Act II: Secrets of Sanctuary

Long ago, before the mighty heroes and adventurers thrive, even before the kingdom of Avarik is united…

The Gods, weary and troubled, mulled over the fate of world—of the mortals they had pitied in the past. For not even the divine could peer through the veil of future, as only possibilities and uncertainty alone are within it.

And so they chose several souls who had been faithful to them as their guardians. Upon these people, the Gods bestowed power beyond the living— entrusting them with their fate as they fell into a deep slumber, frozen in thoughts and passages of time~~.~~ To protect the slumbering Gods is to preserve order among humanity. A duty, a pledge; this is their calling to maintain the balance of the world.

Come the guardians of the light, hidden from the rest of the world. They go by ‘Aegis’, protectors of the Gods and mankind - their bodies marked by runes from the old gods. Surrounding the resting Gods, these chosen ones built a civilization and passed down their blessings through generations. This is how the ‘Sanctuary’ came to be— Where the Gods laid dormant, unperturbed and undisturbed, while their people thrive and grow within their safe haven…

… but soon the Aegis found themselves guilty of ignorance…

For there would be no despair without hope, no sorrow without joy, and no chaos without order…

A false sense of security comforted them, leaving them unaware of the danger that would soon befall them.

Concealed as they might be— their secrecy provided their safety and their peril all at once. For when calamity fell upon them, to whom shall they turn to? For where there is light, there is darkness. It hides, waiting for an opportunity; a moment where the light dims and the shadow surrounds the world in its grim embrace.

As the power struggles continued, the inevitable arrived. A tumble, a crack, in which a moment was created; an opportunity to strike the vulnerable.

Blood and tears intertwined amidst the ruins of what remained of the Sanctuary; the flames burnt buildings and people alike as they drowned in the putrid stench of corpses and suffocating smoke. Their time had come, and not even the Aegis could escape the grasp of the abyss.

Hence, the Sanctuary and Aegis fell; a powerless struggle against the unknown…

Even still, not all was lost. A survivor—a lone candle in the dark, a promise. Out of the Sanctuary, and straight into the vast world. Through the biting cold, the flickering light endured even the most turbulent snowstorms. The first step in a world seething with mystery and uncertainty, for anything seemed better than death. Away, away, leaving the place that once was home…

Alone, bearing the burden of truth. And as the path led farther from the Sanctuary, the stronger the yearning became. Like howling winds, the agonized screams of the Aegis kept echoing in the mind. Press on, and move on, towards a new destination… towards a new salvation.

From the distance, a familiar glow radiated—of haven and hope. The warmth was beckoning. Though new and novel, it emanated feelings that washed away the despair and exhaustion. Something akin to reminiscence of home; of safety and comfort. In the dead of the night, let the moonlight be the witness, and may the stars guide the moment. Hope was distant, but it was real—real enough to chart the road to save the future.

However... the odds proved otherwise. The candle's fire would find weathering relentless storm rather difficult, as its flames slowly waned; the storm robbed any remaining hope that was left. Scars and wounds throbbed with piercing intensity, confining consciousness to the harsh reality. It seemed as if the powers of the Ancient Gods would soon depart their mortal vessel, like a fleeting dream in daylight.

As hope began to fade, darkness continued to spread in every corner, devouring the land. The chills of the dread, along with the unforgiving blizzard began to settle in, albeit not fast enough to stop the numbing of limbs and emotions. The spark of the flames weakened as the hazy air made its entrance. Exhaustion took over and a rest would be needed, for even when the road to salvation lied right ahead, the journey would take its toll.

Pray, for mercy and help, but to whom? Who would answer to a prayer that went unheard? If only this had been a mere nightmare, one could simply wake up. If only a wish could turn back time and return everything to the way it once was… one would wish. Wish, for this suffering to end, for all beloved ones to recover from ashes and rubbles. A wish… for a miracle… for salvation.

For in the face of death, only miracles could save one’s life. But would that one life be yours?

A late realization, a misfortune impeccably timed; something sinister lurked behind the curtain of the settling snow. Steps of a beast closed in, and all the blood drained from one’s face. A growl, a death call was approaching fast. No one could not turn faster than the beast could strike. Sharp claws struck, fresh blood splattered on the white snow, and darkness enfolded.