Chapter 1

It was a time of war. All able-bodied men and women were called upon to take up arms and due their duty to serve the League. Aidenus called those warriors who went off to fight in the Holy Land great heroes. He spoke of the insolence of the Empire, and how the League was supposed to show the barbarians in the Empire the Light. Most of the war took place far away, on another allod. To them, they called it the Holy Land, where Tensess had once lived and formed their collective of the Empire after defeating those savage Orcs.

Those who came home from the Holy Land had another story to tell.

They were nothing like the glorious heroes that they should have been. Kanians, Gibberlings, even Elves all came back in much the same state. Maimed, physically and mentally, they often lacked limbs that had been lost in the fray, and they were so quiet and so tense that it seemed like they would break if you so much as tapped them on the shoulder. Only a monster could do something so horrible, wreck such terrible damage to another living being. But then, that was exactly what they were fighting.

Sure, the Xadaganians were similar to the Kanians, but the other two races could only be called monsters at best. The Orcs, they fought with such savage rage. Those who returned often remarked on how fighting an Orc would make you wish you were in Siveria fighting twenty lynxes. They had an animalistic fury. The Arisen, on the other hand, could only be considered abominations of life. Shambling corpses, reanimated after death. They were rather easy to kill once you got close to them, but there lies the problem. Those zombies possessed some kind of arcane magic that getting close enough to kill them was nearly impossible. And their eyes! Those unfeeling eyes that always glowed a sickly green, never, ever blinking! That in itself was enough to make anyone uncomfortable. The fireflies often emit a greenish glow, and those who come back lose it when they see those lights.

However, that was just what he heard. Mere rumors. Lazar felt he had been lucky so far. He still had time before he would have to fight. While he waited for that day, he helped his mother tend their shop and practiced his lute.

Yes. He was not ashamed to admit it. He was an Elven bard. While his mother and grandmother frowned on his choice, they were still reluctantly learning to accept the fact that Lazar just did not have the potential for magic as the rest of the Wolf family. Instead, he taught himself how to control his voice and play the lute to create the most enticing music. He even heard rumors about bards harnessing that power as a way to fight. As of yet, Lazar found that to be foolish fancies. After all, it is only notes through the air.

Today, though, was an average day like every other. Lazar was occupied sweeping the floor of the shop and going about other miscellaneous items in preparation of opening for the day.

"Lazar, get some more of those healing potions from the storeroom. The last customers that came through nearly bought out yesterday's stock," a slightly aged, but exquisite looking woman called out to him from behind the counter, her pale blond hair tied up into a bun and fashioned with white gold ornaments.

"Yes, mother, I'm right on it," Lazar replied, setting his broom to the side. He looked related to the woman behind the counter. His pale blond hair was cropped short and laid haphazardly on his head. He moved to the storeroom, his black wings helping his small frame glide over the floor with the grace that all elves have.

In the storeroom, he rummaged about the shelves, his shining golden eyes scanning the shelves for the potions in questions. Upon finding their box, he picked it up in his thin arms and floated back out into the shop to set out the merchandise.

"Oh, and seeing those potions, you reminded me. I need more chamomiles; I'm almost out of herbs with healing agents. Perhaps sometime later when you're free, you could head out and gather me a fresh supply?"

"Not a problem," Lazar replied, picking up the broom to finish sweeping the shop.