One Legend : Before the Fall

We all have secrets, some more terrifying than others. What if your secret is one that threatens your life to reveal? What if it threatens the ones you love? You'd do everything you can to keep that secret, no matter how terrible. No matter how soul destroying. The secret eats away at him. Sometimes doing what you think is right is only leading you down a dark path. In the end, you're left with pain and regret. He keeps himself hidden... At the cost of his light.

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1. Prologue

      It was around mid day when a small wooden row boat made it to the shoreline of a continent not yet discovered by its passengers. There was a calm and gentle breeze in the air of the cloudless sky, the sun just beginning to set. One of the three men leaped off the boat upon landing and turned to the other two who seemed to be waiting for his command.
      The pale skinned soldier with buzzed, blonde hair and brown eyes that jumped off the boat was the one in charge. "I think it best if the two of you wait here." He said, his stoic voice giving away his years of experience. "We made it here far before they did but they will still arrive eventually. I need one of you to come get me when you can see the fleet on the horizon."
      Both of the other men's faces were covered by their full helmets. One of them picked up another full helmet off the ground. It was colored red, the face mask of it colored orange along with the penacho on top of it, the same colors as the rest of their armor. He tossed it to their leader who caught it and put it on his head.
      "If he's alive down there, Sir Nigh, you may need that on." Said the man that threw the helmet. "I know he claimed this man is a good person, but if he really did level the entire city... Something evil inside of him must have surfaced."
      Their leader, Nigh, nodded to his two men and walked away from the boat towards a hill that lead to a city's ruins. He knew what he might have found upon reaching his destination but he wasn't expecting such a display of destruction. 
      "This is far worse than I thought it would be." Nigh said to himself.
      He started walking around the destroyed city, digging around the rubble to find any kind of human remains. He found nothing. Either the city was completely evacuated when it was destroyed, or the force that oblitherated it was so powerful that it disintigrated any flesh it touched. Beyond a dried river to the north was a pile of rubble far large than the rest, which must have been the remains of the city's royal castle. 
      Nigh was wasting time and it took him a short while before he realized it. Excavating the ruins of that place was not the reason he had come. Such a thing was located a ways away from the city. He walked a slight distance away to locate something bizarre. Every single piece of the forest in the area he had walked to was burnt to the ground except for one large batch of trees surrounding a gaping hole in the ground. What's even more strange was that the bark on the trees were black and the leaves were of a bright blue hue. He could hear a sort of humming coming from the underground that the hole led to.
      "This is it." He said to himself, beginning to sweat due to his fear. He looked up to the sky and closed his eyes. "Please. He is our last chance. Don't let him be too far gone."
      Nigh jumped in through the hole to feel himself being pulled down with a force far greater than normal gravity. At first all he could see was a pitch black nothingness. However, a few seconds after he began falling, it became instantly illuminated. Close to the ground now, he stopped being pulled down, and the gravity became even lighter than it was on the surface. His velocity slowed which allowed him to turn himself upright to land safely on his feet. He was surrounded by walls of yellow crystal. The wall in front of him was broken through, a hole large enough for him to enter the next room.
      He stepped through and found himself in a narrow hallway. The humming grew louder and its source was now obvious, coming from the large blue orb at the end of the hall. Inside the orb that was levitating above a pool of blue energy was a man. A blue aura coming from the pool was surrounding the orb. Nigh was too far to make out what the man inside looked like. There were corpses everywhere, all of men. They hadn't deteriorated at all, as if they were only dead for a few days at most. All but one of the bodies were in one piece. The exception being the body of a young man, cut in half by what seemed to be a sharp blade.
      Nigh began to slowly walk towards the orb, but after a few steps he heard an ominous voice. It wasn't coming from the man in the orb, but it had to be him that was speaking. Deep and rough, it echoed through the cave. "Not another step." It said. "Any closer and I won't be responsible for what the aura does to the flesh on your bones."
      Nigh seemed dumfounded. He expected to meet someone there, but not someone encased in the orb. Based on what he had learned, once you exit the orb you are free, the reason you were able to leave it being that you had completed gathering energy. He came to the conclusion that the man must have used so much of his energy when he destroyed the city that he had no choice but to return and gather more power.
      "You are the one that caused that destruction up there, are you not?" Nigh asked as he tried to surpress his fear.
      A soft laughter boucned off every surface around Nigh. "I am." The voice began to speak deeper next. His tone turned to sadness. "Along with everyone in it. I am in no mood for intruders. Leave now."
      Nigh's fear was overtaking him. The man in the orb was losing hold of his humanity, but he couldn't abandon hope. He needed to convince the voice to help him. 
      "I need to get you out of here. There's an army after you and you won't win." Nigh said desperately.
      "You've seen the ruins, have you not?" The voice asked. "What makes you think I'm afraid of an army?"
      "A few years ago, someone arrived on the continent I came from. He carried with him the blood of a person like you that gave him powers like yours. I don't have time now to go into specifics, so forgive me. All I can tell you is that blood was studied, more of it was artificially created, and the army that's coming is injected with that blood." Nigh replied. "They're afraid of you. They're coming to kill you before you can fight back."
