• Chapter I
    The Eclipse

    On the shore of the great foggy see stands a figure. He has the build of a skinny farm worker, but instead of the usual rags he is wearing a black hooded cloak. The hood is up to hide his face from the world outside. His toothy grin is the only thing that is not covered by the shadow of his hood. His double edged blade seems to repel all light, but the signs of a fresh kill can still be seen along its edge. With each drop of blood a small flickering black flame follows it, eroding the sand when it hits. A feeling of satanic glee radiates from the being. It rears back its head and starts to laugh. He holds his sword high in the air pointed at the sun. At that moment a large shadow across the sun, the demonic sword and its wielder has commanded the world to be plunged in to darkness and forever shadow. He stops and lowers his sword. He feels a presence behind him. Upon turning around he spots two little brown eyes peaking over the small cliff at him.
    “Whacha ya doin’?” asked an innocent voice. A little boy about the age of seven stood up, jumped down off the cliff, and landed on his feet.
    “Who wants to know?” The first figure on the shore answered.
    “I asked you first,” the little boy said as he stared at the half eclipse that was still suspended in the air.
    “You wouldn’t understand.” The figure said as he started to clime up the stairs that were carved into the cliff.
    “Try me; I live in the royal court!”
    This made the figure stop. He turned and fully looked over the young boy. He wore a fine leather tunic, which contrasted which contrasted with his cheap leather boots. A short sword, or rather a long knife, hung at his hip. His hair was extremely unkempt and dirty blonde, with specks of dried mud discoloring it. His skin was dark from exposure of the sun. And his stance was one of royalty, but also of young rebellion.
    “Tell me your name and I’ll tell you what I’m doing,” said the dark figure.
    “Okay. My name is Pete, what’s yours?”
    “I am Ravenos, Ra-ven-os, the wanderer of shadows, the carrier of light’s bane,” said the figure as he bowed deeply, “I am in this land to talk to the king.”
    At that the two of them looked at each other for a long time as if realizing something, but neither of them said anything. Ravenos turned and continued to stalk up the stairs. Pete ran up after him, but when he got to the top Ravenos and the eclipse had completely disappeared.
    Somewhere across the rolling green hills a great fire burned. Its kindle was a small village, and the fuel was the bodies and souls of the ones trapped by the evil flame. Only a few escaped the flames, but most of them were cut down by a man surrounded by shadow. He killed without mercy, reaping a harvest for his demon lord. At one point a young boy about age ten named Michael, blocked the swipe of the murderer’s blade with a pitch fork from the family barn. The villain twisted its wrist and the pitch fork went spinning through the air. Still the boy didn’t back down. He picked up a rock and threatened to smash the thing’s head in. The killer, as if listening to an unseen entity, lowered his blade and smiled. Suddenly, his shadow rose above him and lunged for the boy engulfing him entirely. The shadow became a suffocating blanket that churned and twisted, and then it left the boy and all that remained were bleached bones. The shadow moved back to its original position and said, “He wasn’t the one. Go! Begin the ceremony so I can reap a full harvest.”
    This all happened about two hours before the eclipse that baffled all of the Grand Kingdom of the Horn. The most confused was a young farmer who was tending to his land, when it happened. He made a mental note to talk to the elders about the eclipse and ask if it was an omen and to reassure his little brother that everything was okay. This farmer was named Ryus, a great descendant of an order of monks that were forced to become warriors to fight off the great shadow. This past was withheld from him so he would not leave the village, but stay and protect the elders, who were that last surviving monks. Ryus was returning home when he saw the pillar of smoke rising from his village. He stopped at the top of the hill to see his home and life engulfed in an unreal fire. He took a few steps forward and heard a crunch under his feet. Looking down, he saw a bleached skeleton of a child. His told himself that it wasn’t his little brother Michael, but he looked at the fire and his gut told him that his brother was dead.
    After the evening rain, Ryus carefully picked his way through the remains of the village to its center which had a small temple. Inside the temple there was a marble altar that was now split down the middle. Entrances to underground tombs lined the wall. All, but the one behind the altar, were covered in black soot and the floor littered with bones of villagers that tried to hide from the fires wrath. The last one had a huge stone covering the passage way. On the stone it read, “Here lays the one who was born of light and turned to shadow. The one that fought for the shadow but came back to the light. Here sleeps Kukusho.” Prophecy stated that the sworn protector of the village was the only one able to move the spirit enough to obtain the twin Aether blades from the tomb. Ryus stood in front of the stone and put both hands on it and started to try to push the stone. It wouldn’t budge. This time he tried harder and started to cry and swear at himself for leaving his brother behind. It still wouldn’t budge. He tried again, pushing with all that was left of his strength, promising his dead brother through his tears that he will get revenge for his and the village’s wrongful death. Right before his strength gave out, Ryus felt a sword hilt materialize in both palms. He stepped back to see the twin blades resting in his hands. He ran out of the temple with both blades strapped to his back. Ryus kept running past his brother, past his fields, and ran straight for the Great Demon Tail. This was the chain of mountains that separated a few fishing and farming villages from the rest of the Grand Kingdom of the Horn.