I woke up when the room where I was sleeping was blown apart.
I saw the fire before I heard it, as the explosion had left a buzzing noise in my ears. As I looked around I saw a…
Oh, wow. I’m not a good storyteller, am I? I should probably start from the beginning. My name is John Drakkion, but you can call me Sir Drakkion. I’m the commander of the Knights of Arceus, located on my home island of Arcein.
The Knights have been at war with the island to the northeast, Raiark, for as long as I can remember. When I was a small boy, I heard stories from my father about the cruelty and evil motives of the Warriors of Darkrai. I remember, even back then I wanted to be a Knight…
But I suppose that I’ve gotten a little off-topic. From what I know, the Knights of Arceus went to war with the Warriors of Darkrai over some small territorial battle that escalated into a full-blown war. And now here I am, sucked into the midst of everything.
I guess I should get back to the story at hand, right?
So I looked around the destroyed room and saw a cannonball, still red-hot from being fired. Honestly, it was a miracle that the large sphere of iron hadn’t killed me.
Regardless, I quickly stood and surveyed my surroundings. I was in the small Fort Mespirit, which is right along the sea. The fort only has two walls, as the cliffs of Arcein protect two of the fort’s sides.
The wall that stood facing the sea had already been damaged, and as I watched a small portion crumbled to the ground. I sprinted for the wall and climbed up onto the part above the gate.
Several crossbowmen stood on the wall, firing at a boat that had landed onshore. Wait a minute, that wasn’t any old boat. That was the Dusknoir, the main battleship of the Warriors of Darkrai. And as I watched, cannons fired and took out a section of wall to my left. A man tumbled backwards off the wall, falling and most likely breaking his neck.
“Arceus help us,” I muttered, rushing down the stairs and taking the dead crossbowman’s weapons. Knights slept in their armor, but the cannon fire had destroyed my sword. Now I had a crossbow, several iron bolts, and a curved dagger with the symbol of Arceus carved carefully into the hilt.
I rushed back up onto the wall, where I could clearly see the Dusknoir beginning to unload. As I watched, dozens of men carrying bows and swords began to march in the direction of the wall.
“Oh, no,” I said. This wasn’t an attack. It was a full-blown invasion. The Knights in Fort Mespirit might be able to hold out for a bit, but after a while we would be killed. I could guarantee a total lack of mercy from these men. They would probably burn the fort to the ground and continue on until the Knights of Arceus had been completely eradicated.
An alarm bell sat on the top of a tower in the center of town. If I could get up there before the walls were destroyed, I might be able to signal for reinforcements before it was too late.
I quickly fired my crossbow into the crowd of warriors, taking out a swordsman located in the center of the crowd. He fell face first into the white sand, but the rest of the Warriors seemed unfazed. Why would they be? The Warriors of Darkrai were known for their strength.
And their total ruthlessness.
Without thinking too clearly, I vaulted over the side of the wall, landing on my feet. A wave of pain in my left ankle told me that I wouldn’t hear the last of this. I raced – or maybe I limped, I’m not too sure – towards the tower.
Inside the tower, there was a flight of spiral-shaped stairs that led to the alarm bell. Whoever built the tower must not have been a Knight, because the building was more built to look intimidating than to be easy to get to the bell. Several stone statues of Arceus sat on tall pillars, glaring down at me as if to say Hurry, or all of your efforts will have been for nothing!
Upon reaching the top of the stairs, I was met by the sound of several Blastoise firing away at our walls. By the sound of it, they were most likely on the beach. We had guard towers outside the walls, but either the structures themselves had been destroyed or the men inside them killed.
I rushed forwards and run the bell once, twice, five times in all. The sharp sound resonated through the fort, hopefully signaling our plight to anyone nearby.
And, thankfully, our cry for help was answered. Dozens of men on Rapidash burst into the fort, carrying deadly looking swords with the sight of Arceus clearly showing on the hilt. Their arrival rallied the men who hadn’t just arrived, and the wall fell apart just as the two armies clashed.
I saw a large cart of hay on the ground outside the tower and, hoping it would cushion my fall, I threw myself off the tower. The hay was soft as I landed, but I still suspected that I would need medical attention after the battle was over.
That is, if I survived the day.
I stood shakily and drew my knife, watching idly for a few seconds as we pushed the enemies back towards the beach. I threw the knife into the heart of a Warrior who’d broken past the two armies, and smiled as the symbol of Arceus embedded itself in the man’s chest.
I sprinted for the body and pulled my knife out of the man’s corpse, letting out a prayer to Arceus for his soul. Enemy or not, all men deserved fair judgment after death.
I rushed into battle, firing my crossbow at the nearest enemy’s face and hurling his knife into the chest of a swordsman who was about to kill one of my fellow Knights.
“Surge forward!” I commanded. “Push them back to the beach and destroy the Dusknoir!
Seeming reassured my confident voice, the men and I pushed the invaders back onto the cliffs surrounding the beach. It was only here that I realized my grave mistake. The entire army was exposed to the cannon fire of the Dusknoir, and one good shot might be enough to turn the tide.
“Fall back!” I yelled. “Not next week! Now!” I bellowed when the men didn’t respond immediately.
We rushed backwards just in time. The Dusknoir’s cannons fired at a weak spot in the cliff, and the entire edge crumbled and fell about thirty feet onto the sand.
“It’s time for a final push! Take no prisoners!” I ordered. The army moved as one, fighting off the significantly damaged Warriors of Raiark with relative ease.
“Now summon the Blaziken and burn the Dusknoir I said. What was left of the wall’s gates opened and about a half dozen Blaziken rushed onto the beach, launching flame onto the enemy ship. Unfortunately, the ship pulled away just in time and avoided the worst of the fire. On deck I could see a frenzy of activity as the remaining crew struggled to put out the flame.
“I think this is a victory,” I announced to my fellow Knights. However, I turned and saw a man rise for the heap of dead Warriors. He coughed and blood spattered onto the ground.
“You’ve won the battle,” the man said in a raspy voice, then coughed out more blood. A half dozen men rushed forward, but I glared at them and they stopped.
“You haven’t won the war,” the man continued. “Our plans have nearly come to fruition, and then none will be able to stop us. You men will call out to your silly Arceus, but none will be answered. And on that day, you will realize your mistake.” The man collapsed onto the ground and lay still.
“What plan?” I yelled, but as soon as I uttered the words I knew it was useless. The man had passed on; you could see it in the calmness of his face and his blank eyes. I turned back to the men.
“I’m afraid we aren’t finished here,” I said in a grave voice. “The Warriors of Darkrai are obviously planning something huge. And we will not rest until they are stopped.”
“Yes, sir!” The men’s shouts cut into the relative silence of the beach. But in their voices and eyes I saw a group of tired, injured men.
My only hope was that the now-dead man had been lying, simply trying to intimidate us. Of course, that was all, and I needed to put it out of my mind for now. But even then, somewhere in my head, I knew this wasn’t over.