Fall of Phenasius- Part 1 by Darkspectrum
(Approximately 50 years before the founding of Iridine, 12th day of Aera)
He looked up at the sullen dark clouds in the sky. The small droplets of clear liquid fell down gently on his delicate and gentle face. In a moment's notice, a strong gust of wind almost blew him right off the street.
"Damn, it's raining again" he muttered and pulled his dark red cloak over his frail, slender frame.
He began to run down the large cobblestone road amidst the rain and wind. He wasn't in peak physical shape, and by the time he got to the temple grounds, he was soaking wet and panting heavily. He finally made it. He made it to the temple of Aera. Another man standing at the large boison temple gates walked up to him. The soldier was dressed in the same crimson robes but did not have the pin of a small red shield on his chest. The soldier was a much larger man and the numerous scars over his face suggested clearly that he was a warrior, and a very good one at that. The burly figure that was soaked in rain bowed to him.
"Hello Commander Priest sir. You desire access to the temple?"
"Yes, Guardian. Please make it quick."
"Okay. Please tell me your name, sir."
"Rheum Falai, Commander priest elite Daimal Runeus sent me here. You can confirm the appointment with him."
The soldier bowed again and pulled hard on the heavy gates. The ash black hinges creaked as the soldier heaved the gates wide open, leading down a long path through a grassy courtyard, which lead to the main temple. The soldier waved at another Guardian standing at a pair of elegant and enormous temple doors studded with red stones.
"Ask Daimal Runeus about a visitor by the name of Rheum Falai. He's a Commander priest." Yelled the soldier.
"Be right back" barked the guardian from across the courtyard and marched quickly into the temple.
Rheum looked around the city. Phenasius was the shining spender of the Tarali Sea, or the Sea of Blood as called by the natives here. Phenasius was the great capital of the Seucean Kingdom, bearing over a half a million citizens and the shining pinnacle of the city; a vast temple dedicated to Aera. The temple to Aera was the tallest building in the city, a great stone cylindrical tower of eight stories. Tall marble pillars supported each floor of the ancient building. Atop the beaming tower was a wondrous statue of Aera, his brilliant ruby eyes gleaming off the vibrant sun and his well chiseled right hand holding a long curved blade pointed at the endless horizon of the Tarali Sea?
The loud rumble of the thunder overhead abruptly shook Rheum's concentration. He looked up at the sky. A great sheet of luminous lightning filled the afternoon sky. Like a dance of pure joy and energy, the bolts leapt from one cloud to another. As he stood, mesmerized by the show, the Guardian returned from within the temple. He walked to the gates and whispered in the other guardian's ear. The other guardian then turned to face Rheum who was still admiring the clouds.
"Sir, you may enter the temple. Daimal is awaiting you in his office. It's on the seventh floor, room six." Said the guardian.
Rheum looked at the tall man in surprise and blushed. "Oh, sorry. I wasn't paying any attention. Thank you, guardian." Rheum replied bashfully. He gave a stiff salute towards the guardian, proceeded past the open gates and jogged towards the temple doors on the courtyard road with his cloak pulled loosely over his drenched hair.
Rheum heaved heavily as he walked into the common room of the temple. The temple was elegantly decorated with prayer incense, glowing scented red candles hanging from the high ceiling, and a large tapestry of the godly figure of Aera hung over the heavy obsidian altar. The temple was quiet today, with only the quiet rumbling of prayers and the shuffling of parchments from the priests and their paperwork upstairs. Rheum looked around the spacious area and finally found a tall flight of spiraling marble stairs. He slowly traversed the twisting path up until he finally stopped at a small and cramped hallway on the seventh floor. The only light revealing the dark stone walls and the small oak doors to each room came from a few dimly burning torches. Rheum walked around the cold corridor and finally found a small door with a small bronze VI nailed on it.
Rheum knocked on the door gently. He heard nothing from the other side.
Rheum knocked on it again, but with more force. After a minute did a voice come from the other side. A very strong voice, wise with age yet commanding in tone came through the other side of the oak door.
"Please come in, young Rheum." It said.
Rheum carefully opened the wooden door. He took a step inside and noticed many things. He noticed the pungent smell of a censer of burning herbs in the corner, he noticed the misty air all around him, like a morning fog, and he noticed the Commander elite sitting on a large oaken throne, behind a large and cluttered desk.
Daimal looked at him and Rheum looked back. Daimal was an old man, typical of many seasoned commander elites. He dressed in vivid red robes with a silver hood pulled behind his head. Daimal was old, but he showed little signs of aging except for this great mane of bright silver and the his heavy, tired sapphire eyes.
"Greetings, Commander Rheum. It has been a long time, hasn't it?" asked Daimal in a deep and resonating voice, like one from the bottom of a deep well.
