Come Dusk, a new day Dawns

Submitted into Contest #39 in response to: One day, the sun rose in the west and set in the east.... view prompt



The sun was beginning to set in the west. A ball of pure fire, red and furious, burning away its last light as mankind’s time burned away with it. Come sunset, there will be no more humanity. Only the Forsaken ones would remain to roam the world, unchecked and unbound. A devastation of everything. A cataclysm.

“Hear me now, as I address you for the last time!”

Weary heads of soldiers turned upward towards their general, who sat mounted atop his stallion. The horse was favoring one leg, bearing battle wounds of its own, as it trotted along the formed ranks. Along the last line of defense for all that is good and right.

“Hear me, men of valor! Look,” he pointed with a sword in his hand towards the falling sun. “Look there! All our hopes and dreams, all we fought for will die as soon as the sun disappears behind the hills! We will fall and they will win!”

Many heads turned to regard the sun, some faces somber, others on the brink of despair. Behind the army was the city of Valdeema, humanity’s last stand. Before them stretched ruined and burnt plains that were once fertile fields, supporting thousands with food and abundance. Now, the land was soaked in blood and covered in ash.

“But before that happens,” said the general, his voice carried loud and clear over helmets and spear tips, “we still have hope! There is still time to turn the tides of fate around, avert the doom which hangs above us all! Until the sun’s light burns to cinder there is still breath in our lungs! And we will use every last bit of that breath to fight! We will not let them win!”

The men, standing side by side, wearing armor and holding weapons, clenched their jaws, resolve beginning to show on their faces. They had until complete sundown to win. Or they would lose forever.

The dark clouds were threatening to cross the city of Valdeema and engulf the sun before it sets. But they could not get past the line of humanity. There was still resistance, still a will to live.

The creatures of nightmare, of shadow, flame and horror, lingered on the plains, littered with bodies. They growled and hissed in mockery, smelling victory in the air. The sun would soon set and it would soon be over.

“I will have us a reckoning,” the general shouted, spitting in his passion. Some men began to nod, others called to him. “I will have us charge them one more time! One last time! One final time!” 

More mouths shouted. The general turned his sword towards the slowly encroaching enemy. “They think that they have already defeated us! They rely on magic and wizardry to bring us down, binding our lives with that of the sun itself! But they forget one thing… They forget that we are Sons of Morning, we are Children of the Dawn! And we will see the sun rise again! We will see the sun rise in the west!”

A wave of shouts, cries and raised swords, spears and axes spread through the ranks of humanity’s last army. Thunder boomed above them, as if responding to their determination. The Forsaken beasts hissed in annoyance, sensing that man was not yet defeated.

And with the red ball in the sky, shining like a heart, painting the landscape in streaks of crimson, the general yelled one last call to his troops. And to the sun itself.

“Rise! Rise and meet them!”

Those who had horses charged forth, others ran on foot. The whole army screamed in unity, a battlecry so thunderous it made the sky tremble. Those left behind in Valdeema would hear it and they would know the hour had come.

The Forsaken ones didn’t even bother forming a defensive line against man’s charge. They just stood there, tall monoliths of black fire, waiting for the riders to come close enough. The general led the charge, screaming from the top of his lungs, tears forming in his eyes from the rush of air and emotion. 

He was the first to reach the beasts. And the first to be destroyed by their massive limbs and their incinerating fire. Mankind’s army rolled down the hill, charging towards what would likely be their doom. But there was no stopping now. There was only one moment left, a moment for a glorious death.

As the army clashed with the giant beings of supreme might and dark magic, the battlecries turned into shouts of agony and then fell silent. Men were destroyed on the spot, crushed under massive limbs or burned away by black fire, descending from the eyes of the Forsaken. 

It wasn’t a battle, not even a massacre. 

It was pure destruction.

And yet, man kept charging. Their forces were growing thinner and thinner, but they kept going forward. The sun was beginning to kiss the hills. Time was nearly over. As was the human army.

And then, came a rumble. A slight tremor of the ground. The last of the forces of man turned around to see what was this new event, expecting to see the enemy coming from behind somehow. What they saw both terrified them as well as gave them new hope.

The last free people of Valdeema, those injured in battle and too weary to fight, the sick, women, children and old people, they all ran from the city, rushing to aid the men in their last attempts at freedom. They all knew they were marching into death, yet they did it anyway, preferring death in battle, to death in waiting.

The Forsaken beasts found it amusing and they laughed at this desperate force of man. Women, children and old people, armed with picks, wooden clubs and iron pokers, going up against towering monoliths of ancient magic and hatred. The analogy was that of a paper soldier going against a torch flame.

And yet, the Forsaken hesitated. For a brief moment, they hesitated. They recognized in man a will to live so strong that it made them unsure, made them question their tactic, even if for only the slightest of moments.

But it was enough.

The crimson light illuminating the battlefield grew brighter. People from the city joined up with the remaining army and together they ran down the burnt hill, down at the Forsaken. A few heads turned towards the sun. 

And they saw it rising. 

Rising, in the west.

The Forsaken froze. 

Their massive forms quivered and shook, and they took a step back. 

The unthinkable had happened. Man’s will to live and the rush of every last person to help in the fight was something they did not expect. The self sacrifice was so strong that it broke the spell they had placed on mankind, the spell that binded the lives of men to the life of the day itself. 

“Look!” somebody yelled, a soldier with only one eye. “Look! The sun is rising! Dusk turned into Dawn!”

The red ball of the sun shook its reddish glow and burned in brighter and brighter oranges and yellows. A bright light. A day light.

“The spell is broken! Look!”

The giant forms of the Forsaken began to crack and crumble, their black fire going out as if the sun’s light was as lethal to it as water was to regular flame.

Some beasts tried running away in panic, but they could not outrun the light of the sun. Their legs broke off and they fell to the ground, scattering into fine powder as they hit the dirt.

Mankind had won. The Forsaken were defeated. Not by swing of a sword, but by man’s union in purpose and suffering.

And from that day forward, man was reminded of their near destruction every dusk, when the sun set in the east.

But, new hope filled their hearts each dawn, as the sun rose from the western hills.

A shift in their attitude towards life so strong that it affected the heavens themselves. It makes one wonder… What else is man capable of, when united? 


April 30, 2020 11:03

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