The Dawn of Man and the Void

The Dawn of Man and the Void

A Chapter by Kuandio
"

The third part of a prologue done in three parts

"

           

            The younglings were entranced. If Creation had been made thus, then anything seemed possible. With the mention of Humans - creatures they knew little of - their curiosity was further lit.

            "After what I'm going to tell, you may be inclined to believe the dawn of man was one big mistake, or part of the most tragic tale ever told. You must understand the whole story. They were not made as the other Children. The truth is, for a long time, mankind's destiny was a mystery." The elder rested his hands on his knees, and set his focus back ages in time.

            "This part of history began with Cirzion - Sizion and Trinesella's only son. The Prince of Amor-Dome was the most beautiful of the immortals, and well loved by all peoples. In kind, Cirzion loved Creation and the Children, and expressed his sentiments through music and song. Often he would glide to the earth's surface to spend days, months, even years at a spell, roaming nature. He spoke with every creature, the biggest and smallest, and became one with all growing things. After meeting him, not even the trees ever forgot his innocence and gentleness. When Prince Cirzion sat to play his harp, rocks and plants crowded near to hear the melodies that flowed from the strings. Those who chanced to hear the notes waft by, fell under a trance, only to awaken days later, from the sweetest sleep."

            Several of the younglings smiled, imagining the enchantments. The elder returned their smile, briefly, before returning to the telling with sober resolve.

            "Prince Cirzion took joy in Creation's majesty, was powerful in Spirit, and he showed promise to one day be a great lord, as his father. Nevertheless, he had much to learn. He was eager to ascend to higher levels, to use his powers to do grander deeds than what was already established, seeking perfection in creating, for the benefit of the immortals and the Children. Lord Sizion counseled his son patience. Nevertheless, instead of paying his father heed, Cirzion strove to find a hidden means of attaining the power he envisioned.

            "The Prince spent much time among the Elementals, to learn to harness Spirit to his will as they. From them he received a wellspring of wisdom, and in time they divulged a secret. Perfection was impossible in this Realm. Why? - Cirzion wished to know. For there was one flaw marring Creation. What was this? - Cirzion asked. First they had Crizion promise he would not speak of it to the Children, then they told him. The imperfection was a wound in the heart of the earth, a shadow, deeper than memory." The elder frowned. "Cirzion was not satisfied. He wanted to know how this marring could be? Because their hearts were close to his, the Elementals revealed the truth." The elder spoke gravely, "It is the abyss where the First Children's broken dreams had fallen, with their sorrows, doubts, fears, and hatreds. It is the nothingness. It is the Void."

            The younglings eyed him, not fully understanding. Of course, how could anyone, no matter how old or wise, understand such things, let alone children? The elder pressed on;

            "This knowledge troubled the Prince deeply. Why had this wound not been remedied? This darkness could not be undone by the immortals, they answered him. That is why, long ago, the Elementals bound it beneath the earth, in an empty, lifeless place, and sealed the entrance with the indestructible gates known as the Black Portal. Cirzion wished to know where this entrance could be found, but the Elementals would not tell him, for it was forbidden to venture there, and would thus remain, until one day, they found the manner to heal the Void's impenetrable shadow, and thus bring perfect balance to Creation, as above, and below.

            "Pondering the Void, and wondering what secret powers it kept, Prince Cirzion considered confronting the mystery. The Elementals warned him against this, that he did not yet have the wisdom, or the power to vanquish the shadows there. Not until one could illuminate any gloom, should one attempt it, lest one lose their way." The elder nodded. "Prince Cirzion promised he would not seek out this forbidden domain. Although he kept his word of not speaking of it to anyone, wherever he went, the tenebrous revelation of this darkness gnawed at his peace of mind. Cirzion knew nothing of sorrow, death, or grim imaginings, but now he knew reality was not as he'd believed, that despite their best efforts to make a new paradise, the world was blighted by a power he could not comprehend. He also wondered, if taking on this challenge himself, was his opportunity to prove his virtue, by undoing the evil for the good of Creation? And perhaps, once he vanquished the shadow, he would attain the power he sought?

