Greyskin. Chapter 1

The world of Imilaris was primal and primitive, yet full of wonder. Simplistic and unrestrained, the only rule here was that of the animal kingdom, eat or be eaten. Nobody knew how it was created, it was only inhabited by uncivilized humans and wild animals, governed by nobody and hidden from sight. The humans there were mostly wild, unguided with no God to watch over them and lead them. That lasted for a long time, but that had to change one day.

Humans lived in this world, they bred, they fought, and they died. It was all so simple. That changed however when thirteen gods decided to come and look after the world. They were weak, barely reaching the power required to ascend to immortality, who couldn’t gain followers or power because they were getting bullied by other stronger gods. So, the thirteen gods all came together, from various pantheons, all looking for a world to control. They could try to create one from scratch, but even with all of them, they lacked the needed power to create something as great as Imilaris.

So, after decades of searching through the Starways, they finally found a suitable world. Imilaris, it was just perfect for the young gods, having rich environment, varied ecosystems and some basic lifeforms on it already present. Gods didn’t hesitate long; they sunk their nails into it and began forging it to their liking.

Mostly, they just created races to worship the gods. There were twin gods, the flower goddess Phlorra and a satyr god Faunas. They had affinity with nature, so they took over the woods and decided to create their races. Satyrs, elves, dryads, treants, many other plant-like races were created and set free.

There were other gods, like Aqarius, who took over the ocean, or Scillia who took over the skies. Each God took humans and changed them to fit their needs.

However, one goddess, goddess of light and faith, Lady Lux, she wanted something special. She decided to create a race in her own image, beautiful and majestic, both in appearance and in spirit. She took two humans and she bled for them, granting them some of her blood. It changed them, but it was not all that simple. Lux created two white rings, halos, and filled them with her power. Those rings then were granted onto the two humans, further changing them into the image of their goddess. The two were than renamed Highborne, as they were reborn up in the skies with the blood of the highest order.

Highborne was the only race created by Lady Lux, but it was the most powerful. They were peaceful but strong. Their magic was beyond of any other race, their forms were mesmerizing and their minds were clear and pure. They lived in the center of the continent, creating a majestic kingdom.

Each member of the race was granted a piece of halo on their birth and the royal family would get a whole halo when they were old enough to receive the full blessing from their goddess. The blessing granted them greater powers and allowed them to perform miracles.

Lux had put every bit of her power into the Highborne, hoping for them to be living forever, preying to her as thanks for their birth and keeping the light lit in the world. She loved them and now she depended on them, she wouldn’t get any divine power without them.

Each god could grant a blessing, but only to a member of their race. Blessings weren’t required to use magic, but they enhanced the capabilities of a person greatly.

So, some people who were less fortunate and did not receive such blessings, they sought power from beyond. Greed always drove people to do crazy things. So, Gates were built, each one leading somewhere, hoping to reach someplace with power. Some Gates just exploded; others lead into the void… But some reached Infernal planes.

Truly, Infernal Hells were most hated of places.

There were the high Hells, places where deception and lying was perfected like an art, where High Demons all played political games and controlled the minds of weaklings.

There were low Hells, places where life expectancy was shorter than a month. Beasts there were fearsome, dangerous, brutal and awesome. They had to learn to adapt, to change on a spot. Such beasts were feared even amongst the gods.

So, all Hells broke loose, spilling forth with demons and other infernal creatures. Those who wanted power received it or died. The hellspawn roamed and pillaged the world of Imilaris, making the gods act.

The Highborne had built massive pillars to the east and the west of their territories, which could project a force field, strong enough to repel any demon. So, those force fields were deployed, drawing power from the earth and from the goddess. This helped the fight against the demons, stopping their advance.

All the demons were repelled and pushed back towards the east of the continent, but advancing any further into their domain was impossible. Essentially, Highborne pillars divided the continent in three, giving two third of the continent to their ’original’ inhabitants and the other third to the hellspawn.

Like that, the world entered a fragile peace. The gates were shut down, demons bred with humans and other races creating demonkin. The powerful demons either returned home or settled down, creating strong bloodlines.

The whole east of the continent was shunned by the rest of the world. It wasn’t the hate of demons as much as fear of what they brought – the Scourge, a black miasma or fel energy that couldn’t be perceived without proper training. It is what allowed demons to adapt and change quickly, twisting their bodies and granting them monstrous strength. It is also what turned them insane or mad, making them thirst for blood and granted the desire to kill.

Scourge had spread throughout the world and only the god’s divine power could fight it. It was its opposite in a sense. Thankfully, the beacons created by Highborne were feeding off of their god’s energy, so it limited the spread of the scourge to only the east of the world, but it was still there, slowly corrupting the world and all within it.

This was a shaky balance, people living and carrying on, barely learning from the mistakes of the past. Both gods and mortals believed that the peace would last; even Lady Lux thought her race to be immortal and grand, never withering away.

But, in some unfathomable depths of the continent, within a deep chamber, a man, drunk on the fel energies of the scourge, mad and insane, he looked beyond the abyss and he saw things that would happen. He spoke of the coming of a Demon Lord, the rise of the Darkness that would cover the entire world and the fall of the Highborne. The prophecy was heard and spread and while most thought nothing of the mad ramblings of the old geezer, few listened and they feared.

