The Emerald Sword Saga
The Emerald Sword Saga is a high fantasy story spread over 5 albums by the Italian symphonic power metal band Rhapsody of Fire, written by Luca Turilli. It includes many of the common themes of the genre, including a clearly defined good-versus-evil plot and the inclusion of various fantasy monsters. The hero of the story is the Ice Warrior, who sets out on a quest to find the legendary Emerald Sword, with which he can defeat the Dark Lord Akron. Each new chapter of the story is described in the booklet accompanying that CD. The narrator is the ancient wizard Aresius, who "has seen it all".
The story is told in five CDs: Legendary Tales, Symphony of Enchanted Lands, Dawn of Victory, Rain of a Thousand Flames and Power of the Dragonflame. The saga ends with Power of the Dragonflame, however The Dark Secret Saga is a direct sequel to the Emerald Sword Saga, following one of its main characters, Dargor.
Legendary Tales is the beginning of the story, in which the listeners are introduced to the Ice Warrior and his quest. The Warrior begins his search for the Emerald Sword, traveling to the city of Ancelot. He finds the city in ruins, with countless victims. Princess Airin had been captured by the forces of Akron, the Black King, along with several of the bravest knights. They have been brought to the city of Hargor, but the Warrior does not know this. He thinks he has found the body of Airin and is devastated about her death. After a while he sets off again and meets the army of prince Arwald. They join forces and set off for the town of Elnor, where they will begin their search for the three Keys of Wisdom that will unlock the way to the Emerald Sword. The Ice Warrior, thirsty for revenge, is unable to rest when they arrive in Elnor, and awaits what will come.
Symphony of Enchanted Lands
The main theme in Symphony of Enchanted Lands is the search for the three Keys of Wisdom. As prophesied in Legendary Tales, the Ice Warrior must overcome his deepest fears in the "Mirror of Shadows" to obtain the first key. Then he has to get past Tharos, the ever-watchful dragon, keeper of the second key, who is under a spell. The dragon is defeated after a long fight, but the Warrior does not take the opportunity to destroy him, thus releasing Tharos from the spell. The Warrior and Tharos then become allies. Tharos takes the Warrior on his back, and they fly to a distant valley where the altar of Ikaren is. There, in a mystic cave, he finds the third key. Near that altar is a hidden passage leading to a great hall, where the ancient wizard Aresius awaits the arrival of the Chosen One. Aresius watches over the Ivory Gates, the passage to a wonderful land.
The Ice Warrior and Tharos go through the gates and they make their way past a beautiful valley and a desert, to end up in a deserted place. Suddenly, ghosts and undead come from all sides, rapidly closing in on the Warrior. But Tharos repays his debt and rescues the Warrior, and together they fly away from this hell. It is a wonderful flight, until the sky turns dark and everything gets cold. Tharos tells the Warrior that this is the Dark Fortress of the Abyss, rumored to be the place where the Emerald Sword is hidden. When they fly over the fortress, winged demons appear. Tharos leaves the Warrior on the highest tower while he fights the demons. The Warrior opens a trapdoor and enters a great hall, to find the Emerald Sword, which he takes from its place. The guardian of the sword appears and nearly kills him, but Tharos appears and throws himself on the guardian, giving the Warrior enough time to recover and mortally wounding the monster. They quickly make their way out and fly back to a more pleasant world. Once they go back through the Ivory Gates, the Warrior notices that Tharos is mortally wounded. Tharos dies soon after, and the Ice Warrior angrily swears to kill the Dark Lord Akron with his own hands.
Dawn of Victory
Dawn of Victory is the turning point of the saga. The Emerald Sword is in the hands of the Ice Warrior, who uses it to free Ancelot from the siege laid by Dargor, a new official of Akron. Dargor retreats from Ancelot and goes back to Hargor. The Warrior hears from Arwald that Airin and the other prisoners are still alive. While they are planning a rescue, they get a message from Akron stating that they must give him the Emerald Sword, or else he will kill the prisoners one by one. The Ice Warrior and Arwald have no choice but to meet Akron in Hargor. Akron, however, was lying, and when the Warrior and Arwald arrive in Hargor, the knights have already been executed. Akron's forces capture the Warrior and Arwald.
