The old woman croaked, "You have destiny at your door. Three is the number, you shall see."
He drew a card. A proud castle held its head high among storms of men and gods.
He flipped another over. A star blazed from the card, blazing with unnatural white.
He turned a third. A dark claw reached off the card, grasping his neck and choking him.
He shook it off. Just an illusion. He knew he was too powerful to be destroyed by a mere devil. "Thank you. I'll now be off."
The crown on his head was battered, missing two jewels. He had worked hard for it. His lone castle had become a mighty realm, ruled by him and his group of heroes. His sword had become the bane of evil nearly everywhere.
That was yesterday.
Now the demon lord Nairus, whose son and heir had been slain by Kylorin, was massing his clouds of wrath. Demons ripped the life out of his brave soldiers with talons of fire, clawing through fine plate, gleaming chain, and hard leather alike with unholy grace and ease. Green skulls gibbered, fireballs roared like the dragons of older days, sprays of ice and snow and rays of shadows chaotically flew through the air above the turret of marrble where Hexila, his chief witch, was battling with the mighty mages of the Abyss. Kalah Stronglance, a paladin of mighty Eranus, was dying to horrible wounds clawed in him by millions of denizens of the dark plane, his blue-lit sword broken and cracked into tiny pieces. Aline, his half-elven cleric, was battling hopelessly against hundreds of dark spirits in the courtyard, her flaming mace like a catapult of death onto the legions of unholy dead.
He knew he was doomed.
"Jantus, get a troop of soldiers and take the galleys out of port. Fit as many men and women as possible in our fleet, and sail to Green Island. May you fare well."
Jantus hid trickling tears in his beard, shot with grey like a frosted wood in the moonlight. He descended the steps to the courtyard's inner sanctum, hoping to get off before it was too late.
Kylorin's armor, forged by the finest dwarf artisans, glowed with calm light. His runed sword was in his hand, shining in paleogian letters of the spirit of war.
His knees bent, and he jumped. Rock crumbled beneath him as he leaped over the void beneath.
Hundreds of arrows hissed at him, but he was not only a warrior, but a king wise in the ways of magic, and the arrows were consumed by white flame as he plummeted from the dark battlements. He slowed, and hit the ground with a crunch of dead bones beneath him.
Kylorin slashed through the ranks of dead like a whirlwind. His scything blade felled any that withstood him. He was wounded by thousands of demon claws that burned his flesh as he destroyed them, but he stood strong in the dying Kingdom of Kyloria.
A shadowed figure stood before him, bedecked in black armor forged by evil spirits deep in the earth. The demon lord's sword, hooked like an eagle's talon, answered the hero's sword in runes that glowed with tainted grey.
"And so we meet, Kylorin."
The hooked sword hissed out towards the hero's leg. With devilish speed and strength, he ripped through the plate and slashed a hole in his leg. Kylorin retaliated with a blow that crushed the demon lord's arm plate and nicked his hand.
The demon and the human fought with flickering blades, with crushing blows, with feints and distractions. They fought long and hard, as the last green light flickered out over the blasted marble tower, as the half-elf cleric finally succumbed to wounds, as the fleet launched off with the last of the heroes of Kyloria.
They fought not a duel, for a duel has honor. They hacked at each other with an elementary brutality. The sun darkened and the moon came out. But it was red.
The demon lord feinted towards the human's cheekbone, then slashed with a hissing blade and cleaved his arm off. Kylorin's eyes went wide, and he fell, virtually dead, to the ground. The demon lord laughed and raised his sword for one last stroke.
An arrow hit him in the elbow, and his aim slipped, cleaving into the ground. He looked where it had come from.
A slight, young woman had fired it through the window. Her blue eyes were wide with determination as she raised another to bear. Her raven hair, topped with a silver circlet that matched Kylorin's, blew in the dire breeze. She could not let her love and king die while she was alive.
The demon casually fired off a barrage of spells at her, watching, as did Kylorin, as she withered into a pile of dust under incredible amounts of magic. Kylorin moaned, gathering his anger into strength, and his only chance. His dying muscles, only moving by anger at his queen's callous murderer.
Nairus laughed, and turned his back on his dead enemies. He had better things to do.
The demon collapsed with a red-runed sword in his back, twitched, and dissipated. His armor fell to the battlefield with a clank.
The human hero had done his last act. His honor had died, his kingdom had died, and his queen had died. He just needed to avenge them, and he did.
Battlefield crows pecked the bodies of the dead, ignoring one metal-shelled man who stared glassily at the sky. A chill wind brought the stench of death to the fleet of refugees, now moving out to the last island controlled by Kyloria. The battlefield smoked of demon-fire, a choking stench. The turrets of the great castle were lifeless against the sinking moon. Armor gleamed in the mocking light with cold, pale death. A few fires burned atop the walls and in the courtyard, signaling demon lords heating their mortal slaves to keep them alive for the conquest of Green Island. They left at the break of dawn.
With a negligent flick of their heads, they decided he would be too much of a nuisance to pick out of the armor that enclosed him. With a flap of black feathers, the quorum of crows flew off into the smoke-black sky.