The market below the main castle of Aera was quieter than usual upon this day, most of the traders and hunters busy with collecting their wares. A young boy, under the supervision of his father, was carefully walking about the market, taking in every detail of the castle from afar. He paused at the main stairway, looking at the sides to notice for the first time the intricate carvings of hundreds of men holding up the stairs, each wearing a distinct mark upon their brow.
"Father, what is this?" the boy calls. The father comes over and smiles, patting his son on the head.
"Those are the Swords of Aera, young child. They saved our people..."
For decades, a highly dangerous and very criminal organization known as the Black Blades had been terrorizing the lands. The Black Blades were known for brutal day time raids and attacks, but were never one to take over lands. However, the organization had developed a lust for power, a thirst for land. The first kingdom they were to strike would be Aera. Being a secretive organization, the Black Blades had their men positioned within each of the cities in a matter of days. They struck without mercy.
Word reached the king of that time, King Kaiber Ardlow, that the Black Blades were assaulting the cities. The capital of Divu was safe, but each of the outer cities, Stel and and Pulvi being the most notable losses, were pillaged and destroyed. King Ardlow called to Sparr for aid, but his cries were met with silence. Knowing Divu to be the last bastion for his people, he called any and all men left within the city to prepare for battle. There were two hundred and thirty seven in all.
Within two days, the Black Blades had made their way through Aera, travelling through the mountainous terrain mostly at night to hide themselves. On the eve of the second day, the Black Blades were mostly assembled, waiting for the moment to strike.
The men of Aera were severely underprepared, wearing everything from peasent garbs to guard armor, each brandishing their own form of sword. King Ardlow stood with his people, wearing his battle dress and squeezing the hilt of his priceless sword. As he saw the approaching torches of the Black Blades, he called to all of his men in a furious roar.
"On this evening, there are no greaters or lesser! We are brothers in arms, and we will protect this fair land our fathers had! I knight each of thee! You will be my most honored soldiers! The Swords of Aera! Now, forward!"
The night was filled with shouts and clangs of metal on metal, but in the end, Aera still stood, the king still standing upon the steps of his castle. Of the two hundred men, forty nine remained to stand with their king. The men shouted for the victory, and although no others heard it, King Ardlow believed he heard the voice of Path shouting with them.
"...That is a magnificent tale! How amazing!" the boy could hardly contain his enthusiasm, bounding back up and down the steps of the castle. His father smirked, his gaze falling upon his son.
"My great grandfather was one of those men. He was killed by a strike that would have killed the king himself. They named Herys ridge after him, as it was where he made the sacrifice to our king."
The boy was pure energy at this point, launching himself towards the not too distant ridge, shouting to his father about his ancestor as he slowly caught up. The Swords of Aera, carved into the stairway of the castle, kept their stone gaze forward, just as they had on that fateful night, nearly a century and a half ago.