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The Gathering Darkness

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The Gathering Darkness Jaxom stood upon the pinnacle of mount Imrik as the sun rose. Its golden splendour washed over the lands of Pern, the view lifted yet saddened him at the same time, all he could see now stood in the balance. He turned his gaze west and to the cause of his sadness. Darkness was consuming the land, it was a darkness he knew all too well. It spread like a cancer, and had been spreading across the known world. Today the fate of the world and his home was at stake. A horn called from below the misty peak, Jaxom climbed onto Draak's back, the mighty beasts muscles flexed and it dived from the summit. The ground rushed towards them, at the last moment Draak extended his wings, using the speed gathered from the spectacular dive to catapult him through the blackening clouds. The ice-cold wind whipped at Jaxom's hair, which flowed out in a contorting golden wave behind him. Through gaps in the clouds beneath, he could see the movement of the armies below, tiny figures arrayed on the blighted earth, obscured slightly by the rain that had just started to lash the plains below him. The shinning ranks of his comrades could be seen, their bright armour contrasting with the dark landscape. Moving against them were the black armoured forms of the hated Pravus the plague of the world and the dark kin of the Elves. ...read more.


In the confusion that followed Cassius's armies quickly conquered the countries to the far West of Pern. Twenty years of gathering darkness had passed as one by one countries belonging to the Elves had fallen to the Pravus and their Lord. Now Pern was the only light left in the darkness, and Jaxom feared that today that light might be extinguished like so many others. With that thought Draak turned gracefully, serpentine tail coiling majestically. For a fraction of a second the powerful beast hung motionless in mid-air before plunging downwards. Tucking his wings back tightly, Draak plummeted into the clouds, bursting through them with tremendous velocity. Directly below the creature an immense black shape. As one Draak and Jaxom screamed a challenge, their cries indistinguishable. In shock the gleaming black dragon beneath them rolled to the side desperately, almost throwing its rider from the ornate saddle. A roaring burst of flame erupted from Draak's gullet, rolling over the black dragon's torso, which blistered under the furnace like heat. Jaxom's glowing lance descended towards the Pravus rider, a menacing figure enclosed within black plated armour. The Pravus twisted in his saddle away from the lance, swinging his shield up to knock the glowing weapon aside. With a slight rotation of his wrist, Jaxom changed his aim towards the centre of the shield. The glowing weapon punched straight through the emblazoned shield, tearing through the metal and sinking deeply into the Pravus's shoulder. ...read more.


Writhing in the air uncontrollably, it began its head from side to side. Poisonous green smoke poured forth from the mortal wound, and a horrid gurgling sound erupted from the fatally wounded beast. The dragon's rider looked around in terror, screaming curses. With an explosive beat of his wings, Draak pushed away from the crippled dragon, which had already begun to fall. Jaxom watched the dark shape plummet towards the ground, hurtling towards the ranks of Pravus surging over the plains below. Raising his horn to his lips, Jaxom blew a strong, singular note that sounded over the plains, echoed by the cheers of thousands of his kinsman. "Cheer while you can!" thought Jaxom "for many of you will not see the eventide." The battle had been ferocious, with both sides thirsty to spill the blood of their hated brethren. As the crimson rays of the setting sun bore down on the blood soaked plain many hours later, all that remained of the Pravus forces were the broken bodies of the dead. Elf and Pravus littered the battlefield and at the centre, standing triumphant on a mound of scorched bodies was Jaxom. The price of victory had been high, many Elves had died at the hands of the Pravus, and all it seemed was for nothing. They had repulsed only the first wave of the enemy and that immense task had taken all their might! Despair filled Jaxom as he raised his head and screamed into the night. Mark Newell ...read more.

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