"Yes, sir. I haven't seen you ever since my apprenticeship."
"Yes. By the way, you hail from the town of Arensius, correct?"
"And you joined the temple fifteen years ago, right?"
Daimal's tone suddenly changed to a softer and friendlier one. He sat up and leaned against his desk. "Well, my service to the great Aera is almost at an end. I plan on travelling around the kingdom after my term is over. Can you tell me where the best inn to room in is in Arensius?"
Rheum raised his eyebrow. "Par, pardon me?"
Daimal smiled. "I asked you a question, don't tell me you don't know. And please do relax, I'm not interrogating you."
Rheum relaxed a bit then replied humbly, "Well, The Red Dagger inn has comfortable rooms. Just tell the innkeeper that you know me and he'll treat you well." Daimal chuckled and replied, "Thank you. Now onto business, you do not know why I summoned you here, correct?"
Rheum shook his head innocently. Daimal stood up and responded with a hearty laugh. He walked over to Rheum and slapped him hard across the back, sending Rheum to fall forward, hitting his head on the desk. Daimal chuckled.
"Well unbeknownst to you, I tracked your progress during your service to Aera. Your service has been exemplary so far and once I leave my responsibility to Aera, I want you to take my place."
Rheum raised an eyebrow. He looked at Daimal straight in the eye and saw he wasn't kidding. "Me? Shouldn't the second Talumis be the new first elite?"
Rheum chuckled at Rheum and then stopped, leaving a slight smile. "Talumis is as old as me. We need to inject new blood into the temple and this was the best solution I had. You're a special one, Rheum. You have an incredible talent for magic and you are also one of the most dedicated of the youth to the teachings of Aera. You are the perfect candidate."
Rheum nodded. He said humbly, "I will do the utmost best I can at filling your role. I won't disappoint you or the great Aera."
Daimal nodded at Rheum and began to walk over to an old wooden cabinet. He took a small brass key from his side pocket and placed it in the small keyhole in the top drawer. He carefully pulled the fragile drawer out and peered inside. He poked his two callused hands into the drawer and with the greatest of trepidation pulled out a flaking parchment tome bound with brown ox leather covers. He opened his mouth and blew along the cover of the tome, sending a mound of dust to fly around the room, blending into the silky mist. He looked at the cover, smiled then showed it to Rheum.
"This, Rheum is a collection of all the magical spells the first elite have conjured over the years. Each of the past ten generations of first elites has passed this book of wisdom to a new line of leaders. Now I pass this honored book to you and for you to learn from and for you to contribute to its glory."
Rheum saluted to Daimal and accepted the heavy stack of parchment delicately. He opened the book and flipped through the yellowed pages with his thin, nimble fingers. What was inside was incredible, a virtual mass of notes and formulae on magic. He felt a surge of power wash over him as he glanced through the tome. Even the runes seemed to glow as he was reading them.
When Rheum flipped past the last rustling page, he closed the tome. He looked up at Daimal and bowed to him. Daimal smiled back. "So, do you have any questions?"
Rheum looked around the room and concentrated. Finally, he said, "How and why did you make this mist? It's very interesting."
Daimal laughed and replied, "It's simple actually." He opened the palm of his left hand, closed his eyes, and chanted a few ancient words, the ancient language of magic. Slowly, his hand began to glow blue. As he held out his outstretched hand, a small yet steady stream of gentle white fog drifted from the palm. The slender tendrils of soft mist swirled around Daimal to finally join the rest of the mist in the room
Daimal opened his eyes and shut his fist tight. The mist stopped flowing and his hand turned back to its tanned color. "As to why, I guess I've always been fascinated with the stuff ever since I journeyed through the frost plains of Vuleum. It's an enchanting and mystical sight. It also adds an interesting touch, doesn't it?"
Rheum answered only with a slight nod.
Daimal walked towards the oaken doors and opened it. "Now that we're done, I'll see you tomorrow then, for now you can sleep in the priest's quarters on the second floor and try to read through a part of the book. Good day to you and may you serve Aera well."
"War is victory, combat is honor, and death is loyalty." Replied Rheum.
Rheum walked out and headed down the stairs, looking at the wondrous tome from his hands and wondering what the future held for him. Again he looked at the pale ox hide cover and noticed several small faintly glowing runes, something he didn't see before. He held the book closer to his eyes and squinted to see the red markings clearly.
The runes suddenly brightened to a crimson red, and Rheum was able to clearly make out the message, which read, "Talen Ru'Tiri Ruma Ghalit! Talen Pah'man Ruma Drim Usano."
That literally translated to, "The loyal receive victory, the faithless receive the greatest loss of all."