Airin has not yet been killed, and is now brutally raped by the demons in front of Akron, Arwald and the Ice Warrior, while Dargor tries unsuccessfully to convince Akron that this is not a proper way to act. Airin is lowered into a pit of acid, and dies. Arwald suffers the same fate after being horribly tortured. Dargor cannot bear to watch and leaves, but Arwald, in his last rational moment, throws some acid in the direction of the Ice Warrior, and his chains melt. The Warrior escapes by throwing himself into the underground river Aigor, which carries him to safety. The demons cannot find him, and he returns to the holy city of Algalord to report on the tragedy.
Rain of a Thousand Flames
In Rain of a Thousand Flames, destruction by the forces of Akron is the main theme. All the songs, which are performed in a very harsh, technical and epic (sometimes even non-melodic) way, describe the acts of demons. Akron now possesses the Emerald Sword. A rain of fire pours down on the army of the Ice Warrior, the Queen of the Dark Horizons is resurrected, and blood rites are performed, announcing the arrival of thousands of demons. The towns of Elnor and Thorald are destroyed, and King Eric of Elnor is killed in the fight. This album focuses primarily on the evil of Akron, and the Ice Warrior plays no part in it, so it is considered a stop-gap in the story, even if all the songs played are very complex.
Power of the Dragonflame
Power of the Dragonflame is the conclusion to the saga. The Ice Warrior has retreated to the town of Elgard, where Aresius heals his troubled mind. Despite all the losses, the Warrior is welcomed as a hero, and he travels once again to the holy city of Algalord to meet with the surviving Kings. Together, they organize a huge army to stop the forces of Akron and the Queen of the Dark Horizons. Akron, now more powerful than before thanks to the Emerald Sword, and even more powerful because he can drain power from the destruction his forces inflicted, is undefeatable. The Ice Warrior's army is completely surrounded, and they realize all is lost. Dargor, the Shadowlord, challenges the Ice Warrior to a final duel, and the Warrior defeats Dargor. Dargor does not die, though, but falls from a rock and gets trapped. The Warrior sees Dargor's predicament and helps him up. Dargor does not understand this act of mercy, and because he believes the Warrior to be evil (Akron having told him that the Warrior had murdered his family), he strikes him down with his sword. The Warrior didn't expect this from Dargor and, unable to talk to him, falls down bleeding heavily. Akron is now ready to declare total victory, and he occupies Algalord, reducing it to rubble. The Ice Warrior is tortured once again, and this time Dargor does watch. Finally he understands that what Akron had told him was untrue, and he turns against the Dark Lord. He strikes down and kills the Queen of the Dark Horizons, invokes the power of the Gargoyles, mythical stone creatures, and plans to kill Akron as well. Akron, however, gives a signal to a demon, who throws his weapon at Dargor, injuring his shoulder. Akron tells Dargor that he had long been expecting this betrayal. But Gaia, Dargor's mother and goddess of the Earth, gives Dargor one final burst of strength, and he knocks Akron down on to the platform where the Ice Warrior is lying, ready to be lowered into the marshes of Acheros to be devoured by the watersnakes. The Warrior shouts to Dargor to lower the platform, and he does so. Akron and the Warrior fall into the water and the Warrior plunges the Emerald Sword into the Dark Lord's chest, pinning him to the platform, where he is devoured by the watersnakes. With a battle cry in final homage to the Warrior, Dargor personally leads the forces of Algalord to victory, with help from the Gargoyles he has summoned. They defeat the demons, and the Gargoyles throw all of them back through the gates of Hell, remaining there to guard them. Algalord is rebuilt, and the Gargoyle becomes the new symbol of the city. Dargor disappears until the next saga.
- The history behind the creation of the Emerald Sword, the prequel to the Emerald Sword Saga
- The Dark Secret Saga, the sequel to the Emerald Sword Saga