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Chapter Two

‘Most terrible of Na’lek’s pawns are the Titans. Where they walk, only devastation follows. Pray to the Zealots that they show you mercy.’ -From the Tomes of Regret, Verse 27 of Power.'

      Kaven stared at the Silent Ones, frozen in place by the fearful sight. High above the Barrier-Wall, the Silent Ones hovered before the soldiers. The monsters reminded Kaven of gigantic, bipedal insects. Encased in a stony carapace, the Silent Ones had a natural armor that rivaled any manmade metal. Their faces were completely blank, nothing more than a pale white and green head atop square shoulders.

Slowly, Kaven raised his bow towards the Silent Ones, in unison with the other soldiers, arrows sharpened and pointed towards the narrow chests of their enemies. Kaven had rarely seen a monster so close before, and he found the sight to be harrowing. Each Silent One was a fragment of Na’lek’s rage, made flesh by the god’s infinite power. Before Kaven was rage incarnate, created with the sole purpose of killing him. In order to gain redemption, it was kill the creatures of the Fury, or perish.

Time seemed to stretch into eternity as they waited, the soldiers of Regelia facing the monsters as the Fury raged in the distance. Kaven dared not make a sound, and his fellow soldiers too were silent. No mouths uttered a warcry, and no one called out in challenge. Save for the singing wind, there was no sound at all. This was how the Silent Ones came.

Maen did not give the call to attack, and Kaven found that he had no desire to attack these creatures. He found himself admiring the Silent Ones, even as they began to slowly descend towards the Wall.

Feeling as if his mind was in a fog, Kaven blinked slowly, his bow slackening as he tried to focus. One thing was clear to him, he did not want to fight the Silent One. Let them come, his mind told him dully. This must be.

The Silent Ones brought their four arms down, extending sharpened claws. They came slowly, unhurried as they sank closer and closer to the Wall. Through the cloud of his mind, Kaven thought that there was no way the Silent Ones were riding the wind. What magic did they posses? It was so hard to think…

“Find your faith, Soldiers of Regelia!” A loud, clear voice penetrated Kaven’s foggy mind. “The Curse of Silence will not hold you! Fight against the Fury, and let not its shadow bind you!”

The spell was broken. With a start, Kaven became aware of his surroundings. He gasped, realizing what had happened to him. The Curse of Silence deadened the minds of men, leaving them powerless in the grasp of the Silent Ones. He turned to see his savior, the one who had broken the spell.

Garbed in a violet tunic, a Priest of Na’lek stood with them on the Wall, hands raised towards the tortured sky as he sang praises for Na’lek and prayers for forgiveness. Even as the Priest sang, the wind died to nothing more than a slight breeze. Turning back to the enemy, Kaven quickly raised his bow towards the descending monsters, his fears redoubled and his heart pounding as adrenaline surged through him. The Silent Ones did not increase their pace. Perhaps they were unaware that their Curse had been broken, or perhaps they simply did not care.

Maen finally gave the command, “Soldiers! Give them a proper Regelian welcome!”

The whoosh of wind that sailed over Kaven’s head was not caused by the Fury, for it came from behind the Wall. As one, a dozen trebuchets positioned behind the Wall unleashed their deadly payloads up into the sky.

The Silent Ones were smashed out of the sky by giant shards of stone, which tore through carapace and flesh to throw the monsters down into the Fields of Glory. Kaven watched in awe as the Silent One numbers were halved by the first volley. Working swiftly, the soldiers down below reloaded the trebuchets. However, by the time the second volley was airborne, most of the Silent Ones had landed on the Wall, and only a few were felled by the projectiles.

Maen directed her forces back across the Wall as the Silent Ones stepped forward, and Kaven didn’t stop until he was on the edge of the mighty barrier. Far below, Kaven could see more soldiers arriving. Kaven raised his bow, but he felt a great surge of relief, for he knew the battle was already over.

A scraping sound began to fill the air, coming from beneath the Wall as the groan of metal on metal. Blocks of the Wall, at the opposite edge from where Kaven was standing, were lifting and sliding aside as coiled iron springs on bars, tipped with a metal sphere, rose out of the Wall at five foot intervals; the Firerods.