            "Therefore, despite the Elementals' concern, Cirzion chose to break his promise and seek out the darkness. He spoke not of his plans to the other immortals, not even his father, for he feared they would try to stop him. Thus, one day, alone, he departed Amor-Dome to find the Black Portal. For years Cirzion searched, flying above the continents and oceans. By and by, he discovered a strange desolate region far beyond the eyes of Mount Ar-Saga. From the clouds he descended, and amid barren mountains entered a canyon. There, sunken into a mountainside, was an enormous, rectangular seal of stone. The Black Portal."

            The elder slowed, as if he were there with the Prince at that moment, "Upon approaching, the giant gates opened. At first Cirzion was wary, thinking he should return. Yet he set down his harp, and his curiosity drove him forward. He peered into the depths, ... a corridor leading into unfathomable gloom. On a swirl of wind, a subtle music, a whispering, beckoned. Thus the Prince of the Skyons ventured into the shadows." The elder spoke with quiet caution, "He wandered, deeper, until the light from the surface was nigh lost. He did not know it yet, but he had reached for the secret too soon ... The Black Portal inhaled a powerful rush of wind. Cirzion tried to escape, but was knocked down. Stumbling, he screamed and fell into the depths, and portal sealed itself, shutting out all light."

            A few pairs of youngling ears pressed back slightly. Others looked at each other, perturbed.

            "Swallowed by the darkness, Cirzion tried to find a way out, but became further lost in the cold, empty labyrinths of the Underworld. His cries for help were answered only by echoes. Thus he was forced to dwell in lonely obscurity. At first it did not seem such a terrible plight. There was great freedom in the emptiness. Alone, he could imagine what he wished, his thoughts likened to creations." The elder grew solemn. "In the immense solitude, Cirzion began to speak with himself, and the shadows around him. And as time past, he strayed deeper into the Underworld. There confusion beset him, and he prayed for a way back to the light, to be free, with everyone else. Unfortunately, Cirzion could not find his way. In the nothingness, it seemed his voice, as if it were that of another, had begun to answer him. Was he truly alone? He now sensed an awful power in his realm. The things the other voice spoke were hopeless madness. Despair flooded Cirzion, and he wept. Fear seizing him, he fled. A darker shadow had followed him through the gloom, hunting him. With unseen hands, this shadow enchained Cirzion in the empty heart of the Underworld. In the Dark Chamber."

            The afternoon was still sunny, but more than one of the Tyzrian younglings hugged themselves, as if cold, and huddled a little closer together. Staring at the elder, the sapphire-eyed boy asked worriedly, "So how did the Prince get out?"

            The elder saw their concern, but couldn't answer that question, not yet. "At first Lord Sizion suspected nothing amiss. His son often ventured on his own for years at a time. The peaceful utopia made the Skyons slow to take action. As more years past however, they worried. Sizion sent his thoughts towards his son and could not find him. Perhaps he slept, dreaming somewhere in Creation? Sizion was no longer certain. Thus he tasked the first Skyons to search for the Prince, unto the ends of Creation."

            "All the while, Cirizion remained locked in the Dark Chamber. Struggle as he might, he was unable to free himself. The chains that bound him were indestructible - indeed, they grew stronger the more he fought. In misery, time crept by ever so slowly, and it felt like ages passed as Cirzion cried out for help." The elder shook his head with a note of sorrow. "Among the shadows the one voice had become many, and they tormented him with cruel words, mockery, and laughter. The memory of spring and summer withered, for Cirzion's torment smothered his dreams of beauty, eclipsing them with clouds of fear and guilt. Scared he would remain alone forever, the Prince cried out, asking why Creation had abandoned him?

