Kalan looked across the desolate wasteland, head hung in shame. A tentative hand touched his shoulder, offering a comforting squeeze, but he didn't turn back. Loose tresses of ebon clung to his head, soaked in battle-induced sweat. The man, in his late twenties, wasn't the most attractive of creatures, but neither was he displeasing to the eye. A low, drawn-out sigh passed his lips, and he turned back to the remnants of the army behind him. Snaking each digit of his left hand about his sword hilt, he met the gaze of a nearby soldier. Marred by a frown, his brow rose in a sympathetic manner. The soldier was very young, perhaps fifteen, and was now missing an arm. His gaze, however, remained stoic, and he looked on in resolution.

Kalan's hand fell to his hips, and he thrust his head backwards.

"My people," he announced, "This fighting must stop!"

There was a murmur of agreement, and everyone's eyes cast to the dead amassed at their feet.

"My people," he repeated, louder, "The day of reckoning is upon us, and it is now we must act!"

Again, there was a murmur, but it was louder this time, and it was met with the utmost enthusiasm.

"Yes! Retribution! Free us, Kalan!" The soldiers chorused, dropping the crimson-splattered weapons they had previously clung so tightly to.

Kalan's gaze shifted from eye to eye, and finally across to the setting sun which cast an eerie scarlet backdrop to the battleground.

"It is now," he began, voice growing in confidence with each word, "that we shall all be free! Now, upon my father's deathbed, where he lies brutally slain by the fiends that once ruled, that I take back control! It is here that I, Kalan, new king of Nuylan, finish this never-ending war!"

Shouts of freedom, justice and retribution met his words, and each and every man on the battlefield raised their fists, punching at the air.

From that moment forward, Kalan became the hero of the people, meeting ever expectation they had of him. Unfortunately, this was not to last…

Kalan grew old, for he was only human. Fearing for the welfare of the kingdom, he needed to find an heir. He begged, pleaded, and reasoned with the gods, and eventually his prayers were answered.

One night, as he was lying, waiting for death to take him, he was visited by three ghostly messengers. Clad in nothing but the purest of opalescent auras, they stood afoot his bed. His old, battle-worn eyes couldn't make out anything, save for the intense, shining light each spectral being emitted. In a gentle, almost angelic voice, the nearest ghost spoke.

"Kalan…your time is nigh. By the next sickle moon, you will have passed over to our realms." It paused, moving closer to Kalan's bedside. Gracefully, it fell to its knees and placed a hand atop his head. "You must pick four heirs, one for each Element of Old. They must be trustworthy, strong-willed and, overall, kind. They will be granted the sacred Immortal powers, for the higher beings fear another war will cause the end of your race."

Kalan's breathing slowed slightly, and he spoke in a quiet, hoarse tone. "Very well…by this time tomorrow, they will have been chosen."

With that, the angels slunk back to the shadows, fading quickly from sight.

The next morning, Kalan was greeted with the cool tickle of the breeze that crossed his room through the slightly-open window. Coughing, he called for his servant, Layle. The man, dressed in naught but a deep, oaken brown robe, approached Kalan's bedside, gaze averted to the floor.

"Layle," he began, "I need you to bring me the following four people, quickly…"

Layle looked somewhat confused but, of course, he complied.

Across from the tomb the four stood, totally ignorant to their ordained futures. The priest, trailing robes sweeping majestically against the floor, spoke the archaic tongue as the coffin was lowered. However, as the blankets were laid over it, the priest switched to a more familiar tongue.

"With the passing of our great protector, Kalan, we are pleased to appoint his four heirs."

Following his statement, their introduction, the four stepped forwards and bowed low before the priest.

The crowd amassed beneath the alter on which Kalan's coffin stood looked on in sheer bewilderment.

"Heirs?" They spoke in confusion, "Kalan had no children…"

A low chuckle, born from the priest's throat, resounded across the Ivory Plateau.

"No, you're right, he didn't. These four have been chosen and, unbeknownst to them, they will be granted the powers of old." The words slipped from his tongue, as if their meaning were of a trivial matter.

The crowd went silent, and all colour faded from the four's cheeks. No one spoke for what must have been a minute, until Lalye, Kalan's hand servant stepped forward.