     "What if I want them to kill me? Everything I used to love is gone now. I put myself back in this orb not to gather energy but to keep myself out of the world." The voice began to speak like someone stricken with grief and on the verge of crying. "I can still see her face... I held her in my arms as I watched the life leave her eyes. Do you know what that does to a man? It makes you for long for death."
      "What even happened here?" Nigh asked with concern, hoping to better understand what caused the man to exile himself from civilization.
      "So many horrible things..."
      As interested as Nigh was to hear the man's story, he knew there was no time at the moment. The fleet wasn't too far behind and he needed to escape before they arrived. 
      "It's Panik, right?" Nigh asked but he already knew. "Tanellu's waiting for you where we're going. You haven't lost everything. Not yet."
      Nigh didn't get the reaction he was expecting out of the orb's inhabitant. "Once upon a time that name may have meant something to me, but now?" The voice responded, "Now a name is all it is to me."
      "Tanellu's just a name?" Nigh said. "He'd be disappointed to hear you say that. I hope you won't disappoint Salira as well."
      The name that Nigh spoke seemed to trigger something inside the man named Panik. The cave began to shake and the humming grew much louder, even forcing Nigh to drop to his knees and cover his ears to minimize the pain it was causing in his head. The aura coming from the pool of energy ceased to rise as the orb began to move away from the pool and then dematerialize around Panik. When the shaking stopped and the humming grew quieter, Panik was on his feet, and Nigh rose back up.
      "That name..." Panik replied with a fury that would scare even the world's bravest man. The voice was no longer echoing through the cave, but coming right from Panik's lips. "You'd dare to... To mention that name in my presence?" He shouted so loudly the cave shook again.
      An energy started to radiate around and then engulf Panik's body. The girl's name that Nigh spoke succeeded in getting a reaction out of him, but it wasn't the reaction any sane person would desire. Nigh was seconds away from death. He had to choose his next words carefully.
      "She is a friend of ours and a supporter of our cause. Tanellu waits with her for you, where I'm heading next. Where I came here to take you." Nigh calmy explained.
      "Impossible..." Panik whispered to himself as the energy faded away from him. "You'll take me to her?"
      "I will. We must leave now, though."
      "If your goal is to stop them from taking the energy from this place... How is us leaving it defenseless going to help?" Panik asked.
      Nigh shook his head and looked towards him. "My goal is not to stop them from taking energy from here, Panik. It's to stop them from killing you."
      Panik started to walk towards Nigh, slowly and with ferocity. He had more power than he had ever had before. Nigh could soon make out his face. Short, spiked black hair and the smallest ears he had ever seen on any man. And those eyes that Nigh couldn't stop staring at. The small pupils of silver, so bright that they almost completely blended in with the white in his eyes. They were about the same height but Panik was far more muscular. Only wearing pants without a shirt or shoes, you could see his body was built to show it contained incredible power.
      "We should leave immediately." Panik said as he walked straight past him. "Can you jump?" He added as they stepped through the hole in the wall to reach underneath the hole in the ground above them.
      "Me and my friends were in that army. You don't need to worry about us being too helpless." Nigh responded.
      Panik made sure that Nigh jumped up first, following him immediately after he heard him land on the surface. They both looked ahead to see Nigh's two companions running towards them.
      One of them removed their helmet, revealing a fair skinned face with green eyes and short brown hair. "Sir Nigh." He bowed. "We started running as soon as we could see the first ship on the horizon."
      The other soldier removed his helmet as well. This one's hair was longer and black, his skin white and freckled, his eyes the same brown as Nigh's. "I see our hopes were realized, and not too late." He looked at Panik with awe.
      "Let's get introductions out of the way now." Nigh said. "My name is Nigh. The black haired one is Lionel, and the other one's name is Kurt. Now we must get moving. We departed shortly after our spies informed us that the King was finally moving ahead with his plans to send for the energy here."
      Nigh led the group away from the cave and started walking north, back through the ruins of the city. Panik seemed distraught by the sight of what he did.
      "I take it you knew that they were going to come for me eventually. Why leave it up to chance by heading here so late?" Panik asked while attempting to forget about the devastation he was walking through.
      "You needed all the energy you could get for the fights that are to come," He heard Lionel say behind him. "It was the best course of action."
      "I do suppose that's the most logical approach." Panik replied. "So where exactly are we heading?"
      "North to Gertaswa," Answered Nigh, "Where the main branch of our group is located. Tanellu is waiting for you there with Salira."
      "Your group?" Panik asked. 
      Nigh looked over at Panik and shrugged to him. "That's something you'll learn when we arrive."
      They continued to march their way through the enormous mass of land covered in debris. The three men around Panik were looking all around them in shock, hardly being able to believe that anybody could create such a display of destruction. Panik continued to look ahead of him as he walked, as if he wanted to believe the ruins weren't even there.
      "We've heard so many good things about the kind of person you are, Panik. So much devotion for your city and its people. I just don't understand how this all happened. It's almost entirely unbelievable that you'd do something like this." Nigh said to Panik with worry in his voice.
      Panik stayed silent. He was so overwhelmed with grief over that place that he couldn't speak even if he wanted to. Nigh, Lionel, and Kurt all could tell that something had broken Panik. Whether it was his heart, his spirit, his pride, or his sense of self, something inside him must have snapped.
      "Please, Panik. What happened here?" Nigh asked, trying to get through to him. He knew it would be good for Panik to get everything off his chest. "We have a long walk ahead of us. It'll be good for you to talk about it."
      Panik was silent for a moment more before he finally replied. "I will tell you..." He answered, regretfully.

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