Since the dawn of the cosmos and all of creation, Light and Darkness, Good and Evil has faced each other with fierce enmity. Neither winning nor losing, these almighty forces wage an endless war in titanic stalemates. It is through their eternal struggle, the Equilibrium was given form.
Having no allegiance, nor concrete form, the Equilibrium has kept Light and Darkness in check. Favoring both good and evil, order and discord to flourish upon the cosmic cycle, giving way to life. Thus, countless universes and worlds were born.
Among these still growing number of worlds was Eanar. The said heart of the universe and where the Equilibrium first took root. This is where our story will take place.
Eanar, a world ruled by gods and besieged by demons. Akin to their origin of Light and Darkness, both dominant factions waged war against another since their first emergence. The gods hailed themselves as the Pantheon, while the demons hailed themselves as the Pandemonium.
That was until the dawn of Man has taken place thanks to the Will of the Equilibrium. In honor of this event, the gods have ascended into a higher plane to make way for mankind, leaving behind their blessings upon this newborn race. Mankind and the Pantheon came to revere each other, a harmony that pleased the Equilibrium.
It was foretold, that one day humans will be integral upon the scale of the Equilibrium. A prophecy that the gods came to revere and respect. While the Pantheon has accepted mankind as part of the equilibrium, the Pandemonium did not.
As the gods have ascended, much of their power now detached from the middle plane, the demonic incursion persisted and were now powerful than ever. They ravaged and destroyed everything in their wake, indiscriminately killing every human they could get their claws on.
Powerless to stop the Pandemoniumâ€™s advance, the mankind turned to the gods for aid. But alas, even if the Pantheon was eager to intervene, the Equilibrium forbade them to do so. Thus, any direct involvement from the Pantheon was taboo. To appease the Equilibrium, mankind and the Pantheon made a covenant set in stone that the gods would choose their sole champion upon the entirety of mankind. The Champion would raise a banner and lead the vanguard of mankind against the Pandemonium incursion.
With the blessing of the gods themselves, the Champion fought through the the demonic horde and defeat the Pandemoniumâ€™s sole sovereignty, the King of Demon Gods in a climactic battle. Upon the the Kingâ€™s defeat, the Champion banished Pandemonium upon the mercy of the Equilibrium. Upon the Pandemoniumâ€™s defeat, they submitted to the Will of the Equilibrium just as the Pantheon did before them.
Such is the cosmic cycle, victory for mankind was temporary, as another demon king will rise again and mankind would face the same peril once again as dictated by the Will of the Equilibrium. And so, over eons did the war of mankind against the Pandemonium waged on. Every century, a new King of Demon Gods would emerge from the underworld and sow the seeds of chaos upon the mortal plane. And a new Champion will be born to lead mankind to victory.
â€œRun! Run! Donâ€™t look back!â€
Two stragglers, a woman of a ripe age and a little girl. Both have their clothes in tatters were covered in dirt, bruises and cuts; their clothes riddled with scorch marks, with smudges blood and charcoal. The two hurriedly ran through the thick of the forest ignoring the darkness of the night ahead of them.
Despite being wracked with extreme fatigue and dread, they ran and ran fearing for their lives. Far behind the two, were a number of thumping footsteps as loud as war drums. Unseen pursuers chasing their escaped prey.
Countless whistles of an arrow volley rained over them. Through sheer desperation, they hastened their pace. However, it would seem that desperation enough was not sufficient.
The woman was struck with 4 arrows on her back. On reflex, she quickly grabbed her little sister and used her body to shield her from the volley. As a result, 5 more arrows burrowed on her delicate flesh from behind. The woman collapsed to the ground, still holding on to the little girl while severely bleeding from a mortal wound.
Despite her protection, one arrow managed to slip through and grazed a flesh wound upon the young girlâ€™s right leg. The woman did not let out a scream nor a grunt as she fell down to the dirt. With the grave wounds she had sustained, it was more likely that she did not make it.
