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Caelestia: A Novel

 
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7/15/2008 13:04:07   
Falerin
Loremaster/AQ Story Writer


Prologue


Once upon a time…

“No no no….” Falerin said glancing at the screen before him with a frown on his face. “that will never do, its to incredibly overdone. If there is one thing I cannot abide its cliché”

Long ago and far away…

“As if that’s any better” Falerin said scowling at the screen severely. “That simply won’t do either”

“Perhaps” a voice said from out of nowhere “Perhaps if you simply began at the beginning and did not bother with all of this Once upon a yesterday, and Faraway and Tomorrow stuff?”

“Are you going to tell it?” Falerin asked curtly “If you are going to tell it go ahead please”

“Well then I suppose I will” The voice said “And we start well for lack of a better place we will start here… and then go on to the beginning….”

In the beginning, there was Therlion, no one knows where Therlion on came from, or at least no one that’s telling, suffice to say that he was there, but nothing else was yet. Therlion was apparently traveling for some time and needed a rock to rest his head. Finding none nearby he did what many a young creator would do and he made one. He wove his hands in that nothingness and said some important words. No one knows what those words were, well perhaps Prometheus knows as he too must have said them when he created his own world, but if Prometheus knows he is not telling that either, a rather secretive sort that Prometheus, always demanding self reliance and such rot, which is all good in theory but in practice simply means that everything is a lot harder then it really has to be.

“Ahem” Falerin said clearing his throat impatiently

“Oh yes right” The voice said “Who are you to tell This story anyway you weren’t even there? At least I was for part of it….”

“Oh Brother do please get on with it you senile old wizard…” Falerin huffed impatiently.

“Well fine…”

Anyway there was nothing and then there was a rock in nothing, and to make things more interesting and to keep warm, Therlion put some stars up there, and a sun and a moon too, because that was fashionable at the time. Some creators had tried hanging large wheels of cheese up there but it really stunk up the place after a while, and Therlion really did not need the smell so the moon would have to do, the moon looked like cheese anyway, as moons inevitably do look like cheese, but it was all together more boring made only of dirt and rock.

“Grr…” Falerin said warningly but the voice just continued ignoring him

After all of this creating Therlion was even more tired then when he began so he found a
hole in the rock and covered himself up inside and fell asleep. He had only meant to sleep for a little while, say a hundred years or so, but as it is he slept considerably longer then that. In fact, Therlion slept for the better part of one hundred million years. Ninety Nine Million Nine Hundred and Ninety Eight Thousand Three Hundred and Seventy Six years,
Eight Months, Twelve Days, Three Hours, Twenty Six minutes, and Thirty Two point Two Seven Zero Six seconds, if you want precise numbers….

Needless to say while Therlion was sleeping his rock was not. Sooner or later various other people discovered Therlion’s rock hanging there, in the middle of nowhere, and decided that it really had to fit in with the rest of the multiverse, so they shaped a whole, somewhere near the center, and shoved the rock in. Then people started arriving on the rock, some of them were mortal, and tried to make homes there, invariably at the beginning these were all wizards, as wizards are the only ones who can find rocks shoved into random holes in the multiverse, but eventually others made their way to. But besides the Wizards a large number of immortal entities saw the wasted rock and decided that since their own world was running swimmingly it might be a good time to exert some influence over a new world, that seemingly had no immortal beings to influence in, and that’s how the rock got its Gods.

After awhile the rocks people started worshiping those Gods and they started granting those people boons, and the people built cities, and towns, and fought wars, and established boundaries and empires rose and fell. Wizards threw around their magic and did any number of self important things. Dragons ate a fair number of sacrificial maidens in all this too. It is with some of these people that this particular tale concerns itself. The events that take place herein took place about three thousand years before Therlion woke up, and about two thousand and five hundred years before the first real altercation amongst the gods who took control in Therlion’s absence of course the events herein had bearing on that, and on an awful lot of other things too.

