Fire in the Pass
The thrilling legend of a single man who stopped an entire army in the First Demon War.
There is a tale, a fable now, set during the First Demon war that tells of a young man named Trask who defeated a demon army alone. A fire element wielder, born and raised in a small fortification that guarded a pass over the Darklights mountains.
With his father sent to the frontlines of the war all the family he had in the world was his sister, a seer of little power as few of her visions were ever clear and were often cryptic. But times change and a clear vision came to her one day as she hung out the washing. The clearest and strongest vision she had ever had came to her. She saw an army of thousands passing the burning ruins of the fort and turning the war to the demon armies favour.
When Trask heard his sisters vision he rushed her to the doors of the High Councils chambers, but they were laughed out of the room. They all doubted the vision. After all, they all knew of the trouble she had in understanding what she had seen in the past. Turned away, they were soon seen as alarmists, over-reacting to something unreal. It was like what his sister had seen could never happen to their small fort.
But Trask believed his sister's vision, knew in his gut and bones that before the winter's snow, an army would come and destroy the world as they knew it. So he sent his sister away to find their father and warn him of the oncoming army. Maybe, maybe he could get the news to ears that were not too stubborn to listen before it was too late and all was lost.
Trask however stayed and stood guard, watching the pass for any sign of the army his sister had foretold. Days turned to weeks and weeks turned to months until, late into the autumn, when all the copper leaves had gone the army came. Never did he lose faith in what she had seen but rather feared the lack of an army to meet the foes.
Then one morning, high up on the pass, he could see the dark snake-like shape of an army and it's low hanging dust trail as it moved along the narrow way.
Again he turned to the council, but now they were filled with fear and ordered the fort abandoned and bid all to flee for their lives. Cursing them for being blind cowards, Trask saw the future his sister saw coming true, no army had come, no news from his sister or father and now those who had vowed to stand and defend the pass were fleeing.
Desperate, driven by the ghosts of those not yet dead, he stole a horse from the stables and fled up the pass towards the oncoming army. He knew a place, a place where the rock was weak and soft, easy to break and crack apart if you knew stone and he knew stone. One had to when keeping a pass clear and travel worthy.
Like a madman he rode, the horse gasping beneath him as he rushed to beat the army to the spot, hoping that he would make it in time to close the pass. Even if it was just enough to slow them, to give aid another few days to arrive it was worth a shot, worth the risk.
But when he got there, he saw that he had run out of time, just ahead in the curve of the pass he saw the movement of the front guard of the demon army. With a sob he looked up, seeing the cracks in the cold stone. He again looked, the forefront of the army had turned the corner and the front riders where powering towards him. His time was up. He knew that, regardless of what he did or did not do, he was dead.
Turning again to the stone, he placed his hands upon the icy rock, sending waves of fire and heat pumping through the cold stone. The cracks expanded, the rock splitting and falling away from the cliff face. Bigger and bigger pieces fell, the rock crumbled weakening other parts of the cliff as great slices of the cliff face started to fall.
Trask paused for not a second, he stood his ground, tears slipping down his face as he gave every inch of his thought and abilities to sending fire running through the ever growing number of cracks, ever further away from himself, deeper into the canyon until great slabs were crumbling from the cliff-face, the cold stone unable to expand fast enough to cope with the heat he was pumping into it.
Faintly he felt the thumps as stone hit his shoulders, fainter still he heard the fearful screams of the demon army as the very land fell upon them, striking them down where they stood.
Still, he stood, even as he felt the world slip away his last thought and effort was to put just a little more fire through the stone. To take a little more with him, to give the land the fort guarded more time to get ready.
Sadly few made it out that canyon that day, trapped, a large part of the demon army was lost, crushed along with Trask, by the falling stone. But his sacrifice was not in vain, as the army was stopped for a time, giving his father enough time to get an army to the pass and truly defeat the demon army of Darklight pass.