(Part of last year's prologue is relevant to this prologue's interests…)
Part 1 of 3:
Telligrims massive form stalked about the landscape, his massive claws scraping wide ditches in the ground as he moved. Never before had the dragon been so agitated and restless. Almost half a year had passed since word had gotten to him that his beloved Arriana still breathed life on this mortal plane, and as of yet he had no success at locating her. Was it some kind of cruel punishment that she was lost to him before he shed the bondages of his undeath? Now that he could finally feel her touch upon his living scales, she is sworn to be alive once again yet somehow is so well hidden from him? How much torment must the dark dragon suffer? What greater being was punishing him for his long list of sins?
A mortal man named Klarington Everest supposedly had her locked away. Trapped, perhaps tricked, and most certainly hidden. How this mortal mage somehow eluded the might of a dragon was curious, though the dragons spies tell stories of the mages mastery over time and space. How dangerous is this man, that a dragon had been flying all over the world chasing shadows to find her? Such men pose a threat to the world and need to be stopped. A dragon is a proud creature, and this dragon’s patience was running out.
Desperation had sunken into the beast, and a plan was hatched to harness the power of the dark fey Corsair. Surely this human could not contend with both a dragon and fey. The key to controlling Corsairs power has been tracked carefully. Travance is where its movements have led, and this dragon will tear its landscape asunder to find it!
The dragon stood tall and flapped its black scaled wings. In the distance four obsidian pillars hummed and glowed dimly, increasing intensity with every step the dragon took towards it. Energy crackled around them and formed a dark portal. The Dragon turned from it and let out a roar that echoed across evernight. Many moments passed with the stillness of death. And then the dead moved, and shuffled and marched from the four corners of evernight. The dragons call would be answered and a dragons wrath would soon be known.
Part 2 of 3:
The Book of VIM
Once again they soared through the air, this time south and with even greater speed than before. The world went by so quickly it grew increasingly hard to appreciate, but appreciating the beauty of the world was the least of their worries at the moment. Up a snowy mountain peak they flew, until they saw a stone cottage that sat lonely upon a mountain cliff. Conner could see that it was completely unreachable by any means other than flight. They flew even faster than, and the ravens disappeared leaving behind only Hughe and Conner standing in front of the door. Hughe lifted his arm and was bout to knock loudly upon the door, but before his fist hit the wood, they were startled by the sound of a raspy, squawking voice from up above.
“Go away!” Looking up they saw an animated statue, some sort of stone guardian. It seemed half bird half man in shape, and was perched on the rooftop, directly over the door. It called down to them again. “Squaaa, Go away!”
“I am Hughe, head of the Circle of Ten, I have come to see Corsair. I…”
“SQUAA!” The guardian cut him off “You may not enter until you have played my game. If you answer wrong you may never enter, if you say nothing than you will be placed in grave danger. When you have your answer, yell it out for all to hear.”
This statue was a new addition to the cottage, and Hughe was extremely annoyed but knew better than to assault a fey’s home. The statue spoke again “I am darkest when I have the most gold, yet when I am rich I am as light as a feather. When children see me they dance, when grown men see me they draw their spears for the kill. When tears fall from me, I grow. What am I?”
Huge looked down to Conner, “Do not say anything aloud, understand?” Conner nodded. Huge was beside himself that he must do this thing, but he tried to stay focused on the riddle, in his mind silently deducting what the answer could be.
Conner seemed to be thinking as well. He sat down on the ground, and buried his face in his small palms. The both of them began to take notice of the bitter chill in the air, pricking at them like tiny daggers to distract them.
The stone guardian seemed almost to wear a smug expression on its beaked face, after many moments though, that expression went blank and the creature regarded the child, tilting its head back and forth, glaring at the boy. Conner stood quietly and walked over to Hughe tugging on his robe. Hughe was deep in thought and having incredible difficulty wrapping his mind around this riddle. Eventually Hughe opened his eyes and bent down placing his ear by Conner’s face. Conner cupped his hands over Hughes ear and whispered something. Finally after many moments, Hughe looked at the boy, nodded and stood.
“SQUAAA!” cried the guardian… but nothing else… it seemed to slowly dance back and forth on each clawed foot. Many more minutes passed by and the guardian eyed them with suspicion. They stood there simply staring as its apparent agitation increased with each passing moment. This continued on for a great deal of time, so much so that the guardian looked as if it might swoop down and attack them. Then suddenly, a great howling wind picked up... The stone guardian seemed to recoil itself in defeat, resuming its original position still and unanimated. An eerie sound could be heard howling on the wind, it was an airy voice, and it spoke out “proceeeeeeed into graaaaaave daaaaaanger”
There was a clicking noise followed by a long slow creak as the front door slowly opened, apparently on its own. Hughe regarded that the boy was both clever and observant for his age.