            "In Cirzion's despair, the voices quieted, and the blackest shadow of all took form. A towering knight encased in sable armor, entered the Dark Chamber. The Sahcra had risen from the abyss."

            Hearing this, the little girl with crystal-rain eyes, recoiled, holding her toy closer. The others were also uneasy. They'd learned of the Sahcra before. The Evil-One was spoken of in myth, and their parents had uttered the name when they wanted to frighten them for misbehaving. The blonde boy smirked, chiding the others for being so foolish to be afraid. The elder saw through his pretense.

            "The Sahcra stood before Cirzion and befriended him, for the Prince was grateful that anyone accompany him in such solitude. The Sahcra told Cirzion that they'd both been banished to the same unjust fate. He knelt before Cirzion, swearing to be his faithful servant, and to do his bidding in anything. The Prince longed for freedom. In order to achieve this, the Sahcra advised that they needed to undo the Powers that imprisoned them. They must take vengeance."

            The boy with emerald eyes raised his hand, asking what the Sahcra intended. The elder put a finger to his lips. "No interruptions. Patience. Soon you will know more than you can imagine."

            "By the time the Skyons began their search for the Prince, they had been idle too long. Scouts went hither and thither, calling Cirzion's name, hearing no answer. For years they sought any sign of the Prince, listening in vain for the notes of his harp. They sent more scouts. None knew what had befallen him. The Elementals could not sense any disturbance in the Void, yet they prayed that the worst had not come to pass. Years advanced, and upon his throne, Sizion slumped with sorrow, and Cirzion’s mother, Trineslla wept within Amor-Dome’s high citadel.

            "While they quested for him above in Creation, below, in the Dark Chamber, Cirzion and the Sahcra shared much counsel. Who has done this to me? asked the Prince. Why am I being punished? The Sahcra answered: Your brethren have forsaken us. The immortals deem us unworthy to share in Creation. The Sachra promised he would undo Cirzion's suffering, and that together they would redeem themselves. First, however, he must make Cirzion powerful. To this end the Sahcra left Cirzion a time, to descend deeper into the blindness of the Underworld.

            "Alone, powerless to flee and unable to fortify his mind against the voices, unseen malicious forces strove relentlessly to crush Cirzion's spirit, and to warp him to evil. Cirzion fought the voices, arguing that love was still true, that he could come to know it, and be free. Nevertheless, the voices condemned him, filling his consciousness with vile things, slowly strangling every thread of hope. The Prince wept as the voices grew to an unsupportable clamor. Little by little, divisions took hold in Cirzion's mind. Before long, he feared that even the Eternal Star had abandoned him. In endless torment, the Prince lost faith in the heavens. Despair, and anger rose in him, waxing so vast, it caused the earth to quake, and roared power into the abysses."

            With a burdened tiredness, the elder gazed to the west, remembering all the times he'd put his hope in the faintest of promises. Even now, he still couldn't understand why fate had allowed some things to happen.

            "The Skyon scouts did not give up, and eventually found the Black Portal. The threshold was sealed, and beyond they sensed a terrible evil. Thus they returned to Amor-Dome with these tidings. Over the course of those last years, the Elementals perceived the Sacred Mother's growing sorrow, and received visions of something dreadful taking shape in the shadows below, something that gnashed its teeth and howled. When the Elementals spoke of their forebodings to Sizion, the Lord of Amor-Dome feared for his son. Straight away he summoned his followers, and full of wrath, rose from his throne to challenge the malice that had concealed itself under his watch. Foreseeing immense conflict, the Elementals tried to dissuade Sizion, but to no avail. Fatherly hopes are stubborn. Sizion would never abandon his son. Thus, the winged ruler set out from the Halls of Elavenas with a host of hundreds of thousands of Skyons. Beyond the horizons all heard Amor-Dome's trumpets resound. As far as the eye could see, from the City of the Clouds issued the Skyons, bent upon rescuing their lost brother at whatever cost. Many creatures, and Children, cowered nervously in the rush of supernatural wind as they fell under the shadow of the host's passing,."

