THE sky was already dark; clouds were covering the sky as if shielding the sun from what was happening below. Smoke and fog covered the clearing, fire licked the ground. The wind howled, the fire dance in the air as violent as the event around it.
A black hawk flew above, daring the wind to overthrow it. It squawked loudly as it soars, and then flying down, passing through the blazing fire without touching it.
A figure in a black robe - hood covering its head, and half of its face - stood with its broad sword on the shoulder while being surrounded by a dozen soldiers. The tall figure was a man of a muscular built, tanned complexion, and thick lips that was curled up in a carefree smirk. Bodies littered across and around him.
He didn't budge from his position when a tall woman dropped from nowhere. Unlike the figure in black, the woman was wearing a camouflage baggy pants, and a black tight cropped top with her camouflage jacket tied securely around her thin waist. She was grinning, her sharp canines were out and her bright brown eyes glinting in mischief.
"Need some help, Levi?" she asked in her husky voice as she cracked her beastly knuckles.
The figure's smirk didn't waver as he roughly put his broad sword down, creating a deep wound on the hard ground.
"No, thanks, sweet cheeks. I can handle them pretty well." Then he tilted his head as he felt another presence coming from the other direction. "Why don't you handle the general on our west side?"
The grin on the tall woman's face reached from ear to ear as she leaped to the outer circle of the enemies and started to run towards her target. That cue the opponent to charge at the hooded figure named Levi who calmly raised his broad sword and swiped across, bringing down two in one swing. He raised his free hand and brought it down, lightning striking down the nearest enemies.
Avoiding or busting the heads of those who came in her way, the tall woman continued running towards the protected general of the enemies' west flank. Her group has reached this far and she's not going to fail them. An enemy soldier managed to sneak his way towards her and before she could react, two arrows with fire on the tip flew through the chest of the soldier, the fire lit up his whole body.
She paused and looked at the side where the arrow came from. There stood a small boy with long blond hair and bright blue eyes. His outfit was that of a hunter: tattered cloth wrapped around his torso, a fatigue cloth wrapping his unruly hair back, and tattered pants with golden sandals. He was smiling warmly at her while holding his bow confidently. A quiver of arrows slung on his shoulder.
She waved at him and called out. "Peachy, huh, Eric?"
He laughed despite the chaos around him. "Hurry up already, Tara."
She grinned. "Back me up!" she said and continued on her way until she reached the flank of the general. She was already surrounded but she continued her confident stride. The boy took three arrows and notched them all at once. The tip of the arrows suddenly lit up on fire.
He didn't notice an enemy stalking behind him and only realized it when the earth moved and a lump of sand being disturbed behind him. He didn't need to look back to know it was the enemy who was brought down.
A slender, lean-built man casually stood straight as he flipped his long hair back before glancing at his companion with his dark green eyes. "Go ahead, kid. I got your back," he assured in a sweet voice.
Eric smiled and his whole face lit up. "I know," he simply chirped, and narrowed his eyes in concentration. Then he released them all at once. The arrows sailed in the air and struck three of the swarming enemies.
He lifted his free hand and pointed two of his fingers to their direction. "Burn!" Instantly, a line of fire was created from the bodies of the fallen enemies and caught their comrades. The man behind Eric continued to use sands and the earth to kill without even moving.
The woman, Tara, with the arms and legs of a furry beast sneaked under the enemies. She reached the general whose eyes went wide.
"Men! To your general!" He shouted, his voice desperate and fearful.
Tara smirked as her eyes narrowed and her hand clenched. "Men who only command on their butts should be the first one..." She leaped high and moved past the general who attempted to defend himself. "..to die." Both Tara and the general dropped to the ground. Tara was on her knee with the head of the general now on her bloody hand while the headless body laid at the feet of his men.
Nishihara Fortress was located in the north of the Land of Markus. It served as the protective boundary between Markus and Vestia.
The black hawk soared in the sky and finally landed on a shoulder. Three persons were facing the whole land of Markus from the fortress.
"The east of Markus was now invaded. The same situation in the southern region of the city. It will be a matter of time before they reached the mainland before they could advance to the Capital."
General Dana of Demetrius tightened the grip on her sword's handle, her knuckles white, and clenching. Her red frizzy hair was tied in a bun, wearing a white armor in contrast with her black cape. She scanned the whole grounds of the land from the top of the Nishihara Fortress with her narrowed golden eyes with black slitted pupils.
