It began with a ritual. One of high magic, but of ancient and terrible evil. Darkness crept its way into these lands, and into the hearts of men. Only the stalwart fought for all that they held dear. Most perished…and a world of peace and prosperity, for many, is now just a distant memory...
but a time will come when one guided by destiny, will find that which had been hidden and change the fate of all.
One hundred years ago in the country Valnor,
in the city of Elden
Deleth Trakarn A’nara Selfrane knelt at the altar.
'No regrets', he told himself 'soon, no regrets ever again'
He had carefully constructed the altar over the last twenty-two months of the Queen’s pregnancy. The dagger, the amulet, the crystal, and the heart. So much power, so dearly paid for. Now was the time to act, to cast his conscience aside, and to grab the throne before the heir was born.
So why did he hesitate? Deleth thought of all the joy in his life, all the passion, the love of life, and his goal of becoming King… all soured with the coming of the heir.
The Whisper-Moth that had been bound to him for all his life clung to his clothing, nervously working her way to his upper back to avoid the altar while remaining as close to him as possible. Deleth showed no awareness of her presence.
He took one last deep breath, and sundered his soul from his body. The amulet glowed to life, the crystal set in the centre pulsing with a dull, pearly light.
This part he had done many times, washing his soul into the crystal, transferring as much of it as he could, until he could now push all of it into the crystal. Today, he had to cut it out, separate his soul forever.
He plunged the ancient dagger deep into his thigh. As it was washed with blue blood, he transferred the crystal from the amulet to the hilt of the dagger. Iron control prevented his hand from shaking as he chanted the words that would force his soul from the crystal into the dagger. As he chanted, his blood continued to pulse over the dagger. A dark aura emitted from it. He finished the chant, slowly pulled the dagger from his thigh, and clapped a hand to the wound. Red light washed from his hand. The wound healed. Deleth swayed on his heels. The dagger screamed.
“Be SILENT” Deleth ordered, sucking some power from the dagger.
The scream cut off. He prised the crystal from the dagger and placed it back in its setting in the amulet. He placed the amulet on the altar, raised the dagger high in both hands and chanted a destruction spell as he stabbed the crystal’s core. He had hoped the amulet would be totally destroyed. Instead, the crystal shattered into five pieces. Undeterred, he drew in more energy from the dagger and used that to scatter the crystal shards and the amulet far away, so that no one, including Deleth himself, would ever be able to find- he hissed as his senses told him that, although scattered, one piece of the crystal had remained with the amulet and it now lay in the hands of a powerful Seer. Still, no matter, that would be dealt with at another time. His soul could never be reunited with him, without all the pieces and the dagger, and so he could never return to what he was.
Deleth focussed on the task ahead. There was still one more step to complete the ritual: the heart. Pulling out a dark box made from bone, he placed it on the altar and opened the lid. Inside lay the heart of a god. Deleth studied the ancient heart - would this be the answer to all his problems? He carefully removed the heart from its box and placed it down onto the cold stone altar.
"I will show you, brother. You shall see - I will make you see!"
Deleth took the dagger, and slid the warm blade across his hand. Holding out a fist above the heart, he squeezed the blood from his hand and it dropped onto the heart. Suddenly, the heart began to beat. A large yellow eye opened in the centre of the heart, its nictitating membrane blinked across the eye, before it glared up at Deleth who stumbled backwards, startled by what he witnessed. The heart seemed to have come alive and had begun to take form into something else. Deleth gathered himself and began to chant, redirecting the point of the dagger towards his chest. The dagger struck, and struck hard as Deleth gasped and arched forward in agony.
"DARK ONE, GRANT ME YOUR POWER!"
Symbiotic tentacles sprouted from the heart and shot forth, attaching themselves to the hilt of the dagger, and began to climb upward like an octopus and into Deleth’s chest. His head rocked back and his eyes widened.
"I feel your power, surging within me!"
The Moth shot backwards violently from Deleth’s back and disintegrated into ash. Deleth laughed wickedly before collapsing to the floor. He felt his body beginning to change. His white, silvery hair had darkened to that of ebony. Horns emerged from his head, and his fingernails blackened and grew pointed. His once Elysian-violet eyes now became red like crimson.
It was done. The soulless one had risen.
“I am Delta,” he said, with a slow, cold smile, his sharply pointed fangs glimmered. Deleth was no more.
Delta and his followers advanced through the city of Elden, spreading chaos and destruction wherever they went. Fire engulfed the rooftops of buildings as flames burst from the windows and Elysians with their Whisper-Moths flooded the streets, trying to flee from the scalding depths of the fire. The fire spread quickly, weakening the integral structures of the buildings that finally collapsed, leaving a desolate pile of rubble and ash. The air was cold and tarnished by smoke, filled with the chilling screams of panic. Those who tried to flee the streets were cut down by creatures in armour, riding on the backs of monstrous beasts.
A young watchman in his tower looked down upon the burning city in horror. The once peaceful city he had known and loved all his life, had now succumbed to violence and death.
"Don’t just stand there, boy! Sound the alarm!"
An urgent, authoritarian voice shouted out, catching the ear of the watchman who was frozen in fear. The urgency of the command broke him from his frozen state, his Whisper-Moth flew around his head, trying to beckon him into action. Turning on his heels, he swung around and began to dash towards the stone staircase that led upward to a device with intricate brass tubing, encircling one another like a winding serpent.
