「Prologue Part 2」
[Year 9, The month of Air, day 23]
Ten years after the Heroes slew the Demon King the world as it once was came to an end.
The year immediately following the Demon King defeat was a truly joyous one, it felt as if a dark cloud that had hung over the entire world had finally passed.
To honor the death of the terror that plagued the world, the calendar was reset to zero and the first of what was suppose to be an annual celebration was held in the remaining counties.
However, there was never another celebration as the true ramifications of the Demon King’s defeat surfaced.
The Demon King had not laid waste to the world on his own. When his conquest began he created a multitude of monstrosities to serve him. The monsters were of various shapes and sizes, and certain members of their ranks processed powers and abilities unmatched by the average soldiers.
No longer tethered to their master, the monsters dispersed all across the world. The mighty dragons claimed the tallest of mountains and depths of the ocean as their territory.
While the majority of the beast-like and humanoid monsters spread to every inch of global; they roamed the deserts, seas, plains, and forests; adapting to the harsh conditions of those environments with relative ease.
Some of the intelligent species began to form communities and distinctive cultures in the wreckage of fallen kingdoms.
If that was the only outcome of the killing the Demon King produced then it damaged could have been mitigated, however, a plague spread throughout the human population when they attempted to resettle the lands devastated by the Demon King’s forces.
The source of the plague was the Demon King’s residual mana, which had seeped into his former territory.
While all living beings absorbed small quantities of mana from the environment, as if it retained its owner’s malice, the Demon King’s residual mana took on a parasitic quality and rapidly invaded any host it came into contact with.
Excess amounts of this mana lead to weakness, discoloration of the skin, high fever, and in most cases a slow and painful death.
Although certain plants and beings with naturally high mana reserves could survive in these environments, humans were the most susceptible to this corrupted mana.
Though futile attempts were made to counteract the plague, it would take a century before the corrupted mana would start reverting back to a more natural state. Even then pockets of this corrupt mana, this miasma, remained.
The world simultaneously endured an extend reforestation period as plant life able to survive the miasma taint grow faster and larger than they normally should have.
The reduction of available land combined with the plague only exasperated the tension between the remaining kingdoms.
The seventy-year war of attrition the united forces waged with the Demon King had consumed the majority of all available resources. The standard rationing policies that had managed to support the kingdoms till the end of the war were not suitable for maintaining postwar societies.
With the prospect of returned agricultural land no longer viable and the fear of disease restricting long-distance travel, food production and distribution was placed under the iron fists of governing bodies.
Eventually, the countries, already on the verge of collapse, were forced to fight for what little resources they had between them. The previous war had already taken a toll on the people, but these circumstances arising one after another were too much for many to bear.
Massive revolts occurred all across the remaining kingdoms, almost everything that remained of the previous world collapsed in on itself.
The elves seeming immunity to the miasma plague allow them to find protection and sustenance in the lands no humans dared to tread. It wouldn’t be until the fiftieth year of the new calendar that the effects of living in such an environment made themselves known.
As for the Heroes that killed the Demon King, it could be said that they didn’t fare much better.
The spear wielder was one of the first to fall to the plague. As he was a member of a minor noble family he was at least allowed a proper burial, instead of being cremated like the others.
The young sorceress had simply vanished shortly after the celebration had been held. After a six-month long search, she was declared dead.
The elven archer returned to her people and eventually took her rightful place as the Elven Queen.
The constant disasters, with no end in sight, lead to faith in the church all but vanishing. As a result, the priest spent the remained of his life in exile, dying of natural cause in year forty-eight at the age of ninety-four.
The leader managed to gather the remains of his native country’s knight order into a militia that laid the foundation for the first human country to rise out of this chaotic period. He died in the year thirty-two at the age of sixty-two. He left behind a wife, a son and two daughters. His dying words were a simple question.
“Even in death, the world was in the palm of your hands wasn’t it?”
