|The Red War - A Dramer Account|
Lorekeeper Relan Matan
67th Year of the Red Era
I write this from the comfort of the city in Rekkan, in the 67th Year of the Red Era. As I speak, any Dramer left alive is either enslaved, or in Rekkan. In memory of all those who perished, I write an account on my experiences during The Red War as part of the Dramer Resistance.
The Red War began on the 254th Day, of the 10th Year, during the Red Era. We were there from the first. A contingent of Dramer Warriors – there was at least one thousand of us. We were told that would be more than enough to hold off the coming invasion. We were wrong.
It was a cold, rainy day. We lay in wait, behind a grassy hilltop, waiting for the first. I looked around to see a larger force than I had ever seen. But these were not battle hardened soldiers – these were scholars of warfare. None of us had done anymore than knock on a drunkard. The faces of my comrades painted a grim tail. Well, all except one.
Rekkan Remor was… an oddity. Even among Dramer. I had known him since he was a child, and he had always been different - excitable; curious; downright foolhardy. He had gotten us both into more scrapes than I could count. He was also excellent at getting out of them.
A silver tongue and a wit so sharp that it could cut down a dragon, he knew exactly what to say, and when to say it. Not to say he was a bad person – he was just different to most Dramer. He was a leader, a speaker, and an adventurer. That, and a charmer.
“I didn’t know anyone could be so pretty lying in the mud.” He said, to a female soldier lying next to him. She scoffed at him.
The soldiers name was, Soka, and she was the very definition of a hard person; cold, difficult to get to know, and completely unshakable. Rekkan and I had met her at the Library, when she was studying there to become a Warrior. Rekkan had fallen hopelessly in love with her – mainly because she hated his guts, and he viewed her as a challenge. They were constantly at each others throats – which was both pathetic, and a constant source of entertainment.
“Go back to Tóbh, pretty boy.” She said spitefully. “I hear the sailors are quite fond of someone who can fake sincerity.”
“My dear, if I had any idea what you were talking about, I’d be offended.” He replied, as clever as usual.
“You haven’t changed, have you?” I laughed. “I would have thought a couple decades abroad would have tempered you a bit.”
“The tempered sword is twice as strong.” He replied.
“The annoying shit is twice as bad.” Soka muttered.
“Oh, madam, you wound me so.” He said, in mock agony. “My heart is broken, and my confidence is broken.”
“I can’t believe they let you fight.” She complained.
“Shut up,” I said “Both of you.” I looked back over the sea, to see a horrifying sight.
We had been told we would be facing three ships full of Jarvahian soldiers. Three ships full were nothing compared to one thousand Dramer. Instead, I saw the entire Jarvah Armada. I don’t know the official figures, but I know that the ships carried almost 20,000 men
We watched eerily as the ghost ships creeped towards the shore. The massive ships seemed to have no one on board, but we knew that was a lie. The only sound was the waves against the shore line.
Suddenly, a distinct, black shape was thrown off one boat – and then another – and another. An anchor. One by one, they stopped dead in the water. And slowly, a half dozen – dozen – two dozen row boats dropped. The red mass began to descend, and come closer, and closer towards us.
Even Rekkan was spooked. There was no joking, no laughter, and no talking. We waited, in anticipation for what was about to come.
“Bows only, wait for command.” A messenger whispered, down the line. “Bows only, wait for command.” Soka made a satisfied noise, and Rekkan a disappointed one. She loved bows, he hated them. Those two disagreed on everything. I grabbed my bow, and waited.
The rowboats creeped towards the shore, desperately slow. The air was electric, and the rain was getting worse. There was a storm brewing, but that would offer no respite. It would take more than the weather to stop the Jarvah. A lot more.
“Hold.” The messenger whispered, running up and down the lines. “Hold.” The Jarvah slowly creeped onto the shore as we watched from the hill; first a boatload – then two – then five – ten. Fifty men – one hundred men – five hundred. We waited… waited… waited. Finally, the order came.
