For three thousand years, the Lanarian Empire, guarded and girded by the Knights of Lanar'ya, has stood as a bulwark between the civilized peoples of the southlands and the Night-Souled menace. However, a shadow is falling upon Lanar'ya as troubles gain a foothold in what was once an untroubled land...
Join Commander Loriaska as he travels the length and breadth of the Empire searching for a way to hold the crumbling Empire together. Journey deep beneath the earth, over the vast desert wasteland, through the thick elven forests, and back to the city at the heart of the Empire, Centralis, as Loriaska seeks answers where none may exist and finds contentment he had never dreamed possible here and now in the Twilight of Lanar'ya...
The Emperor smiled and waved them closer. He had known them all for many years. The elf had been the first to join his crusade. The dwarf had taken longer to come around. And the young human who mixed metal and magic…
“I have a request for you,” the Emperor said, his voice so strong and deep it seemed to belie his weakened body. “None of you will like it.”
“We will do whatever you ask of us, old friend,” the elf replied, his blue eyes filling with tears at the sight of his friend’s age-ravaged body. “Forgive me,” he added quickly, bowing low, “we will do as you ask, my lord.”
“Enough of that,” the Emperor growled softly, waving away the obeisance. “I’ve enough ceremony foisted on me in a day to last a sensible man a lifetime. And yet, I have insisted on it,” he sighed. “I had no choice…”
“What is it you want of us, Lan?” the dwarf asked calmly. He was less impressed with the Emperor. He recalled all too well how his old friend could barely heft a hammer or handle a dwarven duel when they’d first met. In time, Lan had become a master at the warhammer and had even kept pace with the dwarf for a few hours of a duel. “We’ll do it. We’ll piss and moan like women, but we’ll do it.”
“Jevak, old friend,” the Emperor chuckled. “Thank you. Gerald, come forth and let me look upon your face,” he motioned for the human to step into the light. “These old eyes don’t see as well as they once did.”
The young man moved into the light streaming from the window. The Emperor gazed at his face, careless of the tears trickling from his rheumy grey eyes. “You are your father come back to us, Gerald. You are his very likeness. Did Jorash ever tell you how he came to join me?”
“Many times, Uncle Lan,” the youth replied calmly. “He said you were the greatest thing to come out of Tevrata. You were the one who convinced the three human kingdoms to ally with the elven nation. You even brought the dwarves into the pact. It was you who had the wisdom and the fire to stop those foul blood-mages.”
“I did not do it alone,” the Emperor sighed. “The elves had seen the danger before I was even a twinkle in my father’s eye. They tried to warn us but we would not listen…”
“To our sorrow,” Gerald agreed. “But the Night-Souled are contained now. We’ve managed to hold them in the northeast. The dwarves keep a solid watch on them. A shame we couldn’t push them into the desert but… Why wouldn’t you let us push them to the sands, Uncle? I’ve never understood that. Had we forced them to retreat northwest twenty years ago…”
“We would have lost everything if we allowed them the desert that divides,” the Emperor grimaced. “I saw that. We must hold them here. We must not allow our mistakes to multiply into the northern lands. Regardless of what comes, we must never allow them to move northward. That is the task I set for you, Gerald.”
“To keep an eye on the Night-Souled?” the young man asked, confused. Doing such a thing was the duty of every man in the Empire. “Uncle, I will of course…”
“No,” the Emperor said, shaking his head. “You must go to the desert. Gather up the men from your coterie and take them to the desert. There you will live and die. Raise up your children to maintain the watch. Ensure that no Night-Souled crosses the desert to the northlands. Even if you must fight the Empire itself to see it so, do this thing for me.”