            The elder's gaze fell to the ground, sinking into a melancholy. "Throughout all the years the Skyons had searched, Prince Cirzion had descended deeper into madness. The shadows robbed him of nearly every memory he once cherished, and crushed his bright dreams and hopes for life. When the voices did not poison, the Sahcra imparted sinister counsel. Cirzion could no longer discern between truth and illusion. At the same time he still wished to be free, he also feared and hated the light, and grew obsessed with envy for all that life had denied him. That is why, despite knowing the Skyons were coming, Cirzion's mind was obscured in a fog of confusion." The elder used one hand to symbolize the immortal flight of the host, as it descended. "When the Skyon host came nigh the Black Portal, Cirzion gave no sign of his presence, for he was distrustful of his brethren. The Sahcra already convinced him that the Skyons had exiled them, verily, that all Creation loathed him. Thus, with the Skyons gathered without the entrance, the Prince imagined they'd come to mock him, and plot cruelties in disgust of what he had become.

            "Outside, Lord Sizion, found Cirzion's broken harp, and sensed his son's deranged jealousy and anger. Knowing his only son had been taken by an evil fate, Sizion was grieved so, that nearly all desire to live departed him. Nevertheless, the Skyons endeavored to open the Black Portal. Their efforts that were in vain, for enchained in the Dark Chamber, Cirzion was engulfed with hatred for the Heavens, and thus willed the gates to remain sealed.

            "Unable to open the Black Portal, the Skyons blew their celestial trumpets and shouted Cirzion's name. The Prince heard their calls, yet did not answer. After so long in the Dark Chamber, he had forgotten who he was, or where he came from, his very name shrouded in mystery. The Skyons had not come soon enough. The powers of the Void had already transformed the Prince into, ... something else, ... something so twisted, he was unrecognizable in mind, as body, which was no longer beautiful, but a wretched, misshapen creation bound in shackles of misery and wrath." The elder paused, taking a moment to consider his words. "Cirzion no longer existed. The Prince had fallen too far, devoured by shadows. He had become Krahzion."

            A few of the younglings murmured, whispering the name. They had all heard of it. A name they feared, but understood less. Before they could ask questions, the elder proceeded;

            "Rage fueled the abysses, charging the Void mightier than a volcano. Harnessing the power of hells, Krahzion prepared to unleash his vengeance." The elder raised his hands together, then drew them apart. "The Black Portal opened, unleashing a vast hurricane of titanic, roiling clouds and lightening. The Skyons were taken at unawares, their hosts hurled, and scattered afar. The storm covered all Creation, and thousands of Skyons were broken against the mountains, or drowned in the seas. The world shook. Rocks shattered, canyons collapsed, new chasms were rent open, and oceans spilled. The mountains the Skyons dwelt upon were cracked, and many celestial cities destroyed. Krahzion roared and roared in the deeps, unable to stop, eclipsing the skies with the tempest. Only the Skyons in the highest clouds abodes escaped the cataclysm.

            "This ruin came to be known as the Curse of Krahzion - the first act of his vengeance. For one thousand days and one thousand nights, all Creation, save for Mount Ar-Saga, was veiled in a storming ocean of murky clouds. After years, those Skyons who remained in Amor-Dome and other high abodes, bound their powers together to regain dominance of the skies, stilling the heavens, dispersing the clouds. They then searched for their missing kindred." The elder paused, taking one slow breath. "When they found the survivors, strewn like dust in the winds, the Skyons were shocked at what had happened. The fallen Skyons had lost their wings."

            To one degree or another, most of the younglings gawked at the elder.

            "No way," said the dark-skinned boy the mist-grey eyes. "How?"