It is clear that the Land of Markus will be the first target as it was the Land of Fire and attacking from the rear end of the defense is the easiest. With her far-fetched eyesight, she could clearly see the extent of damage done.
"Dana," her right hand in a war called out to her. He's wearing a blue armor with a symbol of a water drop and crossed swords etched on his chest. Taller than General Dana, he was built for war himself: broad shoulders, tan-skinned with gray eyes.
"Where are the Knights?"
As if on cue, lightning struck down from the sky at the west. Her assistant looked at the direction and smiled. "They're defending the west."
Dana turned to the other side where another female with a crown on her head was looking at the direction of the fire. The female was in a regal peach dress, auburn hair, and emerald eyes. Even by looking at the distance, she still looked quite composed.
Dana turned away from both of them and started to move towards the stairs. "Get the princess out of here, Neptos," she commanded in a firm tone of voice, detached from any emotion.
The man named Neptos caught the princess's hand and dragged her with him. "What about you?"
"We're going to be fine, boy," she dismissed him. "Bring the princess to Vestia."
"I don't want to!" The princess's dark eyes started to cloud with tears. She swatted away Neptos' hand and ran down the stairs to catch up with Dana. "What if something will happen to you this time? I can't bear losing a friend!"
Dana stopped at the last step of the stairs where the war room was. She could hear the Markus commanders already arguing inside.
She faced the princess, looking down at her with a frowning face. "This is my duty, Your Highness. Our archnemesis has finally arrived and I must face it with full force."
Dana ripped the red crest in the shape of an eagle from her necklace and turned to the princess. She grabbed her friend's hand and pressed it on the princess' palm before closing it tightly. "Take care of this for me."
The princess burst in tears as Neptos pulled her away. Dana quickly went to her quarters just across the war room of the Fortress.
"Get my armor ready!" She shouted as she entered. The servants immediately went to work. Donned in her full battle gear - a silver breastplate, shoulder pads that held her white cape, combat boots, and fully armed with daggers and vambraces of blades on her wrists - General Dana Rein went to the war room.
"The High General Dana Rein!" someone announced which caused the commanders to immediately stand and bow at her presence.
Her status and her position were higher than a regular leader, only a step lower than the Royal Family.
She's a Pure-Blood. A member of the Rein Tribe, and the only family with high regards from the kingdom - both in strength, power, and political connections.
Dana may be a female but she's a Blood Star of Scorpio. The Rein Family holds one Blood element's vessel chosen by the Fates themselves.
"How many men do we still have?" Dana asked as soon as they all settled down.
"Roughly a hundred soldiers left, Commander," one of the leaders grimaced.
Dana stared at the map that was laid on the table. The northern region of the city where the Fortress was located and the western region where the Knights were defending are the only regions left in Markus. Beyond the Fortress would be Vestia.
A soldier suddenly barged in the room. "The Knights defeated the general of the west flank! They are coming back to the Fortress."
The leaders cheered. All except Dana, who was narrowing her eyes as she looked down at the southern part of the city through the map. The attack first came from the south. The east was already taken over and they're advancing to the north.
"Has the southern region sent a message?"
"None from them, General."
Dana moved her head to the side with narrowed eyes before letting out a small sigh.
"Is there a problem, General Rein?"
Dana pointed at the south of Markus. "Why are they not moving?" When the leaders didn't answer, her dragon-like eyes looked up at them. "Because this is where the adversary was hiding."
Dana didn't wait for the leaders to respond. She went to the other side and quickly wrote in a small paper, rolled it, and attached the paper onto her hawk's foot. "Send this to the Knights," she whispered and sent him away.
"What is your plan, General?" One of the leaders asked.
Dana clenched her teeth as she looked at the lands hard with narrowed eyes. "Gather your men."
The leaders quickly obeyed. A messenger went inside and stopped just a few feet from her. "The princess has reached the border of Markus. They are now approaching Vestia through the side of the Ahn Mountain Ranges."
Dana let out a deep breath she didn't know she was holding. At the very least, the princess is going to be safe.
The female general marched towards the door, followed by the messenger. They went out of the fortress and into the gate where more or less a hundred men were waiting for her orders. The leaders were standing before them, mounted on a Cimēræ. A horse for the war that's immune to the power of the fire.