â€œSister, no! Wake up! Please! Please wake up---ah.â€
As the young girl hopelessly tried to wake her sister up from her unconscious state, three shadows loomed before her. Even with the darkness of the night, these shadows stood out with their sheer presence. Trembling in fear, the young girl froze in place, staring directly at her impending doom. Helpless to even resist the inevitable.
Not long, their blades glinted through the darkness as they brandished their weapons. Their fanged grins bared before their cornered prey. From what it seemed, they had no qualms even if their victim was but a young defenseless girl. These beings knew only lust for blood and the satisfaction it bore for them.
Unable to speak, the young girl choked on her words. He will was telling her to fight back, her mind to call for help, yet her body unresponsive. She was going to be killed, brutally and without mercy.
Just then, another shadow made itself known. Apart from the 3 present, this particular figure had a more menacing and ominous semblance greater than the three combined. It was as if the night itself assumed a corporeal form and descended upon the mortal realm.
This figure descended upon them, shrouding the entire area in pitch blackness in a split second. Then as he landed, the three other shadows fell to the ground. Each of them were mutilated in a blink of an eye with some sort of bladed weapon.
As the moonlight shone upon the carcasses, their identities were revealed. These felled figures donned the armor of a demonic grunt of the Pandemonium. In other words, their pursuers were demons no less.
The little girl wanted to scream as she saw the bloody carcasses, crawling back on her hind. She was still fear-stricken, and the arrival of this ominous man only contributed to that. She cannot see the entire profile of this man but she was certain that this ominous figure was no human.
Even under the moonlight, this enigmaâ€™s profile was hidden behind an impenetrable darkness. He donned an armor made of an ebony finish that seem to glint like an obsidian crystal with darkness itself as his mantle. His presence easily towered over the two girls , and just being before his presence drowns their own with sheer aura of vehemence.
The ominous man turned around to face the wounded little girl. As he did, a pair of red orbs peered through the impenetrable darkness shrouding his face. There was no doubt, those eyes did not belong to a human being.
Slowly, he approached the young girl. Each of his steps emitted a smoke-like shroud along with the sound of steel chipping together. The darkness of the night seem to dance around him like it is worshiping the ominous man himself.
With a sudden surge of courage, the young girl picked up one of the felled demonsâ€™ blade and pointed it upon the ominous man. Even with a wounded leg, the girl held her stance with her countenance clenched in pain. Thus a cornered prey can still fight back.
The man briefly stopped on his tracks upon laying his eyes on the little girlâ€™s headstrong bravado. His eyes narrowed upon her before resuming his approach. Each of his step had no intention on relenting to the rather pathetic showcase of resistance, whatever his intentions were, his approach was absolute.
â€œSt-Stand back! Back away, you demon!â€
Enduring the stabbing pain of her wound and the cold grip of fear in her heart, she still held her ground. The girl figured that the ominous man was after her sisterâ€™s body. If that was the case, then she had to somehow make a stand regardless the futility.
The ominous man stopped with the girlâ€™s weapon just an inch away from contact. And yet, the girl made no move to attack him whatsoever. It would seem that his sheer presence was too much for her, as she felt her limbs petrified and her legs numbed with pain.
He slowly raised his arm and placed his armored hand upon the blade, his clawed fingertips tapped the chipped steel with an audible clink. He lowered the girlâ€™s weapon until she let go of it unconsciously, before kneeling his figure before her. The little girl could still not make out his facial features even at this close of a distance, his face was completely shrouded in pitch blackness. As if being considerate of her, the man refrained from looking at her directly.
She let out a small yelp as the ominous man placed his hand over her wound. His hand was colder than ice, so cold that it felt like fire. Then as the cold touched her wound, a warm and soothing sensation followed as a warm light radiated from the manâ€™s icy palm. It felt nice, akin to being tuckered under a warm blanket.
The little girl was surprised as the man removed his hand off her wound, the flesh wound she sustained was now completely healed, a healing spell no less. The ominous man held his hand out and helped her stand up. The pain just vanished, along with the stress and fatigue from all that running earlier, a feeling akin to waking up from a well-rested sleep.
