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Where Darkness Lies

By Joseph David Green All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Horror

Blurb

Every one hundred years a pilgrim born of Man and Demon must make a journey to the peak of the Craghorn Mountains to end the spreading darkness that consumes the land of Ferros. Elhym knows this tale. This is his only birthright. He is the child of a Mancy witch and an ancient demon. As a Half-Breed he is shunned by the humans around him, who spite his kind in fear, and at their hands he has suffered. But his suffering has made him strong, and with his old wounds he will walk through the darkened land. As the darkness returns and the land is slowly swallowed whole by its shadow, Elhym begins his pilgrimage towards the great mountains far to the north. To get there he must cross marshlands and fields, deserts and highlands. Eventually he will have to climb all the way to the summit of the mountain, all to find the source of the swallowing darkness. His journey will bare him against many perils, the likes of which most men would fall. But he must join his forefathers at the peak of the mountain if this ancient evil is to be halted once more. But there are questions on his mind: Is Ferros worth saving, and where does darkness truly lie?

Prologue: The Darkness of Ferros

Darkness is the greatest devourer. It is second to nothing in its capacity to consume whatever falls under its inky cloak. It stretches out its black sheets as the light fades, touches the horizon with its reaching arms and blankets everything beneath it in endless shadow. But it never passes the light, which causes it to evaporate away again like a swarm of flies confronted with fire. Instead it waits for the light to move on or dissipate, then it creeps slowly in again, taking back what had once belonged to it. All sources of light are forever shadowed by the darkness outside its glow, and that darkness patiently waits for the day that the light’s source finally fades away.

The country of Ferros is a place where darkness has become a hated parasite. From its lowland swamps, to its rolling hillside and stretching fields of green and trees of brown, to its desolate desert between the north and south, and the mountains beyond that. The people here fear the darkness of the world with a zealous righteousness, and they have good reason to. Ferros is a land ruled by darkness

Once this land was entombed by shadow. The darkness at the heart of the world has places where it may seep out onto the surface, and at the highest point of Ferros, at the peak of the Craghorn Mountains for north, is the greatest well of darkness known to man. From within the Looming Caverns that lie deep inside the tallest mountain, this darkness was allowed to disperse onto the world. It blotted out the sun with clouds of black and trickled down the mountainside like a spring of poisoned water, touching the sunless land below and quickly spread out over its fields and forests and marshes and deserts. Soon it buried the country in an ocean of umbra, one that consumed all life that entered its waters. What existed of humanity at the time was exiled, enslaved or annihilated.

But then a miracle happened. The darkness was vanquished. One being, born of man and demon, set out on a perilous pilgrimage through the dark lands to reach the summit of the Craghorn Mountains and enter the Looming Caverns. With him he carried the light that would vanquish the growing darkness. He surpassed every obstacle in his path, climbed the mountainside, reached the rocky pinnacle and entered the dark tunnels. And at the heart of that stone chasm he let his celestial light bloom. Its flame burned away the darkness and washed over the land again, freeing it from the grip of shadow that had consumed it for so long.

That pilgrim restored life to the land, and in washing away the darkness he allowed its once imprisoned people to break their chains of fear and live peacefully once more. The pilgrim was lost to the darkness of those caves, yet their courage was never forgotten. Their sacrifice gave the land of Ferros and its people a second chance at life. With their disappearance a new age of humanity began, one which bathed under a yellow sun and saw true light for the first time. The human race was allowed to grow, and spread out across the land of Ferros, forming towns and cities and cultures within the harsh land. And with the rise of humanity came the rise of the church. This foundation of pious figures turned the tale of the pilgrim into a parable about the sun and the merciful god who created it. Over a thousand years have passed since the darkness was first vanquished, and all too easily the pilgrim’s sacrifice was lost within the mist of time. But the darkness can never truly be destroyed. Behind every light is a looming shadow waiting for its turn to consume.

The darkness of the world cannot be destroyed. Through cracks and caverns in the earth, it always finds a way to seep back out from below. Every hundred years it pours out from the mountains and engulfs the land once again, seeking a second darkened age. Every time it arrives it is yet more ravenous than the last time. With ever hundred years it grows stronger, and every hundred years a new half-breed is born to make the pilgrimage once more.

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