A novel by Peter Thomson
This book goes to my amazing dad, for turning me into the bookworm I am today.
Prologue: Grandfather’s Tale
The last rays of the autumn sun slanted golden across vast plains, The swaying grass that stretched for as far as the eye could see. A single hawk soared on the
thermal updrafts, keen eyes scanning the ground for the telltale twitch of a whisker or flick of a tail. It gave a long, shrill cry and flew off to the West where the jut of mountains pierced the
horizon. The occasional tree, scrawny and unhealthy looking, could be spied standing bent against the continuous wind, lonely sentinels on the Endless Plains.A thin column of smoke rose out of the
ocean of grass, revealing the campsite whose inhabitants were busy tending to the small fire that had a few tents and wagons huddled around it.
The camp belonged to a ragged band of Faldorie. Moving across the Endless Plains,they werein search of haven within the heartland of Goldoa. The Jornúk had nearly
broken the Veil, the massive wall erected by the Goldoans after the First Invasion. Around the fire were huddled two figures. One, an old man with a flowing white beard and gnarled hands, staring
thoughtfully into the flames. Across from him, a small boy was leaning forward eagerly, with an expectant look in his eyes. He had wavy blond hair and very sharp features giving him aproud, regal
look.He hadsteely gray eyes that shone with the innocence of youth. He edged a little closer to the old man and whispered:
“Grandpa Fallo, can you tell me a story?” the old man looked up out of his reverie. Like his grandson, he had gray eyes that spoke of kindness, but with a glint that
only comes with great experience and wisdom.
“Certainly, which one would you like to hear?” he asked good-naturedly.
“The one about the Five Divines and how they created the world,” the boy said looking excited. Fallo’s brow furrowed with a frown.
“Your parents do not want you to be told that story. But…” he said as he saw the boy’s look of disappointment “I disagree. It is important that this generation not
repeat the mistakes of the past. But I am ahead of myself. Yes, I will tell you the story of the beginning, how the Five made us just as they made the world.” The boy’s eyes shone with excitement,
and he leaned forward eagerly to hear the story better. The old man cleared his throat and began his narrative…
“In the beginning, there was only the Void, a twisting mass of primordial energy that could not settle on a corporeal form without destroying itself. Then, out of the
Void, rose the Five. With their great power they shaped the Void into our world. The Five were able to lay to rest the powers of the Void that threatened to tear the infant world apart. Theylocked
that power deep within the bowels of the Earth. Having finished, the Five took the world and changed it. They created lakes, oceans, and rivers. They made the snow-capped mountains and the grassy
plains. They made the forests lush with life and the deserts barren. Then from the belly of the world, crept the animals. Big ones, small ones, fierce ones, and tame ones. The Five filled the water
and inhabited the land. As their final act of creation, the Five each created their own race of man. The First created the Faldorie. Yes, the same Faldorie that we are today.” the man said
answering the boy’s unspoken question, “The Faldorie, like their God, were remarkable at controlling the forces of magic. They produced some of the best mages Thoringarde has ever seen. Indeed,
they were the only race able to practice Archonamancy. Other races tried, and failed with disastrous results. The Second created the Arnúk, the mountain crafters. Great stoneworkers and inventors,
their halls are truly marvelous to behold.”
“Have you ever been to one of their palaces Grandpa?” the boy interjected.
“Yes,” Fallo mused, “Yes, a very long time ago… just before the- but that is a story for another time, back to our tale. The Third created the Gazshiri who settled the
frozen tundra’s of the north. They are fierce to the point of barbarism, but are great warriors and excellent friends. The Fourth created the Goldoans, fair and just, in the heartland of
Thoringarde. The Fifth created the Jornúk in the harsh deserts of the South, jealous of the other races; they practiced the foulest, most profane kinds of magic in secret, always pretending to be
working towards the same, more benevolent goals of the others.
After the creation of the races, the gods made the floating castle of Sanctum where they taught a select few about the ancient clerical arts. They selected the ten
most capable men and women from each race to study the power of the Gods. All was fine, until the Jornúk put a terrible plan into motion. Attempting to mix the pure clerical arts with the profane
magics of necromancy, they sought to open the prison that housed the primordial forces of the Void. But they had badly miscalculated. A massive hole was torn deep within the heartland of Jornúk,
not a portal to the prison of the primordials, but a gateway to a malignant, nightmarish realm from which spilled a wide variety of monstrosities. First, they consumed the Jornúk, and then they
fell on Faldor. Totally unprepared for an invasion of such ferocity, the meager resistance the Faldorie were able to gather were quickly overrun. The fiends marched on the Capitol and razed it to
the ground. Luckily the Archons were strong enough to hold out long enough for the majority of populous to escape.
The armies of Goldoar, Arnúk, and Gazshiri led by the clerics of the Sanctum marched with all haste in an attempt to stop the demonic army from destroying the Archon
College on the outskirts of the Capitol. They were moments too late. With the last of the Archons dead, the Archon College destroyed, and a good portion of the Sanctum’s clerics along with it,
there was no way to destroy the hellish army that the Jornúk called forth. Defeat it yes, and we did. We crippled it and banished it deep into its twisted realm, but without the Archon’s power,
there was no way to destroy it. We knew that even though we had routed the enemy, they would be back. That is why it was known throughout Thoringarde as the First Invasion. We knew there was going
to be another.”
“But what happened to the Jornúk? did the monsters destroy them all?” inquired the boy.
“No,” Fallo replied, sounding weary, “It would have been better if they had.”
“What do you mean?” the boy asked.
“The Jornúk became…twisted. Similar yet…different, horribly different. They could move about Thoringarde looking and acting like any other man, but they had terrible
powers granted by their demonic masters. They say some escaped the Sanctum’s purge and remain within Thoringarde, waiting for their master’s bidding.” he looked over his shoulder and saw the
foragers returning to the camp. As he made to rise, the boy grabbed his sleeve and asked,
“Grandpa Fallo, why didn’t Mother and Father want me to hear that story?” Fallo looked down at his grandson,
“Someday, Roth you may be old enough to understand. Someday”
Thanks to: UnderxYourxSpell for an extreamly helpful and insightful comment.
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