In times long gone, in a land that no longer is, lived a young sorcerer apprentice. He was a student like no other. His power were formidable , his wisdom was the envy of every other student and his heart was kind and compassionate. His name was Andar.

There lived another promising young wizard who studied in the Academy. He was not as powerful as Andar, nor he had his kind spirit, but his thirst for knowledge was unmatched, even by the very masters of the Academy. His name was Halbar, but everyone knew him as Hal.

They never were friends. They seldom crossed paths, but they shared a common passion. The two of the were in love with the same girl, she both lit their lives and every achievement they dedicated to her, though for long years neither one came forward to say anything to her.

In the end Andar went  telling his feelings first. She answered the call of his love, even though she had feelings for Hal, who never said nothing.

That came as no shock to Hal and he paid little attention to that. He though his feelings aren’t going to last more than few weeks more. So he concentrated on his study. But he knew that knowledge alone wasn’t enough. He needed wisdom so he left the Academy to travel the world.

At the mean time Andar was about to graduate and to set on his great destiny. Every prophet – true or false – said that that man, that wizard was about to have the greatest adventures and change the very world. His words, full of wisdom, of common sense echoed through the minds of everybody. One thing his worlds lacked – true passion. He spoke as though that weren’t his words. Only few people could notice that and they knew that his future spelled doom. “To have a machine as a leader, to have such a blind man would not be good in the long run…” – said those people. And they were about to find out how right they were.

But before he rose to position of influence and power Hal came back.

Over the few years of his travels he’d encountered various creatures and he learned secrets unimaginable. But something else happened along the road. A plague spread from his heart to every part of his being. His love remained constant, though his being went pervert. He learned of the darker teachings in sorcery and of powers beyond the laws of nature. They are called dark for a reason and Hal knew this reason, but as so many before him, he thought he was above that, that every power was under his command. He was wrong, he returned consumed by his new knowledge, his wisdom went from common sense to a brutal and twisted vision of life. In his heart burned a single desire. He wanted revenge, he wanted to eliminate the one who made him go that road. He knew things would’ve been very much different if he was chosen by Wany.

So Hal returned. His steps left burned marks on the ground. His presence inspired fear and panic in those around him. He didn’t show his face, he walked very slowly. He went right away to Andar and challenged him to a duel, a life or death duel. Andar accepted, believing his power was enough to overcome his adversary. Little did he know what was about to happen.

They met at midnight. There was no moon, only the ominous light of the stars lit the field they had chosen to be their battlefield. There were three unusual, bright and red stars in the sky. Legends say that they’re called the Trakardas and they each symbolize the power of a fallen Master of Evil. They were to help new Masters.

They met. They looked at each other. They stood. Nothing happened for a very long time. Hal raised his hand very slowly. In that process he could see the terror in the eyes of Andar. He was showing only a flair of the true pain he could bring. Andar was in agony that increased with every second until Hal’s hand reached his eye level. His eyes began to burn and his entire body – to melt. It took long, very long time, but in the end all that was left of Andar was a smoking pile of burned flesh and the smell of evil in the air. Still Hal had not finished. He had more to unleash on the poor Andar. As the dead man’s soul tried to escape the fallen body Ha seized it in his arm and made a gesture like he was trying to crush it. Every living creature felt the agony of the soul. Every creature sensed the feeling and it left miles and miles round the battlefield tainted. Animals continued to carry that mark generations after generations. At last, the poor soul collapsed in a sudden release of arcane energy. On the very place where that happened, later would grow a big tree, that was going to be the only uncorrupted being in the region.

With his foe not only killed, but also destroyed in every thinkable way, Hal went to see Wany…

Wany did hear of what happened and prepared herself to be destroyed in the same fashion, Her surprise was great when Hal kneeled before her and once again told her of his love. She was disgusted to the limit of her guts. It was her fault what happened. If she only knew. She felt so sorry for Hal, for she could see through his mask. For she’d always been drawn by the mysterious person of Hal, she found him interesting and challenging to understand. In another universe she might have devoted her love to him. But that wasn’t another universe, it was her universe, where she did not and now she could not. It was impossible to love him as he was now. It was impossible to be in the same place as him.

She ran, leaving that shell of a man that stood there shocked by the slow realization of what he’d become.

What was the he’d become? Was that dark personality really the result of his travels, of his new knowledge? He was tempted to believe that. That was not the truth however. It had always been a part of him. He tried to feed it with knowledge, with power, with love even, but it hungered for blood and now at last it had quenched his thirst, for the moment. For thea moment… This thought scared him. For the moment… Until next time, that was the logical continuation of that line of thoughts. And as the first shock subsided he felt the emptiness of no consciousness, no regret, it was like these were always his intentions. He was consumed, his soul – eaten whole.

Wany did not run too far. She stopped and turned only to see the gathering darkness over the kneeled Hal. The black cloud covered him completely. She asked herself if he could be saved. Wany fled, fled further and further, until she could Hal became only a dark spectacle on the horizon. The sun was setting, but it was not that case. Hal’s transformation was taking place. It was so very quiet. The only thing that changed was that his will covered all of the sky.

Hal was not himself. He stood there, observing what his body was doing. He had no control; his dark side had taken over. He had no strength to fight this foe. His internal struggle was at a halt. No longer could he deny power to his other side. He could feel his soul going into pieces. He could feel the calm call of evil. It was soothing and gentle.

“Wany you coward” she thought. It was her fault, at least part of it. Why was she running? She must go back; she must try to fix this. She turns back once again. She runs again. This time she’s going back. She’s crying. Not even she could tell why.

On the other side of the field Hal was giving up. His body was becoming a conduit between magic and reality. His dreams were coming true. He was great. Only one thing was missing, but he didn’t care about that. It was irrelevant.

Wany could almost distinguish his figure. She was getting closer. Perhaps it wouldn’t be too late.

All irrelevant memories were dying – his happy years, his sad years, his personality. There had to be room only for true knowledge.

The black cloud covered everything, Wany couldn’t see but she could feel the direction of Hal. Such evil as him is difficult to miss.

His name was Hal, he remembered only that.

She could feel him, closer and closer.

Everything was going as planned.

The girl was almost at him.

He was complete.

She was there.

They were together. Not in time. He’s evil incarnated. She’s too late. Hal walked away. Wany tried to hold him. He didn’t even seem to notice. He broke free with ease. She fell. She cried. The dark cloud lifted. She could see him walking away. His every step turned the land around him into a desert.

Someone had to stop him. So many sacrifices were about to be made. Heroes were about to rise, innocent were about to suffer. And it was only because of a woman, lack of guts and too much imagination…



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