Nightwind: Fury, Prologue (Mobile English)

Nightwind: Fury – Prologue

Fifteen years ago in Nightwind, eight-year-old Saffa reflected on her very first day of battle academy. All children in Nightwind attended for twelve years, due to constant threats of invasion from the nation of Bratgon, their eastern neighbor. Everyone eighteen and older participated in the army until age forty. King Ishethra, her mother, instituted the mandate ninety years ago.

Wearing blue and gold pajamas, Saffa sat on mother’s lap, looking up with brown eyes. “Mother, you promised a story about the dread war. I’m ready.”

Mother brushed Saffa’s hair and said, “One century ago, the dread war plagued Yava. Bratgon’s hosts drove west towards Nightwind as unprovoked aggressors.”

“What was in Bratgon’s army?”

“Orks innumerable — mindless, clumsy humanoids with slimy green skin.”

“And weapons?”

“They used arquebuses and clubs. Behind them, their cruel human taskmasters whipped them forward.

“That’s mean. Why do nations invade?”

“They often claim they’re protecting their people or rooting out evil. But it all comes down to land, resources, and unwarranted hate and fear of other cultures. Above all, their motives are always driven by power, and the fear of losing it.”

“Those are dumb reasons.”

“Dumb indeed. Besides orks and their taskmasters, Bratgon’s war machine consisted of ballistae, bombards, catapults, tanks… and the Zmey.”

“Tanks?” Saffa asked.

“Made of bronze, they burned coal, running on steam. Their turrets shot lead and fire.”

“Did we have tanks?”

“No Saffa, we refuse to strip Yava of so many precious metals to build such horrors. Our ki and other weapons sustain us.”

“What are Zmey?”

“Three headed dragons, bred in Bratgon’s mountainous east for one purpose: to destroy and subjugate.”

“I’ve never heard of them.”

“Just listen Saffa.”

“Okay.”

“The war started in our eastern forests. Our lesnik, giant trees, and protectors of the forest, fought with ferocity, repelling Bratgon’s first assaults. Unfortunately, relentless hordes burned everything in their path. I helped fight at Marasheart, but we retreated, regrouping here at Tenebres.”

“What did you wield, mother?”

“Soulash.”

“What’s a Soulash? And who fought with you?”

“My golden whip. I use it to spank children who ask too many questions.”

Saffa smirked. “Really?”

Mother winked. “My army comprised human, elven, and gnome warriors and wizards. Centaurs ridden by dryads completed the mix.”

“I’ve seen centaurs in the castle. What’s a dryad?”

“Female custodians of nature, with potent earth magic. They live in the forests.” Mother’s gaze drifted to the window.

“Mother?”

“Bratgon sieged Tenebres for five years.”

Saffa’s eyes bulged. “Five years?!”

“Five horrific years. I slew many orks with my whip, and destroyed some machines. Sadly, we couldn’t break the siege. Bratgon expanded their war into the nation of Samatria, our southwestern neighbor. They’re the longest lasting democracy in all Yava.”

“Where everyone votes on stuff?”

“Yes. They also have the oldest recorded history on the planet — over nineteen thousand years worth. Their libraries are vast.”

“Can I go there someday?”

“Of course, my adventurous daughter. Now back to the story. In the foothills of Samatria’s crystal mountains, Bratgon’s army started harvesting red crystals, renowned for their magical and structural applications. Archon Zofiel, magistrate of Samatria, led an army of warriors to fight them. They rode griffins and unicorns. She’s still Archon today.”

“So you’re both ancient?”

Mother set the hairbrush down and scratched Saffa’s back. “A little ancient. Zofiel blew her mighty horn Griffin’s Cry, summoning a tempest to smash the armies of Bratgon. Many perished, but endless legions advanced over their comrade’s corpses, rolling to Sarwoth, the majestic capital of Samatria, its massive gate fabled for never being breached.”

“How big?”

“Twenty feet thick and sixty feet high. Made of red rock from those crystal mountains I mentioned. Samatria’s creatures and warriors fought with ferocity for their livelihood and freedom. Zofiel pleaded with me for aid. No other nations helped, so I left this castle to join her.”

“Leaving… our home?”

A tear formed in mother’s eye. “Yes Saffa. We broke the siege, and I left, taking Haldra, legendary assassin, and Lariel, high-elf archmage of Norembel with me. The armies of Tenebres followed, and we flanked Bratgon’s legions at the gates of Sarwoth.”

“What’s Norembel?”

“A nation of high elves far to the south.”

“Did Zofiel fight?”

“She wielded Mulvastnef, the mighty Samatrian longbow. Her elemental arrows caused explosions and slew hundreds of orks. I protected her.”

“What did Haldra and Lariel do?”

“Feisty Haldra threw Fulgsta, her thundering javelin, smashing the enemy with chain lightning. It returned to her hand with each throw. Lariel, stoic like always, rained fire, ruining orks and siege weapons. With our armies, and Haldra’s and Lariel’s help, the tide began to shift.”

Saffa’s arms shook in excitement.

“That’s when the Zmey came. Hundreds of them, all colors and sizes.”

“Oh no.”

“Our situation deteriorated, and the gates of Sarwoth cracked, consumed by fire.”

“What happened?” asked Saffa, face creased with worry.

“I did the unthinkable, commanding all Nightwind to aid or rally around us for safety.”

“Our entire nation?”

“All our citizens and creatures — including children. Everyone came. Bratgon razed much of Nightwind during their exodus. The war culminated when the bulk of Bratgon’s army fought against the combined armies of Nightwind and Samatria at the gates of Sarwoth. I stood with Zofiel on the gatehouse, fighting the Zmey. Zofiel wielded Mulvastnef with mastery.”

“Bad-ass!”

“Now for the climax. Goryn, the ancient Zmey, swooped down, landing atop the gatehouse. He roared, demanding our surrender, threatening to consume our children if we didn’t comply.”

Saffa folded her arms. “Not nice.”

“Zofiel responded by blowing the horn of Sarwoth. The sound carried for leagues, inspiring our troops. I dueled Goryn, telling him to leave or I would take his heads as my trophies.”

Saffa scrunched up her face.

“His breaths, tail, and claws almost killed me. But I whirled Soulash, forming a golden barrier of azure fire, repulsing his attacks. Advancing, I climbed upon his back. He fought to throw me off, roaring in anger. But I persisted. Three heroic strikes shattered the sky and quaked the earth. The heads of Goryn fell away.”

“His heads fell by your whip?”

Mother shrugged. “Yes.”

“Hmmm. Are you sure?”

“Trust mother. Goryn’s death invigorated our armies. They cheered, rallied, and turned the tide.”

“And the war ended?”

“No, my child. The worst lasted six more awful years. But we pushed Bratgon out of our borders and exterminated the Zmey. With Samatria’s help, Nightwind rebuilt. We remain ever watchful, fighting Bratgon off whenever they attack.”

“I’m glad we worked together with Samatria.”

“So am I. Without our combined strength, neither of our nations would exist.”

“Can I have just one more story?”

Mother nudged her off and stood. “I’m sure your father will tell you two tomorrow. For now, go to sleep, mighty warrior. Dream of victory. And freedom.”

Saffa jumped in bed, and mother tucked her in.

“I love you, mother.”

“And I you, dear daughter of Nightwind.”

When mother left, Saffa fell right asleep.

*****

Writing, characters, names, ideas © 2023-present by Jeff Johnson @jjxtra https://jeffjohnson.ninja

All rights reserved.

*****

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