So what's it about? The Black Age is the story of Aaron, the prince of a kingdom called Anleia, and his quest to keep the common people safe from bandits and slavers as his nation goes to war with the Holy Runeil Empire that they share a border with. But his endeavors set him on a journey that will change the fate of the world forever.
Prologue: The Black Age (Click Here To Hide/Show Text)
The Black Age. That is what we call our darkest time, an era of chaos and sorrow. The known world was controlled by a tyrannical woman known only as the Dark Sorceress. Man warred for its freedom time and again, but always failed. And the vile woman's power only increased from harvesting the essence of the dead. Her domination of man continued for a thousand and five hundred years.
Just when it seemed that there was to be no end to her reign and man had given up all hope, a light appeared to challenge the darkness. From the western seas a hundred ships appeared, bound for the continent. At its head was a hero clad in white armor, with a thousand mages at his flank.
As soon as they landed, they began a brutal onslaught against the Sorceress' forces. Her armies were assaulted by a might that none had ever seen before. And those who bore witness reveled in every blow.
The Hero's army pushed the line all the way to the Sorceress' dark temple, where they did battle. The struggle for dominance lasted for hours as the hero would not admit defeat against the woman's endless magical power.
Realizing that the Sorceress was too powerful to be destroyed, the hero and his army resorted to drastic measures. Using a ritual, the mages transformed themselves into pure essence, becoming the Fire Emblem, an object of unimaginable power.
With the Fire Emblem in hand, the hero wished for an end for the sorceress' rule. But the effect was not as he intended. The Emblem split the lands apart with a tremendous earthquake which took the lives of many. The Sorceress' temple, along with most of the continent sank beneath the sea, sealed away forever.
The Dark Sorceress disappeared from the world. And the hero? Some say he still lives, trapped in endless battle with the Sorceress at the bottom of the ocean. Other say he and the Sorceress both simply drowned as they sank into the dark depths of the sea. And a few say that he escaped the calamity, and guards the Fire Emblem, protecting the world from its destructive power. But no one truly knows.
The aftermath of the Black Age was not a time of peace. Half of the lands destroyed, only two masses of land, and a slew of islands created from the tallest mountains and areas spared the depths. Mankind now had the arduous task of rebuilding its society.
Yavan was the name given to the archipelago of Islands. The large area to the southwest became the Nalut Republic. And the largest mass of land became divided between the Kingdom of Anleia and the Holy Runeil Empire.
As the ages passed, the wounds inflicted by the Dark Sorceress healed, and the hero became a figure of legend. Some began to doubt if any of it had happened at all. The remnants of the Sorceress' army vanished, and the seas were scoured in search of the lands of the Hero's birth, but none were ever found.
The Black Age became a myth, told only by those who enjoyed scary stories told under the stars by the warmth of a fire.
Chapter 01: For Our Nation Pt. 01 (Click Here To Hide/Show Text)
Colin walked down the halls of Lorensia Keep, the royal palace of the Anleian royal family. He was an attendant, the steward of Prince Aaron, who had recently celebrated his seventeenth birthday.
Recently, the prince had become increasingly concerned with the well being of the common folk, who were easy prey for bandit thugs and the Authoritarian slavers of the Runeil Empire. And Colin's free time had become occupied by keeping the prince updated on matters. Even against the will of the King.
"Milord," Colin said, bowing to his liege. "I have the reports you requested. Courtesy of General Lucas."
"Thank you, Colin," Aaron said gratefully, as he took the papers from Colin and began to read through them.
Inside the documents were the locations of villages which had been raided and annihilated along with dates, times, and witness accountings. It was grim and grisly. Aaron grimaced with every sentence he read.
"This is not good," the prince sighed. "The scale of these raids is too much. By the time the war is over, there wont be an Anleia left."
"Perhaps that is their plan. Keep our armies occupied at the border while we're eaten alive from the inside."
"I suppose it is possible that the Authoritarians could be working for Empress Hilde and are hiring the bandits to hasten their work. But I need more information before I can take this to father. He wouldn't commit any forces without irrefutable proof."
"What is your plan, Milord?" Colin asked, anticipating his lord's next move.
"I wont stand by while my people are raped and pillaged. I'll go myself if I must. Come, Colin. Let us go into the city."
"May I ask what for?"
"I cant fight bandits alone. I'll go to the tavern and see if I can find any mercenaries willing to offer their services. The Goddess knows the villagers cant afford their wages right now."
"As you wish, milord."
The two left for the great metropolis that the castle was the heart of. But as they walked down the halls, Aaron was jumped on by a young girl in a fine dress.
"Shirley!!!! I cant breathe!" Aaron groaned as the girl wrapped her arms around his neck. If not for his armor, the fall would have hurt him as well.
"Where are you going, brother?" she said, laughing. "I wont let you go unless you promise to take me with you!"
"Milady. . ." Colin said, trying to hold back laughter. "You are fourteen years old now. No longer a child. Could you please not act like one?"
"You're just a servant, you cant order me around!" she said, sticking her tongue out and taunting him.
She was right, he was Aaron's steward, not hers. But there was no sight of her attendant, Lady Dana. He felt that gave him a modicum of authority, but that meant nothing to Princess Shirley.
"Shirley, get off of your brother," said a beautiful and elegant dark haired woman in an equally fine dress as the princess'.
"But Mommy. . . I want to go with Aaron."
Shirley capitulated and released her brother, whose face was turning blue from lack of air. His initial reactions were gasps of breath.
"Thank you, Lady Isolde," he breathed. "I thought I saw Mother for a moment."
"Well that's not a good sign," she smiled and giggled. "Stay away from bright lights, do you hear me, son?"
Isolde was not Aaron's mother, nor Shirley's. Their real mother, the first queen, died in childbirth, giving life to Shirley. The King was heartbroken, but soon found new love in Isolde, the daughter of a wealthy nobleman.
Aaron saw Inanis, his youngest sibling, hiding behind Isolde, his mother. Inanis was always shy and reclusive, to everyone except his mother and father.
"Where are you heading off to, Aaron?" Isolde asked curiously.
"Just going off into the city for a bit. Thought I might visit the shops." Aaron did not like lying, but he knew if he let his true plans be known, she would stop him.
Isolde winced at him, judging his intentions as Aaron looked back at her. "All right," she said. "Have fun. Come on Shirley, do not bother your brother."
Isolde, Shirley, and Inanis all left without another word. And Aaron and Colin left for the city.