Starfall Year 831, 18th of December.
According to local traditions, November was known as the month of Frost-Fall, December was known as the month of Snow-Drift and January was known as the month of Ice-Grip. The three months were called White Winter.
At that time of the year, it snowed the heaviest throughout the world; even the south of the Empire would also have snowflakes as big as feathers. Not to mention, the ever-snowing north of the Empire.
However, the snow that fell on Moldova Fortress was heavier than usual.
The gloomy dark clouds were gathering and stretched as far as the sky on top of the grayish city. The ash had been frozen to snow and as they fell they were not small flakes but like big clouds falling from the sky.
The allocated snowfall like a waterfall came down from the sky and was quickly piling up the ground and the snow-driving wind blew through all the alleys of Moldova Fortress.
In that weather, even the strong Steel-tier soldiers were unable to move normally; regular civilians would have an even rougher time. There were only a handful of people who could still manage to move; they were Joshua's knights and the Silver-Tier patrols stationed at the fortress.
"If the Dark Tide happens at this time and the daemon attacks the fortress, I don't think we can hold it off."
One of the Silver-tier patrols brushed off the frost from his hood and said, "We have to fight in this cursed weather with our vision blurred while we barely see anything in a five-meter range. How are we supposed to fight like this?"
"If you feel uneasy, so would the daemons."
"We are made of flesh and blood, don't think that they are any different from us... Curse this weather, the snowflakes got in my mouth again, pfft," murmured another Silver-tier patrol.
These complaints can be heard from every corner of the city, cursing this ill weather. As northerners, they had faced many unexpected snowfall but they had never faced a blizzard before. Despite facing this harsh weather, they patiently waited for the storm to pass.
"The snow will pass soon, let's wait patiently."
Somewhere in the heart of the fortress, in one of the many houses, an ordinary middle-aged man threw in some firewood to make the fire bigger. "Eight years ago the snow was heavier than today's snow and it stopped after half a day. Do not worry it will stop soon enough," said the man to comfort his anxious wife.
As the man said, everyone thought that this type of blizzard would not last long.
However, what they thought was far more different than what it was to come.
Starfall Year 831, 20th of December.
The blizzard had no signs of ceasing as it continued getting heavier as each day went by.
The streets in the fortress have were filled with snow up to knee-length and as it continued to snow, it was pointless to clear it off. In some of the narrow lanes, piles of snow had reached the same height with the roof. It was pointless to ask the mages to use magic and transfer the snow pile elsewhere. It was unwise to discard the snow outside of the fortress wall as it would serve as a foothold for the daemons.
Starfall Year 831, 21th of December, dawn.
The ferocious blizzard showed signs of slowing down but was still heavy. On the scale of 1 to 10 of the rate of snowfall, regular days was level 1. It was 10 for the past few days but was now 8.
Countess Vale Dani in her mage robe was pacing up and down in her study room and would walk to the windows feeling anxious.
She was a Gold-tier mage who had the foresight that allowed her to see as far as ten meters in the snow. Not to mention common folk who could only look two meters in the snow, they could be considered blind compared to the mage.
"Dani, don't be so anxious, you have recovered your spirit and are even stronger than before. Moreover, the merchant group from the capital has arrived at the fortress yesterday. Although the ammunition replenished is far from enough but it is sufficient to defend the fortress for a few rounds."
"In this weather, even the wyrms are unable to fly off, not to mention the giant bats. Even if the Daemons attack in this weather, they will only be slaughtered by you, me, and Joshua; the perfect Gold-tier trio. It is not even a problem if a Gold-tier daemon appears," said Brandon as he sat on the stiff armchair, looking through some of the pages from a goatskin book, with his usual appearance of leather mail, dual blades on the waist and his extraordinary confidence.
"Brandon, you know this is not what I fear."
She shook her head hard worriedly as she sighed and said, "When the supply reached here yesterday, it should have been a joyous moment but there was no sign of happiness. At that moment, I felt that something was not right and now it seems my hunch is correct."
"What do you mean by something is not right?"
Brandon closed the book and frowned putting it on the table. He stood up and went the mage's side. "If there were something wrong, why you didn't tell me sooner?"
"You all have low magic sensing capability."
Vale Dani squinted her eyes as she pointed at the golden-haired swordsman and the empty space and sighed while saying, "The reason that I did not tell you is I'm afraid that I may be overthinking. There is disruptive magic in the air in this snow. At first, it wasn't obvious but as the snow got heavier, the amount of disruptive magic rose and it started to affect people's mind and spirit."
"Now that I think of it, it seems that the uneasy feeling has come true. I have been affected unconsciously."