[Year 337, The month of Storm, day 5]
In the forest capital of the elven Kingdom of Eybevan, general Erin Kalaus impatiently waited as his wife gave birth to their first child in the next room over. His wife had gone into labor for twelve hours ago, and things had gone silent about thirty minutes ago.
Though he was a veteran army commander, he couldn’t calm his nerves as he waited for any piece of news.
After what felt like an eternity, the midwife finally entered the room. However, the solemn look on her face caused Erin to worry.
“Did something happen!? Is Aislinn alright!? Don’t tell me… the baby?”
“The baby and your wife are fine. The delivery went without issue and the two are resting now.”
Erin breathed a sigh of relief after hearing the midwife’s explanation.
“I was worried there for a second, so when can I see the two of them. Is a boy or a girl? Does the baby have my eyes or Aislinn”s fair sk──”
“Lord Kalaus, perhaps you should take a seat.”
The midwife interrupted Erin’s stream of questions before his hopes could raise any further . Erin’s eyes took on a sharp glint when he noticed the midwife’s wavering tone. Glaring down at the midwife with look known to send shivers down the spines of hardened warriors, he asked her a simple question.
“What aren’t you telling me?”
“The-There’s always a one and five hundred chan──”
Erin didn’t even give the midwife the opportunity to finish speaking as he immediately ran out the room.
Erin paid the midwife no heed and burst into the bedchamber where is wife rested. While his sudden entrance startled the midwife’s two assistance, Erin paid them no mind either, instead his sight focused on his sleeping wife and the small crib next to her bed.
Aislinn’s normally vibrant blonde hair was matted down with sweat and her complexion was paler than normal, other than that she seemed perfectly fine as she peacefully slumbered.
After acknowledging her well-being, he slowly walked up to the crib. A small baby wrapped in swaddling blanket slept in the crib and by all appearance was healthy.
However, the wisp of black hair atop its head and its light brown skin showed just how wrong that assumption was.
“It-it’s a boy, my lord.”
The midwife stepped up to Erin as she spoke but he continued to ignore her and proceeded to walk up to the crib. Almost as if in a daze, he raised his right hand and forcibly opened one of the baby’s eyes. What he saw was a crimson cornea with a black pupil.
“Why…? Why must that monster’s wicked curse affect my child?! What have I done to deserve this?”
Centuries ago the elves took to the forest as a means of escaping the collapse of the old world. Though they didn’t directly suffer from the Demon King’s miasma that enveloped the land they came to inhabit, a small portion of elves born after that time took on the features of the monster that brought the world to its knees.
Even after some communities relocated these babies kept on appearing in the elven population.
Their dark skin and black hair resulted in the children receiving the label Darh’ki, and were refused to be accepted as actual elves. The Darh’ki were considered barely a step above demi-humans on the Hymanie continent.
Originally, these demon children were killed without prejudice, but after a while, a more humane method for dealing with them came about.
“Although a storm seems to be on the horizon, the foundation should arrive within three days once contacted.”
The foundation that midwife had brought up took it upon themselves to deal with the Darh’ki. For the first decade of their lives, the Darh’ki would receive basic survival training from the foundation before being set free at the border of Kingdom’s territory.
Those that survived eventually found their way to a human town, where they faced prejudice and fear. With few other options, the Darh’ki became bandits, were forced into slavery, or were devoured by the criminal underworld.
“I-I need some time to think this over. Till then move the child to a separate room and don’t allow Aislinn to leave this room or see the child.”
“I understand my lord.”
Erin managed to regain enough of his composure to give instructions to the midwife and her assistants, who immediately began acting on them.
Three days after the birth of his child Erin awoke to find that both the boy and his wife had disappeared under the cover the previous night’s rainstorm.
What he and the midwife had failed to realize was that Aislinn had awoken during their conversation three days earlier.
(Silver: So you guy interested in this? Let me know so I’m not just wasting my time.)