The Silent Ones approached in perfect unison, still deathly calm and slow as a thunderhead. But, like lightning, they could strike with terrible speed at any moment. Fortunately, the Silent Ones ignored the Firerods, focusing instead on the sinners. The Firerods began to hum, vibrating as they charged up.

“Steady,” Captain Maen commanded, watching the Silent Ones carefully. Kaven tried to do as instructed, but even with the Firerods activating, he was still apprehensive. If the monsters suddenly attacked, the Firerods would be useless.

The humming of the Firerods grew louder as the Silent Ones passed between them. Maen held her bow steady, arrow pointed straight towards a monster’s heart. “Hold,” she ordered.

Kaven began to sweat, his bowstring becoming slick in his grasp. He dared not release his arrow, lest he provoke the Silent Ones. The Firerods were vibrating with such intensity that Kaven thought they might break apart. He had to hold on a moment longer.

“Down!” Kaven ducked behind Maen as she issued the command, dropping to the Wall in unison with her troops. As one, the Firerods were unleashed upon the attacks. Jagged blue lightning burst from one pole to the next, passing through startled Silent Ones as it danced from each Firerod, catching anything within its radius. Never making a sound, the monsters collapsed together, large holes burnt right through their carapaces.

The smell of scorched flesh filled the air, rising from the twitching Silent Ones as they oozed green ichor. The Firerods ceased vibrating and began to retract back into the Wall.

Kaven rushed forward with his soldiers, but stood back as they drew swords and stabbed the Silent Ones. With these monsters, it was hard to tell whether they were dead or not. Best to be careful. Kaven put up his bow, breathing a sigh of relief.

The Firerods were the pinnacle of Regelian weaponry. Invented by a dear friend of Kaven’s parents, the Firerods harnessed the raw magic of sorcerers, stored to be directed towards enemies. In most battles, they were used to blast monsters on the ground, but if attackers reached the wall tops, the Firerods could bounce the lightning-like energy between themselves, catching invaders in a deadly matrix. Though the Firerods had proven devastating in countless battles, they were still a pale reflection of the Fury’s power.  

“Well done,” said Captain Maen. “The Fury did not claim a single soul this day. Bury the corpses and alert the watchtowers that all is clear. Na’lek send that’s the only attack for today.”

The soldiers went about their assigned chores, rolling the Silent Ones over the side of the Wall and then dropping ladders over the side. They then climbed down to bury the monsters in the lightning pits. Other men began clearing the debris blown in by the Fury or examined the trebuchets.

Captain Maen removed her helmet, letting her hair fall loose about her shoulders as she sighed. “By the Fury,” she murmured, “I don’t know how long I can do this for him.”

Kaven hurried after her, “Captain?”

“Hmm?” Maen turned back to regard him.

“I’d like to request my monthly leave,” Kaven said. Every Regelian soldier was given three days of rest during their tour of duty, normally granted towards the end of the month. Kaven, however, wanted to go early. By the Titans, he needed a break from this.

The captain seemed to consider it a moment before nodding. “Alright, lad. But I want you reporting back here for duty in three days.”

“Yes ma’am!” Kaven saluted, relieved, “Thank you, ma’am!” As Maen stepped away, Kaven turned to descend the walls. He needed time to collect his thoughts after witnessing such a display of supernatural rage. But thank Na’lek no one had died.

A startled cry suddenly rang across the wall tops, “Captain Maen! Captain Maen!” A soldier was dancing in place, eyes wide with terror and shaking visibly, “It’s a...i-it’s a…!” Unable to speak, the man simply pointed out into the Fury.

Maen followed his gaze, and turned deathly pale. Kaven saw it too, and felt his blood grow cold. Standing far out into the Fury was a massive figure, much taller than the Wall itself staring directly at them. It was a Titan.

Kaven fell to his knees, screaming in terror. And he wasn’t the only one. Strong and proud men collapsed, calling out to Na’lek for deliverance, begging to be spared. Whereas monsters like the Silent Ones were slivers of Na’lek’s rage, the six Titans were his very soul. There was nothing in the Fury more dangerous, hateful or feared as the Titans. Their names, and the slaughter they had brought against Lantrelia, were branded forever into Kaven by history, and the legends of those unfortunate enough to encounter them.