“FIRE!” A call rang out. The entire thousand of us stood up. The Jarvah barely caught site of us before our arrows let loose. The sound of bowstrings releasing – the thud – rang out a thousand times, and blotted out the sky. Each of us watched as our own arrows got lost in the cloud. But one thing we all knew – we had killed a man. And if we were to get out of this, we’d kill a lot more.
“OPEN FIRE!” The call rang out. We began picking off our own targets, trying to stem the tide. The Jarvah swarmed the beaches, and charged the hill. Another, another, another. Each arrow I let go hit its mark, and each time, another man was dead. I put it to the back of my mind. They’d have killed me, had they got the chance. Looking back on it, I don’t regret any arrow I let fly. But at the time, I was traumatised.
“HOLD!” The Jarvah were halfway up the hill. We wanted to use the terrain to our advantage. Another arrow. Another. Another. The beach was red with blood.
“HOLD!” The Jarvah were three quarters up the hill. I could see the faces of the men I killed.
“SWORDS!” Over the roar of battle, I heard Rekkan chuckle. The next voice was his.
We followed Rekkan, without thought, and without feeling. He was the first to meet their lines. No swords, but the first ten Jarvah to meet him were dead in seconds. Jumping forward, he transformed into an arrow like projectile, straight through their chests. He cut a bloody swathe for us to follow – but it wasn’t enough.
I don’t know how many men we killed that day. At least three times our own number. But the Jarvah were relentlessly. They had a seemingly unlimited force to push us back. We fought for every inch, but there was no hope. We knew that from the beginning. Bodies of the dead, never to be reclaimed, fell, again, and again, and again.
Only 50 of us made it out alive. Rekkan, I, and Soka were among them. To this day, I remember the faces of the dead. The sea swallowed them up, and those Dramer are lost to us forever. What happened on that beach should never be forgotten. But I fear, by the end of this book, it will look like nothing compared to the rest of the war.
The next six days were a blur of offensives, counter offensives, defensives and counter defensives. But try as hard as we might, the Jarvah pushed us back from the beach everytime. By the end of the week, there was a permanent base established on that beach. The Jarvah didn’t care about the blood, the bodies, the dead. What they could, they threw into the sea – their own dead included.
On the seventh day, we finally made a tactical retreat, to regroup, and defend the mainland. Rekkan, Soka and I were assigned to a small village on the western side of the island, along with 5 other men. It was considered of low priority, and we’d be backed up when troops arrived. Or, we were supposed to be.
I found Rekkan, and Soka in the inn. It was daylight, but the Jarvah hadn’t been seen for a week, and the other men were on duty. I can’t remember their names.
“Dead…” Soka muttered. Rekkan patted her back, and they both downed their drinks.
“They were good men.” He said. There was no joke in his voice. And yet, she glared at him anyway.
“If you hadn’t charged,” She said, angrily. “Maybe it wouldn’t have happened. Maybe… maybe…” Rekkan shook his head. I just looked on, as her angry expression turned to tears. As the tears fell, he turned to hug her. Her face rested on his soldier, and he gently held her. Had it not been Rekkan, I would have expected there to be some ulterior motive. But the look in his eyes was genuine.
Rekkan and Soka grew closer in the village. The traumatizing experience of having seen so many people died had led me to become quieter, and more reserved – but it had pushed the two of them together. Neither he nor she was the strong one in this – they simply had no choice but to collapse on each other.
“I finally did it.” Rekkan said, walking into the guard post. It was late – the 15th day we had been there. “I told her.” He had a huge smile plastered on his face.
“You’re kidding,” I laughed. “You actually told her?”
“She loves me.” He said, sitting down on a chair. “She said so. Not sarcastic or anything.”
“And she wasn’t sarcastic?” I laughed. “Is the world ending?”
“This war is the best thing that ever happened to me.” He said. I looked at him dead serious. “Too soon?”
“Just a little.”
It was the 31st day. We had spent a month at the village, with little or no activity, and still no sign of reinforcements. We had spent most of the month building up some defences. The people there were grateful for some protection, and we were only too happy to stay off the frontlines. The sky was blue, and the sun was shining. It looked like it was going to be the perfect day.