            There were more comments, but the elder ignored them for the time being, and picked up where he had left off. "When the Skyons approached, their fallen brethren cowered or hid in the wilderness. Others could not see the Skyons at all. The storm had cast a terrible spell on them, locking them in a permanent daze. They couldn't recall from whence they had come, or why. The most severe case of amnesia, I must say. Yet this was not the worse change they'd undergone. Not only were the fallen Skyon's celestial virtues gone immortals, but henceforth they were condemned to a mortality of the shortest lifespan among the Children. Their offspring were born, only to bloom before soon withering. For the first time, death separated the Skyons from their brothers and sisters, and this caused the immortals greatest sorrow. The Curse of Krahzion had sundered a deep rift between Creation and the Heavens, for if the Skyons descended, they too lost their immortality. Thus, having lost all power in the world, the remaining Skyons retreated to their high abodes."

            The elder put his hands on his knees, and sighed, a bit tired. "That's how Humans came to Creation. Once they were divine creatures, but into this world were born when cast into a storm. Undying lives exchanged for the uncertainties of a fleeting existence. Their origins veiled. The dawn of man had woken from a dark night, to find themselves lost."

            For a spell the elder and younglings seeped in silence, a silence touched only by the river, breeze, and birdsong; each one with their own thoughts; everything felt faraway.

            "In the beginning, there was peace among Humans. They wore no armor, bore no weapons, and no fortifications surrounded their cities. Same as sunshine, the land still belonged to everyone. But this era was no to last. Krahzion had merely delivered the first blow in a contention that would escalate until the world's pillars were shattered."

            The elder took a draught of his herbal water.

            "It was the Void's purpose to destroy the bridge between Creation and the Heavens. Krahzion had not succeeded entirely in these plans, however. Although Humans could not perceive their divine heritage, and past through this world as strangers, they were yet linked to their origins. In the deepest part of their hearts, there remained a distant, indefinable memory, a dim light. Once they had flown as eagles, and ever after a longing for such freedom they dreamt of. That is why Humans lift their gaze to the stars, seeking what their spirit knows, that somewhere in the vastness lie their truth."

            The elder took a moment to allow them reflect upon this destiny, and how the Children had also been connected to its mystery.

            "Yet wisdom and faith were faint, and Humans. Th birth of mankind was also the dawn of duality. Humans, and all Children, came to fear unknown darkness." The elder sternly looked the younglings over so they'd take this lesson to heart. "Even as Humans grew in number and rose to power, establishing great kingdoms, their strength as a race diminished. Humans sought their own purposes, instead of their destiny. In time, they turned against each other. This fragmentation was mankind's greatness weakness, and what led to conflict. You see, that is why Tyzrians instead believe in one tribe, all made by the same Great Spirit.

            "But let the Seigans be remembered. Lord Sizion survived the storm, and never returned to Amor-Dome, for it is forbidden that a mortal enter the cloud cities. Therefore, Trinsella forsook her immortality and descended to be with her beloved. Among mankind, the fallen lord and queen remained pure of virtue, and were steadfast in their resolve to protect Creation. They knew mankind would perish if divided, and they called on those who wished to learn the Path of Spirit." The elder spoke, with a proud tone of proclamation, "Those that followed these codes were known as the Seigans. The order grew powerful by learning to harness Spirit to guide and protect. Even so, the world grew increasingly dangerous. At the footstool of Mount Ar-Saga, Lord Sizion and the Seigans founded Shenehsius, the Sacred City of the Seven Towers. There they ruled, and Shenehsius's gates were ever open to those seeking refuge, and under the banners of the Eternal Star, the Seigans rose in number and strength."

            The elder made a slightly disdainful gesture with one hand, as if sweeping something paltry aside. "The rest of mankind lived divided, for their own purposes. Their kingdoms grew and they became distant and distrustful of one another, and formed their own stark creeds and religions. Realms and faiths vied for dominance, their forces marching to murder, thus shattering humanity.

