Far across the Golden Desert, through The Forest of Peace, and past the home of the Elves lays Castle Malkvair. Behind the mighty oak doors of the castle, was the ruler Lord Jaribenn. He sat on a throne that was carved out of birch wood and obsidian stones. At his feet slept two grey wolf hounds; they were the lord’s humble guardians and loyal pets. On the far end of this rather small throne room were two Malkvair guards. They each carried a broad sword on their sides and a spear in their right hands.
Outside of the small throne room was a forever long corridor with past generation portraits of Lord Jaribenn’s family. Each portrait dated back to The Old King; Jaribenn’s great grandfather and past ruler of Malkvair. It is said that The Old King was a friend to all of the creatures of Scadvia. But after his death, a great evil shrouded over Scadvia and Malkvair. His name was Darkness, the Demon-Lord of Condevia. Darkness brought upon a horrific war between man and his own goblin army. This brings us to Lord Jaribenn on his throne.
“Garth, bring me the casualty list!” Lord Jaribenn ordered.
Garth, the twin brother of Lord Jaribenn and sole leader of the Malkvair guards burst through the large doors of the throne room. The brother was tall, with long brown hair that was tucked behind both ears. His attire was similar to his brother’s but with more metal than majestic robes and gold. Garth handed his brother a neatly rolled paper. Once in hand, Jaribenn unrolled it and quickly scanned the names of each person that has died in the war so far. Out of the names on the list, two peasants stood out.
“Bring me the maiden; she’ll want to see this,” Lord Jaribenn said to his brother.
The brother nods, and then leaves to find the young maiden. This young maiden was sitting in her room reading a book from Lord Jaribenn’s private library. She wore a dark purple noble dress, with long sleeves that covered her small pale hands. A smooth, corset pressed on her stomach as she paced the floor with her long train of purple fabric slowly following behind.
“Lord Jaribenn requests your audience, please head to the throne room,” Garth demanded with a loud bang on the door.
“I shall be there in a minute,” the maiden replied softly.
“He wants you now,” Garth ordered.
With a swish of her dark brown hair, the maiden shut her book hard, glared at Garth and then harshly shoved the book back into the shelving behind her. She then gathered up her long annoying dress, and started out of the room following Garth slowly behind.
“I have to warn you maiden, you won’t like the news,” Garth stated.
Grabbing the bronze handle to the throne room, Garth swung open the door wide, and entered the room with a tap, tap of his boots. Right behind him was the maiden; hair blocking her face and the hem of her dress dirty from the stone ground. Lord Jaribenn caught a glimpse of the maiden form the corner of his eye, and turned to look at her fully in view. She was beautiful like he remembered her arriving to the castle so long ago; soaked by the rain and dirty from the mud.
“Ryiah, thank you for seeing me on such a short notice,” Jaribenn smiled a friendly yet not so convincing smile.
“Lord Jaribenn, why on earth have you summoned me? To gawk in my presence or to gloat on how victorious you’ve been in battle?” Ryiah crossed her arms.
Lord Jaribenn pinched the bridge of his nose; he’d forgotten how annoying and rude she was towards him ever since he locked her up in that room.
“Forgive me Ryiah, but I have not summoned you here to gloat or gawk at your beauty. I have information for you, and like Garth has probably told you, it isn’t good news,” Lord Jaribenn informed her, as he took a swig of wine.
The maiden sighed, took up some fabric from her dress and approached Lord Jaribenn with great caution. In his hand he held the causality list; the first two names were Ryiah’s parents and the next two were her aunt and uncle. Ryiah couldn’t believe what she was reading.
“This is a joke; a sick joke?!” Ryiah exclaimed.
“In all honesty, maiden, this is no joke,” Garth interrupted.
Ryiah could feel tears forming, waiting to roll down her cheeks. She couldn’t believe that everything she loved, everything she simply cared about was gone. The maiden wanted to blame someone for such treachery, such irreplaceable actions; Jaribenn was perfect enough to blame for their death, but she didn’t.
“Thank you for telling me this, Lord Jaribenn. If you need me, I’ll be in my room,” Ryiah sighed.
Soaked to the bone from the heavy rain, was an elf racing through the open field towards castle Malkvair. His hair dripping off his leather vest and his boots were filled to the brim in muddy rain water.
“I must reach the castle in time,” the elf said.
A view of the stone walls of Malkvair could be seen through the misty eyed elf. Rain drops blinded him, as he trudged up to the large draw bridge doors. Guards stood at the end of each door; they unsheathed their swords.
“An important message for Lord Jaribenn,” the elf announced.
“Ow we know ya aren’t part of Darkness’ army,” one of the guards asked in a thick accent.
The elf glared at them both, and reached into his satchel on his thigh. He grabbed the insignia of the Elves, and showed it to the guards, hoping they would let him enter. The insignia had tree leaves and a huge scroll in the middle with The Ancient Words on it.
“I am King Elidyr of the Elves’s son, Nathaniel,” he exclaimed.
Both of the guards looked at one another, sheathed their swords simultaneously, and then gave the word to open the big doors. Soon as they opened, Nathaniel darted inside and made his way through the crowded courtyard. The courtyard was made up of commoners, sorcerers and pirates.
“This place was worse than father told me about,” Nathaniel whispered.
“Halt, none shall enter unless you have business with Lord Jaribenn,” a guard stated.
Nathaniel shows the guard the insignia of his father’s house. The guard nods and the door opens slightly enough for the elf to slip in. There before the elf, was Malkvair castle; he took a deep breath, preparing himself and then entered.
(The Darkness Within, Chapter 1)