This was the effect of Chaos power.
Brandon immediately understood the nature of the strange Chaos power. There is without a doubt, the snow had brought in disruptive Chaos power which caused the people to feel anxious.
I am still unable to fully grasp the power of the Sacred Guardian's Dual Blades of Order. I am still weak as the only person I can protect is myself.
The image of Joshua's power of Order wrapped around him which cast a ten-meter radius giant halo that can ward off the effect of Chaos power.
The swordsman sighed as he thought of the grand image and he wrap himself around the mage and used his inner aura to clear off the effect. The mage instantly felt that something was lifted off from her and she felt refreshed and her thoughts became sharper.
"I never thought that you have some skills, anyway thanks for your help. Hmm, the Dragon Caravan can still continue to send supplies for now. However, seeing the scale of this weather, we might be buried alive soon if we don't do something."
Feeling much refreshed, the countess recalled about the shadow that looked like a giant butterfly. She gazed out the window as she said, "This indirect manipulation of the weather is without a doubt caused by that giant butterfly. That Gold-tier daemon had finally made a move; I thought it had been eaten by the Dragon Spider since we have lost track of him a while ago."
The countess turned around and looked at Brandon as she said in a stern voice, "There is not enough time to make the snow stop and we must not let the people continue being affected. We must hurry and find Joshua, we must stop the spread of the Chaos power from continuing to affect warriors in the fortress losing their will to fight."
"What you say is correct. We must make haste and attend to this matter."
Brandon nodded and agreed with Vale Dani, he recalled where he last saw Joshua.
"Joshua must be still at the castle wall, he doesn't go to other places besides there."
After they set the location, the Gold-Tier warriors teleported to the castle wall instantly. They used Spirit Sense and arrived at where the warrior was.
Suddenly, a shocked voice said,
"Joshua, what are you doing?!"
"Hmm? Brandon, Vale Dani, what you doing here?"
Standing at the edge of the castle wall with full armor, carrying a shield on his back. The warriors standing behind Ying were surprised as they heard a sudden voice and looked back. Joshua was not surprised at all when he saw the puzzled faces of Vale Dani and Brandon. He added calmly, "There is something wrong with this snow, and I'm just getting ready to go to the Dark Forest to scout."
But who would go scouting bringing a full set armor, spear, axes, shield, and broadsword?!
Brandon's observation skills were good and could be considered is the best of the best. In a single glance, he could see that the waist of the warrior had miniature weapons. There were two steel spears, four axes, and a greatsword. Unable to hold it in anymore, he said, "Looks like you have equipped yourself for war, even an army of foot soldiers would not pack that big of a firepower like you do. Joshua. Listen. You couldn't have felt..."
Brandon suddenly remembered that Vale Dani was there, he stopped and saw the warriors nodding at him to answer his questions. He avoided the previous questions and said, "Are you thinking of going to the Dark Forest alone to search for the source?"
"It is as you said, I am going to investigate the source of this blizzard. Not to worry, I will scout a little and be back in no time."
After he finished what he said, he shrugged and the visor closed. His expression behind the helmet could not be seen, so Brandon was unsure if he was telling the truth.
If the source is found, we would get rid of it . This thought was not expressed by the soldiers.
"At the very least you should have consulted us first."
Exhaustion was clearly seen on Vale Dani's face as she spoke to the soldiers, "You are the fortress' main force. If anything happens to you all, it will not only affect Moldova"
Suddenly there is a low but loud sound coming from a distance as the vibration could be felt in the air. Heaven and earth lost its light and the clouds blocked off the sun. The bright rays were consumed and the world was being engulfed in pitch black darkness.
Joshua, Brandon, and Vale Dani were astonished by the sudden event. All of them look at the sky at the same time.
At a distant place on top of the center of the Dark Forest, the thick gloomy clouds were being forcefully torn apart and it was not the sunlight which shone through. It is a giant dark curtain where a great surge of magic could be seen with the naked eye. Strange magic runes could be seen folding and appearing; it was a spectacular sight but made one feel uneasy. Countless twisted strange pictures appeared in the sky, disappearing and reappearing in a loop.
Giant patterns as big as a beast's head appeared in the sky. The spectacular scene could not be erased even with the most ferocious blizzard.
Joshua's eyes looked like molten steel; his eyes filled with burning red flames as he looked out to the distant darkness.
An inconceivable sound echoed through the sky and mountains; the vibrations causing a small avalanche. At that moment, a black pillar of light shot straight from the ground into the sky, splitting heaven and earth in half!
Joshua and Brandon looked at each other; their eyes filled with shock.
"The dimensional rift is finally open?!"