For years he had been trained and prepared for such events, but he had hoped they would not happen within his lifetime.
Channelling all his focus and energy, the rune on the back of his right hand began to glow bright, along with his Whisper-Moth who perched on his shoulder. Holding both arms out in front of him, he summoned the air forth into the tubes that led to a giant, long metal-tubed horn that ran down along the tower - WAAARRR! It bellowed over the city.
In the streets below the tower, an old man in a blue woollen garment and green hooded cloak ran alongside his daughter, who was wrapped in a purple woollen hooded cloak. The large, drooping hood hid her face and the cloak covered her from head to toe, concealing the Elysian forged plate armour she wore underneath -hiding her identity from watchful eyes. They ran for safety, searching for any means of escape from the treacherous burning city and the people who were hunting them.
"They have sounded the alarm! We must hurry my child - to the water!" The old man pointed to the port in the distance.
Under the woman’s cloak she held a baby, shielded away from the falling embers and thick smoke. She narrowed her violet eyes, struggling to see through the smoke and fire, yet managed to spot a boat tied to the dock. Holding onto the baby firmly, she pushed onward. Fierce flames blazed on either side of them, with the enemy not far behind.
"Come now, Father, I see a boat!" She exclaimed as she ran towards the water. Her father followed close behind. But...
The fire was growing thicker by the moment and began to spread across their path. Soon they found themselves trapped. The enemy could be heard not far behind them, the frightening sound of screeching in the night air made Telon and Pesha shiver. A frightened Moth nuzzled close to Telon’s neck as she heard each screech getting louder than the last. A fire raged in front of them, only metres from the dock. The baby began to cry.
"It is alright, little one" Pesha assured the baby tenderly.
Lifting her arm out in front, while cradling the baby close to her chest with her other arm, she began to focus on the docks ahead. The rune on the back of her right hand started to glow.
"No, Pesha, you lost your Whisper-Moth. It could kill you!" Telon pleaded.
His daughter had lost her Moth companion during the escape. It was known by all Elysian that it was dangerous to use their preternatural abilities without their Whisper-Moths, as the Moth was the source of an Elysian’s power. To use their ability without the symbiotic connection to their Moth would risk draining too much upon their own life essence.
"We don’t have a choice, I must take that chance! "
Closing her eyes tightly, Pesha began to focus more. Water from the docks began to bubble and surge - suddenly water burst out from around the docks and into the air, sending rain down to extinguish the fire.
"Pesha! You’re bleeding!’’ Telon called out with worry when he had seen the blood dripping from her nose.
"I am alright" She replied, wiping the blood off with her hand.
There was no time for delay. Both Telon and Pesha made haste to the docks. Telon helped Pesha into the boat and began untying the rope that tethered the boat. Suddenly, an arrow struck Telon off guard, penetrating his left shoulder, barely missing his Moth, Aella, who squeaked an alarm from his shoulder.
"Father!" Pesha cried. "Quickly, we must leave now!"
She grabbed onto Telon’s hand and pulled him into the boat. He snapped off the arrow at its shaft, but the arrow’s tip still remained in his flesh.
Another arrow came flying towards them. Acting fast, Telon summoned the air to his will, redirecting the coming arrow away - it struck the water beside the boat - SPLASH! With another flick of his hand, both his rune and Moth glowed once again and the wind picked up and filled the small sails. The boat began to sail away from the docks as Delta's men reached the water's edge, flailing their weapons on the backs of their horrific beasts.
More arrows were loosed, but with the last of his energy, Telon manipulated the air. Each arrow was forced away from them, until Telon collapsed into the boat, exhausted, blood dripping from his nose, as the boat was propelled out of range of the arrows. The city faded into the distance - the city they once called home, now ablaze and in ruin.
Pesha looked down at the small baby in her arms. He had stopped crying; his violet eyes now looked back at her, studying her face, and he smiled.
Pesha smiled back at the child wrapped in her arms. “Valan. Yes... that will be your name.”
Telon embraced her, kissing her forehead. “Valan is a good name.”
This story starts with a malevolent sacrifice, to break a curse that has had its hold on an entire race for eons - though, in doing so, unleashes a terrible evil upon the world.
A world now plunged into darkness and terror... a changed world, inhabited by monsters and demons.
A century has passed, and a young farm boy, Valan, prepares for his coming of age with the help of his ailing mother. Valan's Awakening ceremony unlocks mystical abilities within himself, strengthening the ties between him and his Familiar, Whisp - a giant moth with mystical powers and mood swings.
In an attempt to acquire a remedy for his sick mother, he is captured by a pirate turned slave-trader, who inadvertently changes everything.
Valan is taken away from the only world he has known, and struggles to understand the world for what it really is...a dark and unforgiving place. Coming to accept that harsh reality, and that he may never be able to save his mother from the cold grasp of death, challenges not only his ideals of the world, but his own values that he once held dear, sending him spiraling down towards doubt and self-loathing.
Faced with the ultimate threat of a dark primordial god and his disciples, who plan to open a gateway into another dimension and destroy the world, Valan almost loses all hope in humanity. He gradually gathers friends who show him that there are still people who are pure at heart, who are willing to fight with him, and are worth fighting for.