Prologue: A Message
“The swift majesty of the jardee blade reminds me of a fine tune. The crescendo is the electrifying moment as the blade meets flesh; the denouement is the spray of blood that decorates my face like war paint”
–Torien, from the Warlord’s personal journal
A raven, with its black feathers tipped in silver, soars across the peach tinted sky.
A black blip in otherwise attractive horizon, the winged messenger banks left, as if almost distracted. How small the bird appears, yet the message contained within the sharp peak can be the catalyst to the very destruction of the known world.
The raven’s keen eyes turn from the sight of the sky and continue to fly south. Surveying the sprawling landscape, as if tasting the playful winds, the raven twirls as a gust of wind threatens to disrupt its pursuit.
With unfathomable speed that defies all notions of logic, the raven shoots across the horizon–its form vanishing before the slow blink of the mortal eye.
The magical splendor of the desert appears beneath the raven. From the ravens viewpoint, the desert appears to be limitless. Similar to the vast stretch of the night sky, the pink sky compliments the shifting sands of the desert.
The desert is a storyteller; the remnants of the ancients linger as if almost forgotten. Lost cities fell to the powerful winds, the hungry mouth of the sands, the horrifying storms that strip flesh from bone, the dessert seems almost calm in the wake of the ravens descent.
The sand dunes overlap as the wind slaps grains of sand back and forth. The quiet, forbidding music of sand sifting, churning, learning almost catches the raven in the lull. Shooting back in the sky, the raven glares at the view below with its beady eyes.
The roaming stretch of grasslands stretched wide and far as the deserts ravenous hands falter to the stubborn vegetation. The mesmerizing sight of the savanna is littered with exotic animals with dangerous predatory eyes, and the daunting sweeps and slopes of mountains so tall it appears to pierce the morning sky.
An untamed land dominated by beasts that range from the gentle and wise giant elephants to the poisonous stinger of the lethal scorpion. An alien world that is isolated by the sprawling cities made by man and Fey, the savanna is a fresh breathe of air; a place that can even stop deathless one’s heart.
Dipping its feathers in the weightless clouds, an ominous caw emerges from the raven’s hooked peak as it suddenly turns and dives.
Gale winds. Sudden and harsh, the raven tightens its wings closer as attempts to remain airborne. Breaking from the winds with a harsh spin, the raven jerks to the right, expertly avoiding the attack.
The black entity dominates the dewy dawn of the morning sky, its form an omen as it plummets from the sky. Almost at the apex of the rocky splendor of Mount Helena, the raven snaps its powerful wings before impact and lands gracefully on its talons.
Windswept and harried-looking, the raven shakes its feathers before throwing its head back and cawing loudly, as if in irritation.
“Do not bark at me so, Kagura. If you did not ignore my message earlier, I would have not needed to intervene.”
The goddess Lyceria, whose domain and powers ranges from the silvery, fickle face of the moon, to Life, fertility, and the tides, did not appear physically, at first. Her voice sifted through the air, the gentle wind coiling in a spiral of debris and sand from where her voice appeared.
A warning in the disguise of friendly banter, the goddess appears from a sudden fold of time.
There are no words for how the world seems to pause and fold into itself to welcome the goddess.
It is as if the world snapped in half–a fissure fracturing the air as the scent of crushed snow and ozone fills the air. Stepping from the rip in time, the blurry, fast-paced wave of spiraling, intricate lights is no other than space and time itself. For the goddess to have such range in her powers to be able to manipulate the very essence of Time, the raven hides her pang of fear by raising her wings to shield the sheer horror in her beady eyes.
It seems that the goddess of the moon has adopted powers from her ancient mother, Time.
The goddess may not be the loveliest among the immortals, yet she is incomparably the most powerful.
Compared to the ebony exquisiteness of Rebekah, the goddess of Love whose skin is smoother than any silk, softer than the most luxurious of furs, she may lack in beauty but when it comes to power, the goddess of the moon has no competition. Thrumming with omnipotent magic, the goddess’s aura shakes the very essence of the earth, the air itself stilling with her grotesque entrance, and the ground shaking as if in trepidation.
As the eldest child of the Great Ones, Abyss and Time, it was expected that Lyceria would be the one to outshine the others.
The moon wholly shines from beneath the goddess’s flesh. Pearlescent too tame a word to describe the stretch of faultless skin, Lyceria is the moon itself, even in her present humanoid form. A voluptuous physique wrapped in a gown crafted entirely from moonlight, it is impossible to look upon the goddess without the threat of blindness. Yet, there have been many a mortal and even an immortal that took the chance to brave the unspeakable brilliance of the goddess. A fine spill of silvery-white hair falls devastatingly from the regal sweep of her shoulders, analogous to eyes the exact shade of moonlight.
An imposing female who loves her creations–the mortals–as much as she tested them, the goddess looks down with a slight tendril of frustration at the younger goddess.