Dana's own Cimēræ was waiting for her, a reddish-brown and tall horse with regal saddle and reins. She mounted him with ease and eyed her soldiers.
They are afraid. She can see it in their eyes.
"Today," she began in a loud voice, "the Kingdom of Illinor waged a war against the Kingdom of Demetrius. As you have seen, they already overtook the Miko Tower of Southern Region and the Chiyo Tower of Eastern Region."
The soldiers looked more frightened. The side of Dana's lips curled up in a lopsided smile. They all have the reason to be. "They have attempted to conquer Haku Tower of Western Region but the Knights, the mighty warriors of the Royal Family, has come to aid us. And they won over the west for us!"
The soldiers cheered and raised their swords. Dana waited for them to stop, and when they did, she continued.
"Now is our time to prove that we can still fight amidst our numbers. Now is the time to avenge the deaths of our family and friends." Dana unsheathed her sword. "Do not fear death! It shall be an honor to die for this kingdom!" She raised her sword and shouted at the top of her lungs. "GRÁCHÊ FÛR DEMETRIA!" (Fight for Demetrius!)
The soldiers raised their sheathed swords and shouted, "HÆ DEMETRIA! HÆ TRŪX SEIKI!" (Hail Demetrius! Hail King Seiki!)
FROM the other side of the Nishihara Fortress, a book opened. It glowed in golden brightness, an ink started to bleed on its page.
"Demetrius, your light has grown into a beautiful sun. Death of comrades was always remembered as much as the lives they led in this land.
24th Blood Star Shaula. Her power pulsated through us like blood in our veins. Her dignity soared like the wings of her accompanied eagle. Her loyalty to you made us stronger, fiercer, braver.
My death will become meaningful. A war with a Blood Star will always be meaningful.
I, a Mnemosyne Kryst, wrote the last account of the High General Dana Rein..."
CENTURIES ago, a prophecy was told. In time, bits of pieces were lost. The remaining was preserved but it left many questions:
"Every period of time comes forth the Archnemesis.
The night will fall like the snow in the winter season
And the day will come like a flower that blooms in springtime.
War shall cause the lives of many and the weak shall suffer.
But lo, and behold, in a family of winter shall come the Blood Star of every generation.
Strength and might that shall spill the blood of its Adversary by the death with its soul."
Tangled in the fate of the past, the story of the next Blood Star has begun.
AT PRESENT TIMESMelenōs FortressHelengrein, DeirdreTHE wind howled as the trees danced wildly. The fortress located at the west end of Deirdre, one of the three great lands of Demetrius, stood a hundred feet tall and extended from the northern to southern fortresses. It served as the defense borders of the Kingdom of Demetrius and faced the sea that leads to the neutral and mysterious kingdom, Sarania.The fortress was silent. There were no soldiers roaming around to guard the western section of Deirdre
"THE Capital city of Vestia, Galenus, was named after the son of Demetrius' first King. Galenus died at a very young age," her mother once told her when she was still a child."But why did he die?" she remembered asking.Her mother smiled. Faline Liu was always glowing in radiance like the sun in the morning. "He was compassionate about his fellow children. He was the very first of the Royal Children to bring them to safety each time war broke out."Chloe's memories about the story their mother would always tell them came like a flood. She loved those stories. Stories about heroes of every generation, and warriors from different lands of Demetrius, with the land of Markus as the greatest.But she hasn't been informed that the city of Galenus was this actively engaged in all sorts of business. As she looked around while Lucian and Barbie are looking for things needed, Chloe saw children and adults scattered in the streets, either buying or selling differen
DINNER was served at their common hall, the ground floor of the west wing. This was the only hall where both males and females of the dorm get to talk to each other. There were roughly a hundred girls and boys chatting in the common hall.The food was superb and delicious but the serving crew was composed of Nursing Eries, helpers that are usually assigned within the house. Chloe saw some of those in Deirdre, helpers of rich Deirdre peasants. Their eyes were bulging out, their noses were large, and their lips were pouting. Their skin was blue, and they were full of wrinkles. Not a good sight while getting your food."Where's Lucian?" Chloe asked Barbie as they carried their trays to the vacant table at the center of the hall. Jucel tagged along, keeping her head down most of the time."They're going somewhere with our friends," Barbie answered. She put down her tray of food on the table and sat at the wooden chair. "Probably to check out some houses where we can
