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Rated: E · Essay · Mythology · #2162274
From an ancient oral history, it's origins lost to time. Perhaps not written for reason?
In the ancient times, it was said that the God King Xerxes was driven by demons who awakened the madness that drove him to conquer all that was known. But little is known of those demons, or from whence they came. The tale is one of sacrifice and honor, and little known to this day, save by those who have passed it on by word of mouth from that time to now.

The demons were beings rarely seen to walk the earth among men, because they were denizens of a place familiar, but not our own. It is said they moved between their world and ours through a rift bridging the worlds. Their influence on Xerxes ignited and fueled his desire to pillage all the lands he could reach, and subjugate all to his will. His successes are the stuff of history, as are his failures.

After Thermopylae, and after the sacking and destruction of Athens, it was thought that his armies would continue to conquer the known world. But Xerxes' fleets were defeated at the battle of Salamis, and for some reason Xerxes turned his focus back to Babylon, and did not return to his conquest of Greece. The story is one of the footnotes of history, but there is a legend that discusses this time and the actions taken to stop the God King.

During this time of mystics and those who delve in the occult world, there was one among their number who was notable. His name is passed down with a tale of what transpired during the battle of Salamis.

Filestron was a noted mystic and alchemist of Athens. He delved into the world of the unseen, and was thought to be both necromancer and sorcerer. He was often consulted by kings for his understanding of the spirit world, and was even thought to be an advisor to Leonidas of Sparta. It was his counsel that tipped the balance in the mind of Leonidas that took the Spartans to hold Xerxes at Thermopylae. While Leonidas and his force was defeated, the time they held Xerxes allowed others to prepare more fully to counter the threat of the Persian forces.

It is said in this oral history that Filestron had identified the source of the demons that plagued the mind of Xerxes, and that his intervention is the true reason for Xerxes' defeat and subsequent return to his own lands. Here, in part, is the tale...

The madness of the God King swept the land, crushing all asunder. His mind warped by the demons who drove him on, Xerxes' fever for conquest seemed limitless. Filestron the sorcerer sought to name the demons that controlled Persia, and thus turned his mind inwards to seek the source of their evil. With the aid of his apprentices, Filestron discovered the Gates of Madness, through which the demons flowed into the land of men, spreading their lust for blood and conquest into the minds and souls of men. He sought to tell Leonidas of this threat, but Leonidas was a man who knew that the world of spirits and demons was beyond his rule. Filestron was not deterred. He named Xerxes as the threat he was, and sought to find a way to close the Gates of Madness that allowed the demons to walk among us. Leonidas vowed to give him the time he needed, and moved on the Hot Gates to hold them at all cost.

Filestron cleansed his mind through ritual and the practice of magic now little understood. His aides anchored themselves in the temple, their minds locked with that of their master. Three held fast the base of his quest. Three used their minds and souls to shield Filestron from whatever forces lay in the land of the demons. Filestron, his mind clear, and open to all, sent his soul across the threshold separating the land of men and the land of demons. He witnessed the flow of the denizens of that profane place into our world. The gates were ever widening as he watched, threatening to unleash the horrors of these creatures into the minds of all mankind. He saw that there was but one path to save our civilizations: Someone had to close the gate against the hordes. He expanded his mind and bent his will to narrow the gap. The demons took note of his presence, and attacked, but to little avail. They were forced to retreat and he drove them back through the gates with the power of his mind and his will. As the Gates closed, the demonic influence on Xerxes and his generals diminished, and they lost the desire to pursue their conquest of Greece. Once closed however, there was little to be done to keep it closed. No lock or seal could last against their endless assault upon the gate, or their desire to enter the world of man. The gate was closed, but needed to be held. Filestron did not hesitate on the decision to be made.

When the apprentices awoke from their trance, they found their master in the slumber of a man near death. They bore his body to the altar of the temple, and stood vigil, awaiting his return. They aged and died, leaving their children to stand vigil over the sleeping mage.

Filestron had let slip his consciousness to remain at the gate, holding it closed to maintain the division between the realm of demons and the realm of men.

Thus stands Filestron, holding the Gates of Madness, protecting the world of Man.

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