Long long ago in a time when the heavens split and demons poured into the lands of the living, during the last great demon inclusion, a noble knight had been taking a tour of his lord’s lands only to see the burning hordes of unspeakable evils spilling through the torn wound in the skies.
The demons charged into the elven lands and the first flowing tendril of maddening dark beasts touched down at a small farming village. The young foolish knight bravely charged into the thick of the demonic forces and to the credit of his bloodline, and to his knighthood, he cut down countless evil abominations before his head was taken and the uncountable monsters continued their rampage through the world as this was one of many sites where the realm of the hells had anchored into the living physical plane.
But this story is not about this fateful knight who fell to the vile demons in the first day of the great inclusion, no it is about someone else. For this farming village was home to many, most were brutally cut down but others desperately hid in the sewers and store houses missed by the majority of the demons rushing through the lands in attempt to raze and murder as many as quickly as possible. One such soul missed by the demons who had not yet strayed from the roads, cities, towns, and villages, was Lyyndari. A young elven girl who had worked her whole life on the farm, while she was still staggeringly young for an elf, this tragic day would mark possibly the most drastic change in her entire very complicated life.
Many grow up over the length of many many years, a single decade for most, many decades for those longer lived races, but for this young woman returning from the orchards, it was in but an instant. Returning to see the majority of all those she had ever known burning in a pile of corpses, dancing demons celebrating their first time in the realm and the slaughter to come. This morbid sight clearly told her of the fate of all those she knew, and this young girl who knew only picking fruits, tending to cattle, and sweeping floors rushed across the village bridge scooping up a blade dropped by a now long since dead knight as she charged with unthinking rage at the demons. This charge was of course cut short by the monstrous clasping hand of an unnaturally massive pit fiend who grasped her like a toy bringing her to it’s lips as if it were to enjoy a snack. Choking on utter terror, something inside gave her an ounce of strength and she cried out, slashing with the sword.
Demonic blood splashed across her face before she was thrown in anger by the massive Demon. Guidance by the divine or pure luck had the ungodly creature throw her in the direction of the river. She awoke to the very few survivors of the village who had used the underground tunnels to reach the river and swim out. The Demon hordes appeared to be traveling inland to reach the Capital city, very few reached out into the village where the population was sparse. So it was with these very few survivors she traveled to the coast in hopes of finding a fighting force that would no doubt be mustered from outside the capital to break the siege that the demons would no doubt lay upon it.
Most of these very few survivors wanted nothing more than to find a boat and flee as fast as possible, but miraculously, sword still in hand Lyyndari convinced them to join her in finding whoever would be leading this counter offensive and become a part of something bigger. Dread still flowed through them as the elven peasants and farmers grew to understand the state their proud empire was in. But Lyyndari was violently persuasive.
“You say death is all that awaits us, you may be right, but you will either die here or out there. And if you turn coward and refuse to avenge those back home who just today died before the blood has even cooled, then by this very sword in my hands you will die right here on this very spot!”
Lyyndari knew not what sparked such fire in her heart, but fire there was and she charged at the cause like there was no tomorrow. Whether by luck or again divine will, the very few demons they encountered, she barely managed to defeat as she learned through sink or swim methods of how to use the sword. It was days later when they had finally found a group of mobilizing soldiers and joined them. Leather armor was all they could spare, and they did not ask of the sword in her hand, not until rendezvous with a larger force which their small group seemed to just serve as mild backup as a paladin order serving out of a local temple had marched out to cut down a small group of demons.
One Saint Corvan, the head of the temple’s libraries identified the sword and informed the young Lyyndari that it was a blessed Paladin blade, one such weapon that does not let the corrupt of heart wield it. The decision was made to not remove the weapon from her, and over the next few days, she more or less got the crash course lesson on how to be a paladin.
Over the next seven months, only five of her fellow survivors remained and a major counter offensive was formed. A spearhead to break the lines of the demons and end the siege on their capital city. The majority of soldiers were farmers, tavern owners, sailors, and shopkeepers. All armed with spears and shields, ready to be thrown against the fowlest demons of hell.
The coming months were spent slowly advancing, plowing through the oncoming demons sent to slow or stop the army. Messages to fellow nations were left unanswered and the military force was unsure if there was even a world out there to save anymore, but needless to say, they marched on.
