In the whole history of Elatreus, no figure is more heroic or respected that the Holy Paragon, father of the Aelutian Empire and now worshiped throughout the Empire and beyond as a demi-god.
But it was not always this way.
The Paragon was an orphaned child, pale with wild red hair that made him stand out from the dark haired, brown eyes Aelutians that raised him – and as he got older – his height and muscle tone suggested a he was originally a child of the Western lands. But he was raised lovingly as their own by kind and humble farmers some 1080 years ago in the unassuming town of Mythbury.
As a young man, no-one would ever believe that Wilkin the Orphan, who often shirked his duties to fish in the lake by the Mythbury woods or wrestle with his friends when he should have been in school, would one day become the savior of the Empire, and the man who brought down the terrible reign of the DeathKnight..
Knowing that their boisterous son he needed the discipline and direction that only the Royal Aelutian Army could instill in him, at the tender age of 15 his father ordered him away to the military academy at Calsley Fortress, and after basic training, he was dispatched to fight in the wars against the invading Northmen.
What followed was a distinguished military career – while not at all a violent man at heart, he demonstrated tremendous bravery in the face of danger and quickly gained a reputation for fearlessness and a willingness to risk his life without hesitation if one of his companions was in danger.
By age 21, after only 5 years of campaigning, he achieved the rank of Captain under the command of Field Marshall Elias ‘the Gentleman’ Rodin and had acquired a truly heroic reputation. But rumors of war and a the rise of new Black King of Thane, more terrible and powerful than the 2 dark kings that preceded him, troubled the young Captain more than most – and even though his war was with the Northmen, in his dreams he was always on the fields near the Thanish capital, fighting a desperate battle that would wake him in a cold sweat..
As the drums of war in the West became louder and more threatening, the war against the Northmen was reaching a tipping point. While it seemed that the entire population of Northmen warriors were pushing south with everything they had, the Aeultian army kept beating them back and gaining ground, forcing them steadily backwards. And by the year 27 B.E. the Aelutians had entered the peninsula itself and were preparing to take the war to their homeland..
And it was here, in the frozen north that Captain Wilkins fate – and the fate of the entire world – would be changed forever. For in a surprise attack by a much larger than expected force of Northmen, Captain Wilkins and his unit were routed, and while trying to rally his men he was struck from behind by a hurled war hammer. And the next thing he knew, he was alone and lost, knowing not where he was or how he had got there.
All he knew, was that there was no cover, and as he stood, rubbing his aching head and picking up his helmet, he saw what he assumed would be his doom. For bearing down on him, nearly 100 Northmen were coming over a snowy rise, the riders at the front breaking away to run him down.
Accepting his fate, and determined to fight until his last breathe, he made a prayer and a promise to the All Father – that if somehow he would be allowed to survive this day, he would from that day forth allow himself to be a vessel of the All Fathers will, to bring forth victory in his name when the victory was just.
And it was then, when all hope seemed lost, that before his eyes only a few feet away, a strange and beautiful light began to glow, rapidly getting brighter until the white snow reflected it and compounded it even further and he had to avert his eyes, squinting.
By this time, he could hear the galloping horses of the Valkyries bearing down on him, and heard their ear splitting horn of war shatter his reverie. But before him, the light had changed and coalesced into a familiar shape that somehow he knew he had seen many times in his dreams – but could not recall until now. Now, it all came flooding back..
And while not he, nor anyone else in Eletreus, knew what it was called or what it really was, he knew that the sword glowing and levitating in the air in front of him, was his sword..
“Abdiel has seen the content of your heart and decided you are to be the one. I grant you your wish to serve me. Your fate, and the fate of Eletreus, is in the West. Lead the armies to victory my child. I am with you, now and forever.”
Moved to tears, he reached out and took the sword, just as the first Valkhajir closed the distance, though after seeing both a light and now a strange glowing sword, hesitated.
“Go back to your lands! This war is over, the real war is in the West – and if we continue to fight here, it will overwhelm us all”
The Valkhajir looked at each other, and laughed – while behind them another 90 Norman warriors were rapidly closing the distance.
“No, stupid gold man. YOUR war is over!” the chief Valkyrie spat, her blue eyes flashing with malice, and she hurled a javelin with perfect aim at the Captains chest..
The Captain did not flinch, and he could not have moved fast enough to avoid it either. But just before it struck, it stopped dead in mid-air and began to glow the same color as the sword he held in his hands. The Valkhajirs jaw dropped, and Wilkins simply looked up and replied in a soft voice.
“I do not want to kill you, brave Valkhajir. Go back.. The war is over”.
But by now, the other baying Northmen had all but closed the distance, and snapped out of their momentary reverie, the Valkhajir spurred their horses, brandished their blades, and launched what would normally be an unstoppable, fatal charge.
Yet as they moved, time seemed to slow down for the Captain. His sword, humming warmly in his hands, cut the first blade coming down on his head clean in half and stepping to the side, cut off the leg of another rider bearing in on him so deeply that it also gutted the horse as well and both fell, crashing into another rider and causing a second horse to slip on the icy ground and fall.
What followed next was a scene of battle that has since become legendary. To the Northmen, he moved like the wind, keeping them all off balance, never in the same spot for longer than a second at the most, and the bright sword flashed and sung, turning the snow bright red with blood.
Drawn by the sounds of battle, the last survivors of his company who had been looking for him stood dumbfounded for a moment, unable to comprehend how their captain was fighting like the descriptions of the Seraphim from the Elder Tomes, but seeing that the sounds of battle had also drawn in a second group of Northmen, quickly joined the fray.
The second group of Northmen never made it to the battle. For when one of his men was injured in the ensuring melee that unfolded before him, the good Captain instinctively swung his sword in the direction of the Northmen about to deliver the death blow to his fallen charge, and it unleashed a wave of power that threw them up and back, so far and so hard that they crashed through the icy lake they were all standing on, and the Northmen broke ranks and begun to flee.
“Let them go men. This war is over for them – but for us, it has just begun.”
And he was right. The War that would shake the world to its foundations had already begun.