Jack Raus is a blacksmith and Guardian of the fortified city of Revdagrad, the only place of safety for humankind in a world surrounded by chaos and endless night. An ancient deity threatens to destroy the very foundation of what Jack has sworn to protect, so he must embrace the legacy of his ancestors and become a Knight of the Light.
But power always comes with a price, and Jack must serve Zephyr, an elemental deity, mystical, secretive, and bent on retribution at any cost.
Lightning cracked across the sky, rolling under heavy clouds. The sound of the storm reverberated between the tall cliffs and into the city below. Torrential rain poured over the heavily fortified roofs. In the seconds between thunder strikes, the roaring ocean claimed the silence with crashing waves. It was a night that could strike fear into the hearts of even the bravest of people.
Jack Raus looked up to the window, its intricate iron grid casting shadows over his face with each lightning strike. The darkness had never bothered him, for he was one of the few still carrying the bloodline of the founding fathers—the ones who had fought and tamed the wilderness, lived through the most savage of times. The town’s ancient bones were brought upon their shoulders, the foundations buried deep in the ground. After centuries, the city of Revdagrad stood hardly different from the dark nights during which it had been built.
Still, many feared the changing times. The age of ruin had come upon them, as there was no spell which could last forever, no iron that wouldn’t rust eventually. They had lived in a fragile balance for far too long, and everyone knew that peace was the enemy of memory. Yet Jack had to remind himself people did not feel the pain of the city flowing through their bodies the way he did, the sensation of mind slipping beyond body. It was both a gift and a curse, passed down through generations.
“It calls upon you in a way, doesn’t it?” his father had once said. “The city’s a living, breathing guardian. We had once known how to aid it. But we betrayed it, and we came to not understand its language anymore. Maybe we all deserve what’s to come, for we’ve lost our own legacy.”
Jack still remembered how tired his father had looked, how sorrowful his gaze had become. When Jack was still a child, he couldn’t understand what his father meant: the cobblestone streets, warm lights, and iron tokens of the town felt like a beautiful fireplace, a safe home outside of the house to him. But years had passed since he’d last felt like that, and he sensed the decay, the unsettling cold pressure radiating from the ground under his feet. Oddly enough, it was only during the storms that Jack felt the pain ease and the burning in his lungs stop. The very storms that could destroy the town were what gave him a much-needed breath of air.
He felt as if he was betraying his family’s legacy by thinking this way. Jack was the last of a long line of guardians, the people thoroughly intertwined with the city and its well-being. Jack was meant to protect it, to give it his last breath just like his father had before him.
When the rain finally eased up after many hours, Jack opened his eyes. As he walked through the long, empty hallways to his bedroom, he dreaded the erratic dreams that often followed the storms. He always tried to piece together the jumbled, unsettling puzzle of past and present, but there always seemed to be something missing.
Whilst he laid in bed, Jack felt his consciousness drift away, sink into the mattress, and spread through the floor. It went out into the streets and down into the gutters along with the water. The feeling of the city lulled him into sleep every night. The familiar sounds of the iron foundations setting deeper into the ground, along with the soft resonance of beating hearts, humans and animals alike.
An earth-rattling tremor ran through the place, and Jack bolted up from the bed with a shout. In the split second it took him to gather his consciousness, he felt the foreign presence slitter away from the town with a last nerve grating whiplash of power, which sent a shiver down Jack’s spine. Something was out there, in his city, and Jack had only one guess as for what it might be.
An Old God. It must have found a weak link into the barrier. If it was already this close, Jack knew it was just a matter of time until it broke through in full form, likely followed by many others. If there was one thing people still remembered, it was the chaos. Full of ancient deities which despised light and the life it brought, seeking its destruction.
He felt cold and burning up at the same time, but, despite the primal terror the chaos brought, Jack realized he wasn’t afraid. He tossed on his long black coat and went outside into the mist. Burning lanterns glimmered in the distance, outlining the narrow streets and the towering buildings above them. The glow seeping through the windows reminded Jack of watchful eyes following him in the night.
It was in his blood to fight, and the time to protect the city had come.