After a war, that devastated the world, and is known as being part of a lost era, the intelligent beings decided to lay down their arms.
Nobody knew who started the fight or why, the knowledge was lost in the hundreds of years of turmoil. Good versus Bad, Demons vs Humans, Human-kin vs Magical Beats, the war engulfed everything. Some races, like Demons were a devastating force as war was part of their nature. The world was on the brink of collapse and the point of no return would mean a total destruction of sentient live.
Empires, Kingdoms, Heroes and Foes all went by, ashes of the past and in the wind their names faded away.
So much potential in those mortal lives, ruined and wasted through steel and magic.
As the soldiers strew away from the armies, the last commanding heroes and their enemies died, the war came to a fading end. Some races wanted to wage war till extinction but were stopped.
The remaining survivors were left in a destroyed world, the war left barely anything of the past. The various living dwellers of the world centralized with their kin and started anew, founding new empires and kingdoms, hoping to find a bit of the lost peace they strived for. Then history started again, leaving the wars of the past as Old War in the scrolls of history.
The races settled on various continents and stayed where they went, only on the borders, after years of exclusion, trading posts and agreements started to open up relationships again. The trust in other races lost, they kept each other an arms-length away but after centuries, mixed cities started to pop out near the borders where they tried to harmonize with each other. Some were successful, other were not, but deep inside their hearts the citizens of the continents knew that some parts of their lives and culture were so different they would never come truly in peace together.
Often people harbored prejudices against other races and even in mixed cities they sometimes attacked them. In bad times, they often needed a scapegoat and members of other races were easy targets. Mostly, they had to endure verbal attacks but some rage could only be stilled by physical harm.
Some races stayed very secluded and rarely showed up on other continents. As a war focused species, the demons weren't very welcome in any parts of the world.
The demons often continued to wage war against the human empires and kingdoms but it would never reach the extents of the Old War.
They invaded other continents many times, and they were not only demons, but they were repelled from these continents after some time. In the years after the Old War, they never reached the central of the continent again.
Yet, right now in this place, sat a demon. And not just anyone, if she could trust her teachers and books, the horns indicated how powerful a demon could be. The demon that leisurely had her legs on the table had nearly an entire tiara around her head.
Without any preparation and with her Mârden out, this was like a giant staring at an ant. The second she was thrown inside this wolves den, she was at her mercy.
“”W-W-What are you do-o-ing here”, she stuttered out of fear of dying that replaced the worry about her friends. The tears were still dropping down.
“Me? I'm doing nothing, I'm here to play your role, Princess Roxanne.”
She knew who she was and that was not in her favour.
The demon jumped over the desk and walked towards her, she felt that the demon had used mana on a gigantic scale, so much that she even felt it without her Mârden.
She looked up but her view was still watery but what she saw made her even more frightened.
As she continued to walk she started glimmer and features and her shape started to change, her skin got brighter, the horns vanished and the red hair was replaced by golden long hair.
With every step she resembled Roxanne more and more until she stopped in front of her, kneeling down. The demon hands, no her hands, caressed her cheeks. Wiped away the tails of tears she lifted up Roxanne´s chin.
The demon grinned but in a devilish way she could never do, the eyes doubting the sanity and rationality, both made herself look like an incarnation of devil.
Roxanne looked into the a identical twin of herself, every so little detail was perfectly in it's place. Then the demon started to speak and as she talked it was her voice, she heard.
“His little crusade gave us the possibility to come to your country. He came to us and asked for help. Such a narrow-minded and blinded man, to ask humanity's longest enemy for help just because we are one of the most powerful races.
All of his allies were helping him and they didn't even notice how they dug their own graves in their search for power.
They are puppets. We pull their strings, and they dance.
For now we obliged his cause but our agreement ends with his coronation.”
The devilish grin showed how much she enjoyed this.
“Ahhh, only the thought about the aftermath makes me ecstatic.”
The lustful voice she made was something that most would hear only in company of their lovers during nighttime.
She stopped talking as footsteps approached in the hallway. The guards must have found one of the responsible and brought them here.
“I know Fiven is looking for you but we have other plans with you. I'll deal with this incompetent chancellor now and you will remain quiet. They won't be able to see you but if I hear a single breath your precious Laruth and the two little companions that are hiding with him well be dead.
You can maybe fool Fiven but we know everything about your little games.”
She didn't know how the demon knew about Laruth and the two but the panic she showed must have been confirmation enough. The demon dragged here to the bed and put a camouflage spell on here.
Not a second too late because the door handle was pushed and Fiven personally entered the room. She was so shocked to see him again that she nearly forgot to remain silent, only in the last second she could suppress an angry shout.
He looked very angry, she guessed he heard that the Princess was caught outside the room even though she was supposed to be wounded and bedridden.
Fiven was never an athletic man and the nobility were usually fatter than the commoners but she saw that he nearly came running through the door.
As he collected his breath, he looked like a ripe tomato.
“What the hell are you doing. I ordered your folk to stay as I say. If the soldier wouldn't have met me the news of a Princess walking around the hallways would affect my plans.”
Roxanne didn't know if Fiven didn't understandhow strong this demon was or if he was just dumb enough to think whatever he was giving them would give him complete control over them.
The demon grinned for a fracture of a second like she thought the same thing as Roxanne, Fiven didn't even notice, he was too busy to catch his breath after his tirade.
