Lord Ramiel Warden Skin
The pious Knight made a sacrifice to bring peace and protect his people. Through a sacred ritual, he bound his fate to a Wyvern and drank its blood in the Chalice of Immortality. As long as the Knight lived, so would the powerful creature. They vowed to protect the legendary citatel of Wyverndale together.
When the First Warden drank the wyvern's blood, he was blessed with tremendous powers, but also lost a part of himself. He lost his humanity, his ability to feel pain for himself and others. That is why modern Wardens and Warmongers have different interpretations of that same tale, claiming Ramiel's sacrifice as a symbolic story driving their beliefs.
The Fall of Wyverndale
This was to be a special day. The sun rose in the East, bathing Wyverndale in the golden light its people had grown accustomed to. While most in the city still slept, Lord Ramiel was wide awake, high atop his tower, staring at the horizon as he always did, constantly on the lookout for threats to the peace he and his allies had worked so long to achieve. There was nothing but the usual hints of another quiet day: the autumn breeze was just the right kind of chilly, and the red leaves of the trees caught the sunlight, like a curtain of dry flame that made the citadel feel more alive than in any other season.
Most of the wyverns were still sleeping in the mountains, but a few of them could be spotted over the horizon, their bat-like wings flapping as they hunted for a hearty breakfast. The Great Wyvern hadn’t been seen for a few days, but that wasn’t uncommon for the mighty beast. It was the last of its kind, impossibly old and the subject of legend. It usually only surfaced in times of need, to uphold its end of the pact it had made long ago with Ramiel, the citadel’s protector. Wyverndale’s Warden.
Today was to be a day of celebration, but Lord Ramiel didn’t feel like celebrating. Still, he knew what was expected of him: he had to climb down from his watchtower, and interact with the people. That didn’t sound like too much of a task, but to Ramiel, it was. The unfortunate truth was that he just didn’t care for the people – not in the way he used to. Long ago, he had been a simple knight, driven by compassion and bravery. To put an end to the suffering of his people at the hands of the cruel tyrant Dhespar, he had sought out the Great Wyvern, and made a pact with the ancient creature, a ritualistic vow sealed in blood that made him immortal. He had been given an unnaturally long life but, after so many years, the ritual had also chipped away at his empathy. Nowadays, there just wasn’t much of anything the Warden felt beneath his thick armor anymore.
As he walked down the spiral staircase of his white stone tower, he dreaded interacting with the people, forcing himself to recall that all he did, he did for their own good.
That morning, the townsfolk spotted Ramiel in the town square, watching from a distance as they prepared for the day’s festivities. This was, after all, an important occasion. It was the anniversary of Ramiel’s Oath, and the legendary battle that lay the foundation for what Wyverndale had now become: a beacon of hope, strength, and unity.
The villagers enthusiastically prepared for the day’s banquet, putting together a veritable feast, dusting off old costumes (one of which was made for at least four people who would play the role of the Great Wyvern) and setting up a wooden stage that would later be used to recreate Ramiel’s pact, and his legendary triumph over Dhespar. The celebration was a yearly event, and everyone in the citadel took part in it. There was a palpable excitement in the air -- one that wouldn’t be pruned by the storm clouds slowly gathering in the eastern sky.
But all of that changed once the rumbling began. The ground underneath the people’s feet started to shake. Slowly at first. But rapidly, it increased. There was a foreboding rhythm to it. A verse that chanted doom. Worry soon grew into panic. The rumbling turned into violent tremors. Loose objects fell. Shattered. A small tower snapped from its foundations and collapsed. Then, another. And another.
The sound of screams and crumbling stone drowned everything else out. As villagers ran for shelter, few saw Ramiel hurriedly run away from the square, heading back to his tower.
Ramiel climbed the stairs two at a time – the heavy chainmail he never took off clinking and clanging with every one of his jumps – until he finally reached his watch post.
Yes, due to his connection to the Great Wyvern, there wasn’t much that Ramiel, Wyverndale’s Warden, could feel anymore. But that day, when he reached the top of his white fortress and looked to the horizon, he felt something he hadn’t in a very long time: Fear.
Lord Ramiel stared at the horizon in disbelief. Not but a few hours ago, the sky had been bright, and the fields nothing but serene pastures of golden wheat, oscillating ever so peacefully in the autumn breeze. Now, there was a festering darkness brewing in the sky, the kind that sent a shiver down the spine, and the land was overrun with an army the likes of which he had never seen before.
There, just on the outskirts of Wyverndale, stood an invading force. Clad head-to-toe in black armor, the warriors somehow sparkled like obsidian in what few rays of sunlight still pierced through the thickening clouds. Waving dark flags with a sigil the Warden did not recognize, they brought with them engines of war, sturdy catapults pushed by dozens of warriors, some of which even sat atop sickly horses. Without warning or cause, and with nothing but pure malice, they were already unleashing a flaming arsenal upon the city. But what was perhaps most unsettling were the Giants sprinkled throughout the invading forces, armored in thick iron and black leather. With every one of the Giants’ unified stomps, the ground heaved, and robust stone came undone. Ramiel had only heard old stories of the Giants. If he was being honest, he had come to think they were nothing but fairytales meant to frighten young children. But here they were, defying belief. And he was the one frightened.
