fabric of creation is a fragile one. With the changes brought
about by Patos and then the new Patos-Cypher entity, Carnac
itself began to show gradual signs of change. At first it
was the insignificant changes, the smell of flowers fading,
the seasons being more unpredictable and ground water occasionally
coming up brown, as though rusted. These things men took little
notice of; there was no need for explanations for sometimes
things "just happen".
All these things were not Cypher's doing however, for he
himself was too busy lavishing in the attention of his new
found subjects. Years later, humankind had divided themselves
up into the six great kingdoms, war monger Hellsgarem of the
Deserts, Buegrant with its ports and ships of steel, the white
city of Arrdeam, Planisad famous for magnificent harvests,
Brisbia the center of commerce, and finally El Morad at the
farthest end of all the kingdoms.
It was around this time when strange creatures began appearing
all over Carnac. At first, they were thought to be wolves,
bears and others animals whose intentions could be violent.
But they were not, they were different. And with each passing
year their difference just grew and grew. Some began sighting
beings of stone, magic, and worst of all, those who used to
be friends, now resurrected into animated corpses bent on
bringing all life to the level in which they understood, death.
Before long, these "hellish creatures" had grown
in such numbers that even human cities with their high walls
and staunch defenders could not repel their might. The first
to fall was Planisad, thus food resources were scarred. Soon
after, Brisbia and Arrdeam fell. Even the mighty babarian
kingdom, Hellsgarem did not survive, torching their own city
instead of letting it fall. The few survivors flocked aboard
the ships of the Buegrants who themselves were abandoning
their city, fleeing for El Morad by sea.
King Manes, then ruler of El Morad, took in the refugees
without prejudice. Those able were given places in the army,
further bolstering the defenses of the city which had not
yet been attacked. New battlements were raised, and before
the attack came, supplies were brought in, weapons forged
and armor polished. The citizens of El Morad were determined
not to let their city fall and those who had already fled
were resolute in their loyalty to their new home, for if El
Morad fell there was no one else to turn to. Through a turn
of events, the insignificant El Morad had now become mankind's
last stronghold. Should it fall, the seeds of humanity would
cease to exist.
Having been prepared, the defenders repelled what should
have crushed them. After that initial trust, random sporadic
attacks continued to come. For seven long years they fought
and for seven long years King Manes prayed to the gods who
seemed to have turned a deaf ear and a blind eye to the sufferings
of their children. Though history will tell little beyond
their suffering, our heroes after the first two years of fighting
had grown accustomed to the random attacks. They were even
prospering, to a fashion. They again dared to venture beyond
the safety of their walls. Tunneling into the mountains behind
the city they had a source for metals, wood they harvested
by sending armed bands into the forests. Food proved a problem
at first, but by relocating much of the populace into the
mountains and underground, enough space was vacated for crops
to be planted.
By the third year, seasoned veterans had begun hunting these
monsters. Traveling in small numbers these parties sought
out and killed the weaker creatures and those which had strayed
too far from the others. These warriors brought back stories
of adventure and glory. Soon these parties organized themselves
into what would be known as the Pianna Knights. They lived
apart from El Morad and dedicated their lives to their work,
some of them would even learn the arts of magic and healing.
Arts long lost when men gained mortality.
On the last night of the seventh year, something extraordinary
occurred. Red rain began to fall over El Morad. Far away,
a green fog inched ever closer. A warning had sounded and
for the first time in years, all had run for the gates and
more than one would admit that they were afraid.
King Manes once again prayed to any who would listen. This
time Cypher answered.
"It is you, for so long I have prayed. Why do you only
now answer?" King Manes asked. The gods had never answered
before, and many doubted their existence.
"There was no need," came the reply.
"Everyday my people die, is there no greater a need?"
"There is no need."
Determined to see salvation, the king begged, "You have
the power; at your will, all will be right again, we are but
your humble servants."
"Servants are not free from consequence. This day I
show myself for the end is near. Though I did not will this
destruction, its flatters me to admit that my power brought
The King grew angry, "You may be a God, Cypher. But
nothing can not be brought low." Standing, the king drew
his sword and pointed it in the direction of the voice, "If
you will not help us, we shall meet our doom, together."
But Cypher was no longer there.
"There must be something we can do," one of the
council members said wiping sweat from his brow, while another
beside him tried hard to suppress a yawn. It was late afternoon
and the lords and leaders have been discussing the matter
since the night before, when Cypher appeared.
A Planisadian lord stood and repeated his intent on escaping
the encroaching green fog. None of the scouts had yet returned
and he believed it sound to escape first then reevaluate the
situation. It would take days to move everyone and time was
already growing short.
"No, we stand and fight, kill Cypher and all should
be well again," said an overly bold Erenion, sweeping
his hand in an arc nearly knocking over a weary servant who
was refilling his goblet. "We have run enough."
The council was in uproar, it wasn't the first time someone
suggested this and while they all knew it was the only solution,
they were reluctant to fight a god. "Are you mad?"
someone shouted, "Cypher is a GOD"!
"We will stay, but we will not fight."
The room was stunned into silence. To stay but not fight?
Then what should be done? Just die? Surely some believed that
the king had finally lost his senses. Already many had to
be persuaded just to believe that Cypher truly did speak to
"Send for the Pianna Knights."
The Pianna Knights rode through the castle gates amidst the
cheers of the entire populace. Here were the heroes of legend,
those who would save them all. Brandished In their newly fashioned
armor and armed with their polished swords, they looked every
bit the story book heroes of old. Not one who saw them believed
that they would fail.
Near two hundred strong, they rode in search for Cypher.
Legend had it that he had built a monument of glass centuries
ago and that he resided near it, tended by his early followers
who saw to his every need.