“I was simply bored and wanted to get out of this room. No harm intended, if you want my comrades will dispose the soldiers that saw me.”
Without wasting a single thought the demon issued a death warrant for the soldiers that saw Roxanne.
The demons couldn't care less about some human lives, they only saw insects that were massed together in cities in hope for a live without war.
“Not needed, I don't want you and your friends anywhere before the Council of the Lords start.
I already sent out someone to take care of them, the result will nonetheless be the same.”
“There are no humans in this room except me”, thought Roxanne disgusted, “in some aspects Fiven is worse than a demon.”
The demon wasn't done yet as she asked, “What about the original princess, don't you need her? I hardly believe I'm going to end in her place as double like you planned it.”
“It doesn't matter where she and what she is up to, I count on her being there. And if she isn't willing to come out, I have three good arguments to push her into the open. At least one of your folk has worked as I ordered and that little demon told me some very interesting about guests a friend of hers has.”
Roxanne didn't need a second to come up to know who Fiven was talking about.
First her capture, then the meeting with demon and now this. If a breaking heart would make sounds it would sound through the entire palace as her whole life came crashing down.
She lost her mother, her father was missing and she only had a few friends. In her strive to protect the commoners she ended up in this situation, “Foolish girl”, she thought, “you could have helped your people from exile too”.
She didn't even know she risked all this beforehand, the only thing she had in mind previously was the commoners, and in the rush she made a decision.
Something her father once said came to mind, “A rush decision maybe helps in the present but ruins the future, if you count on something to work, expect it to fail and take it into consideration”.
As she was young her father showed her into the political stage and every time he made a decision that she would have done different or more beneficial he quoted this.
She didn't understand it as her planning always worked out but now she understood.
Her headless charge into this mess, the sense of security and her flawless plans lured her into a false safety.
She always had the back of her father and the power of royalty to support and protect her plans but now she had nothing to back her up.
The entire situation was out of control and her fate and those of her friends were in the hands of demons, if the demon spoke the truth Fiven wouldn't be emperor for long.
“You won't leave this room until the Lords come together or our deal is null and void.
And until I say otherwise, you will play the role as princess!”
“As long you value our deal we will obey but if you don't hand over the princess we will retaliate, you know?”
Fiven turned around and promptly left the room, disregarding the one who stood there.
Roxanne didn't even dare to move during the entire conversation, for the sake of her friends. She doubt that Fiven would do something to her friends, the demons would get hands on them no matter what he would try to do.
Looking back from the closing door she saw the demon staring atFiven. Her face still showing this deceptive, submissive smile but her eyes only displayed murderous intents, an incarnation of rage like she could kill with glances, Roxanne doubted that Fiven’s end would be a quick.
This happened in a brink of a second, the next moment she turned around back to Roxanne.
“Glad you fulfilled your part, your friends will maybe see the end of the day. Oh and just to be clear, I wouldn't worry about Fiven, so or so he is a dead man. At the end of this afternoon this empire will see a change that it didn't experience since is was created, your founding emperor would enjoy the show.
Streets paved with fire and the sky filled with screams, the long awaited festival.”
“I doubt that the founding emperor would enjoy this. He was a man of peace and progress, a honest and brave emperor to his people and a bastion of strength for his soldiers during invasions.”
“You know so little about your own history. It's a shame but it can't be helped with such a short lifespans. You have maybe forgotten it but our race doesn't forgive. All the time since the Old War we have waited, unable to fight against the seal your founding emperor put on us, cutting us off from our god, and away from the majority of our power.
Those old senile man feared us so much that they restricted us, robbed our powers and left us with mere shadows of our previous might.”
“I have never heard such things, the scrolls tell that the other races threaten your race after you wanted to continue the war. After you got pushed back to your own continent the war came to a halt.
You are still one of the most powerful races, there couldn't be a seal to restrict an entire race only because of their power.”
“Bah, your scrolls are the work of those who justly fear. We remember what happened in the Old War, before you called it Old War it had another name but your ancestors did their best to get rid of this part of history.
There are parts of hints in of your culture that survived all these years but they drifted into obscurity and religion. If you had taken these things more seriously, you would know the history. But as generous offering I'll tell you a little part of it, you should know it too.”
The demon moved closer to Roxanne.
“There are three things all wise beings fear: Demons fear the night without stars, the humans an empire without ruler, but all should wary the descending star.
“But these are parts of the Holy Scripture, they are taught in the Citadel of Light, a religion that was part of the Old War.”
“See, you know some things, your ancestors left them for you but through the hundreds of years you transcribed them into oblivion.
They were part of a longer prophecy, even we don't know the rest, but our elders taught us that they were the key to our salvation.”
“It's just nonsense, that's why nobody paid attention to it and the progress in magic and science pushed religious believes back.
There can't be a night without stars or an empire without ruler, the first is naturewise not possible and no government would leave an position such as the emperor open, there are always people who want to grasp power.
“It's sad to see how little you value your past. All the progress, magic and culture is just a glimpse of what you were in the Old War.
But you are right, a night without stars is not possible but the second one will happen soon and your role as the last empress of Escos will rise upon these lands. Originally we had other plans but since you were so nice to slip into you hands we can skip Fiven and go directly to you.
You are the key as the last of your bloodline and only your blood will lift the restriction."