It was as if this army had appeared out of nowhere. But the how -- whether it was dark sorcery at work or the intervention of the gods themselves – did not matter. The only thing that mattered was keeping the city safe. Ramiel let the fear pass, a fleeting moment that dissipated with the quickening wind, and he reached for the Horn of Cinders.
There wasn’t a person in Wyverndale who didn’t hear the bellow of the enchanted instrument. As they ran and shouted, as they dodged burning debris and despaired, the townsfolk heard the deafening hum. Some had heard it before. But for the young, those who had never known war, this was their first time hearing the Horn of Cinders. And they felt it deep in their bones.
For most, the warning meant to find shelter. But for the warriors of the citadel – Ramiel’s legion – it meant taking up arms. Knight, Samurai, Viking and Wu Lin heroes were meant to prepare for battle. But the sight of the Giants stopped them dead in their tracks. The fear that Ramiel felt, his entire legion shared. And suddenly, they weren’t too sure this was a battle they could win. Some took a few steps back, their fate an uncertainty. Others started to flee, a pure instinct of flight taking over.
Ramiel had already made his way to the city’s main gate and there he stood, alone, facing an approaching army he could never hope to defeat. For a moment, he wondered where his legion was, and what could possibly be taking them so long to join him – that is, until the cruel realization came that maybe they wouldn’t come. Anger began to bubble in his heart, but only for a second. Even he knew the battle was hopeless.
All that was left for him was despair.
Then came the screeches, echoing from the mountains. In his haste, in his desperation, the Warden had momentarily forgotten – but now he was reminded. The Great Wyvern had answered his call for help, forever upholding its end of a bargain struck this very day a long, long time ago. They were coming. A nightmare in scales.
The sound of rushing footsteps stormed behind him. His warriors had overcome their fear. They had remembered who they were, and what it was they were fighting for. Each had proven themselves in his trials, and they were all here, standing with him and chanting, upholding the Oath they had taken.
The First Warden didn’t join in the melody of war. But he did something he hadn’t done in years: he cracked a smile. Sword firmly in his grasp, Ramiel ran onto the battlefield.
For Wyverndale. For hope and unity. For honor.
As Lord Ramiel ran, the first droplet of rain fell on the Warden’s winged helmet just before he met the enemy on the battlefield. The clouds cracked with lightning, almost in answer to the clash happening underneath. The two armies traded blows, and bodies soon began to pile on the ground. The fields of wheat, once crisp and golden, now crumpled and drowned in blood.
Ramiel’s legion worked in unison, combining different fighting styles to take their obsidian opponents by surprise. In every one of their movements, they carried the promise of Wyverndale, a message of belief, unity, and learning.
The Wyverns joined the fight, breathing streams of deadly fire on the enemy forces. Flames raged in the downpour, and droplets turned to steam. But amid the fight, in-between taking down two enemies, Ramiel saw something that filled him with dread: the shining-black armors of the enemy seemed to stave off the flames somehow. Was it because of some enchantment, or some foreign material? Whatever the reason, their biggest hope to win the battle had just vanished, trickled down into nothingness, like the raindrops lost in the dirt.
Now, the enemy had the upper hand. They replied by shooting well-aimed spikes of iron from their colossal crossbows into the skies. Left and right, the Wyverns began to fall to the ground, never to take flight again, their dying cries breaking the heart of anyone brave enough to listen.
Thanks to their sheer numbers, the warriors of the obsidian army and their Giants were able to push through Ramiel’s coalition of defenders. The Warden watched as his friends fell one by one -- some he had known for just a few months, others he had seen grow from young men to weathered veterans. All of them died, just the same. They fell, still believing in Wyverndale, in what it represented and what it could still achieve. A dream now forever out of reach.
Holding a fallen brother in his arms, vision partially blurred by blood and rain, Ramiel let the weight of his failure sink in. It was only when the tears started running down his cheeks that he realized the worst had come to pass. The Warden hadn’t felt such a rush of emotion since the day of… this day, so many years ago. When he had first drank the Great Wyvern’s boiling blood. How long had it been? He didn’t remember, and it no longer mattered.
His sorrow was sealed with a whomping thud, right behind him. On his knees, Ramiel turned to see the body of the Great Wyvern. The creature’s wings were torn and broken, and three metal spikes had pierced its thick hide. It wheezed laborious last breaths as Ramiel walked on all fours to accompany the beast. He placed his hand on the Wyvern’s muzzle, a final act of respect and admiration. Its old eyes froze empty and the Great Wyvern, last of its kind, was gone. Extinct. Relegated to memory and myth.
With the emotions he had long ago forsaken now fully restored, with everything he had worked so hard and so long to build, and with all his friends and fellow warriors dying on the battlefield, the First Warden fell into a rage-filled frenzy. He kept on fighting for two days straight, hunting the enemy down by himself, in the once white stone alleys of the wrecked citadel, now soaked crimson. He fought until his body ached, until he could no longer stand. Until there was nothing left to fight for.
What should have a been a day of celebration had turned into destruction. Cataclysm. Wyverndale had fallen, and it never again rose to see the sunlight. All the city left behind were ruins and a name.
As for the Warden, no one knows what happened to him. Some believe he died long ago. But others say he still roams the lands, a ghost of the past, cursed by his failure. Hoping, and still believing that, one day, peace will come to Heathmoor.
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