Chapter One


Melcor stood looking into the lake with a wistful smile, he had just turned ten years of age, and his master was going to allow him to cast his first real spell. Melcor was both pleased and displeased with this idea, pleased because he had caught his masters favor, and displeased because he knew that he was not terribly proficient with magic, even his minor cantrips had a way of backfiring on him, he had once tried to dry his clothing quickly and instead managed to quite totally destroy them by burning them to a crisp. That Melcor himself had suffered no lasting damage was merely due to the fortuitous fact that his master was around with a bucket of water handy.

“Are you sure Master?” Melcor asked hesitantly

“Look Melcor” His master said “You have the potential in you, it is clear as day… It was no accident that the priests of the church sought your parents out. Few magic users burn as brightly as you. It is just a simple light spell… it can harm no one… nothing in its nature is harmful…now cast it….”

Melcor was still uncomfortable, but the irritation in his masters demeanor brooked no argument, so he moved his hands in what he believed he remembered as the correct incantation, and brought up what he believed were the correct ingredients and a ball of crackling light shot from his hands smacking his master rather firmly in the chest, whereupon it dissipated leaving his master quite stunned.

“Did I do well master?” Melcor asked plaintively, whereupon the master just shook his head at his young apprentice and disappeared inside.

Melcor had no way of knowing that there was a reason the magic so strongly crackled inside of him, just as he had know way of knowing that Aslyn the great Archmage was watching this experiment quite closely. Nor in fact could he know that on a far distant world another experiment of the Great Archmage was likewise underway, involving a magic user who would forever be known as Mayge, and had he any different name it was long lost into antiquity, by the time this tale came to be told. Melcor did not know any of this, for that would have ruined the experiment. As it was the experiment would have enough obstacles of its own. The world of Caelestia was quite good at interspersing obstacles at the most inopportune times and places.

Chapter Two


Thelgar Stormforge was a really bad man, not just a slightly bad man, not just a mediocre bad man but a truly villainous bad man. Thelgar was the kind of idiot that only comes along a few times in the history of a world, and those few times are more then enough thank you. The kind of person that would take a hit on his own mother to make a few coppers. Thelgar Stormforge was an even worse king, but by whatever twist of the Gods that be, Stormforge was the king of Stony Crag Keep, the local Mountain Dwarves owed Thelgar there obeisance, and though many of the dwarves realized Thelgar was a bad ruler, few would stand in Thelgar’s way both from fear of Thelgar’s wrath and from dwarven stubbornness.

Stony Crag keep would know equal evil, but not for many centuries, when the villainous Dralen Ath would rise from the depths of the worlds darkness, and that falls outside the scope of this tale, though to be sure this tale has bearing on those events. Safe to say however that Stony Crag had known many more Good kings then evil ones, and quite a few more mediocre ones then these combined.

Thelgar was widely known to have gained the throne via treachery having killed his father Tregar the previous king, and any others in his family that might have stood in the way of Thelgar’s own attainment of the throne. There was no evidence that Thelgar had done this however. Though it was the sort of thing that was the only logical conclusion when one knew the events.

Perhaps, the worst thing about Thelgar is was that he was a warmonger, a worshipper of Garavandar. Thelgar had an immense hatred of all things magical and was determined to rid the world of magic all together. Further he believed it was his destiny to rule the entire world of Caelestia, and all of the people who lived within it, exterminating all sources of magic in the process.

Thelgar looked up at his tactical advisor Garak a wizened old dwarf who was near the end of his span. Thelgar despised Garak as being weak willed, particularly regarding the most recent problem the Elven kingdom of Greater Stone Mountain. The Stone Mountains were the very same range in which Thorny Crag Keep was located and the cities of Lesser and Greater Stone Mountain stood at its base. Lesser Stone Mountain was a human trade city, while Greater Stone Mountain had long been a seat of the Elven kingdoms. Thelgar had a personal hatred for Taleron the young Elven king. Taleron had declined an invitation to appear at Thelgar’s coronation, and it had begun. In the intervening years Thelgar had often used pretense to make Taleron’s life difficult stirring up the humanoids in the surrounding forest and taking whatever pretense possible as a means of harming the elves. Now however he wanted to take Stone Mountain and ground it into dust, enslaving the Elves in the process. Elves may be inept artisans and inferior craftsmen but they would make excellent slave labor.