A noise that sounds like a sigh comes from the raven before a sudden bright light reveals a young girl in its place.
Adolescent in form, the goddess Kagura has stubbornly clung to her strilla dresses despite her advanced age. After the death of Ai-Rue, who died in childbirth, her daughters, Kagura and Akamae inherited both of her powers, the younger sister becoming the new Goddess and Mother of fauna, Kagura the Goddess and Mother of flora. Similar to her older sister Akamae, Kagura’s domain does not necessarily give her outstanding magic like Lyceria, but power and manipulation over the beings in her care. Akamae can as easily destroy fields of crops with the swipe of her hand as easily breath life into barren field. With the snap of her fingers, Kagura can wipe out an entire herd of water buffalo, call every fowl, hoofed-beast, every fin, to her command, and bless an entire farmland with fowls, chicks, and steers. Not detrimental in their range of power, the twin goddesses are important to the dynamic of the mortals, yet there are times where they must heed the stronger immortals–which Kagura has currently has failed to do so.
Kneeling before Lyceria, the goddess who chooses to remain in a younger form, Kagura bows her head in submission, “A thousand apologizes, Great Mother.”
Wishing she still had her guard wolf, Apollo, who would have growled at the pathetic show of subservience, Lyceria remains unmoved by the goddess’s apology.
Stepping away from the younger immortal, Lyceria turns to look across the mountaintop, her knowing eyes lovingly scanning across the city below. Catching the silvery fan of hair from her chosen, Torien, the Warlord of Rhageon, Lyceria surveys as he peers down at his city from the view atop his tower.
Wishing she could warn the Warlord of the trials ahead, Lyceria frowns.
To be the Creator of this divinely complex race, Lyceria has come to terms with the rules she must follow. There are mistakes she has made, which she mournfully acknowledges. Thinking of the genocide of the First Race, Lyceria grits her teeth as admits that her unfounded adoration of the Second Race, the mortals, was her most selfish mistakes. Why could she not have been content with the Frist Race?
Woefully gazing at her beloved chosen, Lyceria slightly shakes her head back and forth. Having learned that to directly intervene could possibly lead to more travesties than ever surmised, Lyceria pushes down the regret and the doubts that have sprung. In her mission to branch away from her predecessor’s savagery, is she more to blame because she created a race that relishes in the same travesties that horrified her before?
After a long moment of silence, the other goddess’s hesitantly disrupts Lyceria’s flow of thoughts. “May I inquiry what you required of me, Great Mother?”
Remembering the younger goddess’s presence, Lyceria jerks herself away from her reverie and turns back to Kagura, the hem of her dress soundless. “Yes. I have read the faces of the moon and found troubling news ahead. Visions of war, revelations, monstrosities, and the screams of million pale faces have flooded my mind. I need you and the others to prepare for the times to come. A shift will occur, where the hunted will become the hunters.”
Nodding from her kneeled position, Kagura murmurs, “I understand. I will prepare. What shall I do about the others?”
Not needing Kagura to clarify, Lyceria does not pause before stating, “Depending on the flow of events, their intervention will be necessary. Leave them for now.”
Nodding once more, Kagura looks up at the other goddess before transforming into an spotted eagle. From her proud height, the goddess takes off–her golden-brown shape disappearing into the white heaven of clouds.
Looking back towards the yawning city, hearing the rustle and sighs as the people below wake from their beds, an unnamed emotion spreads across Lyceria’s divine face before she slips back in the fold of time and space.
“When we build, when we destroy, and we selfishly create, are we not building on top of those who believed their ideals were singular?
Civilizations fall and rebuild, people are born and then, they die. It is innate for the human race to continue. Ingrained in the blood, the flesh, the hair, the teeth, the human race will scurry and salvage as much as they can because what solely compels them is to: survive.
Survival is a fickle beast. Survival will drive a man to slaughter his family for the last drip of water. Survival has humans falling to their knees before idols, gods, kings, and lords, signing their lives away for scrapes. Survival is a curse, a curse bound to fragile bodies that can snap and wither at any moment of time.
What do people become when survival is all they know?
So what happens when a grouping of people come to together, most of the time peaceful, and decide to survive together?
Civilizations spring like weeds when the gods become more forgiving or bored. Civilizations that uphold traditions and ideals never truly last unless there is plenty of sacrifice. Will the rains be plentiful if the fields are not drenched in enough pig blood?
Survival is the heartbeat of any civilization. One does not walk to a random spot in the desert and choose to settle here or there. No, there is a strategy in this game of survival.
What is the most basic thing humans need? Water. Water is life and without life, there is no survival.
The most successful civilizations are in proximity to a large body of water. Water is the epicenter for survival. Trade, irrigation, food; all of these necessary components are signs of a thriving civilization. And when a civilization can thrive, humans have time to sit down and create.
And when humans and can sit down and create, destruction is impending…”