            "As these things came to pass, Krahzion had turned his hopes for glory fully to the Void. Channeling power from the deeps, the Sahcra strengthened Krahzion, corrupting him further. Believing himself condemned by the Heavens, Krahzion despised everything he once loved, blaming the Sacred Mother and immortals for all. His hatred waxed especially towards the Children, to whom life was given freely. With his mind consumed by a fire for violence, he and the Sahcra plotted actions of destruction.

            The elder took on a wary, grim tone, "Early on, when the evil days were only beginning, folk learned to fear the night, and what existed beneath the world. Over the years, countless Humans and Children of other races disappeared in the black of night, ensnared by nameless shadows. Never did they see the light of day again."

            The younglings were shocked by this finality. Never was not a word for fairytales, at least the ones that had happy endings.

            "That's not fair," said the girl with translucent violet eyes.

            The others agreed. One child protested that the story was no fun, even if it was true. What happened to Cirzion wasn't fair either - added another - Why would it be allowed? He should be destroyed, or never existed if this was going to happen.

            Their notions of fairness made the elder grin slightly. "Hear me out, my apprentices. I know it doesn't seem like there's any justice in what happened. At first things aren't always what they seem. For now, I ask you to endure. Perhaps the captives were seen again, but had become something else? No one knew that the shadows had taken them, screaming into the dark bowels of Creation. There the Sahcra enslaved them, bending the Void to his will to torture them, warping their body and mind, and awakening them to fierce evils."

            The elder halted briefly, knowing what he told was stark knowledge for the younglings to grapple with. He hoped perhaps in the silence, the vale's breeze would soften the truth, wash over it. Nevertheless, several younglings were frowning. He knew what they were feeling. Sudden vulnerability, in which the breeze threatened to chill them to their bones. If Cirzion and these other prisoners had been innocent, then what protected them? It was not a time to console, however. They must face the harsh realities. A sword is only forged in fire.

            "This was the Second Curse of Krahzion. By hellish arcane art, Human prisoners were transformed into the Gorgoncs, demonic horned and hoofed mockeries of people. Misshapen counterparts were made of the other races as well. These were the Warring-Demons. Fiends made to serve Krahzion."

            Gesturing, like his hand were descending many levels towards the ground, the elder went on, "Hidden from daylight, the creatures of the Void carved vast kingdoms in the Underworld. Fueled by anger, fires were lit, and Warring-Demons forged cruel weapons, and tunneled many doors leading to the outer-world, by which they attacked, and returned with more captives." The elder gave a sad grimace. "All the while, Humans fought amongst one another, leaving the danger beneath unchecked, and the Underworld's strength waxed enormously."

            A shadow of remembrance covered the elder's brow, making him appear as haggard as his age should suggest. The younglings noticed, and were troubled, yet they asked to hear more. In part the elder felt like he'd told the younglings enough for one day, yet as he squinted into the blazing sunset, something urged him to finish the telling.

            "Creation had been wrought in three realms of power: Heaven, Earth, and the Underworld. Thus began the struggle for dominion of the Earth. Through relentless conflict, Humans and the Children quickly learned to hate the Warring-Demons, and despise and fear Krahzion all the more. Over the course of millenniums, the Sacred Mother and Her Children underwent woes innumerable. The world groaned, and in the abysses, Krahzion's wrath lit unquenchable cascades of lava and mountains of fire, and the Sahcra opened forbidden portals to dimensions of nether. Strange daemons awoke from cold sepulchers, joining the Underworld's ranks. With the enemy rising in power, groups of Skyons sacrificed their mortality to establish the Guardians. This order held the Doors, and fought to repel what fought to rise from below."

            While the elder gazed towards the mountains, his mind's eye returned to a vision, from faraway, and long ago. It was a land they'd once ridden to, all together. There had been a mountain, and inside it they were met by the tall, semi-immortal warriors. Never had he seen such brave, glorious beings. Eyes like silver, jeweled armor, multicolored energy swirling in their pommels. They walked within their holdfast, to the abyss they guarded, and heard the rumblings below ...

