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Raidenex
08-13-2002, 05:36 AM
<HTML><CENTER>The Legend of Zeal

Phoenix Fallen
The Tale of Aera</CENTER></HTML>

The stars shone high in the heavens above, a jewelled backdrop for the torches that illuminated the walls and high keep of Zeal City. It seemed peaceful; almost perfect. It was as if the gods had returned, and revealed their glory for all to see - a great human city, reborn out of the ashes of war and despair. A new hope rising, like the phoenix, from the the ashes of the past.

It was a lie.

Aera had seen it; the death and destruction. The thousand-year war against the Earthbound had not been won. It had been survived. And now, afer a lifetime of killing each other, the children of the war had allied, for the 'greater good' of the world. And where did that leave her? Aera had been brought up in hardship - and peace was merely another form of it.

The words of her father echoed through her mind, just as they had on the day all was lost. "This is what comes of arrogance, Aera...we fought the war of our ancestors because of our pride, and darkness covered our very souls. We became tools of evil, every one of us; from the Lord of Zeal himself, through to the lowly Earthbound peasant. And now - that darkness has lifted..."

Her father died in her arms that night. And even as the majestic buildings of the Zeal City of old crumbled about her, she wept. The light shone in the sky; the horrible light of destruction. The six great monsters, with their terrible cry and the searing light that shone from their mouths, destroyed the works of man. The burning fires reflected in their gleaming eyes, saying what their terrific roaring could not; the gods have judged you, and you have been found lacking. The WEAPONs of old are upon you.

The young girl shuddered as she remembered looking back at the ruins of her home, where her father was now buried under rubble, along with her mother and older brothers - everyone she held dear. She had sat in this exact place, ten years ago, and watched as the light of the gods ended a war, by destroying a nation. And when the destruction was complete, the monstrous creatures in the sky had let out an earsplitting roar, and disappeared in a brilliant flash of light.

For the first time, then, she had noticed the man standing beside her. He was dressed in flowing black robes, and had his katana drawn in front of him - its hild black and gold, with a representation of Bahamut, the ancient god of dragons, engraved on it. She had noticed him because in the moment the WEAPONs disappered, it was as if he had been bathed in a grey light, that eminated from the crystal in his sword and spread to cover his entire body. "It is finished." said he, before turning around and walking away.

It was then that she knew. The gods had not sent their light to end a war. Her home had been destroyed by men, men who wielded the power of the gods as if it were a plaything. That night, darkness took her - all the hatred of a war that lasted for a millenia came unto her. And on that night, ten years ago, she had sworn to avenge her father's death. She would find the man in the flowing black robes, and his companions, those who were responsible for the death of all.

Turning away from the brilliant light of the rebuilt city, Aera walked down the hill. The new ciry, the new light, was a lie; the light would not be complete until the darkness fades. She would use the darkness of her heart to eternally hunt, until she finally achieved peace.

Drawing her bow, Aera walked into the darkness.