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    Default [RIVALRY] Heart of Light, Heart of Darkness

    Heart of Light, Heart of Darkness

    For millenia, the gods of Good and those of Evil have been at war with each other, with each side attempting to obliterate the other once and for all. Standing in their way have been the gods of Neutrality, who have not only prevented direct conflict between the two sides, but also have minimized the impact of this warfare on the mortal lands.

    No one is sure how (for who knows the ways of the gods?), but it appears that recently the gods of Neutrality have been weakened or deposed. The gods of Good and Evil still cannot strike each other directly, but they have determined a plan that will lead to one or the other losing all influence in the realm of the mortals.

    Each side would choose a single champion, of roughly equal power, to represent the gods. The champion of Good would be known as the Heart of Light; the champion of Evil would be called the Heart of Darkness. Each champion would be granted a unique, intelligent sword (though they would have to complete a quest to prove their worthiness) that would serve as the mark of their position as well as their sole weapon. The champions are sworn to be in eternal service to their gods, and to destroy the other champion.

    However, the conflict is not as simple as it may seem. In addition to the swords provided to the champions, five other intelligent swords are hidden (and well protected) around the world. As a group, they are called the Heartwar swords. In order to completely destroy the other side, one champion must control all five of these swords when slaying his enemy; only then can the enemy's sword (and the presence of the gods it represents) be destroyed.

    -----

    "Kala," whispered the soft voice in her ear.

    Kala Duran was sure that no one had been there. "Who is that?" asked the young sorceress.

    "A messenger of the gods. You have been chosen for a great task. The gods wish you to become their champion in a great battle against evil."

    "Why me? Who am I that the gods would choose me to do this?"

    "You have a good heart, and yet you still have the toughness and determination to do what must be done to defeat evil."

    "If this is the gods' will, then I shall obey. What must I do?"

    "First, you must recover a mighty artifact -- a sword -- that will be the symbol of the trust the gods have placed in you, as well as your weapon to see that will done."

    "A sword? But I am just a simple sorceress!"

    "You will grow into your true power, Kala. Have faith in the gods, as they have faith in you. You are the Heart of Light."

    -----

    A giant pillar of fire soared up from the ground in front of the mercenary. "Nice trick," he muttered as he looked to see who or what caused the flames.

    "Vilka Thoros," boomed an unearthly voice, "your gods have chosen to speak with you."

    "What rubbish is this? The gods are myths, a tool to keep the rabble in line."

    "We are very real, Vilka, and we have been watching you for some time. From the first merchant that you mugged to the whore you murdered last week, we have been pleased with your progress."

    "How do you know..." Vilka almost stammered in response. "I have told no one of these things!"

    "We are gods. We see all and know all."

    "So, you have come to strike me down for denying you, then?"

    "Ah, defiance... an excellent trait. No Vilka, we would not punish you for that. We teach power and self-reliance. Accordingly, we expected this response. We have chosen you to be our mortal champion, our Heart of Darkness."

    "What, you want me to be a missionary of some sort?"

    "No, we want you to destroy the forces that style themselves as 'good'. We will give you help in the form of a mighty artifact, and for completing the task, we will see that you are suitably rewarded with dominion over all this world."

    -----

    In the years that have intervened, the conflict over the swords has turned into a blossoming war. At first, the two Champions focused on discovering the locations of the other Heartwar swords, and attempting to recover them. Over time, as each became more aware of the other, they needed to move with more concealment and subtlety. The Champions were also rallying points for believers and opportunists. And so, the movements of armies mask the movements of the Heartwar Champions and their bonded allies.

    Nonetheless, the conflict is still highly personal between the Champions. Both are fully aware that the only path to victory is to recover all of the swords and slaying their counterpart, and the years of opposition have led to a truly deep hatred of the other.

    So far, three of the remaining five swords have been recovered. Kala recovered two, the Grey and Red swords; Vilka recovered the Blue sword. However, Kala's allies currently bear the Grey and Blue swords, while Vilka's vassal wields the Red. The Red sword was taken by a successful assassination of Kala's cousin, who she had entrusted the sword to. Kala managed to roll up Vilka's spy network once, and the spymaster was the Blue sword bearer... until Kala was done with him.

    And so, the search continues, both for the remaining swords and for opportunities to find and destroy the current sword bearers.
    Last edited by Duke of URL; 2007-02-12 at 02:58 PM.


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