just read it (writen by Ben Saffle)
Setting: Land of Golreim (Goal-rhyme)
Times New Roman]Synopsis: In the land of Golreim, cities mark about six pieces of land on the map. The six cities are Maalruud, Harkrom, Tremstied, Compkcral, Sendris, and Valm. Although small towns and/or communities litter the landscape, these cities are the only documented and recognized ones of their time. Emperor Reelam Keepsma was elected by the People’s Council, which consists of all registered Golreim citizens. He is fair and valiant emperor, often visiting other lands to improve their relations with Golreim. He also one city of Golreim a month, usually taking all twelve months to visit each city twice throughout the entire year. But, in the seventh month of the year, visiting Sendris for the second time, he does not return. As mass hysteria follows, the members of the Inner Council attempt to control the land while the Emperor is sought out.
The story is told following the journey of an immigrant by the name of Zaal sha Leenk. “Sha” or any other middle name is often given to low-class, low-down people, who commonly are not citizens. Zaal enters Golreim from the land of Sranka, home to many beasts often associated with dark magic. Zaal is automatically sent to the small town of Kreede, where he has the highest chance of living happily. Kreede is known as a farming and/or exploring town, surrounded by multiple caves, gullies, caverns, etc. The townspeople are far too afraid to be explorers, due to the presence of dark magic within most of the caves, gullies, caverns, etc. There, Zaal is exposed to dark magic, after he refuses to be a farmer, due to his homeland’s common attitude of restlessness. He enters the Yakshaw Deeps, a cavern where two former Kreede natives were lost, and never heard from again. As he descends into the cavern, a number of strange encounters follow. Suddenly, he finds the corpse of one of the former natives, only recently killed. At a small crevice in the cavern wall, he finds the other native, sane and at first, appears to be unharmed by the “magic presence” in the cavern. He explains to Zaal that he didn’t leave because the dark knowledge inside of him would most certainly be seen as otherworldly, and punished by his death. Here, Zaal is exposed to the magic, and is shown a vision of Emperor Reelam Keepsma, though badly damaged and broken up. The native, whose name is Kalek, tells Zaal that he must find the other parts of the vision in order to save the Emperor. Zaal now understands that if Kalek had come out of the cavern and told what he saw in the vision, he would be killed, as the citizens and Council would think that he had been behind the disappearance, plus he was associated with dark magic. Zaal leaves the cavern, and begins to depart from Kreede, when he is stopped by the girl he shares his residence with, Treka, and her abusive, demanding husband, Eroight. Treka and Zaal are having an affair, and she is heartbroken by his leaving. She bids him a teary farewell, and they share a final kiss. He departs, heading for the nearby town of Roundswell. A legendary ghost town, Zaal’s glimpse into dark magic attracts the evil spirits who surround the settlement, as he seeks their guidance, due to his unfamiliarity with the magic. They assist him, giving him the power of the Bull Spirit, which grants him phenomenal fighting abilities, with any weapon. He falls asleep in the settlement’s Great Green Inn. He wakes up in the Realm of Darkness, where every new person who is exposed to dark magic is brought into due to their “transgressions.” Harken, the prophet of the Realm, asks about Zaal’s sins, referring to his affair with Treka. Zaal lies about the affair, which leads to his torture due to his dishonesty with the prophet. The torture involves peering into Zaal’s head, sucking out his thoughts with painful repercussions. Then, Harken shows him where he must go to complete his magic training. Zaal, powerless to fight back, obeys, and begins to set off towards Keepers’ Seep, northwest of Valm. On his way there, he gets an unexpected vision of a girl screaming, though he can’t recognize the voice. He tries to walk again, but the vision continues to come back. Suddenly, he falls to his knees, the screaming to haunting to let him continue. Then, the girl screams, “Zaal!” which catches his attention, immediately recognizing Treka’s voice. When he stands up, and looks around the dark forest, he sees a quick apparition of Treka. Following the apparition, he is astounded to find Treka unconscious, lying near the Paramada Waterfall. He unsuccessfully attempts to revive her. As he weeps for his love’s life, another frantic vision comes to him, this time of Harken, telling him to use his dark magic to save Treka. Zaal refuses to use such darkness on a pure soul, and is immediately interrupted by Eroight. Harken tells him to do what he wishes, and as Eroight attacks Zaal, Zaal fights back with a vengeance at the man who he believes to have killed Treka, when she only is just unconscious. Eroight is violently killed by Zaal, and Zaal begins to weep at the anger he just saw in himself. Harken responds that he would kill for a pure soul, but not use the magic, and save more lives. The night passes on, and early the next morning Treka awakens, to find Zaal sitting next to a fire that he made, burdened by the guilt of killing Eroight. Treka explains that she ran away from Eroight, and that Zaal did the right thing defending her, but he refuses to believe that killing Eroight was the right thing, no matter how evil the man was. He goes on to tell Treka of his exposure to dark magic, and how he just wants this whole thing to end. Treka tells him that she is with him to the end, and the two share a kiss. As the two near another cave, Zaal is drawn to the cave, most likely due to the dark magic within. Never being drawn to a cave like this before, he chooses to enter the cave, following the dark essence within. At the pit of the cave, Zaal is astonished to find Kalek. Kalek explains that once somebody has been with dark magic as long as he has, the person becomes one with it, which allows him to be wherever he wishes to be, just as long as dark magic is present. He sees that the only way to break his connection to the magic would be to go along with Zaal and Treka, and finish what he believes he started. They rejoin Treka outside, who waited there in order to be pure of the dark magic. The three travel through Valm, and they reach Keepers’ Seep. The place appears to be an old, abandoned fort ruin, but rich with dark energy. The three venture into the ruins, and come upon opposition. As they go further into the ruins, Kalek is struck with obscene, painful visions of the darkness within the depths of the ruins. The three continue to push on, however. Suddenly, they encounter opposition that seems to never end, and the three are captured. They wake up to find Harken standing above them. Zaal lashes out at him, calling him a traitor and killing one of the guards. Harken stuns him, and tell the guards to take Treka away. Zaal and Kalek choose to fight Harken, and the battle begins. The three use dark magic, swords, and even their fists to battle, but Harken never weakens. Eventually, Zaal and Kalek are weak, and Harken is about to finish the fight. Kalek quickly tells Zaal that he can manipulate Harkens hold on the magic, due to the fact that Kalek is one with the darkness. Zaal begins to object, but Kalek reassures him, telling him it’s the only way that he and Treka will make it out alive. Zaal reluctantly flees, frees Treka, and the two escape, while Kalek defeats Harken. After Zaal and Treka escape, Kalek visits Zaal in spirit, startling Zaal and Treka. Kalek tells them that spirit cannot die. Zaal and Treka celebrate Harkens’ defeat, and Zaal remarks that the entire thing is finished. Kalek counters, saying to not be so sure. There’s always darkness somewhere, even in the light.