"Last full moon," he began, his voice wavering ever-so slightly, "Our beloved leader, protector…our father, was visited by a trio of angelic spirits." He paused, dropping his hands to the hem of his robe, where he fiddled idly, plucking loose threads from the stitching. "They spoke of heirs…that would, ultimately, save our kingdom. War is predicted, one far worse than the First, which Kalan himself fought in." He stepped to the side, waving a hand over the four. "It in these people's hands that our fate lies, and it is in their hands that we must place the power…for they will prevent our demise."

Layle's expression of resolution and belief caused each of the four to shift about their immediate vicinity, and nervous glances were shot from one to another.

"Lalye," spoke the first, "No one's been given those powers since..." she was cut short by a dismissive wave of Lalye's hand.

"Perhaps, Paiva, but you have been chosen, and so it will be."

The woman looked back to the floor, crimson tinting the once-pale skin of her cheeks.

Brow aloft, the priest stepped forward again, stifling a small smirk. "Now go, all of you. Prepare for tonight, my friends…the ceremony begins."

Three, or perhaps four, hours later, each and every townsman was clad in a rich, blood-like crimson material, covering every fleck of flesh. The hard-faced priest that had spoken earlier was standing a few feet in front of the four. Their expressions were one of intense apprehension, and each donned a full-length robe. The first, a woman in her late teens, curled her hands into the folds of a deep emerald, and trained her gaze on the floor afore her. Beside her stood a man, perhaps a little older, although it was hard to tell, for his face was hidden in the shadow of the cerulean hood that masked his face. To his left was another woman, archaic in comparison to the previous chosen, draped in the purest of ivories, withered arms clawing idly at her sleeve. Lastly, and on the end, was a man, stony-faced and intense of expression, who fixed his sight on the priest, lip curled ever-so slightly. Taller than the rest, this one was shrouded in a deep blood-red, and he stood in a very defensive stance, keeping his distance from the others.

The plateau on which they stood shone brightly, the sunlight reflecting off the ivory floor and dazzling anyone who looked at it. The disjointed slabs that paved the surface almost shimmered in the evening sun, and the priest had to squint slightly as he looked on to the amassed crowd.

Complying with his command, the crowd silenced, looking on in a curious anticipation. Balanced precariously atop the slightly-elevated oaken platform that he stood on, the priest clasped his hands together, clenching his teeth. All was silent for what seemed like eternity, until, from the sky, erupted four huge angelic beings, glossy, luminescent wings protruding from their upper backs.

Every man, woman, and child stopped dead, observing the beings in pure awe.

Each creature descended majestically, silent as they hit the opalescent floor. The four were, once again, wide-eyed, as they looked on in what seemed to be either intense anticipation, or intense dread. As the first fell to the floor, dust barely wisped about its feet as it bounded towards the woman clad in green. Closer and closer it approached, head bowed low. As it reached the woman, its arms snapped open and it dived straight through her chest. She did a double-take, stumbling backwards slightly. With a choke, she fell unwillingly to her knees. Spluttering wildly, her blood tainted the pure white of the plateau as it flew from her lips. Her eyes rolled to the back of her head, and she screamed in sheer torment as the creature buried itself further into her. Another minute passed, and nothing changed, and then another. Finally, after about ten, long, minutes, she stopped wailing and her head lolled to the side. From every inch of her skin a faint, glowing aura erupted, and she got to her feet. Unnaturally bright jade eyes locked onto the other begins, and she bobbed her head slightly. Without further hesitation, the other beings followed suit, diving through the Chosen's bodies and taking them on as hosts.

Events after the immortalisation of the four were dire in consequence. Absolute power corrupts, and host and spirit fought over every aspect of the Chosen's lives. Eventually, the hosts won, for the spirits' power of will weakened after being stuck on the mortal plain for such a long time. Corrupted, and riddled with power, the four destroyed peace, rendering all Kalan's efforts futile. Wreaking havoc, they slaughtered innocent people, took their belongings, and left their villages to burn.

What was meant to protect the kingdom became its destroyer.

Eventually, after thousands upon thousands of years, the immortals power waned, having passed it through each of their bloodlines. By now, each had a family. Their power was shared amongst their children, and amongst their children's children. Finally, the last of the immortals were withered. Not dead, as such, for an immortal can never die, but virtually powerless, they were taken to the Further Realms, where they suffer eternally for their actions.