With Hughe in front, they proceeded cautiously towards the door and then into the cottage. The inside was small and cozy. There were two chairs facing the fireplace at the end of the room. Conner blinked, no, not two chairs, three, one of them small and just the right size for him; how convenient. Already sitting in a chair was a middle-aged man with short brown hair and brown eyes, presumably Corsair. His appearance seemed remarkably mundane for a being of such great power. “Have a seat by the fire” the man said, “Enjoy the hot cider as well, it is cold outside” He gestured to a small table in between the chairs, holding up three piping hot mugs, steaming like an extinguished flame. Conner had sworn that the table was not there a moment ago.
Hughe and Conner walked over and both took their seats. Conner reached over and grabbed up the mug of hot cider taking a tiny sip, it was perfect.
Hughe grabbed his mug as a courtesy, but did not indulge; instead he spoke, “Corsair, you appear different every time I see you.”
Corsair let a wry smile escape his lips, “I didn’t want to frighten the boy”
Hughe nodded understandingly, “Thank you for having us, as always your hospitality exceeds even your benevolent nature.” Corsair nodded, but then coughed. Covering his mouth, he wheezed a bit and than coughed some more this time a bit more violently. This was something that Hughe had never seen before, he was not aware that Fey could suffer from such mortal things as sickness. “Are you ill?”
Corsairs eyes looked up at Hughe and they were different. In fact, his whole demeanor had changed completely; he wore a scowl and instantly became curt with his guests. “I … Am … Fine” Each word was spoken deliberately. “My health is not of your concern. Why are you here?”
“I am here because the Circle of Ten requires your assistance...”
Corsair interrupted, all the while coughing and laughing in a condescending manner “Requires? Since when does your kind reserve the right to require anything from us? Such arrogant little ingrates you have become”
Hughe was confused and greatly taken back by his change in attitude, yet somehow he found his own courage to comment back in kind, “A war has started between good and evil. The forces of Miranda march against the forces of Fiona. The sisters of Argentia have waged a massive war with one another, and orders flock to their cause. I come to you as the High Hierophant of the Circle of Ten, High Warden of the Amber Halls that your people crafted. It has been reported that the Amber Halls is a likely target in this war. It could fall into the hands of evil if not for your help, and then your secrets will be lost forever.” Hughe was looking for an expression of any kind on the fey’s face, but it was as blank as stone. Hugh decided to change his own tone. “We humbly ask for your assistance and the assistance of your kind. Without your aid, many lives will be lost, and our world may plunge into darkness. Please.”
Corsair sat quite for many moments and the word that escaped his lips were not the word that Hughe had expected to hear. “No.” Hugh blinked. Conner had another sip of hot cider, and Corsair continued “We have helped your kind for long enough. We have showed you all we can, and it is coming very close to the time that we must leave this place. You must learn to deal with these matters on your own, or else you will never grow strong enough to defend the world that we have given you. If you loose than you will die, and that is fine with me. If our lore is lost, than so be it. We will not aid your kind in this battle, you will win on your own or be killed.” The next statement hit Huge like a cudgel in the face, “We have convinced the dragons to stay out of this war as well.”
Hughe sat mortified at what he had just heard. “Mirranda’s forces have the Morgazzi, or have you forgotten that they are named the dragon killers! Our forces stand little chance of survival against an enemy who’s troops are trained to kill the likes of dragons. How on earth could the dragons stand for this? Perhaps if Miranda had fey killers at her beck and call, this would be another matter and you…”
Corsair’s eyes flashed red and he silenced Hughe with a single word of power that somehow echoed in the small room. Corsairs very façade began to alter to one of a darker nature. The cottage itself trembled and Conner was now petrified with fright. “Times have changed, friend. Both fey and dragon leave this world soon and you will be left to your own devises. No better time to let the baby bird fly on its own than now. Go!”
Corsair fell into a fit of coughing again, this time a light spray of dark blood escaped his lips. Something was wrong, Hughe could tell, the Fey had never been this cold or heartless before in their dealings with mortals. Corsair was simply not the same being he once knew.
When his fit of coughing ended his face was altered a bit, parts of his true form showing through, the combination of the two was a hideous sight for one not prepared. He turned to stare Conner in the eyes and spat the question at him, “What’s wrong boy?” he demanded
Conner recoiled and tried hard to burry himself in his chair to escape, some of his hot cider splashed onto his lap, but he was too frightened to notice. Hughe spoke up, “He’s just a child Corsair, and you’re frightening him.”