            "Father elder?" said the girl with skin dappled in patterns of grey and white. Her voice brought him back to the present.

            The elder shook his head, as if dispersing the memory. "Ironically, Creation's darkest age was ushered not by the Underworld, but by Humans. The Seigans were betrayed by their fellows, their rule overthrown, and Shenehsius taken by corrupt men who served the Void and enforced the great oppression of the Imperium. Before long the Underworld's might surpassed that of Humanity. Legions of Gorgoncs wrought destruction. Great kingdoms perished, others ascended from the rubble. The Seigans and followers of the Eternal Star were hunted by Silenus, the giant metal serpent that roamed the earth, devouring the innocent. Fed through portals, the Void eclipsed the future. In these days of dimming twilight, Krahzion's servants, marshaled by the Sahcra, and Akaos, the Horned Beast, threatened to conquer the Children and Creation."

            The elder lapsed into quiet, taking a lull, as if all he'd told had been an arduous trek, like a path through a great wilderness, one he had walked, weaving into the present, and haunting him with reminiscences, sweet, and painful.

            "That's it?" complained a girl with brown braids and amber-dawn eyes. "That can't be the end"

            "Ah, yes. It can't be, and it isn't." Almost as an afterthought, the elder pushed on with it, a mite sleepy now, "In the fading years of twilight, when the Guardians were all but vanquished, and the Skyons and Elementals forgotten, the remnants of the Seigans and other orders were called upon, and the final wars for Creation were fought."

            Ah, that's it, finally. The elder folded his arms, relaxed his posture and demeanor, and sighed, feeling he'd put aside a great weight. The cool mountain wind murmured through the reed-grass. It was a fine day, what was left. He drank in the pink and purple of sunset before it ceded to dusk, the last shafts blazing across the highest treetops. His thoughts meandered elsewhere, to the Stairway to the Stars. At length, he yawned contently, and leaned back against the tree trunk.

            "Now I must sleep awhile," he said. Surely the younglings' listening capabilities were exhausted. Aye, it was enough for one day. The shadows of the pine-hills already stretched across the far bank, and the first frogs croaked.

            When the elder teetered on the verge of sleep, the younglings panicked.

            "Well, what happened!?" cried the boy with sapphire-blue eyes.

            Plucked from the beginning of a delightful reverie, the elder grunted in annoyance. He saw he' been oblivious, that as evening crept closer, apprehension gripped the younglings' vivid imaginations, uncertainties which grew with the prospect of the enveloping night.

            "What about those last wars?" added the boy with emerald eyes.

            "Yeah," joined the girl with violet eyes. "How was the Sahcra and Krahzion defeated? Or are they still in the Underworld?" She was suddenly afraid. "And all those Warring-Demons?"

            More questions followed, The elder laughed richly. "What eager minds! I would tell you everything, yet I'm not sure you are prepared to hear that tale."

            "We wanna know, even if it's not a happy ending," said the dark-skinned boy. Others nodded.

            "Ah, but you see, this is no fairy tale. This is truth. It's not easy to understand how sad endings might also be happy ones." He waved it off. "Anyways, if I told you everything I don't think you'd believe half of it."

They protested hotly, and the elder realized he truly had riled them up with the history. I doubt they'll let me get any sleep until their doubts are satisfied.

"So thirsty for knowledge! A promising sign, my young apprentices. It pleases me indeed.” Then the elder solemnly shook his head. "However, you know not what tale you ask to hear. It could change you forever! Oh, and it would take a long time to recount properly. Surely you’d fall asleep long before I got to the good parts."

Regardless, the younglings persisted. The little girl with mist-grey eyes and a toy like a marmot, cried shrilly, "No one sleeps until I know what happened!"