Guided by no more than stories told to young children, the
Pianna Knights rode into the wilderness and further away into
the most obscure of human settlements, which of course were
now nothing more than ruins. In the forests they killed every
creature they encountered, but those were few and far between.
It was as though each and every one of those vile beings had
been picked up and stored away. One may even take a walk in
the moonlight and return unharmed.
One night a wave of fatigue washed over them and they each
in turn fell asleep.
They dreamt of a place near a valley; there were people there.
And at first, their semi-conscious selves were elated, for
they thought they had reached their destination at last. But
as their dreams were guided closer, they saw the despair in
the faces of the people, how tired they looked without an
ounce of joy in their souls. But they did not understand,
here was a peaceful place, an uncomplicated haven of rainbow
colors which shone when light struck the edifice of glass.
Realization dawned upon them, here was the lair of Cypher
and those humans were not his adoring subjects but his slaves.
Their consciousness turned towards the monument, at the foot
of it a fortress stood, it was of dark stone and it absorbed
the lights as though it never existed. They drifted closer,
but as they neared the structure they felt rather than saw
a hand reach out and block their view.
The dream ended, but they did not stir till morning.
While the Pianna Knights were troubled by what they had seen,
they were no less determined. However, their knowledge was
not limited to what they had. They were being drawn to the
west as though they knew it was where they had to be. And
in their minds and hearts rang a verse, a prayer long forgotten:
We are your children,
Though long forgotten,
Do not forsake us.
Towards the west they rode, as quick as the wind, never had
they been inspired so. They rode without stopping for days,
neither they nor their animals felt hunger or exhaustion,
they rode until a sight caught their eyes. An enormous monument
which sparkled like a diamond stood miles away. Even having
seen it up-close in their dream did not prepare them for the
magnificence before them. The neighing of one of their horses
snapped them out of their reverie and again they continued.
By dawn the next day they reached what appeared to be an
impassable barrier, with the monument just beyond. There was
nothing there but the horses refused to go beyond the invisible
line. Even the knights that dismounted found themselves unable
to bring themselves to cross it. It was as though the desire
to enter that "zone" left them the moment they approached.
One would account later that the feeling was akin to one looking
at his favorite dish. He knew he wanted it, but yet opening
his mouth, he lost his appetite.
By noon, none had passed but the terrain was changing. The
forests and grass which enveloped them dissolved as though
nothing more than an illusion. The ground seemed to dry up
leaving nothing but dry earth behind. It dried so quickly
that it began to crack, scarring its smooth surface. Suddenly,
the ground on which the Knights stood gave in and all fell
into the crevice. Many were injured in that fall and some
even lost their lives. But the remaining Knights now found
themselves in a dark cavern, and found they had landed in
the middle of a host of every monster they had ever faced,
and some which they have never before laid eyes on. Standing
there so tall as to almost reach the stalactites was Cypher
himself. They did not know him, but they knew they were facing
whom they sought.
With the barest of a nod, the Pianna Knights were assaulted
from all sides. They formed a circle of shields, holding back
the enemy as best they could while protecting the injured
and the healers within the ring. The Knights were skillful
in war craft and they only lost a brother with the felling
of beasts ten times that number. But as the battle wore on,
their numbers had dwindled significantly and there seemed
to be no end to the attack from their tireless foes.
When the Knights were down to less than fifty men, the beasts
stopped their assault. They backed away as Cypher approached.
Seeing him up close for the first time, the Knights saw what
Cypher truly was. Besides his gigantic form, he looked little
better than an old man. He wasn't the fierce warrior god all
expected him to be.
"Welcome, Knights-Pianna. I see you must be tired,"
The Knights did not reply. Instead, those inclined to sword
play each picked a target and rammed them thru. Those gifted
in the mystic arts opened themselves up to their powers and
fire and lightning scorched all those who stood in their path.
So fierce was the attack that Cypher could only watch as the
few hundred beasts he had left were killed mercilessly. More
men were lost but it was all over, not a single creature stood
standing, and those that were still alive lay bleeding on
the blood-soaked cavern floor. They circled Cypher, but to
defeat a god by sheer physical strength and the little magic
they could command was sheer folly. Cypher knew this and he
was unafraid. Already the corpses of the fallen Knights were
stirring. Soon they would rise again, but would remember no
face be it friend or brother.
As the very first of the zombies closed his hardening fingers
on a fallen sword, words of fire burned in the minds of the
survivors. Without knowing the reason, they began chanting
the prayer which had come to them before.
We are your children,
Though long forgotten,
Do not forsake us.
More and more of their fallen brethren were standing and
rearming themselves. Never in their lives had the Pianna Knights
felt such fear while feeling such hope. They continued.
We are your children,
Though long forgotten,
Do not forsake us.
Louder and louder the words echoed through the cavern, resounding
off the ancient walls and reverberating off the shivering
stalactites. More verses came out of their mouths.
We are one again with you,
You can hear us,
Listen to our plea.
Cypher, unheeding their pitiful prayer, flared his powers.
The ceiling began to collapse on the heroes and more than
one was crushed by the falling granite. Yes, they stood unwavering.
It is the end,
We wish to return,
Welcome us home.
Like lighting there was a flash of light as something streaked
from the heavens. Logos, the Creator, lifting his mighty bow
had let fly a bolt of energy fueled by the long prayers of
salvation from generations past to present. The bolt pierced
the clouds, the cavern ceiling and struck the startled Cypher
above the shoulders. In a brilliance that would have blinded
all that had not the blessing of Logos, Cypher was no more.
Only his final cry for vengeance vibrated softly on the walls.
"Anyone who has persecuted me will be cursed with my
Another voice more subdued but so clear and so full of love