Corsair’s face twisted oddly as if he was having his own personal struggle deep within. His face calmed, relaxed and reverted fully back to his human appearance; even displaying some small sign of pity. “I am sorry Conner, you are very brave even to be here, but you do not need worry. Hughe here is very strong and crafty and he will make sure no harm comes to you.” His stare drifted towards Hughe, “You have a very powerful guardian with you.”
Conner un stiffened a bit and hesitantly took another sip of his cider. “I know,” he said. Conner sat up in his chair and placed his mug back on the table. “I am sorry that you are sick. I truly hope you feel better sir.”
Corsair closed his eyes at the boys comment and whispered a solemn response, “So do I Conner. So do I.” Corsair got up from his chair, thoughtfully dabbing the blood from his chin with a handkerchief and addressed Hughe, “I am sorry, I really am, but you must do this on your own, it has already been decided. I know you don’t understand, and I know you are scared, but this is the way that it must be” He turned back to the boy “I must go now, but please, you two sit and finish your drinks before leaving. My home is yours until you leave. Help yourself to anything that interests you.” Corsair winked slyly at the boy and than he was gone.
Hughe and Conner sat for a moment until Hughe spoke up. “Well, we best be on our way then.”
“Wait!” Conner felt odd saying it to Hughe, but he wasn’t ready to go. Hughe took Corsairs words at them as a last kind gesture, but Conner had taken them as some sort of hint to look around. Conner’s eyes immediately started scanning the room. Surveying the objects he noticed that many of them were puzzles. Puzzles on the fireplace mantle, puzzles on the floor, there were also pages upon pages of riddles apparently ripped from books laying around. Conner was darting around the room examining things.
Hugh was almost at a loss for words, “What are you doing? This isn’t your home child!”
One in particular caught Conner’s attention. It was a clear box with many seams and letters engraved into the glass. In the middle of the box was an amulet of gold and ruby. Attached to the amulet was a little tag that read, take me. “Lets take this box” Said Conner.
“We are not looting a fey’s home!”
“This is our home until we leave, and I found something interesting” Conner held up the clear puzzle box showing the words -take me- to Hughe.
Hughe stood silent in thought for many moments and finally let out a deep sigh, “Fine, are we done stealing things?”
Conner nodded and smiled and grabbed onto Hugh tightly as the ravens came to take them away.
Prologue Part 3 of 3:
Fiona paced within the bedroom atop her lonely tower. She stopped to stare at herself in a mirror as she ran her finger across the contours of her face. She was close to ninety-two years old now, but did not appear a day over twenty. For reasons unknown even tot them, she and her sister Miranda never seemed to look their true age.
Fiona had supposedly won the war, but had she really? The forces of darkness still roamed the earth. They still committed atrocities. Theft, murder and worse still happened. It had been over fifteen years since the combined efforts of her alliances; the Fiona Argentis, captured Miranda and imprisoned her in the weave. It was supposed to have ended with her, the suffering, the darkness, the sadness, the dismay; but it hadn’t. Darkness had only retreated to the shadows.
She tried to remember her youth, when she and her sister where inseparable and the best of friends. One by one those memories were leaving her as if being plucked from her mind… but she could occasionally find them if she looked hard enough.
She thought back on the last time she fought by her sister’s side in the War of the Null. It was over fifty years ago, and for some reason she could barely remember what those creatures where or why they fought them. She only remembered that they came very close to losing the battle, but managed to imprison the Null deep in the bowels of the earth. Soon after, Miranda had changed and the once inseparable sisters had become complete opposites in everyway. The separation caused a war that devastated the landscape of Arawyn for over four decades. The prophets’ spoke that the sisters would change the world, and that they did.
Despite forming and running great alliances with the orders of light around the world, Fiona never could seem to personally form a bonding relationship with anyone. She missed only the sister she had in her youth. Fiona was a loving and caring person to all she encountered, but the loss that she felt could never be replaced. Her memories as of late would fall upon thought s of her. She knew that her sister slept, and now more than ever all Fiona wanted to do was sleep as well. It had become apparent that evil lived on without her sister, and so she believed truly that good would live on without her.
She walked to her bed and sat on its edge. With the flick of a wrist she weaved a few spells; creating a couple images of herself and sending them out of the room. They would last a few centuries perhaps and would fade completely with time, but they would fill a basic need. Heroes in the years to come could rally behind an icon of light and a symbol of hope. Another flick of her wrist locked the door to her chamber and before long she found her head resting comfortably on her pillow.
She would sleep now and quite possibly forever. After almost a century of fighting for the light she deserved to exit on her own terms; for despite her appearance, she could feel every day of it. In the realm of dreams she could return to her happiest years and relive them for as long as she liked.