The endless fighting became even more endless as upon reaching the besieged city, they were met with demonic fortifications, magical shields and crude constructions made of brick, bone, and cold iron. A heavy siege upon a siege began with constant fights breaking out across the lines. Magically prepared food and water became the only edible substance in the lands for the incredible length of the siege. As the main forces within the Capital and the forces outside struggled to decide upon what to do. It was a semi stalemate, as the demons could not break in without leaving an opening for the mustered army to counter, and the damage they could do to the walls would be magically repaired as fast as possible but the longer the demons stayed, the greater their fowl taint upon the land became. Even summoned food and water began to taste spoiled and the ranks of demons did not ever seem to be exhausted despite the thinning number of elves on the walls and outside the city.
And so it was, for over a year, battling endlessly, every day as any soul who could even hold a blade was pushed into line to fight the horrors that had come for them and this world. In this time, Lyyndari had become quite accomplished and the order depended on her and whatever there was in her that made her never retreat. And whatever that part of her was, was truly needed, for the day was destined to come, the magical shields dropped and the demon army, split in two charged in both directions, to batter down the gate with their fullest of wrath, and to cut down the mustered armies entrenched behind the siege. The blood, both elven and demon flooded the roads up to an elf’s ankles and the hasty rage of the demons had finally lead to their downfall. Barely managing to cut through the demonic forces, what remained of the mustered army rushed for the rear of the demon army and arrived just in time to hear the great elven gate crack open.
Elven steel lashed out, blades sang and blood flowed,at the center of the gates, heroes died to a great flail forged in the fires of the nine hells, at the hands of a giant pit fiend. A pit fiend Lyyndari faced down with livid rage. A pit fiend that bore a single scar across it’s lips.
The battle was fierce and deadly, the surviving demons formed a protective last stand shield around Lyyndari and the pit fiend as the tattered remains of the elven nation struck out against the circle of demons. They watched in horror and wonder as a young elven maiden clashed against this unholy abomination, and again, whether by luck or divine intervention, her blade found demonic flesh. And as the pit fiend fell, the shocked demons were cut down.
She was found under the great beast, still shockingly alive, but painfully injured. The recovery took ages, and to the shock and confusion of the nation’s greatest healers, Lyyndari’s left leg had been shattered and was nearly beyond healing. The demonic taint in the wound could not be cleansed.
But this was not the end of her life, nor the end of her world. Crippled but not dead, Lyyndari became a living saint. While she did object a touch to being married off, the emperor himself arranged to have his youngest son wed her and for hundreds of years, she was at the head of a parade every year on the anniversary of this her greatest victory. Soon, her sons and daughters joined her, and as the years went on, decades turned to centuries and centuries more. The great living saint took to the side of the emperor until such a time that even standing upright was nearly too much for her to bear.
In her stead, her granddaughter led the parades as she stayed in the temples, celebrating in a softer and more humble way.Her holy armor, worn the day of her battles, her sword, even the blood stained bandages used upon her was enshrined in various temples across the land. She was once a great hero, now just an old woman who had fulfilled her role in the world and she was just there to love her family, until the day that it happened.
On the celebratory parade from one city to the next, the military force vanished without a trace. The majority of her children and grandchildren had been there with the presession, and so this more than had her full attention. Throwing around every ounce of political power she had, this old woman found testimony of witnesses claiming that fire and lighting rained from the skies between the cities, fowl demon taint had been located in areas on the roads, and the military procession and parade was still missing, completely and utterly gone.
She moved to have a military mustered and mobilized to find the source of this problem, to eradicate the demons and reclaim her children, but the emperor of this age had been raised on the blood curdling fearful tales of the demon inclusion. Both he and his court knew that if they mobilized and or prepared for a mass demon incursion, it would be widely known and spread panic and even full blown retreat, everyone from the peasantry to the nobility would turn tail and run from the possibility of another demon incursion. In his “Oh so infinite wisdom” the emperor declared that there was no such demonic problem and ruled it a magical mishap not to be something to stop the celebrations.
Lyyndari was utterly wounded by this cowardice, and had she not known any better, she would have outright cut the emperor down then and there. And the emperor knew the old woman had more fire in her than was good for the empire, as such he placed guards at her home, placing her under moderate house arrest to keep her from panicking the nation.
It was early in the morning when the guards were found, beaten senseless, their armor missing, and even further away, in the temple, the holy crusader’s divine sword had been taken from its case without raising any alarms. Lyyndari of course was nowhere to be found, About a week later and another of the holy temples was hit, many pieces of her holy armor had been taken from the temple, and in the port cities, reports of an elderly elven woman with a limp so bad she could hardly walk had been seen recruiting adventurers, rumored to have been seen across the lands near the holy temples and asking questions about possible demonic activity.
“The real question is…. Are you the type to run when everything you care for is teetering into the abyss? Or are you the type to fight?”