    He forced himself to look up and into the distance, to where Na’lek himself might have stood, watching him with loathing. Which Titan was this? The most terrible of the Titans, the Destroyer, was dead. It had perished some three hundred years ago, after breaching the defences of Stormgarde. The other five, however, were very much alive.

The Gorger was a gluttonous monster who devoured anything that moved, whether it was living or not. Its attack patterns were random and very hard to predict. The next Titan was the Devourer, who emerged from the Fury every few months to feed on magical energy, along with the sorcerers who tried to drive it away.

Another Titan was the Ravager, who could burrow underneath the Wall and storm through unprotected cities. Kaven had once witnessed the desolation left behind by the Ravager, many years ago.

The fifth Titan was Death, known as the Silent Father, who killed without reason or purpose. Death came like the Fury itself, quiet in its approach until unleashed a terrible onslaught of destruction.

However, as Kaven stared out at the figure standing on the horizon, he knew it was none of these Titans. It didn’t have the flames of Death or the terrible jaws of the Gorger. This left only the Watcher.

The Watcher was the strangest of the Titans, for it had never attacked before. It had been spotted only a dozen times before today, simply standing out in the distance, watching the cities with horrible, glowing red eyes. It was this that made it the most terrifying of the Titans. Kaven knew it would be only a matter of time before the Watcher ceased waiting, and attacked. That was what the Destroyer had done, and thousands had perished in the battle that had followed. Would this be the day the Watcher became the next Destroyer?

Maen was the first to recover her composure, but she was still shaking. “G-get up, men! Grab your weapons and stand your ground. Sound the alarm within the city, let them know that a Titan comes. Go!” Roused by her words, the soldiers scattered in separate directions, some running towards the city and others back to their posts. The men held their swords out towards the Titan, probably wondering if steel would even be of use here.

Kaven knew that Regelia had no weapon for fighting the Titans. No one did. If the Fury sent a Titan towards you, you died. Even with the Destroyer, it was only after it had ravaged almost the entirety of Stormgarde City had it finally fallen. Kaven slowly brought himself to his feet, raising his useless bow towards the Titan. Despite his fear, he would not die in surrender.

The Watcher did not move from its position, so far away that its eyes were only tiny pinpricks of light. Kaven waited for the attack to come. Would it breathe fire, like Death had done? Would it snap them up with blade-like fingers, as the Ravager preferred to do?

He devoted all of this thoughts into prayers, screaming for mercy and begging for deliverance. The fervent cries of the Priest rose into the Fury, as the crimson gaze of the Watcher stayed fixated upon them. The soldiers on the Wall cried out as one, hoping to be spared.

The Watcher suddenly turned, swiveling back towards the eternal storm and strode back out onto the unreachable ruins of the Fields of Glory. Na’lek had listened to their prayers; they were saved.

The soldiers’ cries turned into rejoicing, and they threw their hands up towards the Fury, praising Na’lek for his mercy. Kaven found that he was crying, but he didn’t care. Their god had decreed that they worthy enough to be spared from his Fury.

“By Na’lek’s rage and the Fury’s shadow,” Maen whispered, her eyes wide as she stared at where the Titan had been. “We are saved!” She wept softly too, murmuring her own thanks to the Fury and the god who had spawned it.

A Titan! Kaven couldn’t stop himself from shaking as he started descending from the Wall, relieved of duty for the next three days. Very few men had ever seen a Titan and lived through the encounter. But by the time Kaven had reached the bottom of the Wall, he was feeling much better. Regelia had fended off a Silent One attack and had narrowly evaded one of the Titans. There had been no casualties and only minimal damages to the Wall. The successful defence of the Kingdom was partly due to Kaven’s timely warning, and if that wasn’t something to be proud of, he didn’t know what was.

Several wagons sat beside the gates of the Barrier Wall, where men waited to transport weapons, supplies other soldiers back to the nearby Redwind, Regelia’s capital city. Climbing into one of these make-shift carriages, Kaven waited to be brought back home. Kaven glanced back over the Wall, where the violet clouds of the Fury waited. The storm’s rage had been calmed, and for now Kaven’s home was safe. But soon, he knew, the Fury would hunger again, and next time, Regelia might not survive.

Next Chapter: Chapter Three