Ballad of a Failed Knight prologue and ideas for a Dark Fantasy

Here’s the first chapter of the story I’m writing. Its my first story, Ballad of a Failed Knight, a dark fantasy about love, betrayal, revenge, and finding one’s place in a chaotic world. So bear with me as my writing certainly has room for improvement. Enjoy!

Below are concept arts for a few of the main characters of the story, the Goddess Eirise and the knight Isaac to the upper left, Jakobu the bear/minotaur hybrid to the upper right, Tsukihime the Korean-inspired vampress to the bottom left, and Sundaar the Indian-inspired witch to the bottom right, all curtsey of Midjourneybecause I can’t draw for sh*t and don’t take credit for these nor can anyone.

Chapter 0: Chaos Stirs

Dawn broke out over the cold gray sands of the Forgotten Desert. A single, mythical bird, a falcotrice, stretched its beige feathers out in an impressive wingspan, squinting its beady-yellow marble eyes at the approaching golden sunlight. In a matter of seconds, it takes off, leaving nothing but a large silver feather behind in an imprint in the sand in its wake. Besides a gentle breeze scattering the pale sand, the desert was quiet once more. An ominous violet hue glowed around a thorny obsidian crown which nestled atop a meditating figure, downcast and tracing their finger in the sand around the feather.

Another day, and the hunt begins once again. High in the neon clouds that swirled and danced, the flying creature let out a deep and proud screech that echoed from its charcoal beak which curved down and split at the tip, hoping to hear another of its kind gliding through the vast sky over the continent of Pangeotus. 

Only silence but the wind is heard. No response arrives. It is alone. And has been for a long time. Much larger predators have driven the bird west, despite already being a large and formidable predator itself, being able to take on a crowd of armed hunters if they’re uncareful.

Southwest, the hungry falcotrice flies past the northside of the towering ashen landscape that is the Catacarlo Mountains. With the best eyes in Pangeotus , it spots a plump rodent from high above, and darts down on it like a missile. With nowhere to hide but the ashen rocks on the mountainside that fail to conceal it, the carnivorous bird knocks the rock aside with its long silver talons and proceeds to crunch on its meal with delight. 

Looking around its unfamiliar surroundings, the falcotrice has never had to fly so far southeast for a meal. Below, it found itself surrounded by bare ashen black trees with branches that twisted and turned on one another, then it looked back down at the blood covered snow and rock, disappointed there weren’t more carcasses to devour whole. There wasn’t another living soul in sight for miles. Feeling a strange stare from high above made brown feathers rise on the back of its dome of a neck. And the bird of prey looked up. 

High above the steep mountainside where the falcotrice now sat, behind the black mountaintops there levitated a gigantic single eyeball. Watching, it stared directly at the bird. Its rainbow-colored iris bled every possible and impossible color imaginable, and the veins surrounding its crimson pupil were bright like lightning. 

The last remaining falcotrice of its kind, found itself entranced by the eye in the blisteringly cold sky. Something changed, no, awoke within the bird. Without losing eye contact, the bird’s eyes shrunk in size and a darkness glossed over them, painting them a black void. 

In the next instance, a painful screech escaped the bird. Its long, slender back bent backwards in contortion. Its silver talons now stained a deeper shade of red from splitting open and morphing in size and shape. Its wings twisted 180 degrees, and its delicate feathers became cold sharp needles. Lastly, its beak fell clean off, and in its place was a bloody satin red muzzle with jagged silver teeth. In total shock and paralyzed, the falcotrice fell off the side of the mountain, slamming into and breaking a few branches on the way down, hitting the snow covered New Earth with a thud. Dead.

Silence. The evening passed and night arrived, only to leave again and welcome a new morning. The entity in the sky that poorly mimicked the sun and was infamously known as Cataropus, and continued to watch the dead poultry. Only when the monster falcotrice awoke with an impossibly high-pitched, blood-curdling screech, and flew off, did Cataropus lose interest and look away.

As if guided no longer by hunger, but hatred for the living and chaos for all creation, the undead falcotrice flew at an unnatural speed. It screeched and tore right through several birds that once drove it west into exile. Passing valleys, caves, swamps, forests, rivers, and ignoring a number of human settlements that scarcely survived long in this wretched world, the flying beast had its blackened sights on a very particular settlement of what remained of humanity. 

With newfound stamina and horrifying power, the falcotrice made its way all the way East, to the Blood Red Ocean by Beach Mephista. With a sky as dark and tainted red as the ocean, man feared going near the murky waters and what waded within. Gliding along the crimson surface and dipping its nightmarish wings and muzzle under the supersaturated waters of Mephista, the monster felt rejuvenated by the toxic liquid. Drenched red and with a stench of a thousand dead now covered the monstrous bird as it shifted directions once again.


Making its way far North, there came a deep, cloudy fog; a Terrible Mist that acted as a gigantic wall that stretched high and wide for seemingly endless kilometers in both directions, and was home to unseen beasts even brave men feared of ever meeting. Shrouding itself in the bright white fog, the falcotrice appeared to be searching for something. What could possibly lie within such a fog? A deep, rumbling roar was heard from below. Then several more. The bird gave a reaffirming echoing screech, and while deciding to give up, it abruptly left the fog and its gargantuan inhabitants. 

The monster made a B-line for the Kingdom of Gelang, a post-apocalyptic civilization seemingly stuck in the medieval period of human history, with a tall stone wall that stretched wide in a circle that encompassed a city of merchants and travelers, academies, citizens and soldiers alike and so on. The demented falcotrice was close to completing its sole objective; an ungodly voice resonated in its broken mind to push further ahead. At the edge of a clearing of dense trees marched a horde of inhuman beings. Joining up with a band of monsters with the same objective and being beckoned by similar internal voices, the unsightly group pushed towards the castle gates.

Wooden clubs poorly crafted from the debris of previously destroyed settlements were dragged by tall pale figures with sunken eyes and ears that arched back; whips made from the teeth of human victims chained together by short and scaly creatures that drooled poison as they trudged forward, and weathered claws dragged along the ground of some deranged hounds that bore the snout and tail of a boar. Countless other four-legged, two-legged, slithering, and flying monsters from all across Pangeotus were driven to take down Castle Gelang. 

Far ahead from the menacing crowd of beasts did the undead Falcotrice fly. Out on the clearing there stood several figures clad in shimmering metal armor, and behind each of them stood dozens of similarly geared knights, swords and axes ready. One in particular wore a shiny blue necklace around his prominent neck and held a greatshield in his left hand and an impressive spiked flail that swung in his right. 

This one man in particular would be the target of the falcotrice. The blue glow of the necklace intimidated it, as if it wanted the bird to strike it. All of the moments of the predators’ life led up to this very moment. It will all be over soon. The appetite for human flesh only grew stronger with each flutter of the wind, and the falcotrice flew over to the armored man like a torpedo.

In the next instant, the knight shouted a battle cry heard by the others, and with a flick of his wrist, swung the spiked flail at the falcotrice. That was all it took. The monster barely came inches away when the flail came down on its face with such incredible force that its head caved right in in a bloody mess. That was the last of the falcotrice.

First Impressions?

I realize this prologue gave very little away plot-wise. I was hoping to do a little worldbuilding, and I thought it would be clever to do it through the eyes of a mythical bird, which could span the continents and show off a few of the landmarks and terrors that will make an appearance in the story. 

Please let me know your thoughts and impressions, and thanks again for reading! 

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