“Reinforcements!” Soka yelled. I ran up to the post. There were men on the horizon. A lot of them. Finally, we were being relieved. Only…
“That’s not…” I started. “JARVAH!”
“CLOSE THE GATES!” Soka yelled. I ran down to push them close. Rekkan was beside me. Arrows hits the gates as we closed them, narrowly missing my face.
“ARCHERS.” I yelled. “RETURN FIRE.” The distinct sound of bow strings twanging. War drums. Death. I ran back up to the guard posts, and took out my bow. This time, I had clear motive. These people were innocent. “GET THE PEOPLE OUT OF HERE.”
“No way.” Rekkan said, taking his place by my side. “I’ll hold them off with you.”
“Me too.” Soka said.
“No.” Rekkan said. “Get yourself out of here.”
“No.” Soka said. “I’m not leaving you.” Rekkan looked at me, and back to her, and back to the Jarvah. He took her into his arms, kissing her grey lips. It seemed to last forever, but it was over in a second. They each drew their bows. We looked at each other, and nodded.
“Wait here.” Rekkan said, running down the steps. Soka and I looked back to see him go, before returning to firing. They were getting closer, and their archers were honing in. The wooden wall was riddled with arrows, but they were poor shots while moving, and we were able to pick off any who stopped.
“Rekkan!” I yelled. They were only a couple hundred yards away. Again, I began to see the faces of the men I hit. It only made me stronger. Every Dramer I had seen fall… I kept firing.
A noise came from down by the gate. Wood against wood. I looked down, to see Rekkan moving barrels. “The Qumot!” I yelled. Qumot was a drink – extremely potent – and extremely valuable. “Of course!” I said.
“Get down here.” He said. Rekkan was good at Kinetic Magic, but I was better, and he knew it. I tapped Soka on the shoulder.
“C’mon.” I said, and hopped down off the wall. We all moved barrels against gate. The drums got louder and louder and louder. And then… it stopped.
We all drew our swords, as the Jarvah began ramming the gate. I looked at Rekkan, and he shook his head. Not yet. I looked at Soka, and her at me. The anticipation was killing me. The gate began to splinter, and break. Drums beat to the ramming. Blood in the air. My arms built up with a black material, and my armour melded into my skin. Finally, the door broke open.
Rekkan, in one fell swoop, did a frontflip, throwing a massive fireball from his hands as he went. To this day, I still don’t know where Rekkan learned firiipion, but he did. It flew straight into the gates, and the barrels burst into flames. Screams and explosions – burning wood. We waited for what seemed like eternity… and then they came anyway.
Burning flesh and smoke stunk the air as the Jarvah pushed through the flames, and we pushed back. My tough, black arm smacked into one, through him into the fire, and I threw another in with a blast of magic. Another fell to my sword. And another… and another… there were too many.
The fire burned hotter and hotter as we got pushed back. The whole village was on fire, and smoke filled the sky. The Jarvah had swarmed us, until we were backed up against the other gate. That’s when it happened.
I was trying to get the gate open when an arrow flew through the sky. I saw it, but it was too late. It hit Soka square in the chest. I saw it first, and my sword dropped to my side. Rekkan saw it, and we looked at each other. I could barely breath. Rekkan closed his eyes.
Most people would deny this ever happened. It’s well established that a Dragon Warrior dies after he transforms. The strain is too much – it takes too much energy – it’s too much on the body. I can only guess why Rekkan survived. It’s my guess that the anger and hatred that filled him was too much to allow him to die.
Rekkan’s body glowed white hot, and grew in size. Larger, larger, larger. The Jarvah already began to turn and run. In the end of it stood a dragon. It was black, and it’s huge overlapping scales and red eyes was a stunning sight to behold. It roared a terrifying cry, that knocked me against the gate. I went straight through it, and hit my head off a rock.
When I awoke, I was in the back of a cart. I opened my eyes to see Rekkan in the sitting beside me. I looked up at him. His eyes were cold, and dead.
“I couldn’t get her body…” He said, grimly.
“But… the fire…” He shook his head again.