            The truth was he had intended to tell them the rest, but tomorrow, after a good night's sleep. But perhaps tonight is best? Aye, with the stars unclouded, it is the prime occasion for such a telling, ... and here no less, where it all started, for my master. The elder caved in, agreeing to recount the rest. Before he  would proceed, he made them tend to a few chores. Since they were to sleep in this high mountain vale, they needed to fetch kindling for a fire, and also bring river water to boil tea with. While they went about attending to these tasks, the night awoke. Beyond the rugged Azure peaks, dusk's final glow surrendered, and the sky turned a profound twilight blue. In the high cliffs, a lone wolf howled mournfully, and crickets piped in synchrony with the twinkling stars. Above it all, serene as ever, peered the Eternal Star, unwavering, like a pinhole through the fabric of space letting in the faintest hint of the white radiance beyond.

            When their chores were done they gathered together in a grove of towering redwoods near the river. The elder sat on a mossy log as the children set a great pile of twigs and branches for the fire, as well as some pine cones, which they loved for the incense and popping it made in the flames. Soon after, the little Tyzrians were wrapped in their blankets, ready to hear.

            “Let’s not be hasty” said the elder. "One step at a time. We don't want to be lost here in the cold dark, and that fire won’t start by itself."

            The children searched for a means. One declared in dismay, “We have no fire!”

            “Not to worry, my little sirs and damsels. I shall make an exception this night.” He knelt by the woodpile, locked his knotted hands together, rubbing the palms. Moments later, a firefly sized light glowed through the blood in his fingers, then his entire visage was illuminated, harsh in the shadows, as if he'd been hewn from stone. From his hand he puffed forth a swell of starry dust that drifted before settling to crackle on the wood, and growing into flames. Around the fire the bewildered children beheld each other as vague ghosts huddled in their furs. Although they were most impressed by the feat, the elder wouldn't reveal how he'd learned it. At last he was pleased with everything, and sat back, inhaling the aroma of the herbs that he set to boil in a small pot of water.

            “Now, unless you have a very important question, I want no interruptions. This night will be a long one. I suspect that the end of the tale shall come with the dawn. Many years has their story waited to be sung. Unbelievable though you may deem it, doubt me not. I am no spinner of fairytales.” He leaned closer. “For I was there, my ladies and gentlemen. Yes, with my own eyes I saw much of what I’m about to tell you. I was only about your age back then. Much I still can see like it was yesterday.”

            Closing his eyes, he smiled. Never have I had such a worthy audience! He breathed deeply to recapture the days of yore.

            "Incline your ears to me. This tale began before the battles were fought, before any great deeds were done, the story of two heroes was already unfolding. I shall tell you of Avelah, who came to Creation from faraway, with a great purpose. And of Javkin, born of the earth, and destined to become a warrior against shadow and illusion. Even in the darkest times, these two dreamt of beauty, hope, and love. Never have two shared such a bond. They fought against the powers of the Underworld, so they might not be apart."

            The elder upturned his gaze beyond the dark outlines of the trees, to where the Eternal Star shined. Softly, he whispered to it some words.

            "Long ago in years, but near in remembering, the life of Avelah began. There was a great swordsman, mightiest among the Guardians of the Doors, and a Seigan princess, the last of her line. They loved each other deeply, this swordsman and princess, and surely as I, they have long waited for the life of their daughter to be told. Through their adoration for one another, Avelah's faith in Spirit grew strong. As the years past, some would say her story is tragic, but the love she came to know was victorious, and her spirit will ever shine as all the stars are glorious. This is the tale of Avelah, the Daughter of the Sky, and Javkin, the Son of the Forest, and the tale of many. Long has it waited to be sung. But do not cry, when it is over and sung. Try to remember, that one end is another hope that has only just begun."

            The elder opened the leather bound book, and began to read.









© 2017 Kuandio


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Added on August 31, 2017
Last Updated on September 1, 2017
Tags: fantasy, ancient, genesis


Author

Kuandio
Kuandio

CA



About
I started drawing comics when I was about four or five (not much better than dinosaur stick figures). Over time I found I couldn’t express enough through just drawing and was always adding more.. more..

Writing
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