal, and didnt notice that someone was walking along the walls towards him until they were nearly on top of him. Startled, he spun around to see Mathea Vaehn, priestess of Anliyas, the Moon God. She stared at him with peircing silver eyes, that seemed to be faintly glowing, for what felt like an eternity before speaking, in a tone that suggested she wasnt entirely aware of her words.
“The Silver god has seen the threads of fate, Child of the Golden Sun. This battle is the true axis upon which the fate of our people hinge. If you win today, our people will flourish and live, and the dead will never again dear to tread upon our lands. If you fail, Aeredos will fall, and our people will be destroyed. And if we fall, the damned will march until they find other lives to destroy, other souls to consume.”
Erastil took in her words for a moment before replying, “Tell me what I need to do to win.”
“I cannot. The Silver God reveals the possible ends of our tales, but he either does not know the roads there, or does not wish to show us. Perhaps knowing what we have to do would cause us to fail in the end.”
Erastil furrowed his brow for a moment, and then took a breath and turned back to look out from the wall. The sun was almost below the horizon, and as it finally dipped below, a single Asteltos let out a great screech, that was almost immediately drowned out by the shouts of warning that came up from the troops below. The waters to the southeast had began to churn, and bodies began to clamber out, dripping and hungry. Within minutes a massive throng of walking corpses, skeletons and wraiths stood silently, vastly dwarfing the elven defenders. At the center of the horde was a massive black stone circle, that throbbed with an unholy dark light, upon a wheeled platform made of bones, being dragged along by a score of skeletal horses. Black iron chains wrapped around the stone, and it appeared to have a humanoid figure underneath the chains. Above the dark altar, a ghostly figure floated, wrapped in dark cloths that floated around in a wind that was not there, with black flames burning in the air around it and across any living thing it passed by.
Erastil squared his shoulders, and held out his hand, open, to the sky. A beam of light from the Temple of the Sun and Moon shot forth towards him. A blade of pure sunlight coalesced into his hand, and as he held it aloft, the soldiers beneath him began to cheer, shakily at first but with more and more confidence as it went on. After the cheers died down, Erastil shouted, enhanced with magic so that all would hear him,
“The Dead have come, but we shall teach them to fear the Living! For Aeredos! For Anaetyr! For the Gods!”
The dead broke out into a shambling charge towards the city, and a wave of arrows, magic, bolts and spears flew out to meat them.
The final battle of Aeredos had begun.