“Look Here Majesty. War with Taleron and the Elves is a bad Idea, the Humans are bound to side with the instigators of any aggression.” Garak said gruffly. To Thelgar’s ear he sounded like a simpering infant.

“Are you a tree lover in Secret Garak? Or are you just daft? Taleron has insulted me and he has scorned the entire dwarven kingdom. Damned straight we are going to crush his ass. Now I did not ask for a way to get out of it. I asked for a way to do it. Give me what I want or get the hell out…”

“You stubborn senseless bastard. You keep me around because I am the best damned tactician on the continent. I would wager in the world. I am not going to lie to you just because it’s what you want to hear. That would be inept….”

“You know Garak there is a mine detail going out for heavy mining in the underside of the mountain, it’s not to late to have you join them. You’re an old bastard but I warrant you can swing a hammer for a year or two yet, you would join the manacle crew of course.”

Garak flushed red, and then scowled but said nothing. The Manacle crew was a euphemism for the disposable slave labor. As such they were placed in the most dangerous places

“Now you have two days to find a way to convince the Humans to join us against the Elves and not the other way around and start the armies marching or I will do it.” Thelgar returned Garak’s scowl with a cold smile that told Garak he was dead serious, and despite his dwarven stoicism Garak could not suppress a shudder.

Chapter Three


Taleron gazed at his mate Kaliara with a rueful smile.

“Do you suppose its true, love? That Thelgar is going to send an army and start a war?” Taleron asked her with a sigh.

“Thelgar is a Dwarf, and a more stubborn one then even most. Further he hates you, and elves in general, and wizards even more. To add to that he is a worshiper of Garavandar, so of course it’s true, Taleron.” Kaliara responded with a sigh.

Taleron was jolted out of his thoughts by the sudden swinging open of his chamber doors. Beyond the door stood Oberon, one of the court magi. Oberon was relatively recent arrival and a mystery to many. His name terminated in -ron which among the world’s elves was part of the languages indicators of royalty. Oberon did not come from any known royal family however. Indeed he did not come from any known family period. His past was shrouded in the depths of mystery. Even Taleron knew nothing of the mans origins. In spite of this Oberon had proven himself to be a trusted advisor and among the kingdoms most powerful magi, he had earned the trust of the kingdoms elves and had proven himself. As a result much was tolerated from Oberon but darting into Taleron’s bedchamber was beyond the limits of Taleron’s patience.

“How DARE you” Taleron fumed fully prepared to call the guards and have Oberon imprisoned.

:”Be still” Oberon breathed calmly

“Be Still? You dare tell me to be still after busting into my sleeping chambers when my wife and I are together? You will be put to death for this Oberon”

“I think not” Oberon said blithely “Now be still there is little time….”

Taleron prepared to say something else. Oberon sighed deeply and said something in a strange dialect. A course of energy flew forth from Oberon’s hand and held the king silent.

“You go way to far Oberon” Kaliara sighed “What you are doing is treason”

“Yes Kaliara it is treason but there is no time… I have little enough time among you and if Taleron had held his tongue for even a second he would have learned that my reason for busting in here was so important that even the kings ire was worth the risk… Even now an army marches upon Stone Mountain from the south… and its no small army either… the scouting estimates say that it is 75000 strong”

“Seventy Five Thousand? That’s impossible, the dwarves do not have that many soldiers, Oberon, they only have thirty thousand citizens, and that’s counting women and children.”

“It is not only the dwarves, Kaliara. The city of Lesser, marches upon us as well.”

“Lesser? Lesser Stone Mountain? That’s impossible, they are our allies and closest neighbors. They are our strongest trade associates.”

“None the less the Armies of the Human City march with the Dwarves, as due several thousand humanoids of various descriptions.”

“Release the King at once.” Kaliara breathed with disbelief

Oberon gestured and Taleron was free, he glared at Oberon but held his tongue.

“How many in our Army?” Kaliara asked her mate

“Twenty Six Thousand.” Taleron replied with a sigh.

“We have only a third of their numbers?” Kaliara anguished “Then we are doomed.”

“Not so quick.” Taleron said “We still have are allies in the Twin Cities.”