“It went out… I couldn’t… She wasn’t… I…”
“You did what you could.” He said, standing up. “C’mon, these merchants won’t let us ride forever. We need to get going.” Rekkan hopped of the back of the cart, and began walking along the side of the road. He had a look in his eyes, which I had never seen before. The look of adventure. It was gone.
Rekkan, after that, was never the same. He was a lot more serious. He joked a lot less, that was for certain, but… he was changed. He was just as friendly, just as adventurous. But there was a part of his personality gone. He never flirted, not even as a joke. Oh – and he hated the Jarvah. And the war. If there was anything he hated more than the Jarvah, it was the war. It was like it was his personal mission to protect the Dramer.
After the village, we headed straight to Haven. We had no idea what we were supposed to do. We never caught up with the other soldiers, and never knew what happened to the villagers. I never saw them again, and can only presume they were dead. Soka, if she ever was reborn, was never seen again.
We made to Haven in a day, and made straight for the Library. Rekkan wanted to see his family, and we had to inform the Council what had happened. The Council is long gone now, just like the library. In days of old, they were the ones who called the shots – not the College and the Branches. It was a lot less open, they taught a lot less people, and there was, as a result, few Council Members. That’s probably why none of them survived.
“Mother!” Rekkan yelled, and ran towards her. Pato, his mother, embraced him, in the middle of the library. It was a huge, majestic building, filled with tomes dating back to the end of time. Most of the history of the world was stored in there, certainly the history of the Dramer. I had even heard that Dray, the original Dramer, had written a diary in her youth, and that there was a copy in the Library. It was probably a lie, but from the second the Dramer had originated, we had recorded it.
“Rekkan!” She said. “I heard about the beach… I thought…” Rekkan shook his head.
“Mother… Soka’s dead…” He said. There was a long, uncomfortable pause.
“I’ll tell her mother later.” Pato said. “Let’s go find your father.”
“Rekkan, I’ll go talk to the Council.” I said. Rekkan nodded.
“What happened?” Pato asked.
“I’ll tell you later…” Rekkan said, leading her away. I went to find the Council. They… were not happy.
“The Jarvah are moving?” An unknown Council Member said. I didn’t know their names, and wasn’t told, so I just called him number 1.
“That goes against all tactical sense!” Another said. I named him number 2. I think you see the picture.
“Well that’s what happened.” I replied. “And they’re not going to stop. We must have killed at least two hundred of them, but there’s a lot more coming.”
“Ridiculous.” #1 said. “They’ll wait to secure their supply lines.”
“Indeed,” #3 said. “It’s only logical.”
“This isn’t chess, and the Jarvah aren’t tacticians.” I said, getting angry now. “They took the beach through force and numbers, and there’s no reason to think they’ll stop using what’s working.”
“The Jarvah are warriors. They know what we know, and they know that if they attempt to take us here, they’ll suffer heavy losses.”
“They’ll still be here, and we won’t.” I spat.
“That’s illogical.” #2 said. “They won’t sacrifice half their army. It doesn’t make any sense.”
“This isn’t logical!” I yelled. “The Jarvah don’t give a damn about losses, about death. They want us gone, and don’t care what they have to do to get it. They don’t take prisoners, they just kill, and the only reason why you haven’t heard anything else is because everyone is dead!”
“I think it’s time for you to go.” #4 said. I stormed out of the room. I liked #4 best. He was the only one who made any sense.
“So they’re not going to do anything?” Jurtan said, incredulous. Jurtan was Rekkan’s father. I had found Rekkan with him, and his mother.
“Nothing. They don’t believe the Jarvah are a threat.” I said.
“We need to get out of the city.” Rekkan said. “Get off this island. With as many people as we can.”
“Agreed.” I said.
“We can’t leave!” Pato said. “All my work is here, the Library! We can’t leave this behind!”
“If we stay here, the Jarvah will kill us all.” I said.
“He’s right, dear.” Jurtan said.
“But…” Pato said.
“We have to leave Mother.” Rekkan said. “We have to.” Pato slowly nodded.
“We’ll leave in the morning.” She said.
But the morning would never come.
