Toric Antevian, newly chosen to serve in the Radiant Legion, marched with his company on the rough road that led to Grudgel Downs.
In the east the sky was a gunmetal gray that bled into the dark, purplish bruise of the horizon. Night was falling. The ground beneath them was covered in the damp, rotting leaves of late autumn, and the air was sickly sweet with the smell of decay.
The Legion had been on the march for weeks, rooting out heresy in the Westun. A Vigilant priest had recently reported suspicions that the True Sons of Cassus, a heretical cult that had risen during the dark reign of Vorios the False, was practicing their unholy rituals in the lowborn village of Grudgel Downs.
At the front of the company, the Lamp of Korol was held aloft by the company's lampbearer. Toric's armor, polished in the hours before morning vigil, reflected its light. As the shadows closed in around them, Toric whispered the Prayer of the Legion, reciting the six Vigilant Virtues by name. Grudgel Downs appeared from out of the gloom.
The village was blanketed in silence. Squat mud-brick buildings were slung low and mean around a main square, where a massive bonfire burned with an intense heat that could be felt a hundred yards away. And just before the smell of cooking meat reached his nostrils, Toric saw the twisted figure strapped to a pole above the raging fire, wearing the charred vestments of a Vigilant priest.
Moments later, men burst in force from the dark buildings, wielding crooked blades, knives and cudgels. Dozens more appeared from the surrounding woods. Dressed in the black, hooded garb of the True Sons of Cassus, their eyes reflected a murderous rage as they closed the distance to the hopelessly outnumbered Radiant Legionnaires.
The company's captain died in the first moments of battle run through by a hooked spear. The Lamp of Korol fell to the ground, throwing the soldiers into shadow, and the screams of dying men echoed through the woods. Although the legionnaires were some of the finest soldiers in all of the Dominion, the enemy's numbers appeared too great to overcome.
And then, when it seemed all hope was lost a light flared out like a star in the darkness. Toric Antevian, eyes burning with an unshakable faith, held aloft the Lamp of Korol as his blade cut down foe after screaming foe. Calling out for the strength of Azrion and the courage of Tristan, his face aglow with a terrible resolve, Toric felled the blasphemers who had dared profane his Vigilant faith. "For the Scions!" he shouted, his sword cutting through flesh and bone, leaving behind a grisly wake of the slaughtered.
The sight of the young warrior inspired his embattled brethren. Fighting to Toric's side, the remaining men formed ranks and attacked. When the battle was over, heretic blood stained their blades and soaked the ground beneath them. And it was on Grudgel Downs that night they say, that the Vigilant Star was born.