Prologue

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Prologue

Battlefield



Sir Titus Relan stood in the center of a large farm field, the crops long since burned during the harsh fighting that the southern border of Zygog had seen. What had once been a lush and fertile patch of land was now full of ash and dirt, and the farmhouse that had once been home to a poor farming family was empty and hollow. More and more civilians were fleeing not only from their homes, but from their kingdom as well, and Titus wondered if they might ever come back. Right then, in that moment, he didn't see that happening any time soon. That's just the way the world was going, sadly. Wars were always bloody and hard, but this one even more so.



The war had been raging for nearly seven months and it had taken its toll on all those involved. The entire continent was tearing itself apart and many lives had been lost already, but it didn't look like the fighting was going to end. It didn't even seem to matter that the Alysian and Elothian allied forces were starting to make headway into Zygog; the sole reason that Titus and forty-nine other soldiers, knights, and mages were patrolling the border.



"Where the hell is that scout?" Lord Tyrl shouted angrily, scratching his fingers through his long black goatee. "I swear to the Gods that if he abandoned his duty I will hunt him down and see him hanged!"



"I am sure he will be back soon, my Lord," Titus breathed loudly, looking towards the man in charge of this squad.



Lord Tyrl was a tall and thin man with the temper of a dragon, and not a single person who worked under him had a single nice thing to say about their leader. Even Sir Titus, whose family had been protecting and working for Lord Tyrl's family for six generations hated the man with ever fibre of his being. Still, he had a job to do and he could not bring himself to break his honour by leaving the brutal man.



To be completely honest Titus wouldn't blame the missing scout if he had run away. He wouldn't be the first, and he was sure he wouldn't be the last. There were reports of their allies from the other Kingdoms defecting, surrendering before a fight, and even outright turning traitor and bringing the enemy information free of charge. Even some soldiers and mages from Zygog had done something along those lines, but it was a much rarer occurrence; simply because if you were caught abandoning your post or trying to run away you were usually killed.



There was no trail and no mercy, just a swift and brutal death that warned off anyone else who had the idea of trying the same thing.



"My Lord! Jurgen has returned!" one of the soldiers yelled out, pointing to the south where a single man was running down a hill towards them.



Lord Tyrl grumbled loudly as he turned towards the scout, his hand moving down to the long wooden rod attached to his belt as he tried to look as threatening as possible. Titus didn't think he was really going to use his magic to harm the scout, but he could be wrong. Those who were dark of heart and intent were starting to excel within the Kingdom of Zygog, and Lord Tyrl had made a rise to power recently based solely on his willingness to exact the King's brutal judgement with no questions or qualms.

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