I awoke, sitting up, to the sound of screaming, and crackling. Fire. We were staying in the library with Rekkan’s parents. It was burning down. To my right, I saw Rekkan jolting upwards. He looked at me, and I at him.
“Where are your parents?” I asked.
“In their rooms.” We had been sleeping with other refugees. There were hundreds of them in the library. “Let’s go.”
For whatever reason, we didn’t wake the other refugees. I regret it to that day, but I think we both knew that most of these people wouldn’t get out alive.
It wasn’t ten minutes before we saw our first Jarvah - I didn’t even get a chance to draw my sword. Rekkan lept at him, his hands turning into savage claws, digging into the Jarvah’s chest as he tore him apart. I looked on in horror, as Rekkan covered himself in the blood of his foe. He was relentless, continuing to rip him apart long after he was dead. When he was finally done, he didn’t even say a word. He just got up, and ran.
As we got to his parents room, it looked grim. No Jarvah – just blood and fire. No screams. I saw the body of #1 lying on the ground. Needless to say, I felt no sympathy. Mice scurried along the floor, but I knew better. They were Dramer, fleeing the fires.
We looked what with felt like forever, but didn’t find them. No bodies, no sign, no notes. There was nothing.
“Rekkan, we have to…”
“I know dammit!” He snapped. “I know.” He turned away from the blood soaked room we had been searching. “Let’s get as many people as we can out of here, and leave this god forsaken island forever.” Rekkan walked away from me, from the Library, and from his family. The war had taken so much already from him, you could tell he had had enough. He was done with it, and just wanted to save as many people as he could. And that’s exactly what he did.
We led whoever we could out of the city, and towards the eastern coastline. On the way, we picked up other refugees, other soldiers. Rekkan had a way of convincing people that there was no hope for Dram. It was frightening to hear him speak – like the end of the world was coming. When we reached the coastline, and the small town of Havok, we had gathered 1,800 people, and 200 soldiers.
“What’s going on?” One of the townspeople said.
“We’re evacuating the island.” Rekkan said. “The Great Library is burned. Haven is burned. And you’ll burn too, unless you follow us.”
That was all the convincing they needed.
Havok was a small, fishing village, and so had ships. In specific, three ships. They were not the Vakir we have today, but they need a skilled hand. Rekkan had been a sailor and trader for a long time, and knew how to operate the boats. It took us a few days to organize everyone, and then we left for the northeast.
We crammed as many people as we could onto the ship – about 2,200 people in total. The conditions were very poor, and the sailing wasn’t any easier. We sailed to the North-East. Rekkan talked of an island he had visited in his youth, untouched by anyone, and the best hope for a defensive against the Jarvah.
“You think they’re going to come after us?” I said, incredulous. “The island is there’s. There are only a handful of us left – why in gods name would they chase us?”
“Because they know they can.” Rekkan replied. “And think that we can’t stop them.”
“Do you think we can?” I asked him.
“I…” He started. “I know we’ll try.”
We arrived on the island a week after we had left. Rekkan skilfully led us up what would become known as the Narrowing – the point where the island met the sea. As we made it off the boat, we took apart the ships, and built rudimentary housing.
“What are you doing?” Rekkan asked, seemingly angry.
“We’re building places to stay.” I said, shaking my head.
“You saw what the Jarvah can do.” He said. “We’re not safe out here, and we won’t be. There’s only one place on this entire island that’s safe – in there.” He pointed. The volcano, in the centre of the island. I nodded, slowly, and he left, going to help the other refugees.
“Is he crazy?” One of the refugees said, incredulous.
“No,” I replied. “He’s right.”
Over the next few months, we began to understand the island – which the refugees had named ‘Rekkan’. There was a hard, volcanic rock on the island called Ebony – which was nearly impenetrable. It turned out that through Kinetic Magic, this could made from the earth on the islands. It was fire proof, and was much, much stronger than anything else we had on offer. The abundance of this material meant that we could preserve much of the natural landscape of Rekkan – which was good, because it was dangerous.