“I fear they will be difficult to move to involvement majesty.” Oberon said “Dragon’s Blood is the closer but many in Dragon’s Blood have families in lesser. Dragons Shadow is more then two months away, they will likely aid us but the armies advancing upon us will be here within two weeks not two months.”

“Well we will just have to hold out until then. In the meantime perhaps Calderas can be convinced to come to us from Dragon Shadow. Find him and ask him Oberon.” Taleron said.

“Yes Majesty.” Oberon responded.

“God Speed Oberon.” Kaliara said.

“Most Assuredly Majesty.” Oberon responded and in a flash he was gone.

Chapter Four


“Alright Melcor,” Calderas sighed “Lets try this again.”

“Yes master.” Melcor said with little conviction, it was the tenth time he had attempted the simple light spell, each time before the spell had somehow gone awry. Without much conviction Melcor concentrated and moved his hands and said the words in what he believed was the prescribed manner, unfortunately he was destined to fail yet again though in this case it could certainly not be considered his fault.

A large pop was heard as a fairly tall elf appeared in the middle of the practice yard. Melcor had never seen the elf before and for a moment entertained the notion that somehow his spell was responsible for the elves appearance. He immediately dismissed the notion when Calderas turned his attention to the new comer.

“Oberon.” Calderas said solemnly “To what do myself and my young apprentice here owe the pleasure of your esteemed company. I did not believe you often ventured outside the Elven kingdoms.”

“Indeed I do not Calderas, but in this case I had little choice, the city of Stone Mountain is as we speak becoming besieged by a massive army.”

“Besieged? By whom? For what reason?”

“Besieged by Thelgar and his dwarves for one. Though he has formed an alliance with Lesser, and the local humanoid populations.”

“Lesser Stone Mountain?!” Calderas said disbelievingly “But they are your allies, and our allies as well.”

“Well they are not our allies anymore. Your twin city of Dragon’s Blood offers condolence but is claiming neutrality in this hostility. It is my hope to convince the Dragon Shadow council that neutrality is not in the best interest of the kingdoms”

Melcor felt a chill pass through his bones, and new something terrible was about to happen, he just could not tell what.

“Of course We will help” Calderas said with a Scowl “Thelgar is a known killer, and warmonger. If given his way he would spread destruction and dissention to the entire kingdom. Besides I have a score of my own to settle with Thelgar Stormforge”

Melcor let loose a small shudder.

“What will we do Master?” He asked Calderas plaintively “We will do nothing Melcor. You will remain at the tower and continue your studies. Oberon and I will return to Greater Stone mountain so that I can meet with Taleron”

“But Master, I am in spell practice I cannot continue that without your guidance” He pleaded secretly hoping to go with his master to see the Elven kingdom a place he had never been.

“I am sorry Melcor” Oberon said with a small smile “Calderas is right. The Elven kingdom is no safe place for a child right now…”

“But I am not a child!” Melcor protested firmly “I have come of age”

“Oh?” Oberon said knowingly. He turned his gaze upon Melcor in an odd way which made Melcor feel distinctly uncomfortable. The gaze held something that made Melcor feel as if Oberon could see right into his mind and read the thoughts there, which in retrospect it is likely he could. “And you have already cast your firsts magics with success then?”

“Well not exactly” Melcor admitted sheepishly.

“Not even close” Calderas corrected.

“Master!” Melcor pleaded.

“Indeed” Oberon said “It would serve him right to be taken along I say”

“Really?” Calderas asked incredulously “Thelgar is a dangerous man, I value Melcor. I would not put him at risk.”

“He would not be at risk” Oberon said ominously “Unless of course Greater Stone Mountain falls to Thelgar. I do not plan to place the child on the front. Only to let him see the real world. Trust me old friend, if Thelgar succeeds in taking Greater Stone Mountain. Melcor is at risk no matter what.”

Calderas considered Oberon’s words for a moment and had to concede that he had a point. Further Melcor being left to his own devices would likely be as dangerous if not more so then being near the battle that would surely follow, the Childs magical potential was out of control.

“Very Well” He said slowly “Pack your Bags Melcor”

“Yes!” Melcor shouted gleefully having totally forgotten the sense of foreboding dread that had so recently pervaded his being.


< Message edited by Eukara Vox -- 5/21/2010 11:28:29 >
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