There was a time when ashen gray blanketed the world, and friendly voices were silenced by the ever-looming cloud of death. People in the streets walked quickly, brows furrowed and faces in repressed despair. War took its toll on the bustling coastal city. Where once trade was abundant with assorted exotic goods and ancient artefacts, now lies barren streets, and nothing but the soft sound of wind-chimes playing for an empty audience.
The Arclight were dead. Or eaten by the void. Or on extended vacation. No one knew. What mattered was, they weren’t here. Beings of divine light, originally renowned and worthy warriors, tasked with carrying out His will. They were gone.
It had been a decade. A decade since the war drums could be heard across the strait. An entire decade where conscription was enforced and loved ones were sent away, either to die in battle or to spend next few years slaving away, fuelling the war effort. The only people that were spared were the sick, the elderly and the liars. You need to realise, that after a certain amount of time, people lose hope, lose their faith and lose trust in one another. Eventually, everyone was seen as an enemy. Neighbours? Thieves, all of them. Your Uncle? Murderer. What about that old lady down the street that sells amazing sugar-coated sticks of fried dough? Spy. People realised, there were no heroes. A statue of a jackal-headed ascended on the outskirts of town was defaced and taken to the ground. No one believed anymore.
A man, haggard in stature and wayward in his mental composure sat upon the dusty floor of his former home. Head in his hands, combing through rough, curly hair. Tomes and books were strewn across the floor. Chairs were scattered and the table lay on its side. Vases and portraits had fallen from the mantelpiece, leaving shards of glass and ceramic hiding in the lush, woollen carpet. In the hearth, still faintly flickering and smouldering was a crudely drawn family of 4, with names such as “Mum” and “Dad”.
He had seen it before. People robbed of any and all values, monetary or sentimental. But like everyone else. He didn’t fully believe the cruelties of the world until it was ripped from underneath him. On the floor, sat a man, A man who had fought valiantly despite relentless bloodshed. A man who believed that he alone, held the power to change the world. A man now, broken in stature.
_Come to me..._
He stood up. Mustered up the resolve to step out and finally end it. And fell back in a drunken stupor grasping for another bottle of liquor before finally blacking out.
The man awoke with a crippling headache and visual apparitions of an eyeball with noodly appendages beckoning him closer. He dusted himself off, stumbled toward the doorway and caught himself on the door-frame. The desert sun beamed from the centre of the sky and he wandered off into the shifting sands.
Sweat fell from his brow, nestling in the corner of his eyes. Dry, suffocating air conjured up sandstorms that lashed violently at his exposed limbs. Scorching sand baked his feet, numbing and blistering instantly.
Time felt like it had stopped. The sun was frozen in the sky. His thirst and hunger, infinite. But somehow with each small, meagre step, a shrine on the horizon grew closer tenfold.
_You are. Almost there. _
The shrine was heralded by two dilapidated limestone statues. One of which held a longbow and the other, a crossbow. They crossed and created an arch above the stairs. With each step upwards, he grew dizzier and the world began to shake. By the top, he was on his knees, crawling forwards toward a sealed gate. The gates pulled apart slowly, dust and debris fell from the cracks. A blue luminescent eye, shimmering with holy light gazed back at him. And in an instant, he was surrounded by a beam of agonisingly bright light. Writhing and screaming as He took over. The man fell limp.
_You shall be... my next Arclight. _