I remember the first encounter we had with a Ra’Tun. It was night, and Rekkan and I were out teaching a few of the refugees how to hunt. Most were farmers – excellent farmers – but just farmers. We were walking through the huge forests that cover Rekkan, when all of a sudden; it jumped out of the trees, and right in front of us. Covered in shiny, black scales that glistened against the moon, it snarled, it’s blood red eyes staring us in the face.
“What the hell is that thing?” One of the refugees shouted, brandishing his sword in an attempt to scare the Ra’Tun off. It wasn’t really working.
“How the hell should I know?” I muttered. I turned to Rekkan. “What do we do?”
“Just back away.” Rekkan said. “Slowly.” He slowly started backwards, and so did we, looking the thing dead in the eye. Hunkered to the ground, it’s long tail behind it, it slowly began to back away as we did. It seemed intelligent enough to understand we meant it no harm, and that we weren’t worth the risk.
By the end of the third month on Rekkan, we had finally excavated far enough into the volcano to break into the hollow chamber within. It was surprisingly light inside and most of the cavern was as bright as daylight. We finally set up a settlement inside, and got to work on defending it.
While I worked on traps, defenses, and teaching the civilians how to fend for themselves, Rekkan was hard at a different kind of work; His mind was alive with ideas on how to defend the island. Some of his ideas – like the Gateway, a huge ebony door that would only open to a willing Dramer – were brilliant. Others, like his idea to mount Ra’Tun, were a little more far-fetched.
His most brilliant idea, but which he never saw completed, was the Guardian. A great, ebony Ratan. According to Rekkan, it could be fully autonomous, if enough energy was transferred into it. He was right, but he would never see it completed. He did, however, start to build smaller machines. He called them Ren. First, they were smaller – no bigger than a mouse – but they got bigger, and bigger, until he managed to make one the size of a man.
I sometimes wonder what Rekkan could have done if the Jarvah hadn’t been at our heels. He displayed a brilliance I wouldn’t see again until the College was at least a hundred years old, but what he did do in such a small space of time was amazing, and his grasp of magical theory I never saw matched.
But it didn’t matter. For all our preparations, it was all for one thing – the Jarvah were coming. And if we failed, it would be over. No second chances. And on the 101st day, of the 11th Year, they did. 10,000 Jarvah attacked Rekkan in one fell swoop. And the outcome of the battle would echo through the eras.
That day reminds me so much of the first. As we lay in hiding amongst the trees, the constant rain of Rekkan drizzled down on us. It was always raining. There were two hundred of us – the refugees were all behind the Gateway. We had began to irrigate the crater, but so far, there was just a pool. A grim pool. If we failed, the citizens were to all drown themselves. The water had been enchanted to preserve anything within in, in hopes that someday, some Dramer would come along, and burn the bodies. This wasn’t a war – it was an extinction. And if we failed, it was the only hope we had left.
The Jarvah ships sailed into the Narrowing. Already, we had heard at least one ship crash against the rocks and sink. We hadn’t been lucky enough to see more than one, however.
One by one, they sailed up the narrow stream, until, finally, they stopped. Three, massive ships, filled with screaming Jarvah – war cries that shook us to our very bones.
“Now!” Rekkan shouted.
About 200 metres behind me was a clearing, in which we had placed three catapults. They all fired in unison. Huge boulders flew through the sky, crashing into the ships. Bodies and splinters flew as they crashed into the side of each boat.
Stepping forward from the woods, each with a slingshot, fifty men swung and throw a black, ebony ball onto the ships. They flew through the air, like eagles. I can only imagine the faces of the Jarvah, on a sinking ship. The look of confusion, as the balls rolled on the floor. Before they popped out.
The balls unfurled into a spider like creature. They flung themselves at the Jarvah, their sharp legs embedding into their chest, relentlessly driving them in and out until their victim was dead.
Blood-curdling screams came from the ships, as the slowly sank. But Rekkan wasn’t done yet.
“ARCHERS!” He shouted.
All 200 of us stepped out into the open, firing at any and all Jarvah who made it off the boat. The wrecks of the boats would block the passage ways for a while – which would hopefully hold them off for as long as we could.