After a long time, few hundred years or so, there really did appear a Demon Lord. Powerful and devastating, his body was stronger than that of a dragon and his magic could rival a god’s. He united all of demonkin, siring many children and creating his own empire. But for him it was not enough, he wanted more. He wanted the whole world.

In the Highborne empire, a celebration was about to take place. Within a week, the princess was to turn twenty in human years, but still young for a Highborne, because they matured slower than humans, and when they were mature they lived for centuries, perhaps even forever. On that day a halo would be granted to her, halo powerful enough for a future queen. The girl has finally become strong enough to withstand such power. It is three days before the celebration when the calamity came.

Darkness spread through the world, within days covering the entirety of it. Demon Lord used dragons, demons, wyverns, gryphons and other beasts, all carrying massive numbers of demons towards the rest of the world. It was the first invasion of this scale, bringing everybody to their knees.

The first targets were the Highborne. Their empire fell overnight, overrun by a legion of demons, leaving no man alive. Only women and girls were spared to be taken as slaves.

The royal princess was amongst them, but she was the only one without a halo. The blessing would fight the fel energy, but if there was too much of the scourge, the blessing would kill the wielder of the halo instead, to stop the mixing of blood with demons.

After six months, princess was the only Highborne alive, all others killed by their creators’ power. She was in possession of the Demon Lord, who thoroughly enjoyed ’using’ her even despite her small and youthful frame. She looked no older than a ten year old.

Like that, the Highborne society crumbled. The beacons remained, because only the wielders of the blessing of goddess Lux could control the city and the pillars, and the only remaining halo would burn anyone of no direct linage of the royalty. And giving such power to a little girl would be unwise, having her as a toy was much more fun.

With the Highborne gone, the rest of the world fell to their knees, bowing their heads. Few resisted, but it was futile, the Highborne were the strongest power and then they were gone. Demons reigned supreme over the world, darkness covering it completely.

But Fate, it is a funny thing is it not? Who is to say that once you fulfilled the prophecy, you will live forever, never betrayed or killed?

The adviser to the Demon Lord grew jealous and decided to take over. He poisoned his former master, killing him and taking his title and his possessions. The princess was amongst them.

After that, Demon Empire crumbled, conflicts igniting all over the world, new leaders rising and falling. Adviser lasted for a month, his successor for a few weeks. The title of the Demon Lord was passed on from hands to hands and so was the princess. She changed many masters and was ’used’ many different ways throughout the time.

As the evil Empire broke apart, the west of the world once again rose up, fighting against the demons who were in conflict with one another. Over the years, demons and the scourge were pushed back all the way to the east, once again bringing the world into balance. People began forgetting about the rise of the Demon Lord, the Darkness and about the Highborne. The once magnificent race was all but annihilated, their goddess weak and frail, unable to do much. Without her patrons, she was no better than an ordinary mage, her divinity dwindling.

After twenty odd years, somewhere in a cave within demon territories, a certain young woman was being abused. She looked like a goddess, her hair and her eyes were silver, almost glowing, her skin was smooth and beautiful, almost untouched by this world. She was alluring and gorgeous. And she was broken.

Over the twenty years the young girl passed through many hands, each time touched by the demons and taking in their fel energies, she absorbed the scourge into her body. She was defiled over and over, her mind long crumbled, only few things remaining. It wasn’t the scourge that deteriorated her mind, no; it was the constant abuse and agony.

The girl had royal blood in her, the blood of the goddess Lux. While she lacked the blessing that would kill her, her blood was strong enough to resist and suppress the scourge, leaving her body and mind relatively untouched by the vile power. It however still accumulated within her, building up and waiting for release. And for once, it came.

After twenty years, the girl finally matured. She looked like a teenager, but she was finally able to conceive. At some point, after an orc or a goblin or some other demon had his way with the girl, within her, a life ignited. That life was one of a kind, the one and only Highborne descendant in the world.

While the girl had powerful blood and she was strong, her child was nothing alike. It was a single little bud, newly formed and barely alive. And it had no way of protecting itself. So, the entire scourge that had accumulated within the girl went inside the little newly formed life. The twenty years of buildup, all disappearing within that small being.

For once the girl became somewhat lucid, her body and mind no longer being assaulted by fel energies. She began to think and to wonder. She could not escape, but she didn’t even bother trying to. Understanding what happened to her, she bode her time, hoping to one day see the child she was carrying.

A child was born, seven months after that day. Time too short for a Highborne, but too long for a demon. The child was something new, the product of Union of divinity and fel energies. It had grey skin, grey eyes, almost as if it was blind, and silver hair. It resembled an elf, with longer ears, much longer than its mother, but it also had sharp claws and fangs.

The mother didn’t get to hold the baby, it was taken away and the mother was washed, so she could continue being abused. She cried that night, hoping to one day hold the child close. The abuse was nothing for her by now, but it was the separation from the part of her, her own blood, that saddened the girl. She wanted to feel him close, to touch him, to hold him, but now she couldn’t. She could only weep.

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