THE academy was full of chaotic students. There are some who had wings and they were chasing each other in the hallway, not caring if they crashed into the property of the academy.Chloe noticed that land origins are what distinguished every student, not by their elemental powers. They wore white robes with color and design at the back.There are three land origins that were classified in the Krystalline Academy: Deirdre with its inhabitants are called peasants, Markus with its denizens, and Vestia with its residents.Deirdre peasants are wearing a white robe with green and yellow linings that looked like vines with a circling one at the back of their robes and a parakeet bird at the center. Chloe knew that the parakeet bird was a common bird in Deirdre and it symbolizes stealth. Deirdre has been the only land associated with pure nature. No wonder it was designed like vines.Markus denizens had their robes designed with metallic gray. Two swords were cro
CHLOE went out of the Eshmirald Tower with her academic supplies. She was greeted by the blinding light of the sun as she stepped out of the shadows. Chloe had to cover her eyes with the back of her hand.She wondered who that man could be. He was acting mysterious when he saved her from that bully, Kirsten, and her friends but when they were gone, he was flustered."Chloe!" The said girl jolted from her thoughts and turned to that familiar energetic voice.Barbie was waving her hand from the distance while dragging the dazed Jucel with her other hand. Lucian and some guys were following the two girls. She could even see Zabdiel and Jared with them.Chloe noticed that one of them was a man with a white cloth covering his eyes. But the amazing thing was that this man was able to walk steadier without guidance.Barbie stopped at Chloe's side and quickly draped her free arm around the younger woman's waist. Chloe was taller than Barbie which made the
AT THE CENTER of the city of Galenus, the Krystalline Palace was glinting under the sunlight, flaunting the royal symbol of the main Capital of Demetrius. The walls that surround the palace were painted with silver and it was eight feet tall. Several Defense Krysts were stationed at each entrance with few Cimēræ accompanying them.Inside the palace, a man in his 20's was sitting on the stairs of the palace, putting on his black combat boots when the queen and her personal servants descended. The queen smiled as she made her way to her son."Ciaran, it's still early in the morning. Are you going back to the city of Markus?"The man was the 2nd prince of Demetrius, Prince Ciaran, but he was the 1st heir to the throne for several reasons. He stood up, fixing his belt on his white and gold suit before he faced his mother. He smiled softly at her, his emerald green eyes seemed twinkling. Some of his auburn locks are covering his eyes."I want to check on the progress my men made in Helengre
"HAVE you identified what caused his death?" Prince Ciaran asked Tara who checked on the dead Kryst they saw at the border of the forest. Drake and Theo went to bury the dead.The three Krysts were his direct subordinates and close friends. They were with the royal siblings since their younger years. This is why Prince Ciaran was more comfortable with them than anyone else in the palace, other than his siblings.Tara shook her head. For once her sleep-deprived eyes seemed alert this time. "The mist around the memories of the Defense Kryst was thicker than usual, Your Highness. But it seemed that the soldier was on the run. We can assume that he was attacked.""But by whom?" Ciaran asked, more likely to himself rather than Tara.Drake and Theo went back to them and they all set forth towards the gate of the fortress. As Theo and Drake opened the gate, Ciaran could already sense something was wrong. There was a faint smell of rotten things, and the fort seemed deserted.Ciaran unsheathed
CHLOE let out a loud gasp and closed her eyes tightly; a sharp scream escaped her throat.She waited for her body to smash against the rocky ground when a pair of strong arms caught her from mid-air. She instinctively clutched her savior's shirt. They landed with a soft thud. "Are you okay?" a concerned voice asked. She blinked her eyes open and looked up before her jaw dropped. He was looking at her with his thick eyebrows scrunched in obvious worry. He has that strong perfect jaws, and the perfect curved eyes... and those thin pinkish lips... "J-Jared..." she stuttered. She realized that she was still in Jared's arms. She scrambled off him and steadied her balance. "Y-Yeah... Thanks for helping me." His lips curled in a lopsided smile. For once, Chloe was mesmerized. His face lightened up when he smiles... even a little. His eyes gazed upon the branch then back at her. "What are you doing up the tree?" he asked. He still had that emotionless tone of voice that she knew would erup