“CEASE FIRE!” Rekkan yelled. Not that there was much of a point. A few last bowstring twanged, and it was done. Three entire ship full of Jarvah – dead before they had even left the boats. “The oil.” He said. “Hurry, before they try to swim in.”
A couple of us ran up to the pile of wood, and began to douse it in whale oil. For each jug we poured on the wreck, we poured two into the water. The water was black once it was done.
“Get back here, and wait.” He barked. We ran back to our positions, and waited for the Jarvah to make their second advance. There were no war cries this time, but we began to hear grunts as they swum up the Narrowing.
“Wait for it…” Rekkan whispers. The tension in the air was palpable. You could hear every breath, every rustle of the trees. The Jarvah began to become more numerous, until there must have been at least two hundred men trying to clamber up the sides of the river.
Rekkan, and every other man who had any knowledge of magic, flung fireballs at the wreckage, and the water. The fireballs exploded against the wood and oil, instantly setting alight. The surface of the water, covered in oil, caught fire – as did anything inside. The air filled with a noxious, black smoke, as the raging inferno caught on. The fireproof Ren crawled up from the wreckages, attacking Jarvah who had been set alight. We watched as two hundred men burned in front of us.
And our job wasn’t even half done yet.
Once the fire died down, the Jarvah began to simply swarm into the Narrowing. We sent waves of Ren, hundreds of arrows, and set off countless more traps. Had it been any other force, we would have won hours ago. But this was the Jarvah. Their massive numbers and their relentless, brutal tactics pushed us back, forcing us to fight their battles, not ours.
There was no respite to their attack. They continued to push, and push, and push, until we knew we were beaten. At the end of the day, we faced 2,000 Jarvah. To think we faced 10,000 at the start was an amazing thought, but it was still too later. We were failing. The Jarvah were shell-shocked, but they were still winning.
In the middle of a blood soaked battle, Rekkan and I fought back to back, trying desperately to take down as many as we could. Rekkan was amazing. Each time he transformed, he took down 3, 4, 5 Jarvah at a time, and I followed, cleaning up, cleaving through the survivors.
“Rekkan!” I yelled. We were getting pushed back, and were almost at the Gateway. “We have to do something!” He looked at me, and the Gateway. At the dead bodies around us. The air was black, and smelled foul. Blood soaked into the ground. He looked at me again, and mouthed a word. One word.
His body began to glow, like the last time. And grow. His body grew and grew, and turned blacker, and blacker, until before us stood a massive Ratan – larger than the last time – and clearly in the image of the Guardian. The entire battlefield grew silent. Everyone stared, their weapons at their sides.
And then he roared.
Like a ferocious animal, he ran at the Jarvah, decimating their ranks. The tore through tens at a time, his massive claws ripping through bodies like butter. His massive tail knocked over hundreds. With a ferocious battle cry, we yelled, with his roar, and charged the Jarvah, cutting them down by the tens, the hundreds, as they ran towards the Narrowing. Rekkan took flight, his roar a blast of Kinetic Magic, sending them flying into cliffs and trees.
When they reached the cliff face, we cheered, raising our weapons to the sky. Rekkan flew overhead, before landing just above the entrance to the Narrowing. He gave out one, triumphant roar. His body began to glow white hot again. I presumed this was how he transformed back… but as he body began to turn grey, I realized I was wrong.
“REKKAN!” I yelled, looking in horror as his body turned to stone. Everyone stopped cheering, and realized what was happening. Rekkan reared his head, and let out one last triumphant roar that shook the ground, as the last of his body turned to stone, and died.
The Red War ended that day. The Jarvah never returned. Despite any attempts, we never managed to pry Rekkan from his location – and the stone wouldn’t burn, no matter how hot the fire we lit under it. He was dead. The last victim of the Red War.
That period was the most brutal this world has ever seen. An entire race was almost obliterated from the world – a peace loving, scholar race, that had the opportunity to do so much more than they had the opportunity to. And though the fire of vengeance may eventually scorch the land of Usareic, where the barbaric, demonic Jarvah reside, all we have ever wanted is peace. This is not a book to incite hatred of the Jarvah, but hatred of war – so that we may never, ever suffer what has happened before.