"What is the meaning of life without freedom?"
At the peak of Mt. Orphean, a young boy with golden hair and crimson eyes asked his teacher. The teacher put down his book sand smiled, "True freedom is not to do whatever you want; it is to be able to refuse what you do not want to do."
The boy smiled and his eyes shone with mischief. "Can I refuse you then, Master Edras?"
"I'm afraid not, Volkath. You are talented, but you have much to learn before the Holy Light will accept you." Edras tried to bring the conversation back on course. Volkath was intelligent, but too willful, too insistent on doing things his own way to accept the teachings of the Holy Light.Volkath shrugged and did not press the issue, but the smugness on his face was apparent. He did not notice the three girls sitting in front sneaking peeks back at him, Edras' three favorite students, Marja, Kahlii, Ilumia, who would become the Three Maidens of Veda. Nor did he know that one of them would become his lover, another his fervent supporter, and the last his mortal enemy.
Also sneaking a peek at Volkath was Veera, sitting in a corner, her timid eyes filled with worry. Indeed, the seemingly innocuous debate had caught the attention of all the other students - with the exception of Maloch, who was always on Volkath's side, rain or shine.Past, present, future - whatever path he chose, Volkath always had a loyal group of followers who walked with him, for he was as generous to his friends as he was merciless to his enemies.
Edras sensed the threat posed by Volkath's charisma, but still he tried to bring Volkath back to the light, until finally Volkath put an end to the link between master and student.
In the great battle that pitted gods against demons Edras fell, and Volkath turned to the abyss. By his side were Veera and Maloch, the first to join Volkath in his rebellion, and Kahlii, one of the Three Maidens of Veda. Conspicuously missing, however, was Volkath's lover Marja, another of the Three Maidens."Would you come with me if I truly turned against the Holy Light?" Volkath asked Marja before he took the final step.
"I will cut off you head and hang it at the top of the temple, to show the world what happens to traitors." Marja had wavered between her teacher and her lover, but the call of duty was strong, and eventually she declined Volkath's invitation.
"Choice is both a right and a duty, my love. You will understand, in time." Volkath whispered in her ear, "There is no safety in the margin between light and darkness. There is only storm and fury, even if it has yet to rear its head. This is my parting gift for you. You will need it, when the storm comes..."As he spoke, he lifted Marja's chin and kissed her, a kiss so long that Marja felt out of breath. It was as though she lost something, and gained something at the same time.
Volkath did not tell Marja that he had gifted her a part of his soul, with which he broke the hold that the Holy Light had on her, and planted the seeds for her transformation. Infinitely patient and confident, he was certain that the woman who he loved would one day accept his ideals, and return to his embrace, to walk again with him side by side.When the Holy Light was tarnished, Lokheim welcomed their new lord. Volkath correctly predicted the political machinations in Veda after Edras' death, with Ilumia banishing Marja. His parting gift for Marja would help her break the shackles of light, and reunite them in the abyss.What Volkath did not count on was that his invasion of Athanor would become his own downfall. With the help of the World Tree Tel’Annas fell Volkath with a single arrow, sending the Lokheim forces routing back to the abyss. When Marja escaped from prison she was greeted not by her lover with open arms, but a cold, grey tombstone.Marja's fury was terrible. Seeking vengeance on Afata, she sent Shadow Worms innumerable against Afafa, leaving vast areas of lifeless, barren wastelands in their wake. For a hundred years afterwards the forces of Afata never stepped out of their territory, fearful of the threat that Marja posed."Marja, my love. Who could have thought that the parting gift I left for you would become the key to my resurrection?"
A chance encounter awakened the piece of soul that Volkath had left in Marja, completing their reunion, if only in spirit - in the literal sense of the word.
"Oh, my love, my love!" Marja gazed longingly at Volkath's almost fully transparent apparition. "How I have longed to burn every last branch and leaf of the accursed World Tree, and wring the neck of the elven queen with my own two hands!"
Volkath's spirit extended its arms and embraced Marja with ethereal arms. "Look how beautiful and powerful you have become, free from the bondage of the light! Once you were merely a puppet of the light; now you have found yourself, and where you truly belong."
Even without physical form, even as a mere fragment, a shadow of its former self, the presence of Volkath's spirit was overwhelming.
"The false light shall be dispelled, and the freedom of darkness shall reign. Then I shall take your hand, and together we shall stand above all!"


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