After taking care of the little girl, the man went over her sisterâ€™s seemingly lifeless body. Despite the wounds and blood loss she sustained, the ominous man felt her heartbeat still present although slowly fading. Removing all arrow bolts burrowed on her back, the ominous man held both his palms over the woman and bathed her with the same radiance he used with the little girl.
The mortal wounds she sustained began mending themselves, the pool of blood that she belied on being seeped back unto her open wounds. It is as if the ominous man was reversing the process of the injury, until not a small cut nor bruise was left.
Normally, even the highest tier of Healing Spellcraft would have taken a long while and would require sessions upon sessions. At an injury of this magnitude, a healing spell would prove insufficient if the patient is near death; and yet the ominous man did it as simple as breathing.
â€œSister! â€¦sheâ€™s okay.â€
The little girl quickly approached her older sister and checked her heart beat. Though still out cold, her body felt warm and ebbing with life. It was as if the woman was sleeping soundly.
â€œThank you, mis--huh?â€
As she was about to give their unlikely savior her gratitude, the ominous man laid an item beside her. A charm of sort with runes engraved upon it. The ominous man stood up and turned his back upon the siblings.
As the girl touched it, both her and her older sister vanished in an instant and without a trace, as if something whisked them away. It was an Escape Charm, used by adventurers to exit dungeons and in dire situations. The itemâ€™s functionality was to transfer the wielder into a nearby exit or town.
As the siblings finally vanished, the ominous man walked over to the carcasses once again. Laying his eyes upon the bloody mess, he intently observed the corpses. It was then another presence arrived and made itself known, materializing out of the darkness itself.
This presence emitted the same aura as the ominous man, though paled in comparison when it came to semblance alone. As soon as this new enigma appeared from the blackness, it immediately knelt down before the ominous man. This particular enigma seemed to held the ominous man in high regard.
â€œMy lord, we have assessed three cities in flames and complete ruins within the perimeter. They were besieged without warning and the attacks were on the most recent scope. We can confirm that this was not of our doing.â€
The figure relayed her findings upon the ominous man, referring to him as â€œLordâ€. It was a woman of a stern disposition, unbending and powerful. Though her identity too was shrouded in darkness, the presence she emitted was, by all means, not remotely close to a humanâ€™s.
â€œHmm? Are theyâ€¦â€
The woman noticed the mutilated carcasses that laid before them. They donned the same armor and weapons as their minions. What confused her was, why did the bodies remained? If a demon is defeated or killed, their bodies should disintegrate into dust then into nothing and yetâ€¦
The ominous man picked up the severed head that laid near his feet by the horns of its helm. He grabbed the cross section of the spine and ripped off the helm off the head. The manâ€™s eyes narrowed as it was revealed, these carcasses did not belonged to their minions at all. They were humans masquerading as demons.
â€œSacrilege! Unacceptable! We are being mocked!â€
The womanâ€™s expression warped with fearsome rage as truth laid bare before her. Even to demons, to have their image be abused like this, it was down right disrespectful. This alone was evidence that mankind was starting to take them for granted.
â€œIndeed, Lilithâ€¦ This is---thoroughly displeasing.â€
With a soft voice, the ominous man finally spoke. His voice akin to a man fresh from adulthood, it belied his true age. As if taking it out on the piece of gore, he easily crushed the severed head with his bare hands turning it into a clump of bloody pulp.
â€œYes, I wholeheartedly agree. But I must beseech you, my lord. We need to take action! We shan't stand for this! Say the word and we shall root this sacrilege at once---â€
Lilith spoke with her words resonated with an undying loyalty upon the ominous man. As she did, seven more shadows appeared behind her, materializing out of the pitch blackness and all bore powerful presences akin to gods. These 7 figures then altogether bowed before the ominous man.
â€œ--our lord, Ruler of Pandemonium